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of the suspension. Already on the fringes of the Leafs rost

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NEW YORK -- To Derek Jeter, it was just another day to get ready for spring training. On a minor league field at the New York Yankees complex in Florida, he took batting practice, fielded grounders and chatted with teammates. And then he drove away in his Mercedes, offering no hint that the countdown to his retirement had already begun. Hours later, Jeter alerted the sports world: This will be his final season. "I know it in my heart. The 2014 season will be my last year playing professional baseball," Jeter posted Wednesday in a long letter on his Facebook page. "I have gotten the very most out of my life playing baseball, and I have absolutely no regrets," the shortstop wrote. While it was no secret the team captain was getting close to the end of his brilliant career as he neared 40 -- especially after injuries wrecked him last season -- Jeters announcement caught many by surprise. In fact, some people wondered whether his account had been hacked. But it was quickly confirmed that one of the greatest players in the history of baseballs most storied franchise was serious. A 13-time All-Star shortstop who led the Yankees to five World Series championships, Jeter was the last link to the powerful Yankees teams that won three straight crowns from 1998-2000. Longtime teammates Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte retired after last year. "Derek Jeter is Mr. Yankee of his era," Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner told The Associated Press. "He was the face of one of the greatest teams ever." Jeter was limited to 17 games last season while trying to recover from a broken left ankle sustained during the 2012 playoffs. He hit only .190 with one homer and seven RBIs. "Last year was a tough one for me. As I suffered through a bunch of injuries, I realized that some of the things that always came easily to me and were always fun had started to become a struggle," Jeter wrote. "The one thing I always said to myself was that when baseball started to feel more like a job, it would be time to move forward." "So really it was months ago when I realized that this season would likely be my last. As I came to this conclusion and shared it with my friends and family, they all told me to hold off saying anything until I was absolutely 100 per cent sure," he wrote. "And the thing is, I could not be more sure," he wrote. His agent, Casey Close, said Jeter wanted to declare his intentions before the Yankees start spring training later this week so that his future status wouldnt be a distraction. The Yankees open camp for pitchers and catchers on Friday. Jeter has said hes healthy and ready to go -- at 39, his next birthday is in June. "Derek called me this morning to tell me that he planned to retire following the season," Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner said. Said Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, a former Jeter teammate: "Im excited for him. Its kind of nice to see him go out on his own terms." Jeter is the Yankees career hits leader with 3,316. Hes ninth on the all-time list; a 200-hit season would put him in fifth place. Jeter is a lifetime .312 hitter in 19 seasons, with 256 home runs and 1,261 RBIs. He has scored 1,876 runs, stolen 348 bases and is a five-time Gold Glove winner. Added up, his numbers put him among the greats in Yankees history, with fans often invoking the names of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle when mentioning Jeters legacy. But No. 2 is defined by so much more than his numbers. His backhanded flip in the playoffs, his diving catch into the stands, his speech to close old Yankee Stadium and his home run for career hit No. 3,000. An October presence for so many years -- Jeter is a career .321 hitter in seven World Series -- he also became Mr. November in 2001. His winning, 10th-inning homer came shortly after midnight in a Game 4 that began on Halloween. Jeter was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1996, the season the Yankees won their first World Series since 1978 and re-established themselves as a major force. He was the MVP of the 2000 World Series. Commissioner Bud Selig said during his tenure, "Major League Baseball has had no finer ambassador than Derek Jeter." A staple for so long in the Yankees lineup, Jeter missed the first 91 games last year. He felt pain in his right quadriceps when he returned July 11 and again went on the disabled list. Jeter came back for three games but strained his right calf. In early September, he was done for the year. The Yankees will open the 2014 regular season on April 1 in Houston. Their final game is scheduled to be at Fenway Park, against the longtime rival Boston Red Sox. Rivera announced a year in advance that he would retire, and was saluted