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Minnesota’s Jake Odorizzi

Postby officialsbaseball » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:12 am

Miguel Cabrera’s season is over. The Detroit Tigers will have to try to get through the next 94 games without their veteran slugger Cheap Richard Rodgers Jersey , starting on Wednesday.

Cabrera suffered a ruptured left biceps tendon while taking a big swing in the third inning against Minnesota’s Jake Odorizzi on Tuesday. He’ll undergo season-ending surgery in the near future.

“He feels really bad. He feels like he’s letting people down. There’s a guy who’s a warrior,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Total respect for that man. He’s a (heck) of a baseball player. Hopefully, we can somehow get through this thing and get him back playing.”

Even before Tuesday’s devastating injury, Cabrera had trouble staying healthy this season. Cabrera missed three games in late April and early May with a biceps spasm. He returned for one game, then spent the rest of the month on the disabled list because of a hamstring strain.

“We’ve got to try to help him get through this thing,” Gardenhire said. “It’s a very sad day for our baseball team. He’s a special player, a special person to have around here. That’s a blow. I felt terrible when I saw him do that.”

Backup catcher John Hicks becomes the team’s starting first baseman in Cabrera’s absence. He’ll likely start there on Wednesday during the second game of the series.

Minnesota will send out their ace, Jose Berrios.

Following a stretch of four starts in late April and early May in which he gave up at least four earned runs, Berrios has overpowered the opposition. He’s won four of his last five starts while posting 44 strikeouts.

He went the distance on Thursday against the Chicago White Sox, holding them to two runs on six hits while striking out 10 without a walk.

“I felt healthy Arizona Cardinals Jerseys Womens ,” Berrios told mlb.com afterward. “I got quite of few pitches — fastball, curveball, changeup — working. That’s what I used the whole game.”

Berrios (7-5, 3.66 ERA) collected a victory at home over the Tigers during that stretch, limiting them to two runs on three hits in eight innings May 21. He’s 3-1 in six career outings against Detroit despite an 8.49 ERA. Tigers catcher James McCann has been a tough out for Berrios, hitting two home runs with seven RBIs in 11 career at-bats.

Left-hander Matthew Boyd, arguably the Tigers’ most consistent starter this season, will oppose Berrios. Boyd (4-4, 3.20) has notched two wins and a no-decision in his last three starts.

He survived Boston’s potent lineup in his last outing on Thursday despite some control issues. He limited the Red Sox to two runs on four hits in 6 1/3 innings but also issued four walks and threw three wild pitches.

“As the game went on, he got more comfortable Mike White Jersey Cowboys ,” Hicks said to the Detroit News afterward. “The mound in the bullpen is flat and the mound in the game is steep. It’s kind of an adjustment once you get out there. But once he settled in, he had all his pitches we could to go to in any count.”

Boyd has pitched against the Twins more than any other team. In 12 career starts, Boyd is 5-3 with a 4.01 ERA.

Twins leadoff man Brian Dozier has been a thorn in Boyd’s side, batting .406 with three doubles and three homers in 32 career at-bats.

Tom Wilson’s aggression helped propel him from fourth-line grinder into a difference-maker who skates alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.

His teammates feed off the edginess of his play. His coach loves his tenacity.

”There are very few Tom Wilsons in the league,” Barry Trotz said.

And in Game 4 of Washington’s increasingly prickly Eastern Conference semifinal against Pittsburgh, there won’t be any at all.

The league suspended Wilson three games for his run-in with Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese that left the rookie with a concussion and a broken jaw.

Aston-Reese was skating in front of the Washington bench when Wilson’s left shoulder hit some combination of Aston Reese’s shoulder and jaw in the middle of the second period.

Following a brief conference among the on-ice officials, Wilson was not penalized on the play and the Capitals used it as a rallying point on their way to a dramatic 4-3 victory that gave them a 2-1 series lead.

The league, however, suspended Wilson following a hearing on Wednesday, ruling the hit was illegal. The league considered Aston-Reese’s head the initial point of contact and called the incident avoidable.

The decision means the Capitals are now forced to push the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions to the brink of elimination without one of their most physical players.

Trotz defended Wilson Cheap Marcedes Lewis Jersey , who has now been disciplined by the department of player safety three times this season.

”It was a collision,” Trotz said Wednesday before the suspension was announced. ”They hit and to me it looked like body on body. We’ve stopped it, we’ve looked at it, there’s pictures all over the Internet that you can see. He doesn’t leave his feet. It’s body-on-body. … I’m surprised the player has the injury that he has.”

The incident overshadowed the kind of taut and electric play that’s come to symbolize one of the NHL’s top rivalries.

Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins the lead with a goal late in the second period only to have Washington – in a historically un-Washingtonlike move whenever the Capitals face Pittsburgh – beat Matt Murray twice in the third to win, the last coming on Ovechkin bunting in a rebound of his own shot with just 1:07 to play.

”I really believe this year has felt a little bit different,” Washington forward Jay Beagle said. ”Even in season when we would get down a couple goals we could fight back. It seems like we’re never out of it.”

Then again, it’s been 36 months since the Penguins have exited the postseason without the Cup on the team plane.

Pittsburgh has ripped off nine consecutive series victories during its run at the top, and has only trailed after three games once, in last year’s Eastern Conference final against Ottawa.

The Penguins rebounded to win in seven games and there’s hardly any panic. It’s not what Pittsburgh does.

The other thing the Penguins try not to do? Get so caught up in trying to retaliate against Wilson that they forget why they’re out there in the first place.

Defenseman Kris Letang pointed to his team’s antagonist – and entirely legal – response to Wilson in Game 3 as proof.

Jake Guentzel delivered a shot into the end boards. Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak basically begged Wilson to fight, but didn’t take it too far when Wilson failed to engage.

”After the whistle we walked away Tyron Smith Jersey ,” Letang said. ”There’s not much business to do. I liked our answer.”

The Penguins will need another one if they want to keep their hopes of becoming the first team in 35 years to three-peat alive. They’ve only dropped consecutive games in the playoffs five times in two-plus years and have lost to Washington only once in 10 all-time postseason meetings.

The Capitals have momentum on their side. Pittsburgh has history.

”It’s hard to win in the playoffs and you’re going to go through ups and downs and emotional highs and emotional lows,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. ”And it’s all about how you handle those and respond. … Right now our eyes are on Game 4.”



UNDISCIPLINED OR PLAIN SLOPPY?

The Nashville Predators won the Presidents’ Trophy despite leading the NHL in penalty minutes. They had played with much more discipline until melting down with three consecutive penalties helping turn a 3-0 lead after the first period into a 7-4 loss and a 2-1 deficit to the Winnipeg Jets.

