All posts by phnseo

Brewers bring in Steve Karsay as bullpen coach

The Brewers have rounded out manager Craig Counsell’s staff, bringing in Steve Karsay as bullpen coach to work with new pitching coach Chris Hook.

Hook was promoted from pitching coordinator following 11 seasons in Milwaukee’s minor league system as an instructor. He’ll be joined by Karsay, an 11-year major league veteran who spent the past three seasons as pitching coach at Triple-A Columbus in Cleveland’s system. Karsay just finished his third season at the pitching coach at Class AAA Columbus and his seventh as a coach in the organization. Karsay pitched for the Indians from 1998 to 2001 before being traded to Atlanta for John Rocker.

Karsay, before his three-year stay at Columbus, was the pitching coach for Tribe affiliates in the Arizona Rookie League, Class A Lake County and Class A Carolina. He played a role in the development of Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber, who filled out the backend of the rotation last season.

Milwaukee also added Andy Haines as hitting coach. Haines spent one season as assistant hitting coach for the NL Central-rival Chicago Cubs. He was the Cubs’ minor league hitting coordinator from 2016-17.

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Haines also spent eight seasons with the Marlins organization, where he managed Brewers outfielder and NL MVP Christian Yelich in the minors.

General manager David Stearns also announced Jason Lane would return as assistant hitting coach. Scott Barringer was named head athletic trainer.

“We are happy to add Andy, Chris, Steve and Scott to our major league field staff,” general manager David Stearns said. “All four bring a high degree of skill and dedication to their respective positions and we look forward to their contributions to our team in 2019 and beyond.”

Karsay, 46, pitched in the majors from 1993-2005 with Oakland, Cleveland, Atlanta, the New York Yankees and Texas, appearing in 357 games (40 starts) and going 32-39 with a 4.01 ERA and 41 saves.

The rest of the coaching staff remains intact, with bench coach Pat Murphy, third base coach Ed Sedar, first base coach Carlos Subero and Lane.

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Cowboys’ Geoff Swaim needs wrist surgery

Cowboys starting tight end Geoff Swaim fractured a bone in his wrist in Sunday’s win over Atlanta and will require surgery.

Swaim will miss Thursday’s game against Washington and more time, but coach Jason Garrett did not rule out Swaim for the rest of the season.

In the first season since 15-year veteran tight end Jason Witten retired, the Cowboys have been playing with four tight ends active on game days. But the loss of Swaim is a blow, as he’s been the most consistent and has been playing well.

Swaim leads the group with 26 catches for 242 yards and a touchdown. None of the other tight ends have more than four catches. Swaim is also considered the best blocker.

Swam has played 514 offensive snaps this season, by far the most of the tight ends. Jarwin has played 157, Gathers 85 and Schultz 64.

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Again, while it would appear the tight end Swaim’s season is over, the Cowboys are not yet saying that officially, having yet to rule Swaim out for more than just Thursday’s game against the Redskins. Swaim made three catches for 25 yards in the season’s first meeting with Washington, but did not play in the team’s loss to Tennessee because of that knee injury. … and then rebounded to serve as a contributor in the team’s pair of upset road wins, at Philadelphia and at Atlanta. For certain coach Jason Garrett, QB Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense now need to find a way to get some level of production from the youngsters Schultz, Jarwin and Gathers, even though the three have combined for only nine catches for 121 yards all season.

The Cowboys have had two players return from in-season surgeries this season in defensive end Randy Gregory and left guard Connor Williams, who both missed one game because of knee surgery.

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Pelicans Elfrid Payton likely out 6 weeks with fractured finger

New Orleans Pelicans point guard Elfrid Payton is expected to be out of commission for six weeks following a surgical procedure to repair his fractured left pinky finger, according to an official release from the team.

Payton suffered his finger injury in a game against the New York Knicks on Nov. 16. According to the team, he’ll undergo surgery Tuesday to repair the fracture.

Payton missed nine games earlier this season due to an ankle sprain. He worked hard to recover. However, his return to the Pelicans lineup was short-lived, as his pinky fracture occurred on the night he returned.

Returning to his hometown of New Orleans on a one-year, $3 million deal after four seasons on the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns — neither of whom were willing to match his salary in restricted free agency — the 24-year-old former lottery pick submitted a triple-double against the Houston Rockets in his Pelicans debut.

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Payton was expected to be the replacement for Rajon Rondo in being the distributor and playmaker, unfortunately, he has been on the sidelines for much of the early part of the season, and now will likely be gone until the new year.

In his six appearances with the Pelicans this season, Payton has racked up averages of 9.7 points on 47.1 percent shooting from the field (42.9 percent from beyond the arc), 5.3 assists, 5.2 rebounds and just under one steal (0.8) in 25.3 minutes per outing.

With Payton out of the lineup for a while, Frank Jackson, Tim Frazier and Wes Johnson will likely see an uptick in minutes.

The Pelicans were 3-6 in his previous absence, falling out of the early season playoff picture. They won Saturday’s game against the Denver Nuggets to improve to 9-7 this season, within 1.5 games of both the third and 13th seeds in the crowded West.

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Redskins QB Alex Smith with two broken bones in leg

Redskins quarterback Alex Smith left Sunday’s (Nov. 18) game against the Houston Texans on a stretcher after suffering a gruesome leg injury.

Midway through the third quarter, Alex Smith dropped back in the pocket to attempt to convert a third-and-nine scenario. However, the Redskins pass protection was quickly breached by the blitz from Houston and two of the NFL’s best pass rushers, J.J. Watt and Kareem Jackson, converged on Smith, sacking him for a big loss. While this seems that a routine football play, what happened during the sack resulted in a career-changing moment for the veteran quarterback.

After Washington initially classified it as an ankle injury, head coach Jay Gruden confirmed after the game that Smith had broken his tibia and fibula and would need immediate surgery.

“When you have an injury like that, it’s more heart-breaking than it is physical. Just breaks your heart. It’s just hard to watch that happen to any athlete.”

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The Redskins only have one other quarterback on the roster in Colt McCoy, who threw a touchdown pass on the ensuing series after replacing Smith.
Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann, who was in attendance, tweeted that Smith’s injury occurred 33 years to the day that he broke his leg in a Monday night game on Nov. 18, 1985, vs. the New York Giants. Theismann, who was 35 at the time, never played again.

The Redskins traded for Smith in the offseason, sending a third-round pick and corner Kendall Fuller to Kansas City.

McCoy, who has not started since Week 15 of the 2014 season, finished 6-of-12 passing for 54 yards and a touchdown as well as 35 rushing yards on five carries, but the Redskins’ comeback attempt ended when Dustin Hopkins’ 63-yard field goal attempt came up a few yards short.

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Lebron James passes Wilt Chamberlain for fifth on NBA’s all-time scoring list

LeBron James moved past Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA’s all-time scoring list Wednesday night — and he did it in spectacular fashion.

James took over fifth place on the list with 31,425 career points while scoring a season-high 44 and leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 126-117 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. He just missed recording his second triple-double of the season with 10 rebounds and nine assists and also had three blocks.

It was the most points by a Lakers player since Kobe Bryant scored 60 in the final game of his career in April 2016.

He was nearly flawless from long range, making 5-of-6 3-point attempts and shooting 13-of-19 overall from the floor.

James scored the history-making basket with 3:55 left in the game when he made a 12-foot jumper while being fouled by Jake Layman, and then made the free throw.

Chamberlain, the Hall of Fame center who starred for the Lakers from 1968-73, scored 31,419 points during his 14-year career. James is now chasing Michael Jordan, who is fourth on the scoring list with 32,292 points.

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During his postgame remarks, James paid tribute to Chamberlain.

“One if the most dominant forces we ever had in our game, along with Shaq,” said James. “One of the greatest Lakers to ever play the game. One of the greatest scorers and rebounders ever. … Just dominant in all walks of life, not just his basketball career.”

“I don’t know how I feel right now,” he said. “I’m happy we were able to get another win. But anytime my name is mentioned with some of the greats that have played this game, you know I always think back to my hometown (Akron) and where I come from and how far I’ve come. So that’s it for me.”

Lakers coach Luke Walton, who was drafted the same year as James, marveled at the 16-year veteran’s feat.

“To do what he did and to get on the top five of that list and play basketball the way he plays basketball, with how unselfish he is and how great he is with getting his teammates involved, is something that should be praised and talked about and I’m sure it will be,” Walton said. “I’m doing my part in congratulating one of the all-time greats on a great accomplishment.”

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Catcher Jeff Mathis agrees to two-year deal with Rangers

The Rangers are in agreement with veteran catcher Jeff Mathis on a two-year deal, according to a Thursday night report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal

Mathis, who was selected in the first round of the 2001 MLB Draft, will be heading into his 15th big-league season next year, and he’ll be in position to play a 16th with the second year being tacked onto the deal. The 36-year-old Mathis is very possibly the longest-tenured bad hitter of the 21st century, having posted a .198/.258/.306 slash line (.564 OPS) with 48 homers over 2,694 career plate appearances. He’s ultra-valuable on defense, however — so much there’s a strong argument to be made that he’s the best defensive backstop in the majors.

Mathis was part of a three-way catcher rotation for most of the last two seasons with the Diamondbacks, so it’ll be interesting to see how he’s utilized in Texas. Despite his longevity, he’s never played in more than 94 games in a season, so one would think that Texas will at least need another platoon-type catcher, if not a legitimate starter for Mathis to back up.

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The Rangers will be undergoing a complete makeover behind the plate heading into 2019, as they declined their option on starter Robinson Chirinos (thus forcing him to play in the Japan All-Star Series in the uniform of a team that just cut him) and outrighted backup Carlos Perez off the 40-man roster earlier this month. Texas has lacked a long-term starting catcher since Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez left via free agency after the 2002 season; he was the last Rangers catcher to make three straight Opening Day starts.

While the team should look to get younger talent, you can’t turn down the opportunity to sign a stellar player like Mathis. They’re going to need everything they can get.

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Colts sign CB Jalen Collins to practice squad

The Indianapolis Colts today signed cornerback Jalen Collins to the practice squad and released quarterback Phillip Walker from the practice squad.

Collins