everywhere he played last season. Jeter is sure to get a similar farewell tour. "I wish everybody does it like that," Rivera told ESPN radio. "I think that would be the right thing for him to do." Jeter wrote that he wants to pursue business and other interests "in addition to focusing more on my personal life and starting a family of my own." "And I want the ability to move at my own pace, see the world and finally have a summer vacation," he said. "But before that, I want to soak in every moment of every day this year, so I can remember it for the rest of my life. And most importantly, I want to help the Yankees reach our goal of winning another championship," he said. Asdrubal Cabrera Jersey . -- The Val-dOr Foreurs made it to the Memorial Cup semifinal thanks to their workhorse goaltender and their ability to hang around like a bad cold. Steve Cishek Jersey . Webb birdied the 18th hole to take the outright lead, then watched as Choi, who shot a course-record 62 on Saturday to take a share of the third-round lead, pushed a 10-foot putt wide of the hole at 18 to miss the chance for a playoff. http://www.mlbraysstore.com/authentic-b ... ys-jersey/. Former two-time Olympic gold medallist Evi Sachenbacher-Stehle tested positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine in both her "A" and "B" samples, the German Olympic Committee said. Corey Dickerson Jersey . The Canadian defensive tackle suffered the injury on Monday and had tests done on Tuesday. He was a potential starter on the defensive line but head coach Mike OShea said he wasnt even thinking about the ratio when he got the news. Evan Longoria Jersey .C. -- Panthers offensive tackle Jordan Gross is saying goodbye to the NFL after 11 seasons.DENVER – Fear consumed the Maple Leafs bench as they stood nervously by with Daniel Winnik lying motionless on the Pepsi Center ice. One of the most scary things that Ive been a part of and watched live, said Dion Phaneuf afterward. Though requiring a fine performance in goal and one unlikely hero, Toronto managed to rally in their fallen teammates absence. They scored a single point during a wild night in Denver, one that saw the Avalanche eventually emerge behind their young guns in a shootout. It was only 45 seconds into the action when Winnik was stood up at the Colorado blue-line by Jan Hejda. He fell backwards uncontrollably from the thunderous collision, his head and neck crunching violently against the ice. Laying there motionless and seemingly knocked out for an entirely uncomfortable stretch, Winnik was eventually carted off the ice on a stretcher, his eyes open and fingers moving. The bad part about it was he was out of it, said head coach, Randy Carlyle of Winnik, who played two seasons in Colorado. After reviewing it, yeah he did twist his neck, but the weight of his body seemed to roll on his shoulder more and into his back. He was lucky in that situation. Amazingly (and almost unbelievably so) Winnik is apparently okay. Hes 100 per cent fine, said Carlyle. He says theres nothing wrong with him. That may be hard to believe, but encouragingly given how devastating the injury appeared, Winnik was even up and walking around the dressing room during the first intermission. He offered his team a rallying cry in the process. Finish the game hard, he said. That was a relief because we were pretty bothered as a team when you have a teammate like that get hurt, Phaneuf said. That was a boost for us when we came in and saw him after the first. They rallied around his presence. Even on the scoreboard after that nervous opening period, the Leafs traded goals with the Avalanche in the middle frame, tying it up one more time in the final moments of regulation on an unlikely marker from the previously little-used, Richard Panik. They needed more than a few heroics from Jonathan Bernier to even get to that point, the 26-year-old making his first start in nearly a week. Carlyle called it a reckless game, one that saw chances galore from a pair of shaky defensive squads. Im sure it was exciting for the fans, but its never exciting for coaches, he said. Given the circumstance – Jake Gardiner was also lost to injury early leaving the visitors with 16 skaters – the Leafs were happy to snatch a point, though its clear they have much to improve upon after dropping both games of a brief stint on the road. We definitely deserved that point, Bernier said, and probably more. Five Points 1. Statement in Goal Bernier wasnt too thrilled not to get the start Tuesday in Phoenix – that was the original plan – and he responded with another fine effort. If not for him the Leafs likely get nothing in Denver. There were the back-to-back stops on Matt Duchene during a wave of Avs domination in the first. There was the glove snatch of Jamie McGinns point-blank attempt in the middle frame. There was the two-pad stack on Tanguay all alone in front early in the third. I think Im seeing the puck well, he said. Im fighting to see it as well. Obviously you want to make at least one save in the shootout, you had a chance to get more [points], but thats the way it goes sometimes. Bernier owns a .925 save percentage in his last five starts. 