Now Nashville faces a challenge on Thursday night (9:30 p.m. ET NBCSN) in their Western Conference semifinal to avoid being pushed to the brink of elimination in the best-of-seven series.

”We have a smart group,” Predators center Ryan Johansen said Wednesday. ”We understand what we did wrong and what needs to be done.”

Not only did the Predators not help themselves with five penalties – three in the third after tying the Jets at 4-4 – they didn’t play well after grabbing a big lead.

”We just sat back too much,” Predators forward Filip Forsberg said. ”Obviously they scored a goal early and after that we just became passive and, yeah, I don’t think it would have mattered which team we were playing. If we play like that, we’re going to get scored on.”



WHERE’S PHIL?

Penguins forward Phil Kessel set a career high with 92 points during the regular season, but has just one secondary assist through three games of the series and – perhaps more troubling for.
officialsbaseball
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an Indiana campaign advertisement.

Postby officialsbaseball » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:23 am

Jarvis Landry is about to make a major grab.

The star wide receiver is close to finalizing a multiyear contract extension with the Cleveland Browns Authentic Natrell Jamerson Jersey , who believe the three-time Pro Bowler can hasten their turnaround. The team and Landry's representatives are closing in on a deal, a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The sides remain in talks but expect to complete the contract soon, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been finalized. ESPN first reported Landry's extension.

Landry led the NFL with 112 receptions last season and his new contract is expected to make him one of the league's highest paid pass catchers.

The Browns, who are coming off a 0-16 season, acquired Landry from Miami in a trade last month. Cleveland sent a fourth-round pick in 2018 and seventh-rounder in 2019 to the Dolphins, who had signed Landry to a $16 million Cheap Will Hernandez Jersey , one-year franchise tag to make the exchange possible.

The acquisition of Landry was one of several major offseason moves made by the Browns, who have the No. 1 and No. 4 overall picks in the draft later this month and are expected to select a quarterback.

The Dolphins drafted Landry in the second round in 2014 out of LSU. He's blossomed into one of the game's top playmakers; his 400 catches are the most for any player in his first four seasons. Landry has racked up 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns.

When Landry arrived in Cleveland, new Browns general manager John Dorsey said the 25-year-old fit all the criteria the team wanted.

"He has marvelous stats," Dorsey said. "He's a Pro Bowler. He has a presence about him and the way he plays the game. I think he will be ideal in the slot receiver position. He loves to play the football game. He is one of those guys that we consistently talk about. Are they competitive? Do they love the game of football? I think he fits that model."

Attorneys for a Guatemalan man living illegally in the U.S have ended their effort to have his confession thrown out in a suspected drunken-driving crash that killed Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver.

Attorney John Tompkins told Marion County Judge Grant Hawkins during a Tuesday pre-trial hearing for Manuel Orrego-Savala that he had withdrawn a motion to suppress his client’s statements to a state trooper after the Feb. 4 crash in Indianapolis.

Investigators said in a probable cause affidavit that Orrego-Savala admitted to the trooper that he was driving the pickup truck involved in the crash.

His attorneys had argued in a motion filed Feb. 20 that Orrego-Savala’s admission shouldn’t be allowed because he wasn’t first read his rights.

Orrego-Savala, 37 Will Hernandez Jersey Giants , faces four felony charges in the crash that killed Jackson, 26, and his Uber driver, Jeffrey Monroe, 54, as the two men stood outside Monroe’s car along Interstate 70 in Indianapolis. Investigators said Monroe was transporting Jackson for the ride-sharing service Freddie Freeman Jersey , and had pulled over after the football player became ill.

Orrego-Savala had a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 percent, which is more than twice Indiana’s legal limit of .08 percent, according to court documents. He remains jailed and a not guilty plea has been entered on his behalf.

Orrego-Savala was deported from the U.S. in 2007 and 2009 and was back in the country illegally at the time of the crash, authorities said.

The case became a flash point in the nation’s immigration debate, with President Donald Trump tweeting about it and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun featuring it in an Indiana campaign advertisement.

Although Orrego-Savala’s attorneys have withdrawn their motion to suppress the confession they can again seek to have it thrown out if they wish, said Ryan Mears Zack Martin Cowboys Jersey , chief trial deputy for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.

Hawkins approved an order Tuesday requiring Orrego-Savala to provide a DNA sample prosecutors have sought after his attorneys did not oppose their request.

Mears said that sample will be compared to DNA found in a pickup truck to determine Orrego-Savala’s presence in that vehicle. He said those tests will ”certainly be helpful if his DNA is found at the scene, particularly inside the vehicle we think he was driving.”

Prosecutors have also said the sample would confirm his identity, noting that he has used various aliases.

Orrego-Savala’s next pre-trial hearing in the case is scheduled for May 18.

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a .318 average, 22 homers and 94 RBIs

Postby officialsbaseball » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:33 am

Taking a defensive lineman from Alabama in the first round for the second consecutive year Authentic Mason Cole Jersey , the Washington Redskins chose tackle Da'Ron Payne with the 13th overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday night.

The 6-foot-2, 311-pound Payne is considered a top-notch run-stopper, and he'll line up next to former college teammate Jonathan Allen, Washington's initial selection in 2017.

"That's my guy," Payne said.

It's the first time the Redskins drafted players from the same school in consecutive first rounds since getting Oklahoma's George Thomas and Leon Heath in 1950-51.

Payne also joins another Alabama defender, linebacker Ron Anderson, selected by Washington in the second round a year ago.

"I get the opportunity to play with old teammates," Payne said in a conference call from a party with family members in Birmingham, Alabama. "At Alabama, I won a bunch of games. I think I can take that winning mindset and the whole mentality it takes to be a winner and take it to the Washington Redskins."

Asked to describe his style of play, Payne said: "Just a relentless lineman. I'm going to get after the pass rush and just dominate the run every chance I get."

His most famous play for the Crimson Tide might actually have come on the other side of the ball: He caught a touchdown pass against Clemson in a College Football Playoff victory last season.

After missing the playoffs and going 7-9 last season, the Redskins entered the draft with all sorts of areas of need on the roster, but perhaps nothing as pressing as various places on defense and at running back. While the Redskins will be expected to try to improve an ineffective rushing offense later in the draft 鈥?only four teams ran for fewer yards last season 鈥?they opened by beginning to address the problems on "D."

Having traded for Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs and signed him to a four-year extension, they were not among the many teams in the market for a young quarterback. So with an unprecedented four QBs taken in the top 10, some highly regarded players on the defensive side drifted down toward Washington.

And that unit could use the help, particularly when it comes to Payne's specialty: stuffing runners.

