PEORIA, Ariz. — Robinson Cano balanced on one leg and stretched his arm, keeping in unison with the rest of the Seattle Mariners during their pre-workout stretch. Click, click, click. Fans wearing his No. 22 focused their smartphones and snapped shots. Photographers lenses followed him across the field from drill to drill. The second baseman drew a crowd and was the centre of attention for his first workout with the Mariners on Tuesday. The former New York Yankee might as well get used to it. “Even more fun than what I thought,” Cano said afterward. “Being embraced by teammates, coaching staff, the manager, the front office — I feel like Im part of this team right away. Not going to take long to get used to this uniform.” Seattle fans have already warmed to him. Approximately 200 fans showed up at Seattles spring training complex to watch the franchises new cornerstone do some stretching, some throwing and some fielding on a hot, sunny morning. Cano got a 10-year, $240 million deal to be the centerpiece of Seattles rebuilding. On his first day, the fans followed him from field to field. “Theres a lot more people than previous years,” said Matt Massot, 18, of Seattle, who wore a Cano shirt to his fourth spring training. “When you add Robinson Cano, it cant get any more exciting.” Seattle fans are celebrating their Super Bowl championship and hoping that Canos signing gets their baseball team turned around, too. The Mariners lost 101 games in 2008 and again in 2010. They went 71-91 last season with a young roster that finished 25 games behind Oakland in the AL West. First-year manager Lloyd McClendon is trying to raise expectations in the clubhouse, which is one area where having Cano will definitely help. Cano chose Seattle over the Yankees, who are accustomed to high expectations. “One of the messages that Im trying to send to my players is we dont have to take a backseat to anybody, and that includes the New York Yankees or anybody else,” McClendon said. Cano sidestepped a question about how long it will take the Mariners to become a championship contender. “I dont want to say we are close, but I know weve got a team that can go out there and compete,” Cano said. “Weve got some good, young talent. I dont want to say were going to be in first place, second place, last place. “I want to show these young guys all the things I learned in New York, the experiences I have, and what it takes to make it to the playoffs and win a championship.” Of course, Mariners fans know firsthand that one high-profile player cant turn a team into a winner. Seattle traded Ken Griffey Jr. — the face of the franchise — to the Cincinnati Reds before the 2000 season. Griffey got a nine-year, $116.5 million deal from his hometown team, which failed to reach the playoffs while he was part of it. “That was pretty bleak in Seattle,” said Steve Tennyson, a retired teacher from Rochester, Wash., who was selling souvenirs at the spring training complex for the ninth year. “A lot of people still hold a grudge. They have a tough time getting over losing your icon.” Tennyson stood next to a table of souvenirs that featured shirts with Canos number. Asked his reaction when he heard that Cano had chosen to play for the Mariners, Tennyson pumped his right fist. “Yes!” he said. “They need an impact player. This will attract quality players. It may take a while.” Cano brought some star power to the first day of full-squad workouts. After doing a group interview in part of a room thats used for the team cafeteria, Cano stepped into a hallway that links the clubhouse and fields. A few television cameras followed, leading to another impromptu interview. Several of his new teammates were heading to the fields carrying their bats. Instead of squeezing around the cameras, they stopped and watched for a few minutes, careful not to interrupt the interview. It was Canos moment. SPOKANE, Wash. — Levko Koper had a hat trick and an assist as the Spokane Chiefs routed the Portland Winterhawks 8-3 on Friday in the WHLs Western Conference final to even the best-of-seven series at two games apiece. Collin Valcourt had a goal and three assists while Tyler Johnson had a goal and two assists for Spokane, in the only blowout after the series opened with three one-goal games. Matt Marantz, between Darren Kramer and Valcourt, opened the scoring 10 seconds into the game with his fourth playoff goal. Portland tied it midway through the first period on the power play as Joe Morrow fired from the top of the right circle after hearing the crowd counting down the final seconds of the man advantage. Johnson, who led the league with 53 goals in the regular season, scored on a feed from Koper to put the Chiefs up for good, 2-1 in the first. Valcourt scored early in the second, pouncing on a rebound from a backhand by Kramer, a play that was started by Valcourt. A rare mistake by Jared Cowen gave the Winterhawks an opportunity to notch ttheir