Strange remarks from new Yankee Kevin Youkilis

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Strange remarks from new Yankee Kevin Youkilis

From Comcast SportsNetTAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Teammates of Kevin Youkilis were waiting to razz him when the third baseman walked into the New York Yankees clubhouse on Friday.Youkilis made the back page of two New York tabloids for telling reporters at his first day of spring training that "I'll always be a Red Sox.""I was basically defining that, as a player, I'll be a Red Sox, and a White Sox, and a Yankee for life," Youkilis said Friday. "Three storied franchises. I'm excited to be part of this, and be with the Yankees."Trust me, there's no way that was meant to say my heart is in Boston or anything like that. My heart is here with the Yankees."After spending 8 12 years in Boston and winning a pair of World Series titles, Youkilis was traded from the Red Sox to the Chicago White Sox last June. He signed with the Yankees in December.Youkilis admitted the comment "by itself looks terrible.""I've got to watch what I say," Youkilis said. "It hit me hard."Youkilis took part in his first workout with the Yankees on Thursday after flying from California to Tampa."I think guys are having fun with it, joking around," Youkilis said.Yankees manager Joe Girardi got a big smile when asked about his new infielder getting so much recognition early on with the team.The manager joked that Youkilis maybe missed the Yankees' media training session"I talked to him and I saw his comment," Girardi said. "You just can't erase eight years of anyone's life, that's the bottom line. I know he's happy to be here, and I know he's going to bring it everyday. I didn't have a problem with what he said."A three-time All-Star, Youkilis figures to be the Yankees' starting third baseman for at least the first half of the season while Alex Rodriguez recovers from hip surgery. Youkilis agreed to a 12 million, one-year contract.Youkilis also made headlines during the offseason with Yankees' pitcher Joba Chamberlain. The two had feuded in the past over high-and-tight fastballs.After Youkilis agreed to join the Yankees, the reliever left him a voice mail. Chamberlain said in January he had not heard back, then revealed this month he had received a text.The pair got together Friday before workouts for New York's pitchers and catchers. Both feel the matter got blown out of proportion."Everything's good," Youkilis said. "We are all teammates here."Chamberlain downplayed the feud."He just came over and said hello, and I welcomed him," Chamberlain said. "Like I told you all before, it's done now. I hope we don't have to talk about this anymore. It's over with. We don't live in the past. We live in the present."New York will host the Red Sox in the regular-season opener at Yankee Stadium on April 1."I'm excited to play against them opening day," Youkilis said. "I'm excited to put on the pinstripes, the full pinstripes."Youkilis joins Babe Ruth, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Johnny Damon as Boston players who made the switch to the Bronx."We've had other Red Sox players that have walked in here and done well, and our fans really warmed up to them," Girardi said. "I think Youk's going to be the same kind of guy."NOTES:New York's position players are scheduled to report Sunday. ... RHP Michael Pineda (shoulder surgery) threw 25 pitches in his second bullpen session. He is expected to be out until at least June. ... Left-handed reliever Cesar Cabral (left elbow fracture) is throwing off a mound and could be ready to pitch in minor league games after the team breaks camp at the end of next month.

STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

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STANLEY CUP FINALS: Guentzel's goal lifts Penguins by Predators 5-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel beat Nashville's Pekka Rinne with 3:17 left in regulation to put the Penguins ahead to stay in a 5-3 victory in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead.

Nick Bonino scored twice for the Penguins. Conor Sheary scored his first of the playoffs and Evgeni Malkin scored his eighth. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal. Murray finished with 23 saves for the Penguins, who used the first coach's challenge in finals history to wipe out an early Nashville goal and held on despite going an astonishing 37:09 at one point without a shot.

Game 2 is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

The Penguins had all of three days to get ready for the final following a draining slog through the Eastern Conference that included a pair of Game 7 victories, the second a double-overtime thriller against Ottawa last Thursday.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was fatigued, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Maybe, but the Penguins looked a step behind at the outset. The Predators, who crashed the NHL's biggest stage for the first time behind Rinne and a group of talented defenseman, were hardly intimidated by the stakes, the crowd or the defending champions.

All the guys from the place dubbed "Smashville" have to show for it is their first deficit of the playoffs on a night a fan threw a catfish onto the ice to try and give the Predators a taste of home.

The Penguins, who led the league in scoring, stressed before Game 1 that the best way to keep the Predators at bay was by taking the puck and spending copious amounts of time around Rinne. It didn't happen, mostly because Nashville's forecheck pinned the Penguins in their own end. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Yet Pittsburgh managed to build a quick 3-0 lead anyway thanks to a fortunate bounce and some quick thinking by Penguins video coordinator Andy Saucier. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a slap shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Sullivan used his coach's challenge, arguing Nashville forward Filip Forsberg was offside. A lengthy review indicated Forsberg's right skate was in the air as he brought the puck into a zone, a no-no.

It temporarily deflated Nashville and gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.

Malkin scored on a 5-on-3 15:32 into the first, Sheary made it 2-0 just 65 seconds later and when Nick Bonino's innocent centering pass smacked off Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm's left knee and by Rinne just 17 seconds before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was in full command.

It looked like a repeat of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against Ottawa, when the Penguins poured in four goals in the first period of a 7-0 rout.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail. Instead they rallied.

Ellis scored the first goal by a Predator in a Stanley Cup Final 8:21 into the second. Though Nashville didn't get another one by Murray, they also kept Rinne downright bored at the other end. Pittsburgh didn't manage a shot on net in the second period, the first time it's happened in a playoff game in franchise history.

Nashville kept coming. Sissons beat Murray 10:06 into the third and Gaudreau tied it just after a fruitless Pittsburgh power play.

No matter. The Penguins have become chameleons under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision.

Guentzel slipped one by Rinne with 3:17 to go in regulation and Bonino added an empty netter to give Pittsburgh early control of the series.

Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

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Harper, Strickland throw punches in Nationals-Giants brawl

SAN FRANCISCO - An enraged Bryce Harper charged the mound, fired his helmet and traded punches to the head with San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland after getting hit by a fastball, setting off a wild brawl Monday during the Washington Nationals' 3-0 win over the Giants.

Drilled in the right hip by a 98 mph heater on Strickland's first pitch in the eighth inning with two outs, none on and Washington ahead 2-0, Harper didn't hesitate. The slugger pointed his bat at Strickland, yelled at him and took off.

No one got in Harper's way as he rushed the mound. His eyes were wide as he flung his helmet - it sailed way wide of Strickland, it might've slipped - and they started swinging away. The 6-foot-4 Strickland hit Harper in the face, then they broke apart for a moment before squaring off again. Harper punched Strickland in the head as the benches and bullpen emptied.

Giants teammates Michael Morse and Jeff Samardzija collided hard as they tried to get between the two fighters. Three Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the pack all the way into the dugout, while a teammate held back Harper.

Harper and Strickland were both ejected. They have some history between them - in the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland, and the All-Star outfielder glared at the reliever as he rounded the bases after the second shot in Game 4.