Only four teams gave up more points per game than the 24.2 allowed by the Redskins Logan Paulsen Jersey Falcons , and none was as easy to run against: They were gashed for a league-worst average of 134.1 yards on the ground. They also were prone to ceding chunks of yardage at a time, with opponents recording 54 plays of 20 or more yards; only a half-dozen clubs let up more than that.

And in the NFC East, it's vital to stop the run. The Dallas Cowboys, for example, have 2016 NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott, and the New York Giants made Penn State running back Saquon Barkley the No. 2 overall pick Thursday night.

"You see what's going on in our division, with Saquon Barkley and Zeke Elliott and Philadelphia, the way they run the ball," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "Our ranking on defense wasn't quite up to speed at 32nd, and we feel like Da'Ron paired with Jonathan Allen and the rest of the guys ... is a perfect fit."

A year ago, Washington got Allen with the 17th overall pick. He played promisingly when he was on the field, but only appeared in five games before getting injured and missing the rest of the season.

The Redskins have seven other picks in this year's draft, starting in the second round with No. 44 overall. They do not have a choice in the third round, because it was sent to Kansas City in the Smith deal.

No-hitter or not, Mike Soroka knew the Braves would be cautious and not let him overexert his right shoulder.

”The first time I even thought about what was going on was going out for the sixth,” he said. ”It was happening so quickly. You get into a rhythm that way Youth Brian O'Neill Jersey , and that wasn’t bad as well.”

Soroka did not allow a hit until the seventh inning, Freddie Freeman homered and drove in both runs, and the Atlanta Braves beat the struggling New York Mets 2-0 on Wednesday.

Soroka, the youngest pitcher in the major leagues and one of baseball’s top prospects, returned from a shoulder strain that sidelined him since May 17 to outpitch NL ERA leader Jacob deGrom in a game that lasted only 2 hours, 12 minutes.

Making his fourth career start, Soroka (2-1) gave up one hit, one walk and struck out four in 6 1/3 innings . He had a simple game plan.

”Pitch my game and let them adjust to my game as opposed to the other way around,” Soroka said. ”I think we did a really good job of that.”

Freeman, the NL batting leader, has hit safely in 23 of his past 24 games. He drove in the first run with a single in the fourth off deGrom (4-2). He homered off Jeremy Blevins in the eighth .

Freeman has five homers in his past seven games and 14 overall.

Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said that Soroka would be on a pitch count, so it was no surprise when he replaced him with A.J. Minter after Michael Conforto singled to begin the seventh after 74 pitches.

The Mets have lost 10 of their past 11 and 17 of their past 21. They went 3-6 at SunTrust Park this season against the NL East-leading Braves.

DeGrom (4-2) allowed seven hits and one run and struck out seven in seven innings and threw 86 pitches. He began the game leading with majors with a 0.81 ERA since April 21, but trailed 1-0 in the fourth when Dansby Swanson doubled with one out and scored on Freeman’s single.

The punchless Mets have scored 10 runs in their past 87 innings. They’ve lost deGrom’s past five outings even though he’s allowed only five runs over that span.

”He threw seven really stressful innings, especially the last couple of innings,” New York manager Mickey Callaway said. ”He had to grind thorough there and did a great job of keeping us in the game and giving us a chance to win like he does every time.”

Conforto moved to second on a wild pitch by Soroka in the seventh, but didn’t advance when Minter struck out Brandon Nimmo and Jay Bruce popped up. Soroka’s other base runner was Bruce Patrick Omameh Jersey Giants , who walked to begin the second and was erased on a double play.

Arodys Vizcaino earned his 12th save in 14 chances in a shaky ninth. Nimmo doubled with two outs, advancing Conforto to third, before Bruce popped up to end it.

DeGrom said he wasn’t blaming teammates for the lack of run support, but third baseman Todd Frazier summed up the state of the Mets’ offense.

”After the game, I said, `Dude, I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know why we’re not producing for you,’ ” Frazier said. ”We talk about trying too hard. Maybe we’re trying too hard when he’s pitching, but a guy throws like that, he works fast. He was just dominant.”

STILL SCORCHING

Facing a shift in the fourth, Freeman hit an opposite-field single, improving his average since the start of 2013 with runners in scoring position to .361, best in the majors over that span.

He’s hitting .413 against the Mets in 12 games this year and has a .318 average, 22 homers and 94 RBIs in 134 games against the Mets, but his thoughts were mostly on his mother. Wednesday marked the death of Rosemary Freeman, who passed away from skin cancer when Freddie was 8 years old.

”I don’t know if I’ve ever done well on this day Authentic Fred Warner Jersey ,” he said. ”It’s hard to keep my emotions in check. We lost her way too young. I hit that really high, I know I hit it good, but I think she pulled that one over for me today.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard has been prescribed more rest after getting a second opinion on a strained ligament in his index finger. Callaway said Syndergaard’s right finger is ”tender to the touch.” Syndergaard, on the disabled list retroactive to May 26, was examined Tuesday in New York. There is no immediate timetable for his return.

Braves: RHP Julio Teheran, out since June 5 with a right thumb contusion, is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday, but the Braves have yet to announce their rotation for the weekend.

UP NEXT

Mets: LHP Steven Matz (2-4, 3.53 ERA) threw a season-high 105 pitches in his previous start, a no-decision against the Yankees. He’ll face Matt Koch (4-3, 4.20) as the Mets open a series against the Diamondbacks.

Braves: RHP Anibal Sanchez (2-0, 2.37 ERA) will try for his first victory in six starts against San Diego against the Padres’ Tyson Ross (5-3, 3.43).



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officialsbaseball
Posts: 220
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:04 am

It’s the same for their team

Postby officialsbaseball » Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:44 am

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin missed a third straight practice on Tuesday while dealing with a knee issue.

Coach Pete Carroll said after practice that Baldwin had a sore knee coming into camp. He practiced the first two days with the team before being held out each of the last three practices.

”We’re just going to take our time with it and be patient Richard Rodgers Jersey Eagles ,” Carroll said.

Carroll said the team is going to give Baldwin a couple of weeks off in order to give him the downtime he needs before gradually working him back to full speed. Carroll said the team knows exactly what the issue is, although the coach wouldn’t go into detail.

”He’s doing some special treatments to make sure we’re taking care of him and then we want to bring him back into shape so we can really get him ready for the long haul,” Carroll said.

Defensive end Dion Jordan is also going to miss an extended amount of time while he recovers from what Carroll called a ”stress issue” in his ”other leg.” Jordan has been plagued by injuries to his left knee in past seasons, but it appears his right leg is currently the issue.

