Category Archives: Sports

Tigers sign reliever Blaine Hardy for one year to avoid arbitration

The Tigers and left-handed reliever Blaine Hardy have agreed to a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration, the team announced Saturday.

The deal is worth about $750,000, a slight raise from last season. He made barely above the league minimum last year, about $520,000.

Hardy, 30, has been a member of the Tigers bullpen the last four years, though he’s coming off his rockiest season. In 2017, he posted a 5.94 ERA and a 1.770 WHIP, and spent much of the year trying to figure things out at Triple-A Toledo. He allowed seven homers, more than his first three years total.

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His first three seasons, he appeared in 129 games and posted a 3.00 ERA and 1.381 WHIP.

Hardy will enter spring training competing with the likes of Chad Bell, Jairo Labourt and Daniel Stumpf for the situational lefty spots.

Hardy is a former 22nd-round pick by the Kansas City Royals. He signed with the Tigers in April 2013.

The following arbitration-eligible players are still unsigned for 2018: shortstop Jose Iglesias; outfielder Nicholas Castellanos; relievers Alex Wilson, Bruce Rondon and Shane Greene; and catcher James McCann.

The Tigers waived three arbitration-eligible players last month: utility man Andrew Romine, outfielder Alex Presley and catcher Bryan Holaday.

Romine was claimed by the Seattle Mariners; Presley and Holaday cleared waivers and are now free agents.

Players with more than three but less than six years of Major League service time are eligible for arbitration. Hardy is among a small number of “Super 2” players who have less than three years of service but are still eligible for arbitration.

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Spurs’ Tony Parker set to return Monday against Dallas

The Spurs on Sunday upgraded Parker to questionable for tonight’s home game against Dallas, but Parker said via Facebook he would definitely play in the 7:30 game.

“Get ready #SpursNation, I’m coming back on tomorrow’s game against Dallas!” Parker posted. “I’m really excited to play again. It has been some tough months with a lot of recovery, patience and mental strength. I wanted to thank everyone who believed in my return. Fans, Family, Friends, my Recovery Team and the San Antonio Spurs, I couldn’t have done this without your support. Go Spurs!”

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It will be Parker’s first action since he underwent surgery May 5 to repair the torn left quadriceps he suffered in the fourth quarter of Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals.

It also means the 35-year-old Parker will beat 26-year-old Spurs All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard back to the court, a remarkable development considering the severity of Parker’s injury and his age.

The Spurs list Leonard, who hasn’t played yet this season because of right quadriceps tendinopathy, and rookie guard Derrick White (right wrist fracture) as out for the Dallas game.

With the Spurs’ 106-86 win over Charlotte on Saturday night, Leonard has sat out all 19 games this season, one more than he missed the previous two regular seasons combined.

Leonard has been sidelined since just before the start of the preseason. The ailment first showed up last season and has resulted in what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has termed a “difficult” rehabilitation for the two-time All-Star and two-time defensive player of the year.

Parker’s original timeline to return was January, but he changed it at the start of training camp to November.

“It will take some time because when I come back, I want to come back like I was playing in the playoffs,” he said.

Parker was averaging 15.9 points and 3.1 assists in the postseason at the time of his injury after averaging 10.1 and 4.5 during the regular season.

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Derrick Rose leaves Cavs to handle “personal matter”

The former league MVP, who has been trying to revive his career with the Cavaliers, left the team earlier this week to handle a personal matter. A team spokesman said Friday that Rose has been excused since Wednesday and there is no timetable for his return.

ESPN reported that Rose is taking personal time “to evaluate his future in the NBA.” A team source told ESPN that Rose’s numerous injuries are “taking a toll on him mentally.”

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Rose has played in just seven of Cleveland’s 18 games this season because of a left ankle injury the point guard sustained while driving to the basket on Oct. 20 in Milwaukee. He’s averaging 14.3 points per game in his first season with Cleveland.

Rose’s career has been slowed by knee injuries. He sat out the 2012-13 season in Chicago and played only 10 games the following year due to injury. Rose had been wearing a walking boot and undergoing treatment.

The 29-year-old had been excited about a new start with Cleveland after spending last season with the New York Knicks. He signed a one-year, $2.1 million free agent contract this summer with the Cavs and was expected to be the team’s backup point guard behind Isaiah Thomas.

Rose dropped some weight to pressure off his knee joints, and showed flashes of his former self before getting hurt. The ankle had been bothering him for nearly a month when Cavs coach Tyronn Lue announced last week that Rose would be sidelined for “at least” two more weeks.

Back in January, as a member of the New York Knicks, Rose mysteriously disappeared and did not show up to the team’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. He later explained that it was a “family issue” and had nothing to do with basketball.

Rose hasn’t played more than 66 games in a season since his NBA MVP campaign in 2010-11 due to various injuries, and his first and only season with the Knicks was ended by a torn meniscus in April.

