From Comcast SportsNetCINCINNATI (AP) -- Reds manager Dusty Baker had a mini-stroke in addition to his irregular heartbeat last week and will need another week of rest before he's able to rejoin the team for the final regular season series and the playoffs.The 63-year-old manager disclosed his condition to his players on Tuesday before the start of a series against the Milwaukee Brewers.Bench coach Chris Speier and players said Baker was upbeat and visibly thinner."He's lost a lot of water weight," Speier said. "He was anxious (to get back). It was great to see him. Again, he looks really, really good. We're all anxious to get him back in charge."Speier will manage the three-game series against the Brewers and a three-game series in Pittsburgh over the weekend. Baker could return for the final three games in St. Louis starting Monday, followed by the playoffs.The Reds clinched their second NL Central title in the last three years while Baker was still in a Chicago hospital on Saturday night."I'm feeling much better, and it's great being back here in Cincinnati," Baker said, in a statement released after he met with owner Bob Castellini and his players. "Chris Speier and my staff are doing a terrific job, and I look forward to getting back to the dugout."Baker's had an irregular heartbeat for some time. He felt sick while the team was in Chicago for a series last Wednesday and was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment.Baker revealed that when he was being released from the hospital on Friday, he suffered a mini-stroke."He had some slurred speech," pitcher Bronson Arroyo said, describing the symptoms Baker experienced on Friday. "The diagnosis was a slight stroke. The stroke team was right there and got after it. He said they said they see it all the time. They took care of it."Baker said the immediate treatment "minimized the effects of the stroke." His cardiologists said in the statement that his condition has "improved dramatically" and a full recovery is expected.The Reds beat the Dodgers 6-0 to clinch their second title under Baker on Saturday night. He was released on Sunday and went to the clubhouse briefly after batting practice to talk to his players.He had more appointments with doctors in Cincinnati on Monday, the team's day off. They developed the plan for his return to managing."He looked fine," Arroyo said. "He looked like he'd been on a diet the last two months. He was holding a lot of water. He looks like he went on Jenny Craig. They want him to rest. He said he's ready to go now."Third baseman Scott Rolen said Baker's health is the only consideration as the team prepares for the playoffs. The Reds opened the day with a 92-61 record, a game behind Washington for the best mark in the majors and the top playoff seed in the NL."You take care of each other," Rolen said. "We're a team and friends and could even go as far as family at times. We're concerned about him and his health. We're worried about Dusty. That's the bottom line. You take care of life first."The series against Milwaukee had more importance for the Brewers, who opened the day 3 games behind St. Louis for the final NL wild card.The Reds rested four of their regulars on Sunday, a day after they clinched, but had their usual lineup on the field for the start of the series on Tuesday. Only left fielder Ryan Ludwick, slowed by a sore groin, was out."I think the main thing is you want your team healthy," Speier said. "To me, that's the first and foremost importance. We want to go into the playoffs as healthy as we can and be as ready as we can. That's the fine line."We're trying to win as many ballgames as we can. That's how I look at it as manager."
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BOSTON – The Bruins are starting to run out of adjectives and descriptors for these “no-show” performances on home ice.
The Bruins made it twice in two months that they’ve dropped a disappointing dud to one of the Eastern Conference’s worst teams when they came out flat, and never showed any signs of life in a 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. The lack of effort and pitiful results were particularly disappointing coming off a solid five game stretch where they’d engineered high effort wins over Florida, St. Louis and Philadelphia.
Patrice Bergeron finished a minus-3 on the afternoon, and said in quasi-disgust that he knew five minutes into the game that his team didn’t have “it” on Monday.
“Something that we talked [headed into Monday was] about building from the last few weeks, and how good it felt around the room, I guess, with winning games basically,” said Bergeron. “[The shutout loss] just shows that you have to show up every night and not take things for granted. I think we did [take things for granted] this afternoon.
“It was about finding someone to get us a shift to get us going basically. We had a few good shifts there, and we sustained a little bit of pressure there. But then we just couldn’t keep that for the next lines after going, we couldn’t sustain that or build from that. It was really the whole team throughout the lineup that didn’t show up and, you know, it’s obviously inexcusable, unacceptable.”
Claude Julien mentioned the compacted schedule and potential fatigue playing into the Bruins looking “flat” on Monday against the Islanders, and perhaps that is partially to blame for an uncharacteristically lifeless performance from the Black and Gold. But the B’s essentially did nothing for 60 minutes after not having played for 48 hours dating back to a Saturday afternoon matinee win over the Flyers, so the fatigue excuse is difficult to swallow.
Instead it looked like a Bruins team that thought they were going to roll out the pucks and beat the worst team in the Metro Division that had lost four-of-five games. Instead a defensive zone breakdown led to a Nikolay Kulemin goal midway through the second period, and the Bruins collapsed after that. Josh Bailey tucked a short side goal past a late-reacting Tuukka Rask for a soft serve special allowed by Boston’s ace goaltender, and Kulemin scored again in the second period once the Bruins began cheating at the offensive end of the ice.
To make matters worse, the Bruins showed zero fight or willingness to scratch and claw their way back into the game in the third period. Instead it looked like they quit on two points that could end up being extremely important at the end of the season.
It also looked like the Bruins weren’t ready to play, and that they overlooked the downtrodden Islanders for the second time in as many months.
“Maybe we took them a little lightly, but we just weren’t ready [to play],” said Brad Marchand. “We have to look ourselves in the mirror and all be a little bit better. We all have to be prepared for every game. You can’t look at the guy besides us and think he’s going to do the job. We have to take a little onus on ourselves and all be a little bit better. As a team, again, we have to play the system together and we have to back each other up. We have to play as one unit and we didn’t do that.”
It’s long past the point where the words even matter that the Bruins are uttering after games like Monday afternoon. Instead it’s about results and nothing else, and the B’s were nothing short of putrid in that category against the Islanders with points at a premium this time of year.