second short-handed goal of the series, this one by Tyler Wotherspoon that made it 3-2.dddddddddddd. Anthony Bardaro added to the lead at 14:20 and Kopers first goal made it 5-2 after two periods. Koper added two goals in the first seven minutes of the third period, cleaning up a rebound off a Johnson breakaway and then scoring during a power play on a Johnson feed. However, the Chiefs continued to struggle on the power play, with their drought reaching 0-19 dating back to the second period of the first game before Kopers third goal at 6:47 of the third period. It was their eight power-play opportunity of the night. The Winterhawks pulled Mac Carruth after allowing six goals on 28 shots in favour of Keith Hamilton, who faced 13 shots. Spokane goalie James Reid made 28 saves before being replaced by Mac Engel. He allowed a late power-play goal to Ryan Johansen, who has scored in every game. Through the regular season and playoffs, the Chiefs have never had a three-game losing streak. Game 5 is Saturday in Portland, Ore. ‘ ‘ ‘
(SportsNetwork.com) – The Detroit Red Wings will play their first game as a member of the Eastern Conference on Wednesday, as they welcome the Buffalo Sabres to Joe Louis Arena in the season opener for both teams. You can watch the game on TSN2 and TSN Mobile TV at 8pm et/5pm pt. Every NHL team has new divisional opponents thanks to this seasons realignment plan, but only the Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets and the Winnipeg Jets switched conferences. Detroit had been a member of the Western Conference since the last time the NHL realigned the league before the 1993-94 season. The Sabres and Red Wings now find themselves in the new iteration of the Atlantic Division, a group that also includes Boston, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto. Its one of the NHLs four divisions and the top three finishers in each group will receive automatic bids to the playoffs. Detroit has made the playoffs in 22 straight seasons and Mike Babcocks club is a good bet to make it 23 appearances in a row in the spring of 2014 after making it to the second round in 2013. Buffalo, however, is a club in the midst of a rebuilding phase, although there is hope the reclamation project wont take too long to bear fruit. The Red Wings made some notable additions to their offense last summer, signing forwards Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss to free-agent deals. Of course, the signing of the former guy made big waves in Ottawa, which was Alfredssons home for his entire NHL career before the 40-year old signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract to join Detroit. Alfredsson has said he expects to hear boos when the Red Wings visit their new division rival in Ottawa for the first time this season, although that first trip to Canadas capital city wont come until Dec. 1. With Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg still expected to do most of the heavy lifting on offense, the Red Wings dont need Alfredsson or Weiss to play like superstars, only to provide a boost to the teams offensive depth. “The biggest thing for our team, we look good on paper, we have good depth, good team, we have to execute on the ice,” said Red Wings forward Daniel Cleary. “Im looking forward to playing these new teams more often. Itll be great for everybody involved, the fans, the media, just a different look.” Jimmy Howard will get the call in net for the Red Wings on Wednesday after turning in his best season as an NHLer in 2013, going 21-13-7 with a 2.13 goals against average and .923 save percentage in 42 appearances. The 29-year- old also tied with four other players for the league lead with five shutouts, giving Howard 11 white-washings over his last two seasons. Ryan Miller will face Howard tonight and, along with sniper Thomas Vanek, the Buffalo goaltender is one of his teams best assets. However, Miller, a former Vezina Trophy winner, did not have his best season in 2013, although that had something to do with Buffalos lack of depth on both sides of the ice. Miller went 17-17-5 in 2013 and his goals against average of 2.81 was his highest number of any season in which he played in at least 10 games. Miller also failed to record a single shutout for the first time since the 2003-04 campaign, when the American played in only three games. Both Miller and Vanek, who had 20 goals and 41 points in 38 games last season, are impending unrestricted free agents and could be used as trade bait during this season for the rebuilding Sabres. However, Miller says he hasnt ruled out re-signing with Buffalo when his contract is up at the end of the season, even if the Sabres decide to trade him before he is scheduled to hits free agency in the summer of 2014. Vanek, meanwhile, was named as Buffalos co-captain along with Steve Ott earlier this week. Ott will serve as captain in road games, while Vanek will take on the duties