Astros manager A.J. Hinch on Gerrit Cole: ‘He doesn’t need to be fixed’

Gerrit Cole has possibly the best arsenal in MLB with a fastball in the upper 90s and three more pitches many scouts grade as above average. Despite all of the tools in his toolbag though, the talk around Cole this offseason is how to fix the former NL Cy Young candidate after the worst season of his career.
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That is what Hinch wants him to do, and with a pitching coach like Brent Strom who had every Astros’ starting pitcher from a year ago adjust in some way, Cole could see his numbers come back to the mean rather than the outlier of a season he had in 2017. Cole said he is looking forward to doing some new things and doing it somewhere new.

I’m pretty relaxed right now, Cole said. A change of environment has been really nice.

How did he do it?

Ramirez said he read Tom Brady’s book, The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance, and adopted some of the concepts, including the use of fitness bands to increase flexibility.

Ramirez, 34, admitted he was terrible last season. The 2009 NL batting champion hit a career-low .242 in Chris Scott Authentic Jersey 2017, with 23 home runs and a .750 OPS.

After undergoing surgery on his left shoulder in the offseason, Ramirez said he feels fantastic.

Entering the final season of a four-year, $88 million contract, Ramirez can vest his option in 2019 by getting 497 plate appearances this year. Ramirez told reporters Friday he feels like he can play 150 games.

Limited Youth Bruno Caboclo Jersey As far as reaching his contract goal, Ramirez said, We’re not thinking about contract. We’re just trying to produce and win.
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Both teams have won three Stanley Cups since 2009. Both teams have had good fortune in the draft. Both are way too overexposed, and both are frustratingly well-managed (with a few bumps here and there). But in the end, we have to give the nod to the Pittsburgh Penguins as the Duke Blue Devils of the NHL, despite the presence of the joyously popular and all-around good dude Phil Kessel. But, hey, the college program that produced Greg Paulus also produced Grant Hill. It happens.

Bucs agree to extension with Cameron Brate, to re-sign Brent Grimes

Youth John Jerry Jersey The Buccaneers have agreed to a new deals with tight end Cameron Brate and veteran cornerback Brent Grimes, league sources told ESPN Monday.
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Brate’s deal is for six years and $41 million with $18 Kerry Hyder Womens Jersey million guaranteed, while Grimes’ deal is for one year and $10 million.
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Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has helped develop unheralded inside linebackers such as Todd Davis and Brandon Marshall in years past, so the Rams might be able to get by without big-money players on the interior.

Gettleman gives up fourth- and sixth-round picks to the Rams, who send a 2019 seventh-rounder back as part of the deal. The Giants managed to avoid sending the 102nd pick and instead sent their later fourth-rounder, the 135th selection, but they’re not in a position to trade away draft picks given how bereft the back of their roster is at the moment. This is a better swap for the Rams.

The Seattle Seahawks are keeping a key member of the Legion of Boom in place after releasing one of the leaders of the group last week.

The team has agreed to a three-year deal with versatile safety Bradley McDougald, one of the team’s 16 unrestricted free agents.

McDougald entered the league with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers later that season. He went on to start 36 games from 2014 to 2016 for Tampa Bay and had a career-high 91 tackles in 2016.

Given the rapid-fire succession of trades we saw from Dorsey on Friday, though, it’s difficult not to see this as an inflection point for Cleveland’s team-building strategy. It has been popular (if not entirely accurate) to think of the Browns as the NFL equivalent of the Philadelphia 76ers, compiling draft pick after draft pick while failing to show any shred of competitiveness for a number of seasons.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has publicly declared that he’s not the least bit worried that his franchise quarterback could become an unrestricted free agent Wednesday afternoon.

Facebook gets exclusive rights to 25 afternoon MLB games

In a move that further confirms the shift in how sports leagues are delivering their content to fans, MLB and Facebook have struck a deal under which the social networking platform gets exclusive rights to 25 afternoon games this season, Bloomberg News first reported via Twitter.

Most of the MLB games Facebook will webcast are on Wednesdays, and the package begins April 4 with Phillies vs. Mets.

Also on the docket: Brewers vs. Cardinals on April 11; Royals vs. Blue Jays on April 18; and Diamondbacks vs. Phillies on April 26, a Thursday

From a consumer’s perspective, the deal makes all kinds of sense. Many people have access to computers at work, but not televisions. Some of these folks will surely appreciate the opportunity to catch some baseball on a Wednesday afternoon, while their bosses probably would rather they be working.

The league announced Saturday, the 24-year-old’s suspension will begin at the start of the season.

This is Bonifacio’s first positive test for steroids.

Bonifacio batted .255 with 17 home runs and 40 RBIs in 113 games for the Royals in 2017.