”He’s got a little bit of healing to do so it’s going to be a while,” Carroll said. ”We’ve just got to wait it out.”

Following the departures of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, the Seahawks have been counting on Jordan to be a presence at defensive end. The four sacks he racked up in five games last season left Seattle excited about what he could bring to the table. However Mike Marjama Seattle Mariners Jersey , he continues to struggle to stay on the field.

”That was a position that we were really hoping he was going to be a factor in,” Carroll said.

NOTES: LB Marcus Smith (hamstring) and WR David Moore (hip flexor) were new absences from practice on Tuesday. Neither injury appears to be significant.




Gerard Gallant didn’t consider pulling Marc-Andre Fleury as another game and perhaps the Vegas Golden Knights‘ Stanley Cup hopes slipped away.

The struggles and another pile of Washington Capitals goals are on the entire team. Gallant couldn’t pull all his players at once.

”There was nothing that he could have done,” Gallant said.

As the face of the franchise and its backbone on the ice, Fleury did just about everything to lead the expansion Golden Knights to the Cup Final with a .947 save percentage that made him the playoff MVP front-runner. In four games against Washington, Fleury has allowed 16 goals on 103 shots, a pedestrian .845 save percentage that speaks as much to Vegas crashing back down to earth as a team.

There is plenty of blame to pass around for the Golden Knights as they face a 3-1 series deficit that no team since the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs has overcome in the final. Vegas needs Fleury to be better and his teammates to improve in front of him in Game 5 on Thursday night or they will watch their opponent celebrate a championship their home ice.

”When you’re a goalie you don’t want to get scored on Josh Allen Jersey Youth ,” Fleury said. ”There was a lot of that (in Game 4). It’s never a good feeling. It’s a team game. Everybody’s trying hard out there, trying to help me out. We’ll find a way to make it work.”

It’s not working right now. The Capitals’ strategy of making lateral passes to get Fleury moving side-to-side is proving effective at even strength and on a power play that’s scoring at a 26.7 percent clip.

Forward Alex Tuch said staying out of the penalty box is one necessary improvement, but it goes beyond that. Vegas has ridden Fleury to this point and now has to cut down on the high-danger scoring chances he’s facing and too often allowing to turn into goals.

”Play better defensively,” Gallant said Tuesday. ”There’s too many guys staring at the puck carrier, and we’re leaving the back side open too much. Make sure we’re paying attention to the guys behind the puck and away from the puck. Marc will make the save on the guy shooting the puck. We’ve just got to make sure we’re taking away the passes.”

Fleury didn’t make the save on Devante Smith-Pelly on the doorstep in Game 4 as the Golden Knights fell behind 3-0 despite one of their best periods of the series that featured James Neal’s inexplicable shot off the post facing a wide-open net. As Gallant pointed out, Fleury had little chance on others as Washington put up six goals in a blowout .

Golden Knights players can’t help but feel like they’re letting ”Flower” down.

”We have the best goalie in the league and he’s been carrying (us) the whole year along and we feel like the goals … there’s not much you can do on those Kris Bryant Jersey ,” center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said. ”This is the frustrating part.”

Fleury acknowledged falling behind 3-1 was demoralizing. But the 33-year-old refuses to say fatigue has been a factor for him or his teammates.

”I think everybody’s fine,” Fleury said. ”It’s the same for their team, also. They’ve been through the same season, same playoffs. Being tired is no excuse.”

The Golden Knights have lost three games in a row as they near the end of an otherwise-charmed inaugural season. Perhaps Fleury has one more stand-on-his head, stop-everything game left in him in front of the home fans in Las Vegas, but the Golden Knights will need more than a singular effort from their goalie.

”Not where we want to be Adam Boqvist Blackhawks Jersey , that’s for sure,” Fleury said. ”Nobody’s quitting. We’re going home. We’ve had some success there. We just have to focus on period at a time, you know? Don’t think too far ahead. Just play our game, see where that takes us.”



More Stanley Cup coverage: .
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The A’s have won nine of 11 overall.

Postby officialsbaseball » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:09 am

A harbor seal that gained some fame by making annual Super Bowl picks usually incorrectly has died at a Connecticut aquarium.

The 35-year-old seal was named Orange and had been at the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk since 2005. The aquarium said Monday that Orange had been undergoing treatment for cancer.

Orange was the aquarium's oldest seal. She was found stranded as a pup in 1982 and was rehabilitated at the National Aquarium in Baltimore before moving to Connecticut.

For the past seven years she would predict a Super Bowl winner by swimming to the window of her tank and putting her nose on a picture of the helmet of one of the two competing teams. She was right only twice: the New England Patriots in 2017 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018.


OAKLAND Cheap Isaiah Oliver Jersey , Calif. — Trevor Bauer will pursue a piece of Cleveland Indians history Friday night when he opens a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics.

Having recorded at least eight strikeouts in all five of his starts this month, Bauer needs 16 to match Hall of Famer Bob Feller’s franchise record of 70 for the month of June, set in 1946.

Bauer’s career high for strikeouts in a game is 14, set last May against the A’s in just seven innings.

More realistically, the California native needs 10 strikeouts to equal the second-best June total in Indians history, set by Sam McDowell in 1965.

Bauer (7-5 Authentic Customized Broncos Jerseys , 2.44), who ranks third in the American League in strikeouts, has recorded 10 or more six times in his last eight starts, going 5-2 in the process.

The 27-year-old right-hander has never won in Oakland, going 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA in three starts. He’s 1-2 with a 4.44 ERA in five career starts against the A’s overall.

One A’s hitter Bauer has dominated in the past is hot-hitting Jed Lowrie, who has gone 1-for-9 in his career against him with five strikeouts in their all-time head-to-heads.

Lowrie had 15 hits in nine starts on Oakland’s just-completed road trip Sam Darnold Jets Jersey , raising his average to .294.

Bauer will be facing an A’s team that’s playing its best ball of the season. Oakland is coming off a four-game sweep at Detroit that capped a 7-2 trip.

The A’s have won nine of 11 overall.

The A’s have been even better against the Indians in recent years, winning seven of the last eight meetings in Oakland, including all three on Cleveland’s visit last July.

Right-hander Paul Blackburn (1-2, 8.83) will oppose Bauer.

The 24-year-old has alternated good and bad outings in his four appearances since returning from a strained right forearm that delayed the start of his season almost two full months.

He’s coming off one of the ugly ones, having allowed six runs and eight hits in five innings in a 10-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, but A’s pitching coach Scott Emerson noted he was impressed with the first four innings Authentic Natrell Jamerson Jersey , during Blackburn pitched scoreless, one-hit ball.

