All posts by phnseo

Angels’ JC Ramirez with torn UCL

Los Angeles Angels starter JC Ramirez will miss the rest of this season because of a torn ulnar collateral ligament, and Tommy John surgery has been recommended for the right-hander.

Ramirez (0-2, 9.45 ERA) was put on the 10-day disabled list Sunday, a day after the 29-year-old pitcher felt tightness in his forearm in his second start this season.

Assuming Ramírez opts for surgery, he would be out until the middle of the 2019 season, with the normal rehab time at 12-16 months.

While Ramírez will be out, Andrew Heaney said that he’s ready to return to the rotation after missing the start of the season with elbow inflammation. Matt Shoemaker was still undergoing tests on his forearm injury, so the Angels still don’t have clarity on how long he’ll be out.

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The injuries will allow prospect Jaime Barría to make his major league debut, starting Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers.

As for Ramírez, the news hit hard for an Angels team that has been beset by a raft of pitching injuries in the past three years.

“That’s a shame,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “This guy worked very, very hard. It’s definitely knocks the wind out of you when you see a guy who works as hard as he has and he has to miss the whole year.

“But in the big picture, he’s learned so much about himself and about pitching in the last season and up until the injury. Hopefully he’ll pick it right up next year at this time and be better for it.”

Ramírez was a revelation for the Angels a year ago, when they converted him from a reliever to a starter. He was the team’s best starter for much of the season. He threw 147-1/3 innings in the majors last year, which was nearly twice what he had thrown the year before.

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Titans agree deal with DT Bennie Logan

The Tennessee Titans have signed veteran defensive tackle Bennie Logan to a one-year, $4 million deal with an additional $1 million in potential incentives, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports.

Logan, 28, visited the Titans last week and also garnered some interest from the Seattle Seahawks during free agency. He played 15 games (12 starts) for the Kansas City Chiefs last season, recording 52 total tackles (which led all Chiefs linemen), 10 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks.

Prior to that one-year stint in Kansas City, he spent his first four years in the league with the Philadelphia Eagles. In his career, Logan has 218 career tackles, with seven sacks and three forced fumbles.

Logan fills a pressing need in terms of some added depth for the Titans, who found themselves a bit short up front following the loss of both Sylvester Williams and Karl Klug this offseason.

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Along with the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams, the Titans were previously in serious contention for Ndamukong Suh’s signature. However, the star defensive tackle opted to sign with the Rams.

Logan played collegiately at LSU. He was drafted by the Eagles in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. At LSU, Logan earned second-team All-SEC honors and was honored by donning the #18 jersey for the Tigers – a number presented to players who demonstrate success both on and off the field and carry themselves with a selfless attitude.

Logan was ranked 86th on Around The NFL’s list of top 101 free agents and was the second-best remaining defensive lineman available behind former Colts defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

In Tennessee, Logan replaces recently released Sylvester Williams and will be paired by three-time All-Pro defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, who has racked up 39 career sacks in seven seasons with the Titans.

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Cameron Meredith signs 2 year deal with Saints

The Saints are signing Bears restricted-free-agent wide receiver Cameron Meredith to an offer sheet, ESPN reported Friday.

The Bears now must decide whether they will match the offer. NFL Network reported it’s a two-year deal worth $9.6 million, with $5.4 million guaranteed.

The Bears gave Meredith, 25, an original-round tender worth $1.907 million and must decide if the extra money is worth what they would get in production from him coming off the knee injury.

If they match the offer within five days, Meredith would be theirs on the two-year contract. The Saints wouldn’t owe the Bears draft-pick compensation if the Bears don’t match it.

“We know we’ll have a decision to make if an offer comes in, and we’re prepared for that,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said last week at the NFL’s annual meetings. “I’m not surprised. I think teams are probably weighing the productivity he has had in the past along with the injury he sustained.”

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In 2016, Meredith had 66 receptions and 888 receiving yards while catching four touchdowns — when Saints wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson was with the Bears. Heading into last season, he was the Bears’ top wide receiver, but a torn ACL in the team’s third preseason game ended his year before it even began.

