Sports log

Stephen Strasburg to opt out of Nationals contract

Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg (center) celebrates with teammates Anibal Sanchez (left) and Gerardo Parra during a rally following a parade Saturday to celebrate the team's World Series championship.
Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg (center) celebrates with teammates Anibal Sanchez (left) and Gerardo Parra during a rally following a parade Saturday to celebrate the team's World Series championship.Jose Luis Magana/Associated press/FR159526 AP via AP

Just hours after the Washington Nationals celebrated their World Series title with a parade, their offseason picked up with a handful of moves Saturday night. At the center of them was starter Stephen Strasburg, their World Series MVP, who opted out of his contract and will test free agency, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Strasburg, 31, could still renegotiate a deal to remain with the Nationals. But, either way, this was the first domino to fall for a team that will look different next season. Those close to Strasburg believe he would like to stay in Washington, where he moved his family last offseason and has been since the Nationals drafted him with the first pick in 2009. But the opt-out is also perfectly timed to his career arc. Strasburg signed a seven-year, $175 million extension in May 2016. He still has four years and $100 million left on that contract. Yet the demand for him may never be higher. Strasburg became the first pitcher to post a 5-0 record in the postseason. He had a 1.98 ERA in six appearances. He is represented by agent Scott Boras, and it was Boras who negotiated Max Scherzer’s seven-year, $210 million contract in January 2015. All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon, a National League MVP candidate, is a free agent, and negotiations are ‘‘sort of at square one,’’ according to a person with knowledge of them, though the Nationals remain committed to bringing him back. The Nationals will not exercise a 2020 club option for $9 million for catcher Yan Gomes, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, but Gomes remains interested in returning if the numbers work out. The Nationals did exercise 2020 options for lefthanded reliever Sean Doolittle ($6.5 million) and right fielder Adam Eaton ($9.5 million) . . . The Cubs exercised their $11.5 million option for 2020 on pitcher Jose Quintana and declined their $6.5 million option on lefthander Derek Holland, which triggered a $500,000 buyout . . . Red Sox prospects acquitted themselves well in the opener of the Premier12 tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico, as Team USA beat the Netherlands, 9-0. First baseman and cleanup hitter Bobby Dalbec hit a grand slam, second baseman C.J. Chatham went 1 for 4 with a run, and reliever Noah Song pitched a clean sixth. The Americans will play Mexico Sunday night


Abdominal injury KOs Nadal

An abdominal injury forced Rafael Nadal to pull out of his Paris Masters semifinal, meaning top-ranked Novak Djokovic will go for his fifth title at the Paris indoor tournament against Denis Shapovalov. Last year, Nadal missed the season-ending ATP Finals in London because of the abdominal injury, but he hopes he can recover in time for this year’s finals starting Nov. 10.‘‘I hope to be ready for London, that’s the biggest goal now,’’ he said. ‘‘I will do all what’s possible to recover for it.’’ Nadal said he felt the injury flare up in the morning as he practiced a few hours before facing the 20-year-old Canadian. A scan revealed a small strain. Nadal returned to practice and still felt pain serving. He decided it wasn’t worth risking a bigger injury. It would have been the 55th matchup between Nadal and Djokovic. Earlier, Djokovic reached his sixth Paris Masters final beating Grigor Dimitrov, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. He is aiming for a 77th career title, a 34th in Masters events . . . Top-ranked Ash Barty advanced to the final of the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, China, where she will face defending champion Elina Svitolina, a player she has never beaten in five previous attempts. Barty, like Svitolina, dropped the opening set of her semifinal before beating Karolina Pliskova, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3. Belinda Bencic retired in the third set as Svitolina won, 5-7, 6-3, 4-1, and reach her second straight final at the WTA Finals.



South Africa wins third title

Led by the first black captain in the Springboks’ 128-year rugby history, South Africa’s multiracial squad swept to a record-tying third World Cup title by overpowering England, 32-12, in Yokohama, Japan. The Springboks, who also won in 1995 and 2007, got tries from Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe in the final 13 minutes. That Mapimpi and Kolbe scored the tries and Siya Kolisi led the Boks out as captain made it a transcendent night for a country still trying to fully emerge from the apartheid era. England was outplayed in every aspect in a flat display, a week after delivering possibly the greatest performance in its history to overwhelm the All Blacks in the semifinals.



Henne ready for Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs activated backup quarterback Chad Henne from injured reserve, giving them another option against the Minnesota Vikings if Patrick Mahomes is unable to play Sunday. Mahomes dislocated his kneecap two weeks ago in Denver and is listed as questionable. He missed last week’s loss to Green Bay when veteran Matt Moore started in his place . . . The Jacksonville Jaguars promoted rookie receiver Michael Walker to the active roster, an indication Dede Westbrook (injured shoulder) won’t play against Houston in London. Westbrook was a limited participant in practice all week and was listed as questionable. The Jaguars had only three other receivers on the roster — DJ Chark, Keelan Cole, and Chris Conley — after putting Marqise Lee on injured reserve with a season-ending shoulder injury . . . Titans kicker Ryan Succop is available to make his season debut Sunday at Carolina after missing his team’s first eight games to recover from offseason leg surgery. Succop, 33, had surgery after hurting his right (kicking) leg during offseason workouts. The Titans activated Succop and defensive back Joshua Kalu from injured reserve, and waived kicker Cody Parkey and cornerback Tye Smith.



Warriors’ Green sidelined

Golden State’s Draymond Green will miss the next few games with a torn ligament in his left index finger, another blow to the already depleted Warriors, who lost Stephen Curry to a broken left hand Wednesday that is expected to keep him out at least three months . . . Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson will be out at least four weeks with a back injury, the team announced. Jackson, who played the first two games of the NBA season, has a stress reaction in his lower back. The team said treatment and rehabilitation is underway and he will be evaluated in four weeks . . . Alena Kostornaia left no doubt there’s a new era in women’s figure skating by taking a convincing win over Olympic gold medalist Alina Zagitova at the Internationaux de France in Grenoble, while Nathan Chen won the men’s event. In a battle between the two Russians, 16-year-old Kostornaia landed two triple axels as she skated clean on her debut in the Grand Prix series to score 159.45 points in the free skate for a total of 236 points. That was nearly 20 points more than Zagitova, who put a hand down on her opening jump on the way to a score of 216.06. Chen made errors landing three of his four quadruple jumps in the free skate, but his total of 297.16 points was more than enough for the American to claim his eighth consecutive win in Grand Prix events . . . Jonny Gustafson won the USA Luge men’s national championship in Lake Placid, N.Y., hours after reigning champion Chris Mazdzer said he could not compete because of injuries. Gustafson was an easy winner, especially after World Cup veteran and former national champion Tucker West crashed and did not finish his first run in the two-heat competition at Mount Van Hoevenberg. Gustafson finished his two runs in 1 minute, 43.522 seconds. Sean Hollander was second and Zach DiGregorio third. Summer Britcher successfully defended her women’s national championship with a two-run time of 1:28.292, barely ahead of Emily Sweeney’s 1:28.298. Brittney Arndt took third.