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Rams re-sign OL Rodger Saffold

Thursday, 13 March 2014 23:36 Published in Sports
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rodger Saffold's bizarre free agent experience has ended right back where it started.
 
The St. Louis Rams announced on Thursday that they've re-signed Saffold. The former second-round pick started 44 games in four seasons with the Rams. But he agreed to a five-year, $42.5 million deal with the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday, only to have the deal voided when he failed a physical on Wednesday because of a previous shoulder injury.
 
The Rams pounced on the chance to bring Saffold back. He played in 12 of the team's 16 games last season, starting at right tackle, right guard and left tackle.
 
The Rams chose Saffold with the 33rd pick in 2010.
 
Saffold wanted to test the free agent market so he could get another chance to start at left tackle. He was moved to the right side after the Rams signed Jake Long to a two-year free agent deal last offseason.
 
In the team release announcing the signing, Saffold is termed an offensive lineman.
 
The Rams are potentially thin on the line after releasing guard Harvey Dahl, sidelined by a knee injury at the end of last season, and with guard Chris Williams a restricted free agent. Long underwent knee surgery in late January and might not be ready the start of the season.

Lynn strikes out 10 as Cards beat Braves 11-0

Thursday, 13 March 2014 23:33 Published in Sports
 
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -- Lance Lynn rebounded from a bad outing to strike out his final eight batters and 10 overall in four innings Thursday during the St. Louis Cardinals' 11-0 win over the Atlanta Braves.
 
Lynn ended his stint by fanning Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson.
 
"Today was a good day," Lynn said. "The ball felt good coming out of my hand. I was able to make pitches today."
 
Lynn had allowed five runs in 1 1-3 innings of relief against Miami in his previous appearance. On Thursday he allowed only one hit and walked none. He got a strikeout on every type of pitch other than his curveball.
 
"Everything was in the strike zone, and it was down for the most part, so that's good," Lynn said.
 
Atlanta starter Freddy Garcia gave up four runs - three earned - and six hits in four innings.
 
Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina hit RBI doubles in the first, and Jhonny Peralta's two-out double drove in Holliday in the third. Xavier Scruggs hit a three-run double in a seven-run sixth.
 
STARTING TIME
 
Atlanta: Injuries are prompting manager Fredi Gonzalez to prepare for the possibility of entering the season with a four-man rotation. Originally signed as insurance, Garcia would be among those four.
 
"I think he's more valuable than just depth right now," Gonzalez said. "He's going to be in the rotation."
 
The Braves won't need a fifth starter until April 12. Gonzalez hopes that newly signed Ervin Santana would be ready to join the rotation by then.
 
St. Louis: The Cardinals said the Elias Sports Bureau determined Lynn is the only Cardinal to strike out 10 or more in spring training in last 20 years. As Lynn headed to the clubhouse, the dozen or so Cardinals in the bullpen jumped up to congratulate and hug him.
 
TRAINER'S ROOM
 
St. Louis pitcher Jaime Garcia (shoulder) returned from Birmingham, Ala., where he was receiving therapy. The Cardinals hoped Garcia would be the lone left-hander in their starting rotation but has not thrown a ball since experiencing soreness in his surgically-repaired shoulder during the second week of spring training. Cardinals manager Mike Mathney did not give a timetable for Garcia's activities.
 
Gonzalez said the Braves have been cautious with Ramiro Pena's surgically-repaired shoulder, but he has no concerns over whether Pena will fill Atlanta's utility role. "He's going to be our guy," Gonzalez said.
 
REPLAY REWIND
 
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny joked he heard from "everybody in the commissioner's office" about his comments regarding a close play at third on Tuesday that he felt should have been overturned by video review. Matheny said because the camera angles the replay official saw were different from the broadcast angles, he wanted to know whether what the team saw in the broadcast angles would have been clear and conclusive enough to overturn the call.
 
"I wanted `inconclusive' to kind of have some barriers," said Matheny, a proponent of replay review. "How much are they going to have to see?"
 
COMFORTABLE WITH GATTIS
 
Gattis caught back-to-back games for the first time this year and went 0 for 3 at the plate. Gonzalez said he is expecting Gattis to catch 110 games this season.
 
"He caught 40-some games and he did a nice job," Gonzalez said of 2013, when Gattis backed up Brian McCann. "I don't think he's a guy we are going to have to worry about behind the plate."
 
MOVING AROUND
 
Jason Heyward has yet to play center field this spring training, but Gonzalez didn't rule out the possibility of him playing there once the regular season starts. "That option is always there," Gonzalez said.
 
PROSPECT WATCH
 
With outfield prospect Oscar Taveras sidelined by ankle and hamstring issues, Stephen Piscotty is making the most of his playing time.
 
The Cardinals' outfielder was hitting .389 entering Thursday's game and made a sliding catch on a Gattis line drive in right field to end the first inning
 
"He's squaring the ball up and doing a nice job in the outfield, too," Matheny said.
 
After the game, Taveras was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.

Jaden Schwartz lead Blues past Oilers, 6-2

Thursday, 13 March 2014 23:32 Published in Sports
 
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Alex Pietrangelo started a four-goal third period and Jaden Schwartz scored twice to help the NHL-leading St. Louis Blues beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 on Thursday night.
 
St. Louis has won six of seven overall and eight of nine against Edmonton.
 
The Oilers lost for the second time in five games.
 
Pietrangelo, Schwartz and T.J. Oshie scored in 7:14 span at the outset of the third period to break a 2-2 tie, and Schwartz added his second goal of the period at 12:56.
 
Ryan Miller made 23 saves to improve to 5-0-1 since joining the Blues in a trade with Buffalo on Feb. 28. He's 7-0 against Edmonton
 
Vladimir Sobotka and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored for St. Louis, which outscored the Oilers 17-4 in winning all three games in the season series.
 
Sobotka, who returned to the lineup after missing 12 games with a knee injury, and Oshie each had two assists. Miller has stopped 134 of 145 shots in six games with St. Louis and has yet to lose in regulation.
 
David Perron and Mark Fraser scored for Edmonton. Perron spent six seasons in St. Louis and leads the Oilers with 25 goals.
 
Pietrangelo scored 42 seconds into the third period on a shot from the low slot. Sobotka set up the play by stealing the puck in the corner.
 
Schwartz added his 20th goal less than 4 minutes later, and Oshie converted on a 5-on-3 power play.
 
Fraser tied it at 2 late in the second period with a shot from close range.
 
Tarasenko gave the Blues a 2-1 lead with a shot from the slot off a pass from Oshie.
 
Notes: St. Louis D Barret Jackman left the game briefly late in the second period after colliding with Jesse Joensuu. Jackman returned for the third period. ...The Oilers have used six goalies this season. ... Ten of the Blues' last 13 games have been decided by one goal. ... Edmonton C Sam Gagner had a five-game points streak snapped. ... The Oilers are 7-2-3 in their last 12 games, their best stretch since going 8-3 at the start of the 2011-12 season. ... Oshie's two assists give him a career-high 36 this season.
 

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