Meredith, who played at St. Joseph High School and Illinois State, signed with the Bears in 2015 as an undrafted free agent. He had 11 catches for 120 yards as a rookie.

A 6-foot-3, 207-pounder out of Illinois State, Meredith would address a wide receiver position that Sean Payton called a “must” at the owner’s meetings. Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr. are coming off of big years, but Willie Snead is something of a wild card after a down season and a restricted free agent himself.

Last month, the Green Bay Packers signed cornerback Kyle Fuller to an offer sheet, but the Bears matched the four-year, $56 million deal.

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Brewers’ Corey knebel with hamstring injury

As if losing 8-0 to the Cubs wasn’t bad enough for the Brewers, it looks like the team has potentially lost All-Star closer Corey Knebel for an extended period of time.

Getting some work in after not pitching in the three games against St. Louis, Knebel hit Javier Baez with a pitch before surrendering a two-run home run to Jason Heyward.

After striking out Ian Happ, Knebel collapsed on the mound after delivering a pitch to Tommy La Stella.

The good news is Knebel did not re-injure his left knee, which gave him some trouble in spring training. The bad news is Knebel couldn’t put any weight on his leg at all. The Brewers have already said Knebel is going on the disabled list.

Knebel hadn’t pitched since last Friday, and going more than five days between appearances is really pushing it for a reliever. Getting your closer work in a blowout game is not ideal, but neither is bringing a rusty closer into a close game if he goes too long between appearances.

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With Knebel sidelined, it’ll be interesting to see how the upstart Brewers and manager Craig Counsel handle the ninth inning. Back in the day, they would move the flame-throwing Josh Hader into the closer’s role because he’s their best reliever. Hader is too valuable as a multi-inning setup guy, however, and the Brewers may simply keep him there.

Jacob Barnes and Matt Albers are the other potential closer candidates while Knebel is out. Barnes, like Hader, can go multiple innings and Counsel may not want to remove that piece from his setup crew. The veteran Albers, who is a true one-inning reliever, may be the best bet for save opportunities for the time being.

Several Brewers indicated that Knebel was still in pain well after the game was over. He had 39 saves last season as Milwaukee made a run at the division before fading late in the season. This year, Knebel had pitched two innings, earning a save, before going down on Thursday.

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Broncos sign Marquette king

Shortly after reports surfaced that Marquette King was in Denver, the former Raiders punter agreed to a three-year deal with the Broncos.

The Raiders cut King last week, reportedly because new coach Jon Gruden had personality issues with King.

King, 29, spent five full seasons in Oakland. He has a career average of 46.8 yards per punt and a net average of 40.8. He is the only player in NFL history with at least a 40-yard net average in each of his first five seasons.

Last season, King had a career-best 42.7-yard net average. For his career, King has 156 punts The Raiders cut King last week, reportedly because new coach Jon Gruden had personality issues with King.

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King, 29, spent five full seasons in Oakland. He has a career average of 46.8 yards per punt and a net average of 40.8. He is the only player in NFL history with at least a 40-yard net average in each of his first five seasons.

Last season, King had a career-best 42.7-yard net average. For his career, King has 156 punts inside the 20 and only 33 touchbacks.

King (6-0, 195 pounds) signed with Oakland as a college free agent out of Fort Valley State following the 2012 NFL Draft. He emerged as the Raiders’ starting punter in 2013 and held the job for five seasons.

“The people that work at the Broncos encourage you to be yourself,” King told reporters, per The Denver Post. “That’s cool. Players play better when they can be themselves and let their hair down.”

The Broncos rode Riley Dixon the past two seasons. The 24-year-old averaged 45.6 yards per punt and a 40.2 net average with 23 punts downed inside the 20 and two blocked kicks in 2017.

Denver headed into the offseason determined to upgrade its disastrous special teams play from a year ago. King’s addition will aid that cause.

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Nationals agree 2 year extension with GM Rizzo

The Washington Nationals announced Thursday that they agreed to a contract extension with president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo. According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, it is a two-year deal.

The 57-year-old Rizzo succeeded Jim Bowden as the Nats’ GM in 2009, and he was named team president in 2013.

Rizzo is entering his ninth season as the teams GM, where he has turned the Nats into legit World Series contenders, winning four division titles in the last six years under his guidance.