Prior to the season last year he was the Royals’ No. 6 overall prospect in 2015, according to MLB Pipeline.

He was a Marlin. Then he was a Ray. Now he’s a Maray. Hechavarria can really pick it at the six, but don’t expect all that much offense. His career .291 OBP just about tells the whole story. But seriously, he’s got an excellent glove.

Out of the rotation, Ohtani is capable of bringing triple-digit heat, and he has already shown off an impressive breaking pitch in his first spring start. His numbers in Japan make it plain that Ohtani is capable of claiming a regular spot in the lineup as an outfielder or designated hitter. That’s going to mean stealing at-bats from Kole Calhoun and Albert Pujols, but Ohtani is talented enough to do it.seahawks_030_d104c3caab541be1-180x180

Kevin Durant reportedly fined $15k for comments about referee

Kevin Durant has been fined $15,000 for his comments about a referee after the Warriors’ 123-112 win over the Knicks Tuesday, according to USA Today.

Durant said a referee had an attitude during the game, which he claimed led to a technical foul in the second half.

“He tried to make a bunch of excuses, and I told him he was wrong, and he went to halftime probably with an attitude,” he told reporters after the game. “So the second half, his whole thing is like he’s trying to get me. So look at my first tech. I got the rebound and I dribbled the ball hard, and he teched me up. He was searching for me. He looking to try and tech me up to get me back because he’s still in his feelings from the first half.”

Love routinely finds his name in the center of the Cavs’ hurricane, and he somehow figures out a way to avoid flying off the handle. Yes, he looks goofy sometimes. He makes funny faces when he’s trying to defend a quicker player. His status as the team whipping boy is good for all the jokes and memes you can post on social media.

But making fun of Kevin or Devin or Tevin won’t improve the Cavs’ lackluster defense or suddenly make the oldest team in the NBA younger. It’s time for the guys in Cleveland to stop looking at Love and start looking in a mirror.

“I wasn’t getting picked on last night. I was being a diva last night. I’ve got to just own up to it. I watched it when I got home. I was wondering why he was coming at me so hard but then I watched the plays I was like, `Yeah, I looked like a jerk out there.’ It was bad. Luckily we won and we can move past it and I kind of owned up to it. I’ll be better next time.

“I wish I could apologize to James because that was out of my character.”

The line stretched from the entryway to the NHL Stadium Series fanfest, across an area the size of a dusty football field, to a small tent that housed several Olympic heroes. Some fans clad in Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals jerseys, some clad in an entirely different kind of uniform at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, some old enough to remember the Miracle on Ice, many too young to remember Nagano, they began gathering 90 minutes before the U.S. Olympic women’s hockey players were due to arrive for autographs and pictures and a chance for admirers to ogle the new hardware around their necks.

After no contract talks with Twins, Brian Dozier says ‘I will be a free agent this fall’

Brian Dozier reiterated that he expects to become a free agent after not having any talks with the Minnesota Twins on a contract extension this offseason.

“I will be a free agent this fall,” Dozier told the Star Tribune in an interview published early Monday morning. “That’s the bottom line. You can only say you want to be here so much, and nothing gets done.

Dozier has emerged as one of baseball’s best offensive second basemen, combining to hit 76 home runs with 192 RBIs and an .871 OPS over the last two seasons. He belted 42 homers in 2016 — an American League record for a second baseman — and had another outstanding season in 2017, batting .271 with 34 homers and 93 RBIs while helping Minnesota reach the postseason for the first time since 2010.

Despite a slow free-agent market this winter, Dozier is not concerned about hitting the open market. He would join a potentially historic free-agent class that could include Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel and Andrew Miller.

“I think teams have gotten a lot smarter, and they really break down the numbers,” he told the Star Tribune, referring to this offseason’s lack of free-agent activity. “The biggest thing in free agency is really making sure agents know their players’ value, and that their players understand that. … I think my better years are ahead of me, because of the way I feel and what I put into my body.”

“I’ve spent enough of my career in the minor leagues,” he told the Chronicle.

Sunday’s move involving Labourt is the second time in three days he has been claimed off waivers. The Reds have claimed him off waivers from the Detroit Tigers on Friday.

Labourt, 23, had a 4.50 ERA in six appearances for the Tigers last season. In three stops in the minors last season he was 1-1 with four saves, posting a 2.17 ERA in 66 1/3 innings.

