Month: June 2018

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Stephen Colbert brings puppies, rides Segway at Citi Field

Late night talk show host Stephen Colbert brought the Late Show to Citi Field for the start of the Subway Series between the New York Mets and New York Yankees.

During batting practice Colbert rode a Segway Ninebot around the warning track while tossing a baseball with the pitchers who were shagging fly balls in the outfield. He then interviewed Seth Lugo, finishing up by handing him a puppy to hold for his new, updated baseball card which will appeal more to an internet audience.

Yolmer Sanchez (B), 20 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland Athletics (RHP Chris Bassitt): With just enough time to put on a fresh uniform between games, not many players will partake in both ends of the twin bill. Someone like Sanchez has the best shot, since he’s a switch-hitter and the Athletics are starting lefty Sean Manaea in the nightcap. Matt Davidson is another option, since he usually occupies the designated hitter role.

Dansby Swanson (R), 31 percent, Atlanta Braves vs. Baltimore Orioles (RHP Alex Cobb): Cobb continues to be one of the worst starters in the league, sporting a 7.14 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. Both Swanson and switch-hitter Johan Camargo are in play today. Swanson’s allure is hitting second on what should be a productive night in SunTrust Park while Camargo enjoys the platoon edge all game, albeit down in the order.

PEN PALS: Since 4/21, Yankees relievers have posted a 2.49 ERA (130.0IP, 36ER) with 165K…had posted a 4.34 (74.2IP, 36ER) in their first 18G of the season…their 2.49 in ERA in that span ranks second in the Majors behind Milwaukee (2.45).

Yankees relievers lead the Majors with 276K and rank second with a.208 opponents’ BA…rank third in the AL and sixth in the Majors with a 3.17 ERA.

Three Yankees rank in the top eight in strikeouts in the AL among relievers: LHP Aroldis Chapman (46K, 2nd), Dellin Betances (45K, 3rd) and RHP Chad Green (38K, T-7th).

CC Sabathia (L), rostered in 42 percent of ESPN leagues, New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays: After a rough stretch in May, when Sabathia allowed at least four runs in four straight outings, he settled down in his past three, permitting just five earned in 20.1 frames, fanning 19 with just five free passes. His last victims were the Rays at home, with the rematch in Tropicana Field. Repeating that 7 2/3-inning, 10-strikeout effort is optimistic. However, since the Rays are a below-average unit with an above-average strikeout rate versus southpaws, a strong follow-up is in order.

The Vikings could use a little more pass-catching depth, but they have at least four potential 2018 Pro Bowlers supporting their new quarterback. 

And now we bring you the highest-ranked superstar-free supporting cast in the NFL. 

Obviously we won’t all agree on what makes a superstar, but the teams ranked higher than the Philadelphia Eagles (and most within this range) have one or more game-changing players at the non-quarterback offensive skill positions. The Eagles do not, and that’s intended as a compliment. 

The Eagles can afford to lose top wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and still get by with veterans Nelson Agholor and Mike Wallace as well as promising second-year fourth-round pick Mack Hollins, who quietly caught 73 percent of the passes thrown his way while averaging more than 14 yards per reception as a rookie in 2017.. 

Brown once again led the league in receiving yardage while continuing to build a Hall of Fame resume in 2017, while Bell led the AFC by a wide margin with 1,946 scrimmage yards. 

But as good as Brown and Bell are, you need more high-quality players to qualify as an elite all-around supporting cast. And that’s where the JuJu and Jesse come in.

Noah is one of the rare guys in baseball that can just completely overpower a whole lineup, Walker said.

Not just one time through, two times through I’ve seen him just blow away guys from the first pitch of the game to the last pitch of the game. He’s super competitive, big, strong guy. He wants the ball. Just one of these guys that is an asset to any team that he’s on, really.

Speculation has run rampant that the Yankees and Mets could match up in a trade that would send either Syndergaard or co-ace Jacob deGrom into pinstripes.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has called boosting the starting rotation a need. Outside of righty Luis Severino, the Yankees don’t at this point realistically know what to expect from the rest of their starters from both performance and health standpoints.

The Mets could listen to trade offers on either of their best young players if they decide they’re out of the playoff race. They started Tuesday 10 games back in the National League East and 6 1/2 games back in the Wild Card.

