An update on the health of Dusty Baker

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An update on the health of Dusty Baker

From Comcast SportsNetCINCINNATI (AP) -- Reds manager Dusty Baker returned to Cincinnati on Sunday after spending four days in a Chicago hospital getting treated for an irregular heartbeat.Baker missed the Reds' 6-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday that clinched the NL Central title. Doctors wanted to keep him one more night to make sure he had fully recovered.The 63-year-old manager was released from the hospital on Sunday. He met with players in the clubhouse at Great American Ball Park after batting practice, but didn't stay around for a game against the Dodgers.The Reds are off on Monday, giving Baker a day to rest before the start of a home series against Milwaukee."I'm managing tonight and hopefully with the day off tomorrow and him getting a good, relaxing night at home, (we'll) come back on Tuesday and see how he feels," bench coach Chris Speier said. "So yeah, it's great news."Baker's 13-year-old son, Darren, was in the clubhouse.Baker was hospitalized on Wednesday when the Reds were in Chicago playing the Cubs. He's had an irregular heartbeat for some time.The Reds had hoped he'd be back in time to see the team clinch its second division title in the past three years with Baker as manager.General manager Walt Jocketty texted him when the game ended on Saturday night, and the players toasted Baker in the clubhouse before spraying each other with beer and champagne.Speier rested several veterans for the final game of the series Sunday night against Los Angeles, which opened the day three games behind St. Louis for the final NL wild card spot.Left fielder Ryan Ludwick got a fourth straight day off to rest a sore groin, and third baseman Scott Rolen got to rest his back.Right fielder Jay Bruce and shortstop Zack Cozart also were out of the lineup. The Reds went 32-16 with first baseman Joey Votto out of the lineup because of a knee injury, successfully moving players around and changing the lineup.With the division title wrapped up, Speier had to balance trying to win games -- Cincinnati started the day tied with Washington for most wins in the majors at 92 -- while resting players to get them ready for the postseason."I don't think that's too difficult," Speier said. "I think with our personnel, we've put a competitive team out there every day. But again, we're going to take care of ourselves and make sure the people that need a day or two to get their injuries under wraps will have those. But I don't think that's going to be hard."Left-hander Aroldis Chapman finished the 6-0 win on Saturday, pitching the ninth inning. He'd been sidelined since Sept. 11 with a tired pitching shoulder that had his velocity down to the mid-90s. He was throwing 99 mph again on Saturday."I thought he looked good," Speier said. "I was happy that when he was off the strike zone, it was down. That's a good sign."I know he was anxious to get back out there. It was a good position for him to kind of have a soft landing, just go out and get that inning in because we're going to need him in the playoffs."Speier planned to use him in a non-save role again before moving him back into the closer position."We're definitely easing him back into that situation," Speier said. "Maybe another time or two out of the bullpen and then we'll see what happens."

Trotz doesn't blame Weber for Game 4 loss

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Trotz doesn't blame Weber for Game 4 loss

As the Caps and Penguins battled into overtime on Wednesday, the key moment came when Caps defenseman Mike Weber could not corral the puck in front of the net and tipped it right to Patric Hornqvist who slipped it between Braden Holtby's legs for the game-winning goal.

It's a moment that will be tough for him to live down in Washington, but not one that was entirely his fault, according to head coach Barry Trotz.

"We lost point coverage and then sort of hell breaks loose little bit," Trotz said, "and everybody's diving around and trying to sort that out and then the puck goes to Webs and it sort of gets in that little triangle that's hard to control. He was just trying to get the puck out of the way so I don't blame that on Weber at all."

On the play, all five Caps were initially caught below the faceoff circle in the defensive zone. That left Trevor Daley open as he came in from the blue line and Sidney Crosby found him with a pass from behind the net. At this point, the Caps are scrambling. A nice sweep check sends the puck back to the blue line where it eventually ends up on the stick of a wide open Conor Sheary. Seeing that he's open, both Tom Wilson and Weber step to him, but Weber begins to back off. Now the left side of the ice is completely open. He blocks Sheary's shot, but loses control of it and tips it in desperation, sending it to the left to an open Hornqvist.

RELATED: FOR CAPITALS, GAME 5 WILL BE 'MOST IMPORTANT GAME OF OUR LIVES'

So while Weber ends up looking like the goat, really no one was where they were supposed to be which started the play.