Eric Karabell: The starting pitcher I will be most interested in for drafts will depend on the options secured earlier, to some degree. I will mostly look for strikeout options, of course, and for the middle rounds I have tended to avoid injury risks, thus I have no shares of Leo Howell’s coveted McCullers. Godley’s performance looks legit to me, and now that the humidor is in effect in Arizona, I could see him repeating his numbers. I suppose Weaver could have a season like Godley just did, but if each is available I would likely go with the more proven option.raiders_009-223x223

Pistons dominate inside, rout Bucks 110-87

The most obvious advantage for the Detroit Pistons was their rebounding, and Stan Van Gundy felt a lot of players contributed to that.

“I thought that our cuts — and a few drives, but a lot of cuts — forced their `5′ to help,” the Detroit coach said. “So even if you’re missing shots, then bodies are off of Andre (Drummond) and Eric (Moreland), and they’re both really good offensive rebounders when that happens.”

Drummond had 15 points and 16 rebounds, and the Pistons dominated inside in a 110-87 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. Moreland added 10 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Detroit, which won for only the second time in eight games.

The Detroit bench, an area of weakness lately, outscored Milwaukee’s reserves 63-30. Stanley Johnson, who was replaced by James Ennis in the starting lineup, had 19 points.

“Stanley can adapt and go from starter to the bench,” Bullock said. “He played well tonight. He made shots. He got other players involved. He’s tough to stop in transition.”

Parker, who set season highs in scoring in each of the previous two games, was held to only seven points after scoring 19 on Tuesday against Washington.

Bucks: G Tony Snell (right thigh) missed the game. … Milwaukee fell to 9-4 in the second game of back-to-backs.

Pistons: Van Gundy said F Jon Leuer (left ankle surgery) is making progress. “He’s doing stuff,” Van Gundy said. “We’re optimistic that he’ll get a full offseason and be ready to go.” … Langston Galloway had 13 points and Dwight Buycks added 12.

Westbrook has gone without a 3 in four of the past six games and is 2 of 24 (8 percent) from long range in that span. The slump has dropped the career 31 percent shooter from 3 to 28 percent for the season.

“Scoring has always been last for me,” James said. “I’ve never looked at myself as a scorer. But to know the history of the game and seeing the guys that put up triple-doubles on a regular (basis) from Jason Kidd to Magic Johnson to Oscar Robertson to Russell Westbrook, you can throw my name in there as well.”

His 11th assist on Tuesday came late in the game and gave him 8,000 in his career. He’s the first player in NBA history with 30,000 points, 8,000 rebounds and 8,000 assists.

“With the long list of so many great players that have come through this league, in the history of this league, for me to be the only (person) in a category, I think it’s pretty cool,” James said. “It’s pretty cool.”

Edwin Jackson’s friend says the former Colts LB wouldn’t want his death politicized

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson was killed by a suspected drunken driver early Sunday morning. He was just 26 years old.

The driver in the incident was Manuel Orrego-Savala, who was in the U.S. illegally, according to CBS News. The news prompted a tweet from President Donald Trump, who used it as an opportunity to talk about the border and illegal immigration.

The material I put on [videotape] from the little time I had, not going through training camp and being here for the installs, I was OK, Revis said, via ESPN. I wasn’t great or my best ever. No way. But at the same time, for what I came in here and was asked to do, for the most part I’m happy with it.

What does this mean for the Chiefs? Kansas City helped its cap space situation by dealing Alex Smith to Washington, but clearing another $4.5 million was an easy choice.

The Chiefs will still likely be on the hunt for a cornerback to place in the lineup opposite Marcus Peters, but the addition of Kendall Fuller in that Smith trade also means the secondary for Kansas City is headed in the right direction.

Jeff Carter, who had 32 goals and 34 assists last season, sustained a deep cut to a tendon in his ankle on Oct. 18 against the Montreal Canadiens and needed surgery.

The Kings have shown resilience in Carter’s absence, such as during an eight-game winning streak from Nov. 25 to Dec. 9, but have also displayed a glaring lack of offense in a six-game losing streak from Jan. 4-19.

The good news is the Kings are close to having Carter back, but coach John Stevens called him “doubtful” to play against the Oilers.

“He looked like he was flying out there today. Hopefully he feels well, and well enough to play,” forward Tyler Toffoli told reporters after practice on Friday. “I wish I could move like he does. I think a lot of people do.”

Added defenseman Jake Muzzin, “It’s nice to see him out there. He looks pretty good during the drills, his speed and that looks there. It’s nice having him back in the room with the guys and on the ice with us as well.”

The Kings have already defeated the Oilers handily in both meetings this season.

Rob Gronkowski invited 69 family members and friends to Super Bowl 52

Rob Gronkowski’s fascination with the number 69 just won’t end. While the six-time Pro Bowler competes for his third Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52 on Sunday night, 69 of his family members and friends will be there to cheer him on.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Gronkowksi will fly 69 people to Minnesota for Super Bowl 52.


