Month: April 2018

Brewers’ Corey Knebel to miss at least six weeks with injured hamstring

Milwaukee Brewers All-Star closer Corey Knebel was placed on the disabled list Friday due to a left hamstring injury and is expected to be out at least six weeks.

All in all it’s about the best news the Brewers could expect after Knebel collapsed while holding the hamstring after throwing a pitch in Thursday’s loss to the Chicago Cubs.

“It really worried me yesterday, but today I woke up and it felt a lot better,” Knebel said before Friday’s game against the Cubs.

Knebel, 26, was getting some work in during a blowout loss when he went down. He was helped off the field by the training staff and was in “a lot of pain” after the game. Manager Craig Counsell said the team will use a variety of relievers to close out games in Knebel’s absence, but if someone emerges, then that person could get the majority of opportunities.

“They’ve been doing a great job,” Counsell said of his bullpen. “They’ve been very efficient. We’ve rarely had to get other guys up to cover their innings. If we continue on that mode of operation, we’ll be just fine.”

The Brewers bullpen is 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA entering play Friday. It was 3-for-3 in save opportunities before Knebel went down. Jacob Barnes, Jeremy Jeffress, Dan Jennings and even lefty Josh Hader now could get the call in the ninth for the Brewers.

As for Knebel, he had no issue with pitching in a non-save situation, as the Brewers determined he needed the work after not throwing for five days. He considered the injury a fluke.

“I was prepared like I normally [am],” Knebel said. “It was just one of those freak accidents.”

Knebel had 39 saves last season as the Brewers fell just short of the postseason.

Griffin had previously rejected an offer from the Ravens as well as the Cardinals last offseason because he felt the teams weren’t good fits, though he appears to have changed his mind about Baltimore.

Griffin, 28, was selected by the Redskins with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and remained in Washington until he signed with the Browns in 2016. The Heisman Trophy winner has remained a free agent since the Browns released him in March 2017.

He hasn’t played since the final week of the 2016 season.

Snell left a little more than five minutes into the game when he turned an ankle when he stepped on a teammate’s foot while chasing a Knicks player around a screen. He returned in the second quarter and had 10 points.cardinals_056

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NFL free agent news: Former Packers S Morgan Burnett signs with Steelers

Help at safety is on the way to Pittsburgh.

Former Packers safety Morgan Burnett agreed to terms on a three-year contract worth nearly $14.5 million with the Steelers after visiting the team Tuesday, NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

The Steelers, who recently signed linebacker Jon Bostic to a two-year deal, have been hunting for help at safety since releasing veteran Mike Mitchell last week. Burnett could be just the boost Pittsburgh’s lagging defense needs, and many Steelers players have already chimed in to express their excitement.

“Let him pitch,” Hurdle said. “Let him show you who he is and what he is. Don’t need to write the end of the story now.”

The Reds have similar hopes for Mahle (1-1), who limited the Cubs to one hit in six innings in his 2018 debut. Mahle’s second start was rockier. He needed 29 pitches to get out of a first-inning jam and maneuvered in and out of trouble until the fifth. Josh Harrison singled, and Polanco followed with his home run. Starling Marte doubled and scored on Josh Bell’s single before Dickerson connected.

“I think he deserves the conversation,” Gore said. “He’s been good for us.”

The Pistons are 151-176 under Van Gundy as their coach and president of basketball operations. His 2015-16 team was swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Detroit (38-43) will finish the season Wednesday night at Chicago, failing to earn a spot in the postseason for the third time in Van Gundy’s four years.

Injuries were a big problem. Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson were in the lineup together for only four games.

“We probably need a few more games with them playing on the same team if we’re going to be good,” Van Gundy said. “Still have to own the 38 wins right now. You can’t run from that.”

Gores isn’t necessarily against allowing Van Gundy to lead both the front office and the bench.

“I see value in the front office and the court being connected,” he said.

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Oblique injury lands Brewers’ Christian Yelich on DL

Christian Yelich took some swings in the batting cage, but his right oblique was still sore.

So the Milwaukee Brewers placed him on the 10-day disabled list on Sunday, four days after one of their prized offseason acquisitions got hurt during a 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Yelich went on the DL retroactive to Thursday.

The fact I don’t remember doing it on a specific swing is probably good news, Yelich said before the Brewers played the Chicago Cubs. Discomfort kind of grew, and as a precaution, to make sure it wasn’t worse, we kind of toned it back a little bit. It’s really frustrating, you know? That’s the biggest thing.

The Brewers are well prepared to withstand a short-term injury to one of their core players. Stocked with outfield depth, Milwaukee can give more playing time to slugger Domingo Santana.

Jesus Aguilar could also get more time at first base, with starter Eric Thames able to play the outfield.