"He’ll bounce back," Jay Beagle said. "There are so many plays that happen that nothing is ever an individual’s fault. It’s never like that. He’s a warrior and a great player for us and little things happen like that."

Weber was playing in only his second game of the postseason and first of the series. He skated in place of Nate Schmidt who was scratched after a poor Game 3.

Once thought to be a strength, the Caps' defensive depth has been put to the test in the playoffs and the results have not been good. Dmitry Orlov was benched in Game 1 against Pittsburgh after a poor defensive play turned into a goal and scratched for Game 2. The suspension to Brooks Orpik forced Orlov back into the lineup along with Taylor Chorney and Trotz mixed things up again for Game 4 by inserting Weber.

When asked on Thursday if he wished there was more consistency from the bottom four defensemen, Trotz answered, "Yeah, you would or we wouldn't be moving them out."

Wednesday's play may have looked like a one-way ticket back to the press box for Weber, but given Trotz's analysis of the play, that may not necessarily be the case. In fact, Trotz remains ademant that inserting Weber into the lineup for Game 4 was the right move.

"We have no doubt that that was the right decision," Trotz said. "It was unfortunate on that play but if you really dissect that play down, Webb's really not the guy."

MORE CAPITALS: CAPS MISS GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY IN GAME 4 LOSS

Fifth-rounder becomes Baltimore's first 2016 draft pick to sign

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Fifth-rounder becomes Baltimore's first 2016 draft pick to sign

The Ravens have signed fifth-round draft pick Matt Judon, CSN has confirmed through an NFL source. Judon became the first of the Ravens’ 11 draft picks to sign, reaching agreement on a four-year, $2.595 million deal.

Judon led all of college football with 20 sacks last season at Grand Valley State, and will likely make the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker in the Ravens’ 3-4 defense. His combination of size (6-foot-3, 275 pounds) and quickness caught the eye of Ravens’ scouts at the combine, and he fit their desire to improve their pass rush in this draft.

“He’s an explosive pass rusher, which is something that was obviously of interest to us,” Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said after the draft. “I should also say that Joe Cullen, who works with our defensive line and rush linebackers, was really, really excited. This was a guy that we thought was an outstanding prospect, and he (Cullen) spent a lot of time with him this spring, and we felt very, very good about his ability to come in and help us right away.”

Gallardo improving, but still not close to returning

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Gallardo improving, but still not close to returning

BALTIMORE – Yovani Gallardo will be eligible to some off the 15-day disabled list this weekend. He’s nowhere ready to be activated, but he remains optimistic.

He was sent to the DL with tendinitis of the right shoulder and biceps. 

Gallardo isn’t ready to begin throwing. 

“Not really, honestly. Obviously, the main thing right now is getting as strong as I can. No point going out there and throwing and going back to square one. I think the main thing is to get the strength to 100 percent and go from there, but hopefully it’s soon,” Gallardo said. 

“I think it’s definitely progressing really well. Really, really well with the exercises that I’ve been doing. It’s right around the corner. I’m anxious. I’m anxious to get back out there and start throwing and work my way back into the rotation.”

Gallardo hasn’t had an arm or shoulder injury before. 

“It’s the first time I’ve been on the DL with an arm issue, period. I’ve been on the DL for other things, but I’ve been able to throw. I think the only one is when I pulled my oblique. That’s the only other one. But the shoulder issue is always tough,” Gallardo said.

“You want to go out there and play catch and do all that sort of thing and you can’t. You can’t and it’s a little bit frustrating, but at the same time I know the guys in the training room are doing what’s best for me and the club. They’re trying to get me right and like I said, I’d rather deal with it only once rather than multiple times.”

Gallardo said that he’s going have to change the way he works out. 
 
“I think it’s something I’m going to incorporate from here on out for the rest of my career. I’ve never had any issues with my shoulder before. I felt like I was doing the stuff I had to do to stay in shape and keep it strong, but obviously the more innings you throw, it’s a little bit different. It’s unfortunate that I had to find out this way, but now I know that I have to incorporate it, whether it be a little bit more weight, a little bit different exercises to maintain that and stay strong,” Gallardo said.