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Zack Martin ruled out by Cowboys

Star guard Zack Martin, one of the foundation pieces of Dallas’ offensive line, has been taken off the field after he suffered a concussion in Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, USA Today’s Lindsay Jones reported.

Martin has been a rock for the Cowboys since being a first-round draft pick in 2014. He’s started every game for the team in each of his three seasons, making the Pro Bowl three times and All-Pro first team in 2014 and 2016.

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Pro Football Focus ranked Martin as the NFL’s best run-blocking guard with a grade of 89.4 last season. His all-around ability was a big reason Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott were able to succeed in 2016.

Martin was staggered on a run by Rod Smith but remained in the game for the next four plays. During Los Angeles’ next drive, he underwent cognitive tests and was replaced by Joe Looney. He was ruled out for the game after halftime.

Martin entered Thursday having played 661 of a possible 673 snaps on the season. He has not missed a game in his career.

It’s the latest blow to this Cowboys offense as the season wears on, recently being forced to move on without the services of elite running back Ezekiel Elliott. After several weeks of wondering whether the second-year runner would be suspended for domestic violence allegations, Elliott finally accepted the league’s six-game suspension earlier this month. He won’t return until Dec. 18. The Cowboys have gone 0-2 without Elliott, and currently remain scoreless against Los Angeles through 2.5 quarters Thursday.

Despite playing on Thursday, Martin won’t be afforded the common luxury of extra recovery time before his team’s next game. Dallas meets the Washington Redskins in seven days, taking the Thursday slot for the second consecutive week.

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Bears’ Leonard Floyd place on IR with knee injury

The Chicago Bears have promoted linebacker Howard Jones from their practice squad in the wake of Leonard Floyd’s injury. Chicago also signed wide receiver Demarcus Ayers to the practice squad and placed Floyd on injured reserve. The moves were announced on Thursday.

Floyd, the Bears’ first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, suffered a season-ending right knee injury in the Bears’ Week 11 loss to the Detroit Lions. He had 34 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two passes defensed and a fumble recovery in 10 starts this season.

On Monday, Bears coach John Fox hinted that Floyd’s move to injured reserve could be coming.

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“I think he’s going to miss some time,” Fox told reporters. “The exact extent of all the medical terms, I think it’s just fair to say he’s going to miss some time. They’re still evaluating it.”

“He’s one of our top players,” Fox said. “Obviously it’s disappointing. He was having a heck of a game. He was playing extremely well. It’s unfortunate, but it’s reality.”

Jones, 27, spent the past two seasons with the Buccaneers, appearing in 20 games with five starts and registering 16 tackles, five sacks and one forced fumble. He entered the NFL with the Steelers in 2014 as an undrafted free agent from Shepherd University.

“We’ve had him for a minute,” Fox said. “Really the biggest tape I’ve seen on him is when he was in Tampa in ’15. He had five sacks, played more of a defensive end. He was good on [special] teams. He has some pass rush ability. [Assistant coach] Brandon Staley has been working with him. He’s been on the practice squad, but he’s been schooled in what we’re doing and now he’s got his opportunity.”

The Bears face the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles at 1 p.m. Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

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Zlatan Sets New Champions League Record

Legendary Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic set a remarkable new record in the UEFA Champions League this week. The Swede made his first appearance for the Red Devils in Europe’s biggest club competition on Wednesday night.

Ibrahimovic, who recently returned from a long spell on the sidelines, has now become the first player ever to appear in the Champions League with seven different clubs, according to the Daily Star.

The striker had previously represented Ajax Amsterdam, Juventus, Inter Milan, FC Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain in the UCL. His 16 minute cameo did not, however, go as planned as United lost their clash against Basel 1-0 away from home.

Ibrahimovic enjoyed a fine 2016/17 season under Jose Mourinho at United, scoring 28 goals and assisting 10 further strikes in 46 appearances.

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There were fears for the forward’s career when he sustained a serious knee problem in Manchester United’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Celta Vigo last season, but his return has been incredible.

In his words “lions heal faster than humans”, but whatever you think of Zlatan you have to pay tribute to the incredible record he set when he came off the bench for Manchester United in 74th minute of their match in Basel on Wednesday night.

United’s defeat away to Basel denied them the chance to qualify for the last 16 of the competition. They will have to wait another fortnight before knowing whether or not they will take their place in the draw for the knockout stages.

Ibrahimovic made his Champions League debut on Sept. 17, 2002, for Ajax against Lyon, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win. In total he has now scored 48 goals in the competition with 38 of them coming during the group stage.

Although he has won league titles in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France he has not won the Champions League. The furthest that he has advanced in the tournament was 2009-10, when he reached the semifinals with Barcelona but lost to Inter, one season after he left the Italian side.

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Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski missed practice

The New England Patriots were without Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski on Wednesday ahead of their Week 12 game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium, according to reporters on the scene.

During the media portion of practice, Brady and Gronk were among the six absent, including wide receiver Chris Hogan, safety Patrick Chung and offensive linemen Marcus Cannon and David Andrews. Hogan (shoulder), Cannon (ankle) and Andrews (illness) did not play in Week 11.