We’re going to miss [Yelich’s] left-handed bat, I think that’s the big thing, Counsell said. But we’re equipped that way roster-wise obviously [to] have another really capable player get some playing time.

It has been a tough week with injuries for the Brewers, who placed All-Star closer Corey Knebel on the disabled list on Friday with a strained right hamstring.

They’ve added three new right-handed relievers over the weekend, with Adrian Houser called up from Double-A Biloxi to replace Knebel.

On Saturday, J.J. Hoover’s contract was selected from Triple-A and starter Brandon Woodruff was optioned to Colorado Springs.

Williams pitched in one game at Colorado Springs, getting a save on Thursday at Omaha.

Smith was arraigned Thursday on three charges of violating a protective order, which was issued when he was arraigned March 12 for his original domestic violence charges stemming from a March 3 incident with his fiancée. He turned himself in on those charges on March 23 but failed to show for a court appearance two weeks ago before making his appearance Thursday. He was ordered to wear an ankle monitor, which monitors alcohol use through sweat, and released.

Smith was booked for violating a condition of his electronic monitoring, Sheriff’s spokeswoman Nancy Crowley told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Smith’s fiancée, Shawna McKnight, said in a statement to TMZ Sports that, Unfortunately through these circumstances Aldon and I are no longer together.

Although it’s with a heavy heart, I truly wish him the best and pray he gets the help he needs. I will always have love for him, but at this point I’m simply the victim in this ongoing case, she said.

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Owen Daniels confirms Duane Brown’s account of Bob McNair’s comments about Barack Obama

When former Texans tackle Duane Brown said last year that owner Bob McNair expressed dismay and disappointment to the team after the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the Texans and McNair did not dispute the claim. Nearly six months later, McNair has taken issue with Brown’s remarks, essentially claiming that Brown is lying.

“I don’t go into meetings and express views like that,” McNair told the Wall Street Journal. “I never said that. He has no problem saying things that are not true.”

Here’s what Brown told PFT last October, after McNair’s “inmates running the prison” remarks came to light: “He came to talk to the team. He was visibly upset about [the election of Barack Obama]. He said, ‘I know a lot of y’all are happy right now, but it’s not the outcome that some of us were looking for.’ That was very shocking to me.”

McNair now dismisses Brown’s version of the events by claiming that “all Duane was trying to do was be a troublemaker.” Based on some of the comments McNair has made in recent weeks, however, he’s apparently making enough trouble for himself.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh will be questioned at the team’s facility on Thursday, as part of Colin Kaepernick‘s collusion grievance. Kaepernick has the right to be present for the event, if he so chooses. (He attended the deposition of Texans owner Bob McNair in Houston.)

It’s possibly not a coincidence that the Ravens disclosed that they’ve worked out Griffin that they’ll sign him next week one day before these depositions. With the Ravens offering Griffin a contract last year (but not offering one to Kaepernick), Newsome and Harbaugh already were going to be grilled about their preference of Griffin to Kaepernick. texans_130

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Kevin Byard wears “Just a Fan” shirt in shot at Deion Sanders

Beckham remains a great player. The Giants have to ask whether they want to make a long-term financial commitment to him soon, or risk having him stay away from OTAs, training camp, the preseason, and possibly regular-season games. If they’re not willing to make a financial commitment, they should trade him to a team that will, and get what they can for him. Otherwise, the distractions will continue — whether originating with Beckham or with those who have tried to boost their own relevance by forcing their way into his story.

“It’s disappointing, some of the things that happened,” he told ESPN, “but nevertheless, it’s a huge step for me. I put pads back on. A lot of people wrote me off just to even get to this point. I’m definitely emotional about it. I’m definitely happy about it. This isn’t the end goal for me, but I’m having fun again. I have a smile on my face.”

Manziel says he’s hoping an NFL team will sign him, but if not he’d likely play in the Canadian Football League.

“The message that I’m sending is showing up every day and going to meetings,” he said. “Being engaged in everything that is going on during practice and in the game. I can’t control what is going on [with NFL teams’ interests] and I don’t know what’s going on in NFL meetings. If that’s the case, if the NFL is something that pops up, cool. If not, I’m going to work until I get back there. We’ll see how things play out.”

The 25-year-old Manziel last played in 2015, when he started six games for the Browns.

Smith, who has been arrested for violating the terms of a protective order arising from a domestic violence arrest and who had a bench warrant issued for his arrest after failing to appear at hearing in court, was jailed this time around with bail of $500,000. Public records indicate that he currently remains incarcerated, in advance of an April 11 court hearing.

The list of pending charges against Smith now includes three separate counts of contempt of court.