On Feb. 14, Manziel announced he accepted an invitation to participate in the Spring League. He told Bleacher Report in a statement:

“Football has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Sometimes you take for granted how much you value something until it’s gone. My goal is to make it back to the NFL and I realize I have to earn that privilege. The Spring League has provided me with a great opportunity to play ball again, and ultimately, that is all I want to do. I miss the competition. I’d like to thank Brian Woods and The Spring League staff for this opportunity to play the game I love. I’ve made my share of mistakes, but I’m 25 years old and I know my best football is ahead of me.”

Timberlake had been joking a few seconds earlier about his own ability to play for the Patriots in the game. That prompted the question about his son, which Timberlake answered by saying he’d never play football. He never backtracked on that point, though he briefly sounded like he was making a joke.

“If he wants to get into the arts or sports, yeah, I would fully support that. I think I can hopefully offer him some advice on what to do and what not to do.”

Timberlake’s stance isn’t unique. It’s become a more common one as the world’s learned more about the consequences of repeated blows to the head involved in the sport.

A study in 2017 found that 99 percent of former NFL players who had donated their brains to research had signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease.

A bunch of current and former players have said they won’t let their children play the sport that became a career for them. Enrollment in high school and youth football programs has generally been on the decline for a while.bears_082-223x223

DH or not, J.D. Martinez can be a fantasy star in Boston

Every American League team hit more home runs than the Boston Red Sox last season, so adding a power bat was clearly an offseason priority. Long linked to free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez, the Red Sox came to an agreement with the player Monday on a deal that makes a lot of sense for all. No player hit more than 24 home runs for the 2017 version of the Red Sox. Martinez, in a mere 62 games with the Arizona Diamondbacks after coming over from the Detroit Tigers, managed to hit 29.

Austin Dillon, driving the No. 3 car made famous by Dale Earnhardt, took the lead late to win the Daytona 500. It was Dillon’s only lap led. Rookie Darryl Wallace Jr, driving the 43 in his first Daytona 500, finished second. Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Chris Buescher rounded out the top five.

Dillon celebrated the victory by sliding through the infield grass just as Earnhardt did when he won his first Daytona 500, 20 years ago.

Presley plays all three outfield positions. He stole five bases without being thrown out last season.

Baltimore, which announced the deal Monday, had been in the market for a left-handed hitting outfielder. Presley will compete with Jaycob Brugman, acquired from Oakland last November.

The thought with the talent angle is that, at the bare minimum, you’re supporting your ratios while you wait for a role to present itself (the Bradley approach). The résumé idea is more of a short-term plan, hoping that loyal managers look in the past to determine whom they hand the ball to in the ninth (the Melancon-rebound approach).

I prefer the Bradley approach, as there is less risk involved, but it is important to understand that you are not the only manager struggling to secure saves (29 players had 15-plus saves last season, but only 10 had more than 30), and that this category is often decided during the season.

Pirates land Corey Dickerson for Daniel Hudson, minor leaguer

With just two Group 1 wins (over Florida State and Notre Dame), the Cardinals’ lack of bad losses is mainly what’s keeping them afloat. (Louisville’s worst loss by RPI was at No. 49 Syracuse.) But with all of the Cards’ remaining five games qualifying for Group 1 status, they have a real chance of improving their seed during the closing stretch. A word of caution, however. David Padgett’s team last won a game over a team in this projected field way back on Jan. 13 (Virginia Tech).

Mind that key word (or), as in either hitter or pitcher, but not both. Ohtani will begin the 2018 season with dual eligibility, as a designated hitter on the hitting side and starting pitcher on the pitching side, and in each individual scoring period in your league, you will need to make a decision as to on which side to use him.

This means that in leagues with daily transactions, as is the ESPN standard, on any given day Ohtani can serve as either your starting pitcher or your designated hitter/utility. He’ll accrue statistics only for the role in which you choose, meaning that on days where you have him activated as a starting pitcher, he’ll receive credit only for his pitching statistics, and on days where you have him activated as a DH/utility, he’ll receive credit only for his hitting statistics.

The game used to face the league’s best rookies off against the best sophomore players from the season but switched from that format in 2015 to the World vs. USA format.

The league’s best international rookies and sophomores will play for the World, while the best American-born players will play for the USA. The USA team is led by top rookies like Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, and Kyle Kuzma, while the World is led by 76ers teammates Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

The Nationals didn’t release terms of the agreement, though a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Monday that it was for $1 million. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal wasn’t official at the time.

Benoit is a right-hander who first reached the big leagues in 2001. He has played for eight teams, finishing last year with Pittsburgh.

He has 764 career appearances, going 58-49 with a 3.83 ERA and 53 saves.royals_038