Syndergaard is currently on the disabled list, nursing a strained ligament in his right index finger since May 29. He’s on a throwing program and the team expects him to need at least one rehab start, pitching coach Dave Eiland told reporters.

Jonathan Loaisiga, aka Johnny Lasagna, serves up win for Yankees in debut

Jonathan Loaisiga came to the Bronx this week with a live arm and a New York-style nickname. Put the two together, and of course, you get internet gold.

The 23-year-old right-hander made his major league debut Friday for the Yankees against the Rays, pitching five shutout innings to earn the win.

The Jets’ star wideout addressed his offseason criminal charges on Wednesday for the first time, saying, I did nothing wrong.

But Anderson also knows he can’t continue to get in trouble with the law. He was arrested in January on charges of reckless driving and allegedly threatening to sexually assault a police officer’s wife — his second arrest in about nine months.

Wednesday, Anderson talked about his need to mature.

I’m doing everything in my power to avoid all those situations, because that’s not me, that’s not the place for me, he said before the team’s second practice of mandatory minicamp. I’m an NFL football player. So I’m doing everything in my power to avoid anything to even get me close to those type of situations.

I’m fighting for my career and I love to play baseball, but life is way more important, Reyes said, via the StL Sports Page. That was definitely a lot tougher situation in my life. To know how strong she is now, and how strong she was through that process, those are things that drive me.

I go home and carry her and she really motivates me to come back here and work hard and get stuff done.

Aleyka turns two in July.

Aleyka had tumors around her heart when she was first diagnosed, but she has been improving, Reyes told reporters Tuesday.

She’s doing a lot better, the tumors are a lot smaller and hopefully she won’t need any more chemo treatments, Reyes said. She has another appointment in about two months.

The 23-year-old right-hander is just coming off of Tommy John surgery which forced him to miss the entire 2017 season. With the injury he sustained this month he will have pitched in just one MLB game in the span of about two years.

Randy Fichtner: Mason Rudolph’s been everything we’ve asked

The Steelers wrapped up minicamp on Thursday, but the team’s rookies will be sticking around for a little more work before breaking the middle of next week.

That means a little more time for third-round pick Mason Rudolph to work with the team’s coaches, including offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner, ahead of training camp. To this point, Fichtner has liked what he’s seen from the rookie.

The world’s most famous Double-A hitter hopped up the dugout steps, took a swig of water, then moved in front of the waiting scrum of reporters.

It has been almost two years since the Mets signed Tim Tebow, and the novelty hasn’t worn off. The Trenton Thunder were near a sellout for Friday’s game, and tickets for Saturday and Sunday’s games are starting to look scarce. And it isn’t because people want to see Tebow’s teammates on the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.

Three of the Bucs’ defensive linemen — Vinny Curry and Beau Allen last year in Philadelphia and Pierre-Paul with the Giants — have Super Bowl rings. Despite being in his ninth season, McCoy is learning something from his new teammates.

Three of them won it, so they know what it takes, McCoy said. They’ve been where I want to go, so they’re teaching me.

On paper, the Bucs got better this offseason. That means nothing, McCoy said, as the Bucs seek to have a player with double-digit sacks since 2005.

That help means nothing. There’s a lot of work to be done, McCoy said. People think well we brought JPP in; we brought this guy and that guy in; there’s no reason he shouldn’t get double digits [in sacks]. This is the NFL. This is the best of the best. The game evolves every year.

Last Friday, he was having a catch with Tom Brady at Gillette Stadium and now he is facing a four-game suspension.

I am very sorry — I don’t know what happened, Edelman said in a statement via his Instagram story. I’ve taken many, many tests obviously over the course of my career, and nothing like this has ever happened.

Greg Hardy Signed by UFC After Knockout Win over Austen Lane

UFC President Dana White announced the MMA promotion is signing former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy to a contract following his knockout victory over Austen Lane during Week 1 of the second season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.

MMAFighting.com passed along the news after Hardy’s win 57 seconds into the first round.

Former state Sen. Raymond Lesniak — the Union County Democrat who spent years leading the fight for sports betting here — returned to the Statehouse to see the measure pass.

I’m speechless, said a smiling Lesniak, who retired from the Senate in January. 