“It was tough for him, one rehab stint and then thrown into the fire,” Emerson said of the abrupt start to Blackburn’s season. “We’re past that now, and I told him now is when we start putting our stuff together and getting the outs we’re supposed to get. We can’t use (the injury) as a crutch anymore. It’s go time; he understands that.”

Blackburn has made one career start against the Indians, compiling a 0-0 record and 4.50 ERA.

The Indians head west after having lost two of three in St. Louis. They had won their previous seven games.

The Indians actually beat the A’s into Oakland Baker Mayfield Jersey Elite , having had Thursday off while the A’s were finishing up their trip in Detroit.

They are coming off a 5-1 win over the Cardinals in which rookie Shane Bieber not only recorded his third straight win but also his first major league hit, a double off fellow rookie Jack Flaherty.

The A’s won’t see Bieber in the series … except as a possible pinch hitter.

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Bay following the 2001 season.

Postby officialsbaseball » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:21 am

>My Take with Clinton Yates - 12/11/2017 Jon Gruden was antsy at the start of the first training camp practice for the Oakland Raiders as he was mostly a spectator while his assistants worked on fundamentals in position drills.

After a nearly 10-year wait to get back into coaching Martin Fehervary Capitals Jersey , Gruden was eager to get things going in the first training camp of his second stint as Raiders coach.

"I had a hard time standing and watching," Gruden said Friday. "It's just awesome to be here. It's a great responsibility. I know I have a lot to prove and I'm eager to do the best I can to do it."

Gruden is far and away the biggest star and personality on the Raiders in his return to coaching after spending the past nine years as ESPN's analyst on "Monday Night Football."

He's adored by the Raiders fans who cheered his every move, and he provided a vocal soundtrack at practice when he barked out at his players and coaches after mistakes. He even ribbed the practice D.J. at one point.

"He's kind of like a player on the field," linebacker Derrick Johnson said. "He's very energetic. He's loud, he's talking trash. He wants to win. You can see his passion as a player. I can appreciate that. He's all in. There's a different kind of sense of urgency that we have going out to practice on the first day. It's pretty exciting."

There was one important piece missing Patrick Omameh Color Rush Jersey , however. Star pass rusher Khalil Mack is holding out while looking for a long-term contract. Mack is entering the final season of his rookie contract that is set to pay him $13.8 million and has not taken part in the offseason program.

Gruden said he leaves the negotiations to general manager Reggie McKenzie

"Hopefully we get him in here soon because he's an exciting player," Gruden said. "He's one of the best in football."

Getting Mack back will be important for Gruden as he tries to revitalize the Raiders after the team went from 12 wins and a playoff berth in 2016 to a 6-10 record last season that led to the firing of coach Jack Del Rio.

He has worked relentlessly since getting hired in January. He had to hire a coaching staff, install new systems, adjust to changes in the league since he last coached in Tampa Bay in 2008, and overhaul a roster that had several holes.

Getting quarterback Derek Carr back to the level he played at when he was an MVP candidate in 2016 is one of the top tasks. After a breakthrough year in his third NFL season Ryan McMahon Colorado Rockies Jersey , Carr struggled last year as he dealt with an injured back.

He matched his career high with 13 interceptions and recorded his worst totals in yards, touchdowns and passer rating since his rookie year in 2014.

Carr said he feels revitalized under the tutelage of Gruden, whom he first met at a TV quarterback camp before the 2014 draft.

"I don't know if anything with him surprises you," Carr said. "He has not changed one bit since the first time I met him at Gruden's QB camp to the first day of actual training camp practice. He is the same person. That says a lot. That doesn't change. He is always fiery, he loves football Youth Jalyn Holmes Jersey , he wants to win, he loves his players, he loves his coaches, and he demands from you."

Gruden is loved in Oakland and feels the same way about the Raiders fans who have pined for his return ever since he was traded to Tampa Bay following the 2001 season.

He even hosted a fan appreciation night last week at a local bar, Ricky's Sports Theatre and Grill Jason Heyward Jersey , which serves as a hangout for Raiders fans. More than 500 fans showed up for the event, getting treated by Gruden to a free meal and a pep rally.

"I don't go out very often and when I do I like to be with people who are like-minded," Gruden said. "To associate with the real Raiders fans who support you through thick and thin, that's good stuff."

NOTES: Gruden said LT Donald Penn is getting close to returning from foot surgery that ended his 2017 season but still needs to prove he can move explosively. ... Rookie P.J. Hall is sidelined for the start of camp with a strained pectoral muscle.

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We’ve got to get back to that

Postby officialsbaseball » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:31 am

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn Mark Walton Jersey Bengals , who have led the team to the playoffs the last two seasons, have signed three-year contract extensions.

The deals were announced Wednesday, a day before players report for training camp. Financial terms were not disclosed for the contracts, which will run through the 2022 season.

The new deals for Dimitroff and Quinn will leave the focus for the start of training camp on wide receiver Julio Jones, who is entering the third year of his five-year, $71.5 million contract. Jones has asked to have his deal renegotiated, but the team has said it won't offer Jones a more lucrative deal this year.

Jones is not expected to report on Thursday for Friday's opening day of camp. He would be Atlanta's first training camp holdout since 2009, when receiver Roddy White's weeklong absence ended with a new $50 million deal.

Dimitroff, hired in 2008 Dak Prescott Jersey Elite , is entering his 11th season. Quinn is 32-21 in his first three seasons.

Owner Arthur Blank said the leadership team of Dimitroff and Quinn "has proven to be as successful as we envisioned back in 2015."

"I believe continuity in leadership is vital to achieving the highest levels of success in any organization and, with these extensions, we ensure these two leaders will be at the helm of our franchise for years to come," Blank said in a statement released by the team. "Their shared vision and long view plan has already delivered on a variety of levels and has positioned our team for success into the future."

The Falcons lost to New England in the Super Bowl following the 2016 regular season before losing to Philadelphia in the divisional round last season.

Dimitroff faces a new challenge with Jones after already reaching an agreement this offseason with quarterback Matt Ryan on a five-year contract extension that could be worth as much as $150 million.

With Ryan and Jones, the Falcons are expected to contend for a third straight playoff appearance.

"I am appreciative of the support and confidence that Arthur continues to show us as we strive to bring a championship to this city and our fans," Dimitroff said in the statement. "I am excited about where our team is currently as well as the outlook we have for the foreseeable future."

Jones, 29, caught 88 passes last season for 1,444 yards and three touchdowns. He earned his fifth Pro Bowl selection.

A holdout by Jones could threaten the team-first atmosphere stressed by Quinn as a key to his shared leadership with Dimitroff.

