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. -- Royals ace James Shields is open to staying in Kansas City beyond this season. That news should make the thousands of fans, already flying high over the teams strong finish a year ago, feel even better as they turned out for their annual FanFest on Friday. The Royals exercised their $13.5 million option on Shieldss contract shortly after going 86-76 last season, their best finish since 1989. The durable right-hander was a big reason behind the success, going 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA in an American League-leading 228.2 innings. Shields told a small group of reporters at Bartle Hall that he was willing to discuss an extension, but he said those talks with general manager Dayton Moore have not taken place. "Id definitely be open-minded to it," Shields said. "A player in my position, where I have one more year left before free agency, I mean, Im definitely open to it. I like Kansas City. I like the organization and I like the direction were going." If Shields went to the open market, its unlikely that the Royals would be a player in the chase. There were reports this off-season that he would seek a contract similar to that of former Royals star Zack Greinke, who signed a $147 million, six-year deal with the Dodgers last season. "Thats absolutely not true at all," Shields said. "I have no clue where he got that from, to be honest with you. Ive had no discussions with Dayton at all. "If Dayton wants to talk about it, Im more than willing to sit and talk about it. But during the season, my main focus is trying to win games and get some wins for this team." Pitchers and catchers are due to report to Surprise, Ariz., for the start of spring training on Feb. 14. The first full-squad workout is Feb. 20. Most of the Royals key pieces return from last season, when they contended into September for the first time in a decade. Their two biggest holes were filled by trading reliever Will Smith to Milwaukee for right field Norichika Aoki and signing Omar Infante to solidify second base. "I didnt think our defence could get any better," Shields said, "but theyre definitely filling some holes that we had. And theyre great additions to our lineup." Then theres the starting rotation, where Ervin Santana has become a free agent. While the right-hander has yet to sign elsewhere, the Royals appeared to move on when they signed left-hander Jason Vargas to a contract early in the off-season. Along with Jeremy Guthrie, the first three spots in the rotation are set. That leaves two up for grabs among a handful of candidates, including starters-turned-relievers Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar, veteran Bruce Chen, left-hander Danny Duffy and flame-thrower Yordano Ventura. "Ive just been working hard, resting my arm," said Ventura, who had a 3.52 ERA in three late-season starts in Kansas City. "Ive just been getting ready because I want to get out there and make the team." That doesnt figure to be an easy task given the glut of competition. "Its a competitive game anyway," Davis said. "Why not do it from within a little bit?" Davis said that he spent the off-season in the weight room, and pronounced himself more ready for this season than any previous year. He also said that hes already been throwing some bullpen sessions, giving him a head start on reporting for spring training. "Im definitely going in to start," said Davis, who began last season in the rotation but was demoted to the bullpen when he proved ineffective. "Hopefully I get that opportunity." Patrick Beverley Jersey
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. -- So much for concern that running back Marshawn Lynch would be absent from the Seattle Seahawks minicamp.MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The New Orleans Pelicans discovered that the Memphis Grizzlies defence was as tough as advertisedThe Pelicans were averaging 102.5 points and shooting 42 per cent entering Monday nights game, but the Grizzlies — the NBAs top defensive unit — limited New Orleans to 34 per cent shooting in a 93-81 loss to Memphis.For the Grizzlies, the win was their 16th straight at home to set a franchise record. Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 16 points, Zach Randolph had 15 and Tayshaun Prince added 14.Randolph had 11 rebounds to give him a double-double in each of the teams four games. Gasol (11 rebounds) and Tony Allen (12 points, 11 rebounds) also finished with double-doubles.Tyreke Evans led the Pelicans (1-2) with 21 points. New Orleans was 4 of 24 from 3-point range. Anthony Davis, who was averaging 28 points, was held to 14.We shot terrible, Davis said. We couldnt make shots. The ball just couldnt go in the bucket.Memphis used its defence and rebounding — a 52-49 advantage — to overcome a lacklustre shooting effort of its own. The Grizzlies shot 41 per cent and guard Mike Conley missed eight of the 10 shots he attempted.We didnt go out and beat them 110-108, said Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger. We got them in the mud and we got our hands and our bodies on people. We were very physical.The Grizzlies limited the Pelicans to 13 points in the first quarter, one in which New Orleans shot 23 per cent.Obviously in an NBA game there (are) going to be some tough shots taken because thats what NBA player do, said Pelicans coach Monty Williams. But we had a number of open looks tonight. Ryan (Anderson) is not going to go 2-for-14. That just doesnt happen.Despite their offensive struggles, the Grizzlies pulled away in the fourth quarter behind reserve Vince Carter and Prince. Carters turnaround jumper gave the Grizzlies a 71-66 lead midway through the quarter and two minutes later Prince scored back-to-back baskets, the second a fast-break slam off a feed from Beno Udrih for a 76-68 lead. Quincy Pondexter added a key 3-pointer for an 81-72 advantage with 4:34 to go and in the closing minute two Allen free throws gave the Grizzliees their biggest lead at 93-79. Chris Paul Jersey
. They did a good job of front early in the game we got stagnant, Joerger said. As good as we were defensively, offensively we were really slow. We were walking up the court.The Grizzlies, who led by as many as 10 points in the first half, struggled from the floor in the third quarter. Memphis was 7 of 23 in the quarter and allowed the Pelicans to grab their first lead at 45-44 early in the period. But the Grizzlies recovered behind Gasol. Gasol scored 10 points during a two-minute stretch that allowed the Grizzlies to take a 60-48 lead.TIP-INSThe Grizzlies: Center Marc Gasol, leading the team with a 24.7 average, did not attempt his first shot until 3:51 remained in the second quarter. ... The Grizzlies did not have a fast-break point in their 71-69 win over Charlotte Saturday. They had four in the first half against the Pelicans and six for the game. ... Monday night marked the 10th anniversary of NBA basketball at FedExForum.The Pelicans: Reserve forward John Salmons missed Mondays game due to a family situation, according to Williams. ... Reserve Ryan Anderson, who entered the game averaging 16.5 points, was held to seven points on 2-of-14 shooting. ... Starting guard Eric Gordons early season slump continued. He was 4-of-14 shooting, including 0 for 5 from beyond the arc, and finished with 11 points. He entered the game averaging 4 points per game.WHATS NEXTGrizzlies: Visit Phoenix on Wednesday.Pelicans: Return home to face Charlotte.PIVOTAL MOMENTAfter the Pelicans Davis scored with 6:51 to go in the fourth quarter to trim the Memphis lead to four points (72-68), Prince scored consecutive baskets to spark a 9-4 run to put the Grizzlies up by nine (81-72) with 4:33 to go in the game.STAT LINESThe Grizzlies limited the Pelicans to 33.7 shooting (29 of 86). Over its past two games, Memphis had held the opposition to 34.8 per cent shooting (55 of 158).BENCH STRENGTHFor the first time this season, the Grizzlies bench outscored their opponents reserves. Memphiss second unit had a 25-19 advantage with veteran Vince Carter finishing with nine points to lead the reserves. ' ' '