NJ Advance Media staff writers Matt Arco and Samantha Marcus contributed to this report.

Drazin told NJ Advance Media Thursday night he had not yet received the letter.

That meant Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport had to scuttle plans to open its sports betting operation without state regulation at the end of last month.

But that language is now gone, according to the sources, who asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The Texans are facing a second lawsuit from former cheerleaders for the team. (How long until owner Bob McNair makes a comment about this for which he apologizes and then later says he regrets apologizing for?)

Don’t look now, but Jaguars QB Blake Bortles could be improving.

Even with the Colts adopting a more fast-paced offense, the team will still be relying on deep throws to WR T.Y. Hilton.

The Titans, who per the team’s website have never had a player kneel during the national anthem, expect no issues with the league’s new policy.

Plenty of Chiefs players have been caught up in the Fortnite frenzy.

DeMarcus Ware working with DeMarcus Lawrence

DeMarcus Ware spent last week working with the Broncos’ pass rushers. He’s spending this week working with the Cowboys’ pass rushers.

It’s probably a good thing those are the only two teams Ware played for in his 12 seasons.

Sanders believes Bryant will work hard this season because he wants to prove the Cowboys made a mistake by cutting him.

I think that Dez is still going to get that ball, and now he has something to prove. He wants to prove the world that you guys made a mistake. You guys categorized me wrongly. I know that he has a multitude left in the tank, Sanders said.

Poling had 373 tackles, 18 sacks, and 7 interceptions over four seasons at Ohio University while Sanders made 25-of-35 field goals and 111-of-112 extra points at New Mexico. The only other kicker in Miami is undrafted free agent acquisition Greg Joseph, so the two rookies will be competing for the job over the summer.

The Dolphins also signed cornerback Bobby McCain to an extension on Friday, which is the first day they were able to make use of $17 million in cap space provided by Ndamukong Suh’s post-June 1 release.

Last year, the Washington Redskins lost an expected 74 points because of their run game, the worst mark by any team in the NFL, per Pro Football Reference. While running back Chris Thompson can contribute as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, Samaje Perine averaged just 3.4 yards per attempt and Robert Kelley average just 3.1 yards per attempt.

This is where rookie second-round pick Derrius Guice comes into play. Thompson can continue his role as a pass-catcher, while the rookie can command a bulk of the carries out of the backfield as a bell-cow-type back, which he did at LSU when healthy.

Kendricks signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns.

It is a plus that both the offensive coordinator and the head coach know how to use a fullback, Smith said. This is pretty similar to my college offense with a lot of moving parts and and shifting all over the place. They call the same plays literally the same names. It’s cool going back to what I did.

No stress, he says. No thinking negative. Thinking positive. Keep it moving. I just let go.

He prayed that someone would come into his life, and that’s precisely when Metro Exhibits—which designs, builds and services trade-show booths—contacted him on LinkedIn. He took over the Atlanta branch and everything started to turn.Today, he’s the president of Southeast Exhibits and Metro Retail Solutions, spearheading signage at both Mercedes-Benz Stadium and SunTrust Park.

He can’t contain his excitement over another of his projects, a new website called Ignite My Sports that will allow high school athletes to post video of their training for scouts to see. In the days leading up to its launch, he’d wake up each morning, wipe his eyes, roll over to his nightstand and tap open his phone to see if it was live.

Depression keeps many buried underneath their covers, zapping the energy to get out of bed. That’s not Lewis. Not now.

I have things to look forward to. You know what I mean?

At least two visitors on the White House South Lawn knelt during the playing of the national anthem at the event, which Trump said would include visitors standing for the anthem. A Swedish television crew showed one of the kneelers, who declined to discuss his protest.

Another person could be heard heckling Trump at the event.

Stop hiding behind the armed services and the national anthem, the heckler yelled. Let’s hear it for the Eagles!

In the immediate aftermath of today’s event, Trump has drawn criticism for appearing not to know the words to God Bless America.

Yankees RHP Luis Cessa pitches in first rehab outing

New York Yankees pitcher Luis Cessa made his first game appearance in nearly two months, struggling with his control as he allowed two runs over 1 2/3 innings for the Class A Tampa Tarpons in a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia’s Clearwater Threshers on Monday night.

