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two-time former champion Alberto Contado
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Yasiel Puig believes he has the support from his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and the club to help him keep his focus on baseball despite challenges off the field. Cheap Royals Jerseys . Puig returned to the starting lineup in right field for Thursdays series finale against the Giants amid reports that smugglers who helped him defect from Cuba had threatened his life. "Im only concentrating on the season and being the best teammate and helping my teammates," Puig said, speaking in Spanish during an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday morning at his locker in AT&T Park. While Puig wont address the details specifically because of a pending legal case, he said he will focus on baseball and on helping the defending NL West champion Dodgers keep winning. He went 1 for 4 with a strikeout in Thursdays 2-1 victory. While he dropped a routine fly to right, he also made two nice catches on the run. "I have great teammates who are helping support me so much this season and to focus on the season when I get to the stadium so I am comfortable," Puig said. "That way I dont start thinking about anything negative in the stadium. Im only thinking about working on the things that are going to make me a better ballplayer." The 23-year-old, scratched from the starting lineup after arriving late for his teams home opener April 4, is hitting .250 with one home run and five RBIs in his second major league season. He said after the game he is committed to baseball "so those things that are happening dont torment me." "Were at the field right now. Weve just got to be thinking about baseball," teammate Hanley Ramirez said. "What Ive seen is hes been learning and hes just happy to be here. Hes playing today and he told me hes going to do everything it takes to win todays game." Manager Don Mattingly said he has read articles about Puigs journey and will offer support. He has spoken briefly with the outfielder, but not regarding specifics of his journey to the United States -- saying if Puig wants to keep those details private, he will respect that wish. Mattingly is committed to helping Puig, who signed a $42 million, seven-year contract. Court documents, part of a federal lawsuit in Miami, say smugglers who helped Puig leave Cuba on a speedboat have made death threats against him and against a Cuban boxer who says he defected with Puig. Boxer Yunior Despaigne says in an affidavit he is afraid of being harmed by the smugglers or their associates if Puig hasnt paid them money he owes. "He hasnt talked about his background. Nobodys told me about his background. Nobodys told me about his story," Mattingly said. "If its true, its a wild story." Other Cuban big leaguers have shared similar experiences. In Oakland, Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes discussed in February 2013 how he worried constantly about his family members the previous season as they made their way to the U.S. He wasnt sure whether they might be targeted because of his legal issues stemming from a former agent who claimed the outfielder owed him money. "If you care about Yasiel, you worry about some serious stuff there that he has to deal with," Mattingly said. "If you care about him as a person, you worry about what hes going through." AP Legal Affairs Writer Curt Anderson in Miami contributed to this report. Cheap MLB Jerseys Authentic . “The shootout, theres nothing wrong with it, I think its an exciting part of the game but its just one small aspect,” said Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman. “Its a skill exhibition. If you can get it back closer to regular hockey and have it decided that way; that would be my preference.” “I dont think its a knock on the shootout, I think more of the managers would like to see it end in overtime,” added Washington Capitals GM George McPhee. Wholesale Royals Jerseys . The Redblacks are taking on the Edmonton Eskimos in their second regular season game Friday night. Catch the game live on TSN as the back end of a doubleheader starting at 10pm et/7pm pt.University graduate Jan Bakelants pulled away close to the finish line to win Sundays second stage of the Tour de France and take the race leaders yellow jersey for the first time in his injury-plagued career. The 27-year-old Belgian made his move with a few hundred meters remaining and the RadioShack rider did enough to withstand a late charge from Slovak sprinter Peter Sagan for the biggest achievement of a frustrating career that only saw him turn professional at the age of 23. "Its difficult to believe what happened today, its fantastic," said Bakelants, who had a knee operation earlier this year. "Today it may be the first and last time I ever wear the yellow jersey." He won in three hours 43 minutes 11 seconds, with Sagan and third-place finisher Michal Kwiatkowski one second behind him. In the overall standings, Bakelants is one second ahead of veteran British rider David Millar. Victorias Ryder Hesjedal finished in 40th a day after crashing in the opening stage. The 156-kilometre trek started from Bastia and, after four moderate climbs, finished in Ajaccio where French emperor and military mastermind Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769. With the finish in sight, Bakelants found himself with five other riders and instinct told him that he may never get a better chance to make a name for himself. "I felt the others werent going at 100 per cent so I stayed back, but then I saw the peloton were closing in on me," he said. "With 500 metres to go I had a look and I saw that I was still 100 metres clear of the peloton. I gave everything I had and I made it by one second. But that doesnt matter, I have the yellow jersey." It has been a difficult career for Bakelants so far. "I had a lot of bad luck. Ive had two operations. I fell at the Tour of Lombardy in 2010, I fractured my right knee and left elbow. You know, things like that take time to heal," he said. "This year I had bad luck as well, an operation on my right leg. I worked very hard to come back." Prior to Sunday, his proudest achievement was off the bike -- namely a bachelors degree in bioscience engineering from the university of Leuven in Belgium. "I think theres more in life than just cycling," he said. "But at the moment cyclings in first place." German sprinter Marcel Kittel started the day in the lead after winning Saturdays crash-marred first stage, but the rolling hills took their toll and he finished nearly 18 minutes behind in 169th spot. "Itss a difficult stage and Im a sprinter, thats why I suffer," said Kettel, who retained the sprinters green jersey. Cheap Royals Jerseys Authentic. "I had goose bumps when I went up the hill. So many people were screaming my name. But we were expecting to lose it (the yellow jersey)." The days last climb up Cote du Salario was much shorter than the other ones but far steeper. By the time the pack reached the foot of it, Kittel and British sprinter Cavendish were among a small band of strugglers drifting further and further away. Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha and Cyrille Gautier attacked up the final ascent, and Tour favourite Chris Froome then launched a surprise attack to go after Gautier when the Frenchman pulled away. But Froomes attack fizzled out and the main pack swallowed him up. "I thought it might be a good time, just to push on a little bit," Froome said. "Its always good to keep people on their toes." Although he did not lose any time to his rivals, two-time former champion Alberto Contador felt the after-effects of his crash on Saturday, when his left shoulder was grazed. "There is pain in your whole body," the Spaniard said. "Im hoping to be better tomorrow." The day after more than a dozen riders crashed, a small white dog ran out into the road some 4 kilometres and a potentially dangerous situation was narrowly avoided by a matter of seconds. A bystander started to run after the dog and then changed his mind, and the dog just managed to reach the other side of the road before the marauding pack passed through. Cavendish was in trouble all day, struggling to keep up as his teammates tried to drag him up the second climb up Col de la Serra. However, French veteran Thomas Voeckler had a lot in reserve and chased the four early frontrunners. Lars Boom and Ruben Perez Moreno were soon caught up, leaving just Canadian David Veilleux and Blel Kadri at the front. Voecklers attack reeled in Veilleux, who hails from Cap-Rouge, Que., but then fizzled out quickly, leaving Kadri alone in the lead. Veilleux finished in 116th. Chasing his third career Tour stage win, French rider Pierre Rolland attacked on the third climb -- the days most difficult, a sinewy category 2 ascent up the Col de Vizzavona. But the pack accelerated and chased him down. Svein Tuft of Langley, B.C., is in 182nd. Mondays third stage is the last of the Corsican trio and is again hilly, with four moderate climbs dotted along the 145.5-kilometre route from Ajaccio to Calvi. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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