Washington has lost 3-2 in the NLDS the past two seasons. But despite their playoff struggles, the Nationals are oozing with talent, and much of that has to do with Rizzo’s drafting, trading and signing ability.

“Mike’s commitment to our shared goal of bringing a World Championship to Washington, D.C. makes this an exciting day for our family and the Washington Nationals,” said Theodore N. Lerner, Managing Principal Owner of the Washington Nationals. “Mike and his staff have built quite a team — one that brings excitement to our ballpark every night and gives our city something to be proud of.”

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“I’m proud of the progress we’ve made in Washington, DC, building the Nationals from nearly expansion status into one of the winningest clubs in Major League Baseball,” Rizzo said. “I appreciate the Lerner family for giving me the continued opportunity to see what we can accomplish in the future.”

Rizzo’s uncertain future was one of the biggest storylines for Washington entering the 2018 season. After some initial talks began this spring, the Lerner family got an extension done before the team’s first home game.

When the Lerner family became the principal owners of the Nationals in 2006, Rizzo was their first significant hire — as an assistant general manager. He replaced Jim Bowden as the general manager in ’09, and he was eventually promoted to the president of baseball operations in ’13. Washington owns a .572 winning percentage since ’12, second only to the Los Angeles Dodgers (.574) during that span. Rizzo has drafted stars such as Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon, traded for Trea Turner and Adam Eaton, and signed prominent free agents such as Max Scherzer and Daniel Murphy to build the Nationals into one of the NL’s best teams.

The Nats are once again the favorites to win the NL East after a hot start to the season at 4-2, but perhaps this could be their last chance at a World Series championship with their current core. Harper, Murphy and Gio Gonzalez are all eligible to be free agents at the end of the season.

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Tyronn Lue to return coaching Thursday against Wizards

Tyronn Lue will return to the sideline and resume coaching the Cavaliers on Thursday when they host the Washington Wizards, multiple sources told ESPN.

Lue missed the Cavs’ last nine games because of chest pains, lack of sleep and other health complications. Cleveland went 8-1 in that span, guided by associate head coach Larry Drew.

Lue has been around the team for the last “five or six days,” according to Drew, ramping up toward a full return.

The Cavaliers (48-30) are 8-1 since Lue was forced to step back from the team. After a win over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, associate head coach Larry Drew said he doesn’t expect any “feeling out” period to occur when Lue returns.

”I can see that the guys have already embraced him,” Drew said. ”So it’s just a matter of him being more hands on now once he does get back. From what I’ve seen, it looks like everybody has rolled their sleeves up and just waiting for the day he comes back so they can get to work.”

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While it’s good news for the Cavaliers that they can regain some normalcy with their head coach returning, it’s also a great sign for Lue on a personal level that he feels healthy enough to get back into the grind of the NBA schedule. Hopefully he has his health problems under control and can stay with the team for the remainder of the season.

Lue, stating the obvious, told cleveland.com that Drew has done “a hell of a job.” Drew also had the benefit of a red-hot LeBron James and the return of Kevin Love, which would help any coach.

“He wants us to play fast as well,” said Rodney Hood, comparing Lue to Drew. “I think it will be the same. We’re very happy to having him back. We look forward to having him back, having his voice back in the locker room.”

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Steelers re-sign running back Stevan Ridley

Over the past several years, running back Stevan Ridley has found himself bouncing around from roster to roster across the National Football League. To start 2018, it appears as though he’ll have some continuity.

According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Ridley has re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who he finished the 2017 season with after spending time on the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings. Ridley signed with the Steelers in December of 2017, and played 39 offensive snaps in the team’s final two regular season games against the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns.

Re-signing Ridley gives the Steelers depth at running back, which they have enjoyed with Le’Veon Bell, former Pitt Panthers star James Conner, and Fitzgerald Toussaint. Ridley is the fifth running back the Steelers have on their roster, joining the three aforementioned and James Summers.

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For his NFL career, Ridley has 714 carries for 3,022 yards and 23 touchdowns to go with 27 receptions for 144 yards. Most of his touchdowns came during 2012, a banner year in which he recorded a total of 12. Ridley has had problems with fumbles during his career (He has nine fumbles with six lost), but has not lost the football since his last season with the Patriots in 2014.