Smith last played in the NFL in 2015, before the league implemented a permanent banishment with the ability to apply for reinstatement after a year. It’s a dramatic fall for a player who had 42 sacks in his first 43 regular-season games.

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Calais Campbell: We’re starting back at zero

After the Jaguars lost to the Patriots in the AFC title game in January, veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell said that he wanted his teammates to “use this as fuel” as they got ready for the 2018 season.

The loss is the only thing from last season he wants to be part of the team’s mindset this year. The Jaguars made a big jump from the bottom of the barrel to a division title last year, but Campbell wants the team to realize that those gains don’t carry over into the next season.

The Alliance’s salary structure provides players a way to keep their careers alive while they also pursue far greater NFL greenbacks. Polian said Alliance contracts would pay $50,000 for the season and as much as an additional $35,000 that could be earned based upon “wins and statistical achievements.”

Another potentially appealing element of the Alliance: post-secondary scholarship stipends and education programs for those who stay in the Alliance long enough to qualify.

The Cowboys signed Brendel as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA in 2016 but waived him out of the preseason. He signed to their practice squad September 22, 2016, but the Cowboys cut him a week later.

He signed with the Dolphins’ practice squad two weeks later.

Bottom line is that this is a virtually new Marlins lineup, and how they fare against deGrom remains to be seen.

Miami will counter with rookie left-hander Caleb Smith, who came over in a trade with the New York Yankees this past winter. Smith, 26, broke into the majors last year with the Yankees, posting a 7.71 ERA in 18 2/3 innings.

This year, he is 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA in two starts, and his big issue has been bases on balls. He has allowed six hits and nine walks in 8 1/3 innings, striking out 12.

Since Smith is a left-hander, the Mets could use right-handed-hitting Wilmer Flores in place of Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Flores hit 18 homers in 336 at-bats last year but has yet to get untracked in 2018.texans_084

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Steve Kerr says Warriors’ effort better despite dropping second straight

After saying his team put forth a “pathetic effort” in a blowout loss Thursday to the Indiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his squad’s effort was better after Saturday night’s 126-120 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at Oracle Arena.

“We’re going to be all right,” Kerr said, as his team now has a 6-9 record since March 9. “Tonight, we [were] playing a team that desperately needs to win. You can tell the teams around the league that have to win, they’re getting after it. They’re playing for their season. And our season begins next week, and we know that. So I’m not disappointed with the effort. I always want to win. We always want to win. But I liked the fight, especially in the second half, and I think we can take something out of this game.”

Speaking of the Warriors’ sub.-500 record in recent weeks, Kerr said, “I’m not too worried about the record at this point, especially with all the injuries. These last couple weeks has been disjointed, lineup-wise, and from one night to the next, it has been different. I don’t worry about that. We know the position we’re in. We’re in a good spot. We’ve just got to get a little better and start that fight from the beginning of the game and stay connected, and we’re in good shape.”

Torgersen played for the University of Pennsylvania in college and signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent last year. He was waived in September and spent time on the practice squad in Washington before closing out the year with the Lions. He was 8-of-20 for 95 yards and two interceptions in the preseason with Atlanta.

Torgersen will likely have to be pretty impressive over the next few months to have a chance of sticking on the active roster and any hope of that will take a hit if the Cardinals draft another quarterback later this month.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich agreed.

“It was a pretty exciting time,” Popovich said. “Manu’s done that over the years. It was great.”

Ginobili’s teammates often joke the veteran is bringing the “grandpa juice” when he produces such game-defining moments. The typically self-deprecating 40-year-old, meanwhile, credited an afternoon nap and nine hours of sleep the previous night for the strong performance.cardinals_014

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Brett Jones signs RFA tender with Giants

The Giants started their offseason program on Monday and center Brett Jones ended any chance that he’d be leaving the team as a restricted free agent.

Jones was tendered at the second-round level earlier this offseason and the team announced on Monday that he has signed that tender. They also announced the return of tight end Ryan O’Malley, who was an exclusive rights free agent.

Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (right hip strain) and 3B Brandon Drury (severe migraines) were both put on the 10-day DL. Sabathia’s MRI results were clean and the club hopes he misses just one start. Drury has been dealing with serious headaches, which have been causing blurry vision. He will undergo tests beginning Monday and there is no timetable for his return. … INF Tyler Wade (flu-like symptoms) received IV treatment and was feeling a little better after experiencing a fever, shakes and dry heaving on Friday. … C Gary Sanchez (leg cramps) was improving after limping off of the field Friday. `’At this point it appears to be minor,” manager Aaron Boone said. … RHP Ben Heller on Friday underwent Tommy John surgery, which also involved removing a bone spur from his right elbow.