"The partnership we have formed over the last four years has continued to get stronger and our view for how we structure this team has become even more clear Authentic Will Hernandez Jersey ," Quinn said. "We are looking forward to the challenge in front of us, but I could not be more excited about continuing this journey with Thomas and the brotherhood."

Three days after missing the playoffs, the St. Louis Blues learned their star forward Vladimir Tarasenko will need surgery on Wednesday for a dislocated left shoulder.

Tarasenko was hurt in the first period of the regular-season finale on Saturday in Colorado. The Blues needed a point in the game to reach the playoffs, but lost 5-2.

Tarasenko revealed he had a dislocated shoulder while standing with his left arm in a sling Tuesday as teammates cleared out their lockers. The recovery after surgery can take up to six months.

”We’ll see how it goes,” Tarasenko said. ”It was a hard year all the way around.”

The 26-year-old led the team with 33 goals and 66 points. It was his lowest point total in four seasons. The Blues won 44 games this season and finished with 94 points.

Mike Yeo wrapped up his first full season as the Blues coach. St. Louis is 66-40-8 since Yeo replaced Ken Hitchcock as coach on Feb. 1, 2017. That’s the 10th-best regular-season record in the NHL in that period.

But it’s little consolation for a team missing the playoffs for the first time after six straight seasons. Two years ago, the Blues were playing for the conference championship.

”We understand we’ve taken a step back this year,” General Manager Doug Armstrong said. ”That lies firmly on my shoulders. My job is to deal in reality. The formula we had this year did not breed success and we need to find that formula.”

Armstrong said the play of special teams needs to improve.

The Blues were 30th on power-play success at 15.4 percent. They finished 18th in penalty killing at 79.7 percent. During the previous six seasons making the playoffs, the Blues ranked No. 1 in the NHL in penalty killing with a rate of 84.3 percent.

However Thomas Rawls Color Rush Jersey , the Blues scored only 38 power-play goals.

”As a coaching staff, I promise you we won’t just sit around and just assume things will get better next year,” Yeo said. ”We have to look at everything from the way we manage it, operate it and holding guys accountable and the personnel we’re using and the tactics.”

When Yeo coached the Minnesota Wild, the power play also was stagnant.

”I’ll take responsibility for it,” Yeo said. ”I don’t dodge that. That’s on me.”

Armstrong backs his coach.

”Mike and I are tethered together and we’re going to figure this thing out,” Armstrong said.

St. Louis was just 24-17 on home ice this season.

”You can’t have the home record we had and be satisfied,” Armstrong said. ”The people that come here work for a living and we need to send them home happy. If we’re in the top 10 in home records, we’re in the playoffs.”

The salary cap should increase about $4 million for next season. Armstrong said the Blues ownership will continue to spend to the cap.

”We spend to the cap Authentic Customized Raiders Jerseys ,” Armstrong said. ”We’ve had a good run here. We’ve got to get back to that.”

Goalie Jake Allen was signed to a four-year, $17.4 million contract on July 1, 2016. He finished with a 27-25-3 record, a 2.75 goals-against average, a .906 save percentage and one shutout.

”I definitely need to be more consistent,” Allen said. ”I know I’m capable of it. I don’t think I need to change much. I’m a pretty good goalie.”

Backup goaltender Carter Hutton is an unrestricted free agent. Hutton was 17-7-3 with a 2.09 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. He had three shutouts.

Armstrong said he wants to bring Hutton back.

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Cole Beasley Cowboys Jersey

Postby officialsbaseball » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:41 am

The Minnesota Vikings will induct former head coach Dennis Green into their Ring of Honor this season.

The Vikings announced Monday they'll hold a halftime ceremony with Green's family during their Sept. 23 game against Buffalo. Green died at age 67 in 2016.

His record over 10 seasons was 101-70 Deion Sanders Jersey , including eight trips to the playoffs. Only Bud Grant has more wins in franchise history. The Vikings won four division titles and reached the NFC championship game twice under his guidance, setting what was then the NFL single-season scoring record with 556 points in 1998.

Green was also credited with initiating a culture of regular community service by players on their Tuesdays off from practice during the season.

He's the 24th member of the Vikings' Ring of Honor .

Ken Holland once transitioned the Detroit Red Wings from Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov and that generation of greats to the one that followed with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Now he’s trying to do it again.

The veteran general manager knows it won’t be as easy this time, so he’s adding and keeping some older players to bridge the gap. On Sunday , the Red Wings signed 34-year-old winger Thomas Vanek and 29-year-old goaltender Jonathan Bernier and re-signed 32-year-old defenseman Mike Green.

Vanek signed a $3 million, one-year deal, Bernier got $3 million per season on a three-year deal and Green will make $5.375 million annually over the next two years as part of a series of transitional deals for the rebuilding Red Wings.

”It’s going to take a little bit of time Chris Owings Jersey , we have to have some patience,” Holland said. ”I believe we’re headed in the right direction. In the short term, trying to bring in some veteran players obviously to mentor, to role-model the young kids. We need to be competitive. It’s important to develop players if they’re in an environment that’s positive and we go into every game we have a chance to win and we’re trying to obviously juggle having veterans on the roster and moving young players into the roster.”

Vanek enjoyed his 48 games with the Red Wings in 2016-17 so much he wanted to return last summer, but they didn’t have the salary-cap space. He’s not the prolific scorer he was a decade ago, but Vanek was in demand after putting up 15 points in 19 regular-season games with the Blue Jackets as a trade-deadline pickup.

”We had a few options, but Detroit Joel Iyiegbuniwe Jersey Bears , ever since I’ve been there, I loved it,” Vanek said. ”I really liked the whole culture of the organization and the guys were great.”

As a right-shot defender who can run a power play, Green would’ve drawn serious interest if he became an unrestricted free agent. He never seriously considered leaving.

With the neck injury that cut his season short has healed, he wanted to remain with the Red Wings and help bring along the next generation.

”There’s a lot that weighed on my decision to stay,” Green said. ”I think it’s easy sometimes just to go somewhere else, especially with the transition that’s going on there in Detroit Authentic Michael Gallup Jersey , but I feel like I can be useful in the next couple years kind of helping the younger guys develop quicker and speed up that process.”

Having better goaltending might not speed up the process, but it’ll make the Red Wings more competitive. They think they’ll get that from Bernier, who was the odd man out in Colorado and will split duties in net with Jimmy Howard.

”We’re going to push each other to bring this team back to the playoffs,” Bernier said. ”I didn’t want to be in a position where I played 15, 20 games. I want to come in and have a chance to play as much as possible obviously depending on play. I just thought it was a great opportunity that me and Jimmy can battle for our games.”