After the 2015 season, Ridley began bouncing about different rosters. First, he signed with the Indianapolis Colts in April of 2016, but was released by the team that August. He then spent a week with the Detroit Lions before being released, and then spent a month with the Atlanta Falcons. Entering the 2017 season, Ridley competed for a spot on the Denver Broncos’ roster, but did not make the final cut. He then spent several days in October with the Minnesota Vikings before being released by them as well. Ridley did not earn a spot on another roster until the Steelers added him towards the end of the season.

Ridley hasn’t been a full-time player since 2012 with the New England Patriots when he totaled 1,263 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. However, he has played for four teams in his seven-year career and should be a solid contributor in 2018.

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Canelo Alvarez withdraws May 5 bout with GGG

Canelo Alvarez withdrew from his scheduled May 5 rematch with Gennady Golovkin on Tuesday in the wake of two positive doping tests and in anticipation of a ban from the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Alvarez, whose bout with Golovkin was set to be one of the biggest boxing matches of 2018, showed traces of the prohibited steroid clenbuterol in his system in February. He claimed the results were caused by eating tainted Mexican meat during a training stint in Guadalajara.

Alvarez expressed his frustration at the situation, but accepted that the withdrawal was necessary.

“I am sad and feel powerless that this fight cannot happen now,” Alvarez told reporters. “I have nothing to hide. I want to be transparent in this process. I will do whatever I need to do to demonstrate I have never (deliberately) taken this substance.

“I have always operated as a clean fighter. I have always taken clean substances. I respect the sport unconditionally and would never do anything to tarnish something I have worked so hard for and given so many sacrifices for.

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Alvarez hopes that by taking pre-emptive action and by appearing to pay respect to the commission, his ban will be capped at six months, a provision permissible under Nevada rules.

If that is the case, and given that a ban would be backdated to the date of the positive test, a September showdown with Golovkin would still be a viable option. September’s Mexican Independence Day weekend, along with the Cinco De Mayo weekend in May, are considered to be the two most significant fight dates in boxing.

Golovkin, who has remained in training, wants to fight on May 5, and it’s expected his promoter, Tom Loeffler, will select a replacement opponent for Alvarez within the coming days, with Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan and former 154-pound champion Demetrius Andrade contending for the pay-per-view opening.

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Cardinals sign WR Brice Butler in 2 year deal

Former Cowboys wide receiver Brice Butler is signing a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.

Butler was least likely to return of all of Dallas’ free agents, according to SportsDay’s Kate Hairopoulos.

“During a series of interviews after the season, Butler made it clear that he felt he deserved more opportunities among the Cowboys receivers and that he wants to be a starter going forward,” Hairopoulos said on Feb. 9.

“While Butler pointed to a passing game that certainly had its problems last season, he hasn’t been consistently reliable when the Cowboys did turn to him in key moments during his tenure.

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Butler spent the last three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and recorded a career-best 2017 with 15 receptions (24 targets) for 317 yards, including three touchdowns. Overall, the 28-year-old receiver has appeared in 61 games, with 73 catches for 1,177 yards and eight touchdowns.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Butler will help fill in a void at wide receiver.

While Larry Fitzgerald returns for his 15th season and speedster J.J. Nelson prepares for his fourth year, Arizona lost veterans John Brown and Jaron Brown in free agency. Chad Williams, a third-round draft pick in 2017 who played sparingly, also returns, and the Cardinals added some depth when they claimed former Texan Cobi Hamilton off waivers.

At 6’3” and 220 pounds, Butler is another big receiver for the Cardinals to try and mold into a breakout player. Keep an eye out for the team to possibly pick up more wide receiver help in free agency and/or the NFL Draft at the end of the month.

“I think we are trying to improve each area of our football team,” coach Steve Wilks said at the recent NFL owners meetings. “Most importantly, we did lose some guys in the receiving corps, and that’s something we have talked about in free agency, as well as address in the draft.

“I think guys can come in and perform and play at a high level. I think it’s what situation they come into and what you put on them.”

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