How long will David Wright be sidelined?

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How long will David Wright be sidelined?

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Mets want David Wright to take time off and allow his broken finger to heal rather than play through the pain. Before Tuesday night's game against the Washington Nationals, manager Terry Collins took Wright out of the lineup after learning the third baseman had injured his finger diving back to a base the previous night. Later Tuesday, the Mets said X-rays had shown a fracture. The Mets are sending Wright for more tests before deciding on a course of action, possibly including whether he will go on the disabled list or not. "No one ever really wants to go on the DL. Hopefully, that's not the case this time," Wright said. Collins remembered how Wright suffered in silence last season before revealing back pain that turned out to be a stress fracture that sidelined him for two months. "It would be the worst thing that could happen right now. It's his top hand, bottom finger," Collins said. "He is swinging the bat so well. It wouldn't make any sense to make adjustments to his swing." Wright batted .226 last year before he went on the disabled list May 18 and sat out until July 22. He was scheduled to see a hand specialist on Wednesday and will be fitted for a custom splint. The fracture is too small to be surgically reduced. "I couldn't grip a bat today -- pretty easy decision today," Wright said. "It's always frustrating to miss time, kind of breaks up the momentum we had." Wright has a homer and four walks in four games this season, as well as at least one hit in each game. For Tuesday night's game against Washington, Collins moved second baseman Daniel Murphy to Wright's No. 3 spot in the order, and had Ronny Cedeno at third base and batting second. The Mets lost 6-2, their first defeat this season after a 4-0 start.

Report: Dexter Fowler closing in on deal with Cardinals

Report: Dexter Fowler closing in on deal with Cardinals

Dexter Fowler won't be making a surprise return to the Cubs next season.

Fowler is closing in on a deal to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

The Cubs signed outfielder Jon Jay last week to a one-year deal, pretty much sealing Fowler's future with the Cubs.

In two seasons in Chicago, Fowler batted .261/.367/.427 with 30 home runs and 94 RBI, and a World Series ring.

Blackhawks improve faceoffs in Jonathan Toews’ absence

Blackhawks improve faceoffs in Jonathan Toews’ absence

Yanic Perreault came onto the ice as the Blackhawks wrapped up practice on Thursday.

It’s been a relatively common sight the last few seasons. Most of the time, Perreault has helped out when a particular player is struggling from the faceoff dot. That was true with Artem Anisimov earlier this season. But with Jonathan Toews sidelined the Blackhawks have been even more focused on improving upon and winning faceoffs. Thanks to the extra diligence, they’ve done that.

The Blackhawks’ overall faceoff performance has steadily improved. They’ll see how it goes again on Friday night when they face the New York Rangers, their eighth consecutive game without Toews.

“We’re working almost every practice and trying to get better on faceoffs,” Anisimov said on Thursday. “If we win the faceoff, we start with the puck and it’s pretty good. You can go to the offensive zone or win in the offensive zone you start with the puck and you have the opportunity to shoot the puck all day and get chances. It’s a big part of the game.”

Enter Perreault, who was a great faceoff man during his NHL career. The Blackhawks players say Perreault offers a wealth of information in each session.

“It’s different every day. The whole science behind it, he’s been great since he was brought in,” Marcus Kruger said. “He always has something new he wants us to work on, whether it’s just timing or body-positioning or something like that. It’s a lot of different stuff and we work on new stuff every day.”

Rasmussen agreed.

“It’s a lot of things you can work on,” he said. “You try to work on being in a low position so you get stronger. [There are] a lot of small things on how you can go against other guys that do it certain way, and you have to find your own way, too.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Their first game without Toews, against the Anaheim Ducks, was dismal. Part of that is the Ducks having some tremendous face-off guys. But Toews is the Blackhawks’ best at the dot – he’s won 60.3 percent of the time this season – so that first game without him was rough.

Here’s how things have progressed for the Blackhawks, with faceoffs won and lost and percentage, in Toews’ absence.

Opponent Wins-Losses Percent
Ducks 18-49 27 percent
Kings 21-37 36 percent
Panthers 39-35 53 percent
Devils 22-27 45 percent
Flyers 22-31 42 percent
Jets 31-27 53 percent
Coyotes 30-28 52 percent

So yes, there’s been improvement.

“I think we hold our own,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “Yan works well with our center men, they take pride in trying to be the best they can and now they’re taking some important faceoffs and some they probably haven’t taken in the past, whether they’re defensive or special-teams faceoffs. They’ve all won some important faceoffs for us at key times, too.”

The Blackhawks have done their best filling the void left by Toews, especially on faceoffs. There’s been a lot of work put into it, especially with Perreault following practices. But the results have been there.

“We know we’d like to start with the puck, and we had a couple of tough games when Jonny went down initially,” Quenneville said. “But it’s been much better since.”