Holland isn’t worried about clogging the roster up for young players. Sixth overall pick Filip Zadina should be able to play right away up front, and the Red Wings have begun to rebuild their prospect pipeline.

One immediate problem could be the health of captain Henrik Zetterberg, who has been hampered by back problems and is no sure bet to be able to play next season. Zetterberg Alex Rodriguez Jersey , who turns 38 in October, cast doubts on his future after the season, and Holland can’t say with any certainty what will happen with the Swedish center.

”Last I talked to him, I think he’s planning on playing,” Holland said. ”Obviously his back is going to determine whether he can or he can’t. … When you’re dealing with the back and you’re dealing with the health of a person, it’s hard to read the future when it comes to health. Obviously that’s a key piece for us. I’ll stay in touch with Henrik as we get into July to see how his health is.”



AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow contributed.



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you've just got to keep it going

Postby officialsbaseball » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:51 am

The questions about tackle Ereck Flowers' future with the New York Giants are increasing as the 2015 first-round draft pick was a no-show for the team's first voluntary minicamp under new coach Pat Shurmur.

Players do not have to attend either the organized team activities or any minicamps.

Shurmur http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jaleel-scott-jersey , however, let it be known in the offseason that he would appreciate it if they attended, with new systems on offensive and defense being installed and the team coming off a 3-13 season that cost former coach Ben McAdoo his job.

Flowers has skipped everything. There are now reports the Giants are shopping him in the days leading to the NFL draft, which starts Thursday.

The former Miami product has not lived up to expectations in his first two seasons at left tackle. That forced new general manager Dave Gettleman to go out and sign New England Patriots left tackle Nate Solder as a free agent, a move that would have forced Flowers to move to right tackle.

Flowers has not given any indication why he has stayed away.

"He's not here, so there's not really much to say," Shurmur said.

The coach refused to say whether he was disappointed.

"We understand that this is a program that is voluntary," he said. "I tend to believe it is very necessary, but he's not here. So Cheap Customized Chicago Bears Jerseys , when he is here, we will start to talk about him."

The Giants don't have a lot of depth at tackle. Free agent Chad Wheeler played in 11 games with five starts as a rookie. Adam Bisnowaty started in his only game last season after being drafted in the sixth round.

If Flowers is traded, the Giants are going to have to draft a tackle or sign one as a free agent.

Odell Beckham Jr., who missed most of last season with a broken ankle, and defensive end Olivier Vernon were both at the minicamp. They skipped the minicamp a year ago.

"I think the big thing for us is our game is very simple 鈥?it's about the ball, it's about negotiating the ground and it's really about man whipping man," Shurmur said.

The minicamp, which does not entail any hitting, is more about making sure players get to know the new systems Steelers Cheap Jerseys , with some throwing and receiving mixed in. The defenses can work on stripping the ball.

There was speculation that Shurmur wanted to use the minicamp to see what quarterback Davis Webb could do. The third-round pick did nothing last season, so the Giants really don't know what they have with their backup to Eli Manning.

"I don't think there needs to be any anxiety on his part 鈥?get trained up, come on out here, let it rip and mistakes happen in practice and you learn from them," Shurmur said. "I think that's why you practice, so I think you have to be careful about making a final evaluation on a guy in a three-day period here. He just needs to come out here and get as good as he can be."

Most players said they felt they were entering this season with a clean slate.

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who was suspended for a game last season after missing a practice, intends to be on his best behavior this season.

"I promise y'all that Jackrabbit says it won't happen this year what happened last year," he said. "There won't be any animosity between players Isaiah Oliver Color Rush Jersey , no disrespecting the coach. There will be none of that. New York Giant football is back."

Jenkins also believes fellow cornerback and 2016 first-round draft pick Eli Apple, who also was suspended for a game, will be a different player this season.

"You have to understand that he was young," Jenkins said. "It's a clean slate, new coaching staff and for him it's guys like me that have to push him and help him out because I've been in the league so long and just help him understand that adversity is going to hit you and when it hits, you've just got to keep it going."

Beckham did not take part in the afternoon practice, but fellow receiver Sterling Shepard said that was a precaution.

"I've been with him and have been training with him a bit and, to be honest, I forget that he got hurt sometimes Cheap Daryl Worley Jersey ," Shepard said.

The Buffalo Bills got a head start on a major positional need before free agency begins by agreeing to terms with veteran cornerback Vontae Davis on a one-year contract.

The team announced the agreement on Monday night.

The 29-year-old Davis spent the past five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. A two-time Pro Bowler, Davis was released by the Colts in November after suffering a setback with a groin injury and electing to have surgery.

The Bills have a need at cornerback after their secondary excelled under first-year coach Sean McDermott in 2017. Former first-round pick Tre’Davious White is entrenched as the team’s top cornerback, but Buffalo’s next three corners on the depth chart from last season – E.J. Gaines, Leonard Johnson and Shareece Wright – are all set to hit free agency this spring.

Davis entered the NFL as a first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins before being traded to the Colts for a second-round pick in 2012. He has started 113 of 120 games, making 342 tackles, 97 passes defensed and 22 interceptions.

Shortly before the agreement was made official, Davis posted ”(hash)BillsMafia” on his Twitter account.

Buffalo had one of the top secondaries in the league in 2017, led by White and safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.

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an overworked defense.

Postby officialsbaseball » Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:03 am

Tyler Matakevich's signature red beard is a jagged mess.

All knots and snarls Authentic Trenton Cannon Jersey , a series of small mushroom clouds exploding from his jowls.

The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker knows it's time for a trim but he's a little particular about the way he wants it cut, so Matakevich decided to hold off until he could get back home to Connecticut, where a good friend has doubled as his barber for years.

Then organized team activities and minicamp started and the itching nearly became too much.

"I sort of forgot that it's a little different when it's hot out," Matakevich said with a laugh.

The player nicknamed "Dirty Red" by coach Mike Tomlin as a rookie two years ago expects to have the beard a little more under control when the Steelers report for training camp next month.

Considering the workload Matakevich could carry in 2018, that's probably wise.

The seventh-round pick in 2016 will be given every chance to earn the starting linebacker spot created by Ryan Shazier's spinal injury.

No pressure or anything, all Matakevich has to do is take over for a Pro Bowler and good friend who also happened to be one of the most physically gifted players in the NFL.

Matakevich is doing it by leaning on Shazier, who has become a de facto coach while continuing his recovery from the collision in Cincinnati last December that altered both the course of his career and his life.

When Matakevich wasn't sure about a specific coverage during a workout on Tuesday, he trotted over to Shazier's golf cart and started peppering him with questions.