Well, they mostly gave their approval. The team wasn’t permitted to play as the Syracuse Brannock Devices, because that’s a commercial trademark and would violate MiLB’s rules against advertising on a uniform. After considering a few options (Syracuse Foot Measurers didn’t have much of a ring to it, says Smorol), the team decided to go with the Syracuse Devices.

Once that was settled, Smorol’s small in-house staff had to kick into action. The first task was to create a logo and mascot character something that could literally serve as the face of the promotion. That job fell to Danny Tripodi, the team’s manager of social media and graphics (who, like almost everyone interviewed for this story, did not know the proper name for a Brannock Device until he began working on this project).

Kimes: Dallas Cowboys. Dallas, which hired former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard as its defensive backs coach, is the obvious choice. I think Seattle would rather stomach a brief holdout than cough up Thomas for a mid-round pick, though.

Yates: Los Angeles Chargers. Yes, they used a first-round pick on Derwin James, but top-tier defenses don’t overthink talent. Former Seahawks coordinator Gus Bradley holds the same spot in Los Angeles. The New England Patriots are an example of a team that relied on three-safety looks on two thirds of their snaps last season. It’s a valuable position, and there is no such thing as having too many talented defensive backs.

Sando: Dallas Cowboys. Because of their system and Thomas’ apparent desire to play there.

Bowen: Dallas Cowboys.They make the most sense because of the need at the position and Thomas’ immediate fit in their scheme. This would be a seamless transition for Thomas, and his presence would upgrade the entire Dallas defense.

Jake Bauers smashes his first career homer, a 2-run dinger to right field.

The Cardinals signed first-round draft pick (19th overall) Nolan Gorman, of Sandra Day O’Connor High School in Phoenix. After Gorman, 18, signed at Busch Stadium, he worked out with the club and took batting practice. The left-handed hitting third baseman will forgo the University of Arizona to play at Johnson City, the Cardinals’ rookie level affiliate in the Appalachian League.

Padres: C Austin Hedges (right elbow tendinitis) has been out since May 1. He took batting practice Monday at Class A Lake Elsinore, where he will begin his rehab assignment Tuesday.

With what I’ve been doing, either starting or coming into the game in the second inning, my job is to go as deep into the game as possible, he said. So that’s kind of what I did. To be able to go six innings was really big for me, especially the way things have been going.

Yarbrough (5-2) gave up four runs on seven hits while striking out three in his first start since May 14.

Gaviglio (2-2) gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings.

Rays Gold Glove CF Kevin Kiermaier (right thumb torn ligament) is hopeful of returning June 22 for a series against the New York Yankees. He faced two minor leaguers in a simulated game and will join Class A Charlotte on Tuesday.

We pick each other up, Reyes said.

Pitching in place of injured Noah Syndergaard again, Lugo (2-1) allowed only two singles and lowered his ERA to 1.77 in two starts and 21 relief appearances this season. He equaled his career high of eight strikeouts and didn’t issue a walk against a Yankees lineup minus slugger Aaron Judge.

Baltimore was pushing for the playoffs, so Lewis didn’t think twice about shooting his ankle up with Novocain before each game.

That’s what scares me the most, Lewis says, and keeps me on edge a little more.

In all, Lewis estimates he suffered a minimum 10 concussions and went unconscious two or threetimes. He has no clue exactly how much damage he did to his brain. So, hell yeah, he’s terrified. But that blinding glint in his eye that begged linebackers to come and get some never faded.

Because you never know, Lewis says. You never know [what] day you’re going to wake up with an issue.

He needs to be in control as long as he can.

Now, via Ignite, all high school kids will have a hub to post footage beyond the game for college scouts to see.

He can make a difference in their lives.

While downing a jerk chicken sandwich, Lewis takes another call. Jazz is glued to a video of someone else playing Fortnite—a craze Dad cannot comprehend—and it’s off to the baseball game. Cornbread warns us that a storm is coming, but Lewis keeps the top down on the Jeep anyway…and pays the price. Father and son get absolutely drenched with rain en route. Eventually, the clouds clear, the game begins, and Lewis finds his sweet spot.

He posts up as close as he can to Jazz, at a fence, near third base, in earshot.