RHP Mike Wright Jr. faces LHP Jordan Montgomery in the series finale on Sunday. The 25-year-old Montgomery made five starts against Baltimore last season, going 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA.

Lions coach Matt Patricia and G.M. Bob Quinn both spent time with Cassel in New England and apparently think he’ll be a positive veteran presence in the locker room — even if they hope Stafford stays healthy and Cassel never actually gets on the field.

The Chiefs have made significant offseason roster changes in hopes of moving closer to their first championship appearance since Super Bowl IV. One of them was giving Mahomes a new fleet-footed target to work with through the free-agent signing of wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

“We’re gonna be even more explosive,” Hunt said. “You know we’ve got some weapons out there, Tyreek (Hill) and Travis (Kelce), too. That’s a lot of speed out there.”

A more dangerous deep passing game to scare defenses should make Hunt even more effective than he was during a breakout 2017 campaign in which he set the Chiefs rookie rushing record with 1,327 yards. Despite such success, Hunt believes he has plenty of room for improvement heading into his second season.

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NFL free agency: Worst of Cowboys’ salary cap hell still to come

There is one huge problem with kicking the can down the road when it comes to the NFL salary cap. Eventually, it stops rolling — and so do a team’s chances of upgrading its roster via free agency with splashy signings.

The 2018 Dallas Cowboys are experiencing this first-hand.

Had the Cowboys sealed that deal, the cap space needed to sign Watkins would have come from more contract restructures and player releases. Potential targets included wide receiver Dez Bryant, who likely would have been asked to trim his $12.5 million base salary or even jettisoned if an agreement could not be reached.

And on an aside: I don’t think the rookie class beyond Ohtani will remain uninspiring all year, especially not after some of the bigger names like Ronald Acuna and Nick Senzel are promoted. Good things are on the way!

AJ Mass: Colin Moran came over to the Pittsburgh Pirates from Houston in January’s Gerrit Cole trade. He probably wouldn’t still have rookie status, were it not for the freak injury he suffered last July, fouling a ball off his own face. He’s firmly entrenched at third base with his new team and, after going 0-for-6 on Opening Day, is now batting .345 on the season, with hits in his last six starts and a total of 8 RBI. Moran is rostered in just 11.6 of ESPN leagues, but has as many fantasy points as Manny Machado and Jose Altuve.

Even that may be an understatement.

Unlike the 43-year-old Wuerffel, the 29-year-old Harvey is still young enough to realistically attempt a successful NFL comeback. The 2009 first-round pick retired last March after injuries derailed an eight-year career highlighted by his impactful contributions on offense and special teams during Seattle’s blowout win over Denver in Super Bowl 48.

Wuerffel was nothing to sneeze at in his day, either. The 1996 Heisman Trophy winner lasted in the NFL for six years as a journeyman quarterback.

Wuerffel is now trying to adjust to a different form of football that continues to grow in popularity, especially among youth hoping to mitigate the increased concussion risk that comes with playing padded tackled football.

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Mel Kiper Jr.’s comments about Josh Allen highlight terrible double standard against Lamar Jackson

On Wednesday, Mel Kiper Jr., with a straight face, lauded Wyoming product Josh Allen for improving his throwing mechanics and accuracy during the pre-draft process. While doing so, he legitimately said of completion percentage and accuracy issues, That’s history now.

It’s worth pointing out that he also recently said that pro days don’t matter. But back to his comment about Allen, it’s pretty easy to be accurate when there’s no pressure in your face.

Watson then signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2016. He missed his entire first season in the Charmed City due to a torn Achilles. In 2017, Watson corralled 61 receptions for 522 yards and four TDs.

Entering his 15th NFL season, Watson rejoins Brees on a New Orleans team poised to make another playoff run. The Saints attempted to bring back Jimmy Graham in free agency. After striking out, they settled for the trusty Watson instead. The Saints add Watson to a tight end corps currently comprised of Coby Fleener, Josh Hill, Michael Hoomanawanui, Garrett Griffin and Alex Ellis.

While the Giants have said over and over that their intention is to sign Beckham to an extension, it appears they have reservations about not only paying a wide receiver low-end quarterback money, but also to a player who they seemingly don’t trust to be a franchise-level man. Now that we’ve established the Giants’ apparent reasoning for reportedly listening to offers for Beckham – including one from the Los Angeles Rams which included their first-round pick – let’s pick it apart. Firstly, there is literally no argument for trading Beckham from an on-field standpoint, so we’ll be brief.

The Giants’ offense – and quarterback Eli Manning especially – are simply better when Beckham is on the field. Manning has a passer rating close to that of Joe Montana’s career average when playing with Beckham, but transforms into essentially Chad Henne without him. broncos_011-500x500

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