Around the Nation (May 26): Washington Capitals make front office changes

Published:

Associated Press

ICE HOCKEY

Washington tabs MacLellan as GM, hire Trotz as coach

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals have promoted Brian MacLellan to general manager and hired former Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz.

The team announced the moves Monday.

MacLellan, who also gets the title of senior vice president, replaces George McPhee, whose contract was not renewed after 17 seasons with the Capitals.

MacLellan has been with Washington for 13 seasons, seven as assistant GM. He played for five teams during a 10-year NHL playing career.

Trotz was the Predators' coach for 15 seasons before being dropped from the job in April. In Washington, he takes over for Adam Oates, who was fired with a season left on his three-year deal.

This season, the Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

TENNIS

Australian champ Wawrinka out in French first round

PARIS -- Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka lost in the first round at the French Open on Monday, surprised by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.

The third-seeded Wawrinka was playing his first Grand Slam match as a major champion, but he faded against his 41st-ranked opponent.

Wawrinka was a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros last year, and he won a clay-court title at Monte Carlo last month, beating pal Roger Federer in the final. Wawrinka and Federer won a doubles gold medal together for Switzerland at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Garcia-Lopez has never been past the third round at a Grand Slam tournament.

HORSE RACING

New shooter in Belmont mix to take on Chrome

NEW YORK -- California Chrome has galloped again in preparations for the Belmont Stakes, while a new contender trained by Todd Pletcher has emerged for the last leg of the Triple Crown.

The colt ran two miles Monday, with assistant trainer Alan Sherman saying the Triple Crown hopeful is training well for the 11⁄2-mile race June 7. No horse has swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont since 1978.

California Chrome is to have his lone official workout next weekend.

Pletcher says Matterhorn could run the Belmont. The colt was fourth in the Peter Pan on May 10 and was recently sold to new ownership. Pletcher already has a Belmont starter in Commissioner, runner-up in the Peter Pan.

Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott says Matuszak is under consideration for the Belmont. The colt has just one win and is coming off a second-place finish in the Federico Tesio in Maryland.

BASEBALL

Cardinals 1964 champs honored

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals have honored Bob Gibson and other members of their 1964 team that beat the New York Yankees in the World Series.

There was a ceremony at Busch Stadium on Monday before the Cardinals hosted the Yankees in the opener of an interleague series. More than a dozen members of that championship team were on hand.

Gibson threw the ceremonial first pitch from halfway between the plate and the mound. Longtime catcher Tim McCarver was on the receiving end.

Gibson was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 1964 World Series. Gibson, outfielder Lou Brock and Red Schoendienst, a coach on that team, are in the Hall of Fame.

Mets fire hitting coach Hudgens

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets have fired hitting coach Dave Hudgens after their latest loss.

The Mets announced Hudgens was out after Pittsburgh's 5-3 win on Monday. The Mets also cut reliever Jose Valverde after he was hit hard.

The 57-year-old Hudgens was in his fourth season as the Mets' hitting coach. The Mets began the day with a .237 batting average, ranking among the worst in the majors.

New York has lost nine of its last 12 games and scored a total of just 32 runs in that span.

Mets star David Wright said, "When you struggle the way we've struggled offensively a finger, obviously gets pointed. A lot of times that finger gets pointed unfairly."

Valverde gave up four runs while getting only two outs against the Pirates. The 36-year-old righty was 1-1 with a 5.66 ERA.

Valverde joined the Mets this year and briefly was their closer.

Dodgers announcer Scully to miss games

LOS ANGELES -- Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully will miss calling two Los Angeles Dodgers games because he has a chest cold.

The team said Monday that the 86-year-old announcer would be out Monday and Tuesday for home games against the Cincinnati Reds.

In April 2012, Scully sat out five games because of a bad cold, causing him to miss the team's home opener for the first time in 35 years.

Scully is in his 65th season with the Dodgers, making him the longest tenured broadcaster in sports history. He calls all nine innings of the team's television broadcasts, which now air on SportsNet LA. Only customers of Time Warner Cable are able to watch the games, shutting out a large portion of Los Angeles viewers. Scully broadcasts all home and road games in California and Arizona.

He began his broadcasting career in 1950, and since then has gone on to call three perfect games, 19 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star games. He was behind the microphone for Kirk Gibson's Game 1 homer in the 1988 World Series and Hank Aaron's record-setting 715th home run.

Charley Steiner, Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra handled the call on SportsNet LA.

BASKETBALL

Thunder's Serge Ibaka OK after return from injury

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Thunder forward Serge Ibaka says his strained left calf is fine and he expects to be able to play Tuesday in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

Ibaka came back from what was thought to be a season-ending injury to play 30 minutes in Game 3 against San Antonio. He had 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocks to help Oklahoma City beat the Spurs 106-97 Sunday night and trim its deficit to 2-1.

Ibaka said he felt no worse on Monday than he did the night before. And he expects to feel better Tuesday.

The Spurs understand their problems go beyond Ibaka. They say they need to improve their shooting, rebounding and penetration while keeping Oklahoma City off the foul line.

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