"I saw like, 'Hey Bro, what are we doing here?' Stuff like that," Matakevich said. "He just helps you out. I'm so thankful for that."

And for the opportunity to play at all. The Steelers took a flyer on Matakevich when they selected him with the 246th overall pick in the 2016 draft following a highly productive college career at Temple in which he recorded at least 100 tackles in each of his four seasons.

The numbers and the awards 鈥?such as being the 2015 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year 鈥?were hard to dismiss.

So too, were the other ones. Like his sluggish 4.81-second 40-yard dash time at the combine and his 6-foot-1, 235-pound frame that makes him more fire hydrant than fighter jet.

Still, Matakevich carved out a roster spot by making himself a special teams ace 鈥?he's already blocked two punts in two seasons 鈥?and is keenly aware that in most places the prospects for seventh-rounders is iffy at best. Pittsburgh Cheap Lamar Jackson Jersey , however, is not most places.

"These coaches love you," Matakevich said. "They're going to tell you what you need to do to be successful. They're going to put you in the right spots and at the end of the day it's on you. You've got to be able to do whatever it takes."

Inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky understands Matakevich isn't Shazier or former Steeler Lawrence Timmons, but he is refusing to hold Matakevich to a different standard.

"He might not be big enough," Olsavsky said. "He might not line up like Lawrence and Ryan ... but if you just look at the plays he's made here, you're like, 'wow, that guy's made a lot of plays.'"

The key will be doing it on a more regular basis and staying on the field.

Shortly after Shazier's wrenching exit, Matakevich found himself on the sideline when the left shoulder problems he'd been battling all season simply became too much to bear. He spent most of the season wearing a harness during games to protect it after initially tweaking his labrum in Kansas City in mid-October.

When a Bengals player bumped into him in the third quarter on Dec. 4, the shoulder was cooked for good.

"They tried, even once they got it in I was like, 'Alright, let's go' and they were like 'You're not going anywhere,'" Matakevich said. "It was frustrating because those opportunities don't come around too often."

There's a small three-inch scar on the front of Matakevich's left shoulder Youth Trent Brown Jersey , a reminder of the procedure that took care of his labrum, his rotator cuff and his biceps in one fell swoop. The arm that he admits was "just hanging there" for much of last season is now fully healthy.

The front office is so encouraged by Matakevich's progress it opted not to use a draft pick on a linebacker for the first time since 2010.

General manager Kevin Colbert made it a point to bring up Matakevich's name unprompted in the aftermath and Matakevich heard the message loud and clear even as the team signed well-traveled veteran Jon Bostic as insurance.

"It makes you really believe in yourself because you know that the guys upstairs believe in you," Matakevich said.

There's no question that Matakevich has earned the belief of the guy he may line up alongside. In many ways he's following in Vince Williams' footsteps. A former sixth-round pick himself, Williams is now the elder statesmen in the linebackers' room thanks in part to his skill and work ethic. He sees the same things in Matakevich.

"He's smart. He understands the game. He understands what it takes to be a pro," Williams said. "He takes care of his body. He studies. That's really all you can expect from him right now."

Well that and maybe a haircut by the time the team reports to Saint Vincent College on July 25, when Tomlin is expected to shout "Dirty Red" early and often. That's fine by Matakevich.

"You can call me whatever you want," Matakevich said. "Just keep me around."

Looking for more big plays out of their safeties, the Bengals drafted one who learned to track balls in the air while playing center field on high school fields in neighboring Indiana.

Jessie Bates III even hit a few home runs, too.

Cincinnati traded down in the second round of the draft Friday and focused on a defense that slipped last season, taking Bates III from Wake Forest with the 46th overall pick. They kept at it in the third round, picking defensive end Sam Hubbard from Ohio State and linebacker Malik Jefferson from Texas.

They added to all three levels of the defense 鈥?line, linebacker and secondary 鈥?in a one-day flurry.

"We did a lot in the early part of the offseason with our offense," coach Marvin Lewis said. "We wanted to address the defense today. That was our plan, and we were able to stick to it."

First Authentic Customized Bengals Jerseys , they went for a safety who has man-to-man coverage skills and a knack for being around the ball. He honed that skill while playing center field at Snider High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He also was a point guard on the basketball team.

"Baseball is the same thing: track the ball off the bat," Bates said in a conference call. "It's the same thing as reading the quarterback, reading his eyes. Basketball helped with that as well, with the anticipation, being able to read things, knowing how other players are thinking."

The Bengals could see how it translated.

"Kids that play baseball have a phenomenal feel for looking over the shoulder and tracking balls either way, and he can do that," safeties coach Robert Livingston said.

The Bengals had only 11 interceptions last season, tied for 10th-fewest in the league. Their safeties combined for three. Cornerback Darqueze Dennard led the team with two.

It was part of an overall slide by the defense, which finished 18th in yards allowed and 30th against the run. Coordinator Paul Guenther left to join Jon Gruden with the Raiders, and Teryl Austin was hired as his replacement. Austin ran a similar defense in Detroit, so Cincinnati won't have to make a significant change in its schemes.

One thing that Austin wants is more turnovers out of his new defense. Bates is known for it. He had nine interceptions as a high school senior, and five 鈥?including two for touchdowns 鈥?at Wake Forest in 2016. He had one interception last season Byron Maxwell Color Rush Jersey , when he was in more man-to-man coverage.

Bates recalled his interview with the Bengals at the NFL combine, which included several math problems as part of the mental drills.

"I'm not sure what their philosophy was behind that, but I killed it," Bates said. "I don't know if it was about quick-thinking or what."

The Bengals have acquired three players from within driving distance 鈥?two from Ohio State 鈥?during the first two days of the draft.

They chose Ohio State center Billy Price in the first round on Thursday, a move to fix their biggest problem. The offense finished last in the league last season and has been the main focus of their offseason. Price grew up in eastern Ohio and was hoping to stay in-state in the pros.

They hit home with Hubbard, who grew up in Cincinnati and has regularly attended games at Paul Brown Stadium, including the Bengals' playoff loss to Pittsburgh in 2005 when Carson Palmer tore up his knee on his first pass attempt.

Five years ago, Hubbard had committed to playing lacrosse at Notre Dame when Ohio State coach Urban Meyer decided to recruit him. During the process, Lewis happened to be in Columbus talking to Meyer when Hubbard called the Ohio State coach. Meyer put Lewis on the phone, knowing the impact it would make.

"That was a great recruiting tool," Hubbard said.

Hubbard didn't think there was much chance he'd end up playing for his favorite NFL team.

"I watched every game the Bengals played," he said. "When they were blacked out on Sunday, I was really upset."

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