Fister (club-high 16 wins, rotation-leading 2.41 ERA),

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Five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson denied any wrongdoing the Chase field-deciding race at Richmond International Raceway over the weekend that has been marred by controversy. Johnson defended himself one day after fellow driver Clint Bowyer said his spinout at Richmond was no different than when a Johnson mishap brought out a caution earlier in the race. "Clint brought it up from what Ive been able to see and read," Johnson said Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "I think he was just having a bad day. And as things kept piling on, he just tried to suck someone else into the mix with him." Bowyers spin ended Ryan Newmans bid to win the race and make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field and instead helped Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. land a berth. NASCAR, however, determined that MWR had manipulated the race and replaced Truex with Newman in addition to punishing MWR. The implication by Bowyer was that Johnson spun intentionally with 55 laps remaining to assist the Chase chances of Jeff Gordon, Johnsons teammate at Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson blamed a flat tire for his caution and pointed out correctly that Gordon already was on pit road when it occurred. "If anyone has any questions, just go back and look at the race and youll see that our tire blowing was bad for the 24 (of driver Jeff Gordon), bad for the 5 (of driver Kasey Kahne, another Hendrick teammate) -- bad for a lot of guys who were coming to pit road," Johnson said. "The only silver lining for the 24 was that he was preserved on pit road, and was able to get the Lucky Dog (to get back on the lead lap). But even then, you have to start at the tail end (of the lead-lap cars). . There was no benefit." At Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Kyle Busch was asked what he thought of the scandal. "I say you do whatever youve got to do to get your team in," Busch said of the Chase. "If youre in that position, and you have multi-team cars, thats what theyre there for. Some people say Im full of crap and youre not supposed to manipulate the end of the race. Just let it play out as it plays out. Let the best man win. "But, I was in the same position last year. There were ways it could have been manipulated and I could have gotten myself in the Chase. But I didnt do it. And I missed the Chase." Johnson said NASCAR needs to use more officials and more technology resources, such as television replays and even in-car audio, to make better calls during the races. "In the overall issue of officiating, I think we need to expect things and when we get to the Chase time of the year -- and really we should have it all year -- but NASCAR should have people staffed up instead of downsizing," Johnson said. "Not only from the aspect of what were talking about right here, but also on restarts and a lot of other procedures that take place. "It is tough for the (officials in the scoring) tower to take care of it all. They need other people, qualified people, other resources and technology to make these decisions." Johnson said if there was any question that the race needed to be stopped. "If there is any question they need to stop the race immediately," Johnson said. "Red flag. Pits are closed. Figure it out and make the best judgment that they can -- because trying to go back on a Monday or a Tuesday to fix the situation, that is just too much. Ive learned something about the ripple effect." Johnson also said he was bewildered with NASCARs non-call on the final restart, when television replays showed eventual race winner Carl Edwards, running second at the time, clearly beat leader Paul Menard to the start-finish line in a move that Johnson said was almost identical to one he was penalized for earlier in the season, costing him a chance of a win at Dover. 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"It wasnt as easy as the scoreline indicates," said Djokovic, who has won in Dubai on four occasions.WASHINGTON - Nationals starting pitchers Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister arent paying attention to speculation about whether theyll be traded before next season, the last of their current contracts.Shortstop Ian Desmond also could be bound for free agency a year from now — or sent to another team before that — and acknowledges hes well aware he could end up leaving the franchise that drafted him out of high school in 2004.Ive got guys that I consider Dad in this organization. Ive got guys that are just like my brothers, Desmond said Saturday at the clubs fan festival. I was 18 when I signed; I had like four armpit hairs. Now Ive got three kids.Asked if he found recent trade talk jarring, Desmond replied: Jarring? Look, this isnt my first day on the job. I understand whats going on. ... Its part of the business. The Nationals didnt get here by sitting still.What has been a relatively quiet off-season for Washington could become drastically different in the coming months, depending on what happens with a group of key players who arent signed beyond 2015.In addition to Desmond (the teams top returning player in homers, 24, and RBIs, 91), Zimmermann (14-5, 2.66 ERA, no-hitter in the regular-season finale) and Fister (club-high 16 wins, rotation-leading 2.41 ERA), that category includes setup man Tyler Clippard and leadoff hitter Denarrd Span.ddddddddddddGeneral manager Mike Rizzo might trade one or more.Or he could try as much as possible to keep together a club that won the NL East title two of the past three seasons.If its a fair value (offer), like I have said all along, I would gladly sign, said Zimmermann, who added that he doesnt want contract negotiations to continue during the season. But at the end of the day, its got to be something thats fair. And if its not, then Ill be moving on.Fister, traded from Detroit to Washington last off-season, is avoiding word of what could happen now.I want to be taken by surprise, because I want to expect that Im going to be back here next year, he said.The only deal that came together last week for Rizzo was sending left-hander Ross Detwiler to Texas for two minor league prospects.We had a lot of trade ideas and we just havent found the right time, place or situation, the GM said. We feel that we like the team we have, but we certainly see the room for improvement.He wouldnt comment on negotiations for Desmond, Zimmermann or Fister.Weve got a lot of options, Rizzo said. We can go a lot of different ways. We can stand pat and go with a team that we think is a very, very competitive ballclub. 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