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World Cup not in Hughes’ thinking


first_img The 20-year-old goalkeeper started the season as the Potters’ third choice but with Asmir Begovic having broken a finger and Thomas Sorensen suffering an Achilles injury, he made his Barclays Premier League debut against Everton on New Year’s Day. He then played 90 minutes in the FA Cup third-round win over Leicester and is in contention to line up against Liverpool on Sunday. Stoke manager Mark Hughes insists he cannot allow Jack Butland’s World Cup ambitions to affect his team selection. Sorensen has returned to training and may be passed fit for the match, but Butland has done little to warrant being dropped. Whatever decision Hughes makes, though, he has no intention of allowing Butland’s international prospects to come into the equation. Joe Hart, Fraser Forster and John Ruddy are the current England keepers, but a run of games in the top flight could easily see Butland, who earned one cap in 2012, move into contention. “My intention is to make the right decisions for Stoke City – the World Cup doesn’t come into my thinking,” said Hughes. “Jack understands and accepts that – I’ll always do my best for Stoke first and foremost. “And so will Jack, although he has ambitions to go to the World Cup, he knows he has to establish himself at this level.” Despite Hughes’ words, he would have no qualms about pitching the former Birmingham stopper into action against a Liverpool side who have scored 44 goals in 20 matches this term. As well as his solitary England appearance against Italy, Butland also played for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics and Hughes is confident he is ready to compete at the highest level. Press Association “I have no worries about Jack – given how he acquitted himself when he came on at half-time for Thomas against Everton,” said Hughes. “He showed a lot of confidence and presence in the box, and against Leicester in the FA Cup what he had to do, he did really well. “Jack is more than capable even though this would be his first start against an attack like Liverpool’s. “With a player like Luis Suarez, you have to accept that, with the talent he has, he will have an opportunity at some point in the game to test the keeper. “That goes without saying. The team will create a chance for him, or he’ll create it out of nothing. “When that happens, then you need your keeper to earn his corn and make sure he doesn’t capitalise.” last_img read more


Replay system does Dodgers no favors in loss to Pittsburgh Pirates


first_imgPITTSBURGH >> The Pirates initiated three challenges in their 6-5 win over the Dodgers on Saturday and won them all. The Dodgers challenged one call on the field and lost.In a one-run game, that mattered a lot.Don Mattingly has never shied away from suggesting changes to the replay system this season, particularly when calls go against the Dodgers and the manager gets on a roll. That’s happened a few times. The Dodgers are 10-19 on challenges this season.The last of the four challenged calls saw Yasiel Puig called out at first base with one out in the ninth inning and Howie Kendrick at second base. Puig was originally ruled safe by first base umpire Mark Wegner because Pirates first baseman Sean Rodriguez briefly lifted his foot off the bag to catch the throw from third baseman Jung-Ho Kang. Added catcher A.J. Ellis: “They’re going to see what they see. It’s one of those things, every time you watch a challenge you’re so biased toward your own team coming out on top. You look up there and go, ‘There’s daylight there!’ or ‘He tagged him on that right there.’ Both dugouts are probably thinking we’re going to get this call right most of the time, especially most of the really tight ones. It was disheartening to see it go through.”Hernandez finding his nicheKiké Hernandez got a rare start in center field — his third in 20 games since the All-Star break and his sixth this season — against Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano.It was Hernandez’s 17th start against a southpaw this season, compared to 13 against right-handers. The numbers say that’s a good call: Hernandez drew a walk and hit a home run in his two plate appearances against Liriano, raising his batting average to .408 against lefties this year with eight doubles, two triples and two home runs in 49 plate appearances.“I think Kiké can hit righties,” Mattingly said. “It’s just our situation, the way we’re set up, that’s not his role. I do think that there’s going to be a day when Kiké has a chance to play a whole lot more. I think he’ll hit righties too. It’s been a year the way our team is set up those at-bats aren’t there for him.”Hernandez is hitting .197 against right-handed pitchers this year. When the Pirates went to right-hander Joe Blanton out of the bullpen, left-handed hitter Joc Pederson took over for Hernandez in center field.Mattingly shied away from saying that Hernandez would continue to spell Pederson against left-handed starters, preferring instead to use Hernandez in a super-utility role. Pederson has started 12 games against lefties this year.Also …Justin Turner will be able to slide without restriction once he returns from a skin infection next week, Mattingly said. … Scott Van Slyke’s two-hit game was his first since July 8. His outfield assist was his first since June 30. … The Dodgers’ 55 hits are their most through five games on any road trip this season. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Pirates manager Clint Hurdle challenged the call, a lengthy review followed, and Puig was ruled out.Mattingly reiterated some familiar talking points after this game, using a new tact: sarcasm.“It’s obvious that it’s 100 percent clear and convincing. I’m sure we’ll get a photo at one point that shows (Rodriguez’s) foot was 100 percent on the bag. So within the terms of the rules of ‘clear and convincing,’ I’m sure it is.”Sarcasm there?“No, I’m just sure it’s 100 percent,” Mattingly said. “That replay system is so good that there’s 100 percent turnover there, that means it’s clear and convincing the foot was absolutely on the bag. I’m hoping to get a photo of that.”last_img read more