From Comcast SportsNetSAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants have no plans to bring back suspended outfielder Melky Cabrera for the postseason if the club is still playing when he is eligible to return.Manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday that he and general manager Brian Sabean are meeting to finalize their 25-man roster for the best-of-five division series. Cabrera would be allowed to play in the NLCS if the Giants advance that far, but -- at this stage, at least -- they have no intention of adding him to the roster at any point in the postseason.An announcement regarding Cabrera is expected before the NL West champions leave town after a three-game series against Arizona that began Tuesday night.First, they would need to alert all the parties involved: Cabrera, Major League Baseball and the players union. Cabrera can start working out at instructional league in Arizona 10 days before his suspension ends, so that factor weighs into the mix."Right now, we'll discuss that. We'll probably have something before the end of this homestand as far as Melky," Bochy said. "We're talking about a lot of things, and that's one of them. I'll probably have an answer for you before we leave here to go down to San Diego. I think both on our side and Melky's side, you're getting down to the time period where he can start working out and doing some things. I think he needs to know and we need to know."San Francisco's 40-man roster is full, so when Cabrera is eligible to be reinstated the Giants would have to make a roster move. They could keep Cabrera on the 40-man roster just in case.Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, is batting .346, which is the highest mark in the National League.He was suspended for 50 games Aug. 15 for a positive testosterone test. On Friday, Cabrera asked to be removed from contention for the batting crown, saying he had no wish to win a tainted title.The Giants have succeeded without Cabrera's big bat, clinching their second division crown in three seasons Saturday night against San Diego. And they are pushing ahead with the roster they have."Right now, we're focusing on the future and what's going to happen, the playoffs. We're not thinking about that," center fielder Angel Pagan said. "They'll make the decisions. We are the soldiers. If they bring him, we're teammates. We'll receive him with open arms. But if not, hey, we've got to respect the decision and move on, move forward."Reliever Jeremy Affeldt has said he wants to fight with the faces who are currently in the clubhouse -- as they've done just fine in the month-plus playing without Cabrera."Exactly, and I'm sure that's the way the team thinks, too," Pagan said. "I respect any decision that the team makes. We have a job to do. And we have the mentality to go out there and finish the season strong and start the playoffs the right way."Catcher Buster Posey said the Giants will accept whatever the front office decides regarding Cabrera, who is set to become a free agent after the season."I don't think it would bother us than just the extra questions," he said. "That would be the main thing, the extra questions."Posey's .332 batting average was third in the NL behind Cabrera and Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen (.336) entering games Tuesday night. Cabrera was batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs in his first season with San Francisco and is five hits shy of 1,000 in his big league career."I've been outspoken on the penalties. If he serves his suspension and pays the price, whatever it is, you guys know I spoke out and said I think there needs to be more of a deterrent, but if he serves his penalty, I guess I'm really not against it. That's their decision," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "If he's caught again, I think he should be done."
The Capitals start the road trip in Minnesota to face former coach Bruce Boudreau and the Minnesota Wild (8 p.m., CSN). Here are three bold predictions for the game.
1. Washington will not trail after the first period
To say that Minnesota is struggling right now would be an understatement. They have lost eight of their last nine games. In every one of those eight losses, Minnesota was either trailing or tied at the end of the first period. In their one win? They took the lead into the locker room. The Caps will not trail after the first and if they do, they will be in trouble.
2. Alex Ovechkin will score
Who were the Caps playing against when Ovechkin broke a 10-game goal drought? Minnesota. Now with two goals in three games, he's starting to light it up again and he will get another on Tuesday.
3. Braden Holtby will limit Minnesota to two goals or less
The Wild have scored three or more goals only twice in their last nine games. Against Holtby and a team that has allowed the fewest goals per game in the NHL this season, that's a trend Minnesota seems unlikely to break.
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Every team in the NHL is going to lose a player on June 21 to Vegas in the NHL's expansion draft. ESPN seems to think that player will be Philipp Grubauer for the Caps.
In a mock draft conducted among four ESPN hockey analysts, each one selected Grubauer to Vegas.
The article does list one caveat, however.
In the real expansion draft, the Knights likely won't be taking the best possible players, but rather will optimize the entire process in terms of acquiring assets. In other words, they might agree not to take some of the players we've listed in exchange for a side deal that nets them a draft pick and/or prospect. Or [general manager George] McPhee might work a deal to take an exposed player with a bigger contract, provided he gets other assets in return.
Basically, while they believe Grubauer is the most likely candidate, the team can make a deal with McPhee for him to take a different player in exchange for other assets, such as prospects or draft picks.
In Washington's case, that seems unlikely to happen if Grubauer is indeed McPhee's top target.
We don't know exactly who Washington will protect in the draft because they have some expiring contracts that makes it difficult to project. What we do know for sure is that, since each team is only allowed to protect one goalie, Grubauer will be exposed in order for the team to protect Braden Holtby. Regardless of who else the team exposes, a young, up-and-coming goalie like Grubauer will certainly be one of the Washington's biggest assets in the expansion draft.
Having a dependable backup is important and the Caps would certainly hate to lose him. So why wouldn't they work out a deal to protect him?
With Holtby locked in as the team's starter for years to come and Ilya Samsonov considered to be one of the top goalie prospects in the world, Grubauer does not likely factor into Washington's long-term plans. Given that every team is going to lose someone to the expansion draft, losing a backup goalie would not be the worst thing in the world.
As good as he has played this season (2.10 GAA, .925 save percentage), is it worth giving up other assets to keep him just to lose somebody else? Let's not forget, the Caps do not draft until the fourth round of the 2017 draft. Their prospect pool also is not particularly deep. There's just not much there for the Caps to offer Vegas even if the wanted to
Ultimately, it may not be worth going through that for a goalie they are going to lose in the next few years anyway to make room for Samsonov.
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