at home. On the injury front, Buffalo will be without forwards Marcus Foligno (strained shoulder) and Corey Tropp (jaw surgery) and defenseman Nikita Zadorov (lacerated finger). All three players are currently on injured reserve. The Sabres have missed the playoffs in two straight and four of the last six seasons, and the chances of returning to the postseason in 2014 seem slim heading into this campaign. Because teams from opposing conference didnt play each other during the lockout-shortened season of 2013, this will mark the first meeting between the Sabres and Red Wings since 2011-12, when Detroit won both encounters. The Red Wings are 19-2-1 with a tie in the last 23 meetings between these teams overall and Buffalo has lost three straight and 11 of its last 12 games in the Motor City. The Toronto Blue Jays added a bat at the expense of an arm on Thursday. The team announced via Twitter that they have claimed outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo on waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks. To make room on the 40-man roster, left-handed pitcher Luis Perez has been released. Tuiasosopo, 27, appeared in 81 games with the Detroit Tigers in 2013, hitting seven home runs and adding 330 runs batted-in.dddddddddddd He also posted an average of .244. The Diamondbacks signed him to a one-year contract earlier this month. Perez, 29, appeared in just six games with the Blue Jays in 2013, posting an 0-1 record with a 1.20 WHIP and a 5.40 earned-run average. He missed the majority of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery, returning to the Jays in September. ‘ ‘ ‘
(Sports Network) – The Calgary Flames will try to avoid damaging their playoff hopes with a fourth straight loss when they visit the Minnesota Wild for tonights battle at Xcel Energy Center. Although theyve gained points in consecutive losses, the Flames are not helping their postseason cause with their recent 0-1-2 stretch. Calgary has fallen into a tie with San Jose for the 10th seed in the West and is two points behind Los Angeles and Phoenix for the conferences eighth and final playoff berth. The Kings and Coyotes are in action tonight against St. Louis and Colorado, respectively. The Flames, who are 6-2-3 in March, were dealt a 2-1 overtime loss in Colorado on Tuesday, as David Jones scored with 1:09 left in OT. The victory allowed the Avalanche to jump into the seventh seed in the West, one point ahead of the Kings and Coyotes and three in front of Calgary. Matt Hunwick skated the puck in down the left wing during the winning sequence and dished it over to Paul Stastny, who got to the net and put on a shot on Miikka Kiprusoff. The save was made, but Jones was there to stuff in the rebound. Matt Stajan scored the lone goal while Kiprusoff stopped 31 shots for the Flames. “We played well but we missed some opportunities,” said Calgary forward Alex Tanguay. “Right now we wish a few more of them would go in. Were doing okay, not all the teams are going to go undefeated the rest of the way. Its a setback, but we have a game in hand still and this is a game that could have went either way.” The contest began a three-game road trip for the Flames, who are just 14-16-8 as the guest this season. Calgary will complete the swing Saturday afternoon in Dallas. Calgary hopes to get back on track tonight against a Wild team that has been all but officially eliminated from the Western Conference playoff race. The Flames have also won four in a row in this Northwest Division series since losing the opening matchup between the clubs in Calgary on Nov. 8. The Flames have also won three of their last four games in St. Paul. Minnesota is coming off Mondays 2-0 home win over the Vancouver Canucks. Josh Harding made 33 saves for his second shutout of the season as the Wild surprised the defending Western Conference champions at Xcel Energy Center. Erik Christensen and Kyle Brodziak scored for the Wild, who had lost three straight and eight of nine coming into the win. “Everyone was putting their body on the line for me tonight,” said Harding. “We just want to come out here every game and put our best foot forward the rest of the way.” The Wild had been winless (0-3) on a five-game homestand before beating the Canucks. Minnesota is 16-15-4 as the host this season. TORONTO — J.A. Happ is finding new success at the end of the season. The Toronto Blue Jays havent shared in his good fortune. Happ struck out seven over seven-plus innings of work on Wednesday, staking Toronto to a 3-0 lead before the Blue Jays lost to the New York Yankees 4-3. The left-hander has lowered his arm slot when he throws, giving his fastball more movement and more break to his off-speed pitches. “It obviously feels a lot more than it actually is,” said Happ. “Whenever you change that up an inch or two seems like a foot. Today I felt good and for the most part maintained that slot. From a stuff standpoint it was similar but I think I had a little bit of an easier time repeating pitches and kind of using everything. It felt a little more smooth.” Happ gave up four hits, three walks and just one run but earned a no decision as New York scored three runs off the Blue Jays (69-82) bullpen in the eighth inning for a 4-3 lead. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Yankees (80-72), who are now 2 1-2 games out of an American League wild card spot. Toronto, meanwhile, has lost six of its last eight games. “I thought he was tremendous,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons of Happ. “He was a different guy tonight. Hopefully thats a start. Hes got to feel good about that. “We pissed it away but hes got to feel good about that outing.” Yankees starter Phil Hughes allowed four hits, including one home run, and two runs in 3 1-3 innings and has not won since July 2. Left-hander David Huff (3-1) allowed one run in 3 2-3 innings of relief to pick up the win. Mariano Rivera — who is retiring at the end of the season — pitched 1 1-3 innings to earn his 44th save of the season and escaped a ninth-inning jam by striking out J.P. Arencibia with runners at second and third to end the game. The Blue Jays took their three-run lead into the eighth inning on the strength of home runs in the fourth inning by Colby Rasmus and Ryan Goins, the first of his major-league career. Happ was replaced by left-hander Aaron Loup after Brendan Ryan led off the eighth with a double. Curtis Granderson followed up Ryans hit with a single and right-hander Steve Delabar replaced Loup, immediately striking out Alex Rodriguez. Robinson Cano then singled in a run and Alfonso Soriano doubled in another run. That set the stage for former Blue Jay Vernon Wells to double in two runs and give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. “I hung a split to Cano and he got out in front and hit it pretty hard,” said Delabar. “To Soriano I thought I made a good pitch down and away and he got the head to it and I hung another pitch to Vernon.” Delabar said he was disappointed for Happ. “He pitched a great game today,” said Delabar. “Were down theere trying to give him as much support as we can.dddddddddddd. Then to come in and not get the job done its a slap in the face. Couldnt feel worse.” Rivera retired Brett Lawrie on a grounder to end the bottom of the eighth after Rajai Davis singled against David Robertson and stole second. Adam Lind led off the ninth against Rivera with a single and Kevin Pillar pinch ran for him. Rasmus followed with a single to move Pillar to second. Left-handed hitter Munenori Kawasaki batted for Moises Sierra and his attempt at a sacrifice bunt resulted in a force at third. First baseman Lyle Overbay — also a former Blue Jay — got the out by playing in on Kawasaki. “That was a great play,” said Rivera who has allowed only 26 sacrifice bunts in his career, 11 by left-handed hitters. Gibbons defended the decision to have Kawasaki bunt against Rivera and the Yankees defence. “Hes a pretty good bunter,” said Gibbons. ” First and second we wanted to get the tying run to third base. Its tough to get a lot of hits in a row against Rivera. Overbay is more aggressive than most of them. If you get it down the third-base line they give it to you there. It was too much in front of home plate.” New York manager Joe Girardi had faith in his teams ability to handle a sacrifice bunt in a close game. “I felt confident about it when they put Kawasaki in to bunt, cause (Riveras) such a great fielder, you figure hed make something happen,” said Girardi. Goins moved the runners to second and third with a grounder to bring up Arencibia who struck out, extending his hitless slump to 0-for-16. “Tonight was a big game for us,” Rivera said. “Being down 3-0 in the eighth inning and coming back to score four and being able to hold it, its a huge game, huge. “Great to see our guys put those kind of at bats together. We were able to put some runs on the board, enough to win the game.” Toronto took a 3-0 lead with one out in the fourth on two homers. Rasmus hit a 2-1 pitch to right with one out for his fourth homer since returning from the disabled list on Sept. 13. His 22nd homer of the season scored Brett Lawrie who led off with a double. Huff replaced Hughes and gave up a two-out homer to Goins on a 3-2 pitch. Notes: Attendance at Rogers Centre was 24,247…The Blue Jays 2-0 win on Tuesday was the 10th time this season the Yankees have been shut out, the most in a season since 1991 when they also were blanked 10 times. ….The Blue Jays will start RHP Todd Redmond (3-2, 4.10 ERA) against New York RHP Hiroki Kuroda (11-11, 3.13 ERA) in Thursdays series finale. …The game will wrap up the Yankees 10-game trip that also included stops in Baltimore (3-1) and Boston (0-3). …The Blue Jays travel to Boston for a three-game series starting Friday. ‘ ‘ ‘
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