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tracked down at the warning track by J

  • 05 Jul
    EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Oilers returned to the ice Wednesday after 12 days off for the Olympic break, several of them with red faces either from sun tanning or the hard bike riding that was part of the mini training camp/conditioning session they were put through. [b]Markus Wheaton Eagles Jersey[/b] . "It feels a lot shorter than it was," said veteran defenceman Andrew Ference, who spent part of the break with his family in Canmore, Alta., visiting former Olympians Thomas Grandi and Sara Renner. "But its a really good chance to get rid of all the little aches and pains." Ference said it has to be remembered that with back-to-back condensed seasons - last year because of the lockout - players need the break both mentally and physically. "The last calendar year I think I played 110 or 120 games, so its a much welcomed break." It was a break that came with the Oilers suddenly having found their game in the midst of another disastrous, non-playoff season. They went into the Olympic break having won five of their previous seven games - one of the losses was in overtime - and outscoring their opponents 18-12. Their previous 10 games before the break - the statistic the NHL keeps - showed them at 5-3-2, a record that put them in the middle of the pack, unlike the 29th place they are in with their overall record of 20-33-7. "It is tough from that aspect," forward Jordan Eberle said of the untimely break. "Some of the GMs around the league have been complaining, some of the teams were going well and then you get this break. Its almost like a new season starting. "But, for me personally, I feel you get re-energized, with a little more jump and a little more excitement to play, like you did in camp. I feel really energized and ready to play." Like many of the players, Eberle took a vacation away from the game, away from Edmonton and away from winter. But not away from working out. "Yeah I went away but I definitely worked out," he added. "I knew today was going to be a tough day. It was just a bit of a skate but most of the stuff was in the gym and it was tough." Ference said the players were put through a tough physical that included a hard bike ride but said everybody looked fine. "Nobody was puking." Veteran Ryan Smyth said it would have been nice to be playing in the Olympics again, but he appreciated the great family time he had in Mexico. And as a player turning 38 on Friday, he said "any time you get some rest for the body to recuperate, it will really help." While players made sure they stayed physically active and in shape, they were able to mentally turn off the game and enjoy some rare family time. "Your mind is a little off on vacation so you give yourself a break there," said Eberle, second on the Oilers scoring with 45 points. "But as far as your body you have to make sure youre still able to come back and play 22 games. So everyone took their mind away from the game, which is a good thing. "I went on vacation somewhere hot and your mind is so out of it that you think, wow, I have to come back and play hockey? But as soon as you get to Edmonton, see the snow on the ground, it changes pretty quickly. I got on the ice, felt pretty excited to get back. Its almost like a new season here." The Oilers resume play Feb. 27 at home against the Minnesota Wild. 20:11ET 19-02-14 [b]Herman Edwards Jersey[/b] . Infante hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning and had an RBI single in a four-run fifth against former teammate Justin Verlander, helping the Kansas City Royals beat the Tigers 11-8 Monday night. [b]Brian Westbrook Eagles Jersey[/b] . -- The road to the Masters got off to a bumpy start Sunday for Tiger Woods when he withdrew from the Honda Classic with what he said was a lower back injury.MILWAUKEE -- The Miller Park roof was open and the wind was blowing out to centre. With a home run-prone pitcher on the mound for the Milwaukee Brewers, the conditions were ripe for the Cincinnati Reds to have a big day at the plate. Billy Hamilton got the slugging started by leading the game off with a home run, and the Reds finished Sunday afternoon with eight runs over the final two innings to send Milwaukee fans to the exits early in a 13-4 victory. Brandon Phillips added a two-run shot in the first inning and Todd Frazier later hit his team-high 15th homer for the Reds. Hamilton connected for the second straight day, off Marco Estrada (5-4). "We know we can do it, but we havent been doing it a lot," Frazier said. "Today, it showed we can do those (kinds) of things and we got a pitcher that we can hit a little bit." The Reds moved back within two games of .500 despite a rocky outing by Mike Leake (4-6), who allowed four runs on nine hits and three walks in five innings. Cincinnati took two of three from the NL Central-leading Brewers. "It was definitely big," manager Bryan Price said. "Were establishing the fact that we can play this team very well." His offence collected some gaudy statistics, including a season-high 19 hits. Among other highlights: --Ten different Reds scored runs. --A career-high three doubles for Ryan Ludwick, who went 4 for 5. --Six players with at least two hits. "Things didnt go right on the mound for us," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. Hot dog wrappers were blowing around the warning track early in the game, a bad sign for Estrada. The right-hander who made mistakes up in the zone has given up a major league-high 23 homers in just 84 innings, with 18 coming since May 1. "Mentally, I felt great. Physically, I felt great. I think I just tried way too hard and thats what happens," Estrada said. "I was rushing stuff, leavving balls up and got hit around. [b]Mike Wallace Jersey[/b]. . Once that inning was over, I came back in and calmed down." The Reds led 3-0 in the fourth when Milwaukee loaded the bases with two outs on an intentional walk to Jean Segura. Estrada followed with his RBI chopper up the middle and Scooter Gennett then sliced a double the other way down the left-field line to tie it. Milwaukee might have scored even more in the inning had Carlos Gomez not been doubled off first after taking off on Aramis Ramirezs long fly to right tracked down at the warning track by Jay Bruce. Frazier followed with his two-run shot the next inning to put Cincinnati up for good. Hamilton led off the inning with a single and drew a few pickoff throws before Frazier homered on an 0-1 fastball up in the zone. Leake gave up Jonathan Lucroys homer to centre leading off the bottom of the fifth to get the Brewers within 5-4 before the Reds broke it open with five runs in the eighth. Brewers reliever Rob Wooten allowed six straight hits without recording an out and watched his ERA balloon by nearly two runs to 4.98. "I did what I could, but our offence really came around today," Leake said. Lucroy added a double to go 2 for 4 and raised his average to .336. NOTES: Reds LHP Tony Cingrani pitched scoreless two innings in his first relief appearance since getting bumped from the rotation following the return of starter Mat Latos from the disabled list. ... Brewers LHP Tom Gorzelanny tossed a scoreless sixth inning in his season debut after coming off the disabled list Saturday. Gorzelanny had off-season shoulder surgery. ... The Reds have an off-day Monday before starting a series Tuesday in Pittsburgh. ... RHP Wily Peralta (6-5) has returned to the Brewers after attending to a personal matter in his native Dominican Republic. Peralta, who did not miss a start, said he is ready for his next outing Monday in Arizona. 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