2. First Periods Much like a year ago, first periods have been a dud for the Leafs this fall. Outscoring opponents in both the second and third, Toronto has managed eight first period goals to 14 for the opposition. The trend continued Thursday night. Colorado struck on the very shift of the game on a goal from Nick Holden – ending the period with 19 shots. Carlyle has taken measures to fix the wobbly starts, intent on easing the tension before puck-drop. Those measures even include the odd hula-hoop contest, yes, hula-hoop. Ive found that it always works, Carlyle said of playing games and contests before puck-dropp.dddddddddddd It lightens your group up and it eases the pressure that comes with it. Despite another troubled start that saw Colorado outshooting them 12-4 at one point, the Leafs did rebound in the back half of the first, evening the score on the seventh this season for Phil Kessel. (Kessel missed the first six minutes of the third with an undisclosed ailment, but managed to return for the remainder of the game.) Toronto was one of the worst starters in the league last season, outscored 76-56 in first periods – those 76 goals against the fifth-most of any team. 3. Scoring First Inextricably linked to those first periods has been the matter of scoring first. Like most teams, the Leafs arent faring well at all when they fail to score the first goal. And they gave up the first one for the eighth time in 13 games against the Avalanche. I guess you could say that everybody would love to score the first goal, Carlyle said before the game. If you look at the statistics and the league historically…the team that scores the first goal I think their winning percentage is over 70 per cent. I guess everybody would want to score the first goal. The Leafs are now 1-5-2 when theyre forced to come from behind, 5-0-0 when they score first. 4. Young D Jake Gardiner was sporting a mean limp in the Toronto dressing room after the shootout loss. Gardiner was stung on the left knee by a Jarome Iginla shot early in the first, wobbling around for the remainder of what was a troubled 50-second shift. He tested the knee during a TV timeout, but clearly felt some discomfort. X-rays revealed no break, but a deep bone bruise. Hit him in a spot where no equipment was, Carlyle said. Morgan Rielly, meanwhile, sat as a healthy scratch for the first time all season – replaced by Stuart Percy. He and Carlyle had a brief exchange at the morning skate. We felt that Morgan needed to improve in some areas of his game, Carlyle said. We think theres more for Morgan to give. Morgans got to use his skating ability to play the game to a higher level. 5. Suspended Carter Ashtons NHL career was dealt a harsh blow Thursday. The 23-year-old, still searching for his first goal in the league, was suspended 20 games, without pay, for violating the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program. Ashton claims the detection came from an inhaler (not his own) he used during a pair of asthma attacks before the start of the regular season. Unfortunately, I incorrectly assumed that there were no problems associated with the use of this inhaler and I used it without checking to see whether its contents were permissible under the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program, Ashton said in a statement, recognizing Clenbuterol as the offending substance. However, at no time was I seeking to gain an athletic advantage or to knowingly violate the terms of the program. Ashton will forfeit $169,185 as a result of the suspension. Already on the fringes of the Leafs roster and just starting to play recently – he was a healthy scratch in the first nine games – this was not what Ashton needed, a mistake that could trouble his chances of getting back in the lineup. A lot can change in the more than six weeks hell miss and given his limited track record he is by no means guaranteed a spot when he becomes eligible to return on Dec. 20 when the Leafs host the Flyers. Stats-Pack 5 games – Point streak for Phil Kessel, who has three goals and 10 points in that span. 1-5-2 – Leafs record when failing to score first this season. 14-8 – Mark by which Toronto has been outscored in first periods this season. 2 – Points for Richard Panik on Thursday, his first multi-point effort as a Leaf. 31:07 – Ice-time for Dion Phaneuf against the Avalanche, his highest of the season. Special Teams Capsule PP: 1-2 Season: 20.4% PK: 3-3 Season: 83.7% Quote of the Night One of the most scary things that Ive been a part of and watched live. -Dion Phaneuf, on the Daniel Winnik incident. Up Next The Leafs return home to host the Rangers on Saturday. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '