See the latest player to test positive for PEDs

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See the latest player to test positive for PEDs

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Outfielder Marlon Byrd was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball on Monday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Major League Baseball said the 34-year-old Byrd tested positive for Tamoxifen, which can reduce side effects of steroid use and increase testosterone. It is often used to treat breast cancer patients. "I made an inexcusable mistake," Byrd said in a statement released by the players' association. "Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance enhancement reasons." Byrd is currently a free agent, and will be placed on the restricted list for the duration of his suspension, which began immediately. He started the season with the Cubs and was dealt to the Red Sox on April 21. He was designated for assignment by Boston on June 9 and released four days later. "I am mortified by my carelessness and I apologize to everyone who loves this game as I do," Byrd said. "I will serve my suspension, continue to work hard and hope that I am given an opportunity to help a Club win later this season." In 2009, Byrd said he was using supplements provided by SNAC System, a company founded by Victor Conte, who also was the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. BALCO was at the center of a wide-ranging scandal involving performance-enhancing drugs that enveloped several top-level athletes, including Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and Barry Bonds. Conte pleaded guilty to steroid distribution in July 2005 and served four months in jail. Byrd said the supplements were all OK to use under MLB rules. He had never before been suspended for failing an PED test. "Any nutritional supplements I ever provided to Marlon Byrd were legal products that contained no banned substances," Conte wrote on Twitter. "I provided Marlon Byrd with nutritional and training advice which had nothing whatsoever to do with any type of prohibited substances." In an email to The Associated Press, Conte said he still supports Byrd. "Marlon Byrd is a terrific person and did not use a drug to cheat," Conte said in his email. "Look at his numbers this season, the worst of his career. Traded and then cut. I was not aware of his medical condition. Marlon is my friend and I will always have his back." Byrd hit .210 in 47 games with the two teams, though he hit .270 with a homer and seven RBIs in 34 games with Boston. The Red Sox picked him up when they had a shortage in the outfield after a rash of injuries. "He played here and he played well," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "I had no indication or I don't think anyone did." The 34-year-old Byrd has played for five teams in 11 major league seasons and is a career .278 hitter. Byrd finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2003 with the Phillies and was a National League All-Star with the Cubs in 2010.

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There's lots of talk about Trent Williams at guard instead of tackle. Don't listen to it.

There's lots of talk about Trent Williams at guard instead of tackle. Don't listen to it.

With Trent Williams eligible to return to the Redskins after serving a four-game suspension, much chatter has emerged about the All Pro left tackle moving inside to play left guard.

Don't listen to that chatter.

Williams made the move inside to guard once this season, during a win in New York when injuries decimated the Redskins offensive line. He played well, especially considering Williams said after that game that he had never played guard in his life. 

For Washington moving forward, some fans want Williams at left guard and Shawn Lauvao sent to the bench. That would mean Ty Nsekhe stays at left tackle. 

A few problems with this plan: 1) Trent Williams is the best left tackle on the team, and maybe in the NFL. 2) Injuries are mounting up for Nsekhe and right tackle Morgan Moses, not to mention the rest of the offensive line.

Nsekhe left the locker room in Arizona with a walking boot on his foot. Moses has dealt with a severely sprained ankle since Halloween. A healthy Williams returning to the team allows Nsekhe or Moses sit and get the rest they need for their injuries. 

Further, on Sunday in a loss to the Cardinals, center Spencer Long sustained a concussion. His backup John Sullivan came in and handled the center duties well. 

Some might suggest that Long move to guard, Sullivan stay at center, and Lauvao go to the bench. That move has more merit than moving Williams inside, but still seems like it would be a reach. And now with Long forced to enter the NFL concussion protocol, it's unclear when he will be back on the field at all.

Another suggestion has been to move Nsekhe inside to left guard. Consider that Nsekhe has been a development project; he's bounced around lower professional football leagues and at age 31 only has six career NFL starts. Couple that with his size - he's 6-foot-8 - and it's a tall task to move from tackle to guard. 

Lauvao played poorly against the Cardinals, that's indisputable. But as much as some fans believe a reworked offensive line is the answer, moving those pieces is not very simple. Coaches and players like and respect Lauvao, and his play can only improve with Trent Williams back standing next to him. 

Like all things in sports, the situation will remain fluid. More injuries could force more changes, but speaking with folks that know the situation, do not expect to see Williams at guard when he returns to the field next week in Philadelphia. 

MORE: Gruden says Redskins "not even close" to thinking about playoffs

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3 bold predictions: Can Caps end their skid against Sabres?

3 bold predictions: Can Caps end their skid against Sabres?

The Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres the day after Thanksgiving. That was the last time they've won. Now Washington will look to end a three-game skid as they host the Sabres again on Monday (7 p.m. on CSN).

Here are three bold predictions for Monday's game:

1. Jack Eichel will record two points

Buffalo managed only one goal the last time these two teams met, but that was without Jack Eichel. With him back in tow, this is a completely different offense. He should expect a heavy dose of Matt Niskanen and Karl Alzner, but Eichel is the real deal and has registered four points in his first two games back this season.

RELATED: NHL POWER RANKINGS: JUST A SLUMP OR IS IT TIME TO PANIC?

2. The Caps will not score on the power play

That's not really too bold these days considering Washington has only one power play goal in their last 16 opportunities. This would look like a good opportunity to get back on track considering Buffalo has the 29th penalty kill in the NHL (77.2 percent). The Sabres, however, do not take many penalties. Buffalo is ninth in minors taken this year and are 2-1-0 since losing to the Caps. They are not playing frustrated and are less likely to take foolish penalties. With fewer opportunities, the Caps' struggling power play is not likely to return to form.

3. Both teams will take roughing penalties and/or a fight in the third period

Considering that these two teams met last week and will play again on Friday, things will get physical late as both teams will look to send a message. That will result in some extended scrums and pawing, maybe even a fight. But I don't expect either team to really run away with this one, making a late fight unlikely.

MORE CAPITALS: DAILY QUOTE: 'WE NEED TO BE A LITTLE MORE GRITTY'