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While Chung was shaken up during New England’s 33-8 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, neither Brady nor Gronkowski appeared to suffer any injuries – they might just get the veterans’ treatment and receive an additional off day.

Brady was originally scheduled to speak to the media today, but on late Tuesday that was moved to Friday. Gronkowski was also scheduled to speak on Wednesday, but the team said that won’t happen now.

The team worked in helmets but no pads in preparation for Sunday’s home game against the Miami Dolphins.

Brady has started all 10 games this season for AFC East-leading New England (8-2). He also has yet to miss a game because of an injury since 2008, when he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opening game. The 40-year-old has thrown for 3,146 yards, 22 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season.

New England has won six games in a row and hosts Miami on Sunday.

The New England Patriots have another practice session which will take place on Thursday. As of this report, they’re listed as huge favorites of 16 points on the spread for Sunday’s game versus Miami.

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Chiefs sign veteran CB Darrelle Revis

The Kansas City Chiefs announced Wednesday the club signed free agent cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Revis has played in 140 games in 10 NFL seasons with the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the New England Patriots. He is a seven-time Pro Bowler and won Super Bowl XLIX with the Patriots.

This is obviously a high-profile move for Kansas City. Even though Darrelle Revis is not the same elite level player he once was, this is a significant move. The Chiefs secondary has been missing a veteran at the cornerback position. They have that now with a guy who already knows Bob Sutton’s defense.

“Darrelle is a proven player in this league and we are excited to add him to our secondary,” Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said in a team statement. “He’s had a Hall of Fame career and his leadership and playing experience will be valuable to our defense.”

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“We’re excited to add Darrelle to the roster,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “He has experience and familiarity with Bob Sutton’s defense, he’s a team guy and we feel like a player of his caliber can help our football team.”

The Jets cut Revis in March and he went unsigned this offseason. He was previously linked to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers.

He parlayed that into a five-year, $39 million contract to return to the Jets, but a wrist injury slowed him down a couple of years ago. Revis struggled most of last season, looking as if the 32-year-old had lost a step for the first time, and the Jets made the decision to let him go.

He’s spent the past summer and fall keeping in shape.

“You’re talking about one of the all-time great players at that position,” Reid said. “It’s just a matter of getting him back in the swing of things and seeing where he’s at. He’s excited to be here. We are excited to have him. I would think his role would be to step in and be a starter.”

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Brad Ausmus hired by Los Angeles Angels

Brad Ausmus has found a major league job, though not in the managerial seat. The Tigers’ skipper of the last four seasons will spend the 2018 season with the Angels as a special assistant to general manager Billy Eppler, as according to Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

Ausmus previously stated his desire to take a year off from managing, but this new job is in the front office and in the state of California, where Ausmus lives. Rockies manager Bud Black also accepted a front office job with the Angels in 2016 when he was between managerial positions.

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Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.

The Tigers opted not to offer Ausmus a new contract after this season. He went 314-332 in four seasons with the Tigers, making one playoff appearance in 2014.

Ausmus interviewed for the Boston Red Sox managerial job that ultimately went to Joey Cora, but he said earlier that he wouldn’t object to spending a year away from the dugout.

His youngest daughter is a senior in high school.

“I missed my last daughter’s senior year in high school. So I’ll be around a little bit more for that,” he said.

Bud Black served as a special assistant for the Angels in 2016 after he was let go by the Padres. He was hired the next year to manage the Colorado Rockies.

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Raiders fire defensive coordinator Ken Norton

The Oakland Raiders defense has been a mess for some time now, and on Tuesday, head Jack Del Rio fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. This marked Norton’s third season as Raiders DC.

Prior to joining the Raiders, Norton was linebackers coach for the Seattle Seahawks from 2010 to 2014. From 2011 to 2013, the team’s defensive quality control coach was Robert Saleh. After 2013, Saleh spent three seasons as linebackers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, before joining Kyle Shanahan with the San Francisco 49ers as defensive coordinator.

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“After careful thought, I have made a difficult decision to part ways with Ken Norton, Jr. as defensive coordinator,” said Head Coach Jack Del Rio. “I have the utmost respect for Ken as a person and as a coach, but I feel that moving assistant Head Coach John Pagano into the play-calling role will best utilize his wealth of experience. I appreciate Ken’s passion and commitment to the Raiders since coming aboard and wish him the best going forward.”

The firing comes after future Hall of Famer Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense carved up the defense, something that has become a familiar scene for Raider Nation. The Raiders are 21st in the NFL in points allowed, while also 26th in yards allowed.

The Raiders have struggled to force turnovers this year, causing only six all season, none of which are an interception.

John Pagano will take over as co-ordinator leading into this week’s home game against the Denver Broncos.

Pagano’s first game as defensive play-caller will be Sunday against the Broncos (3-7), who fired offensive co-ordinator Mike McCoy on Monday and replaced him with Musgrave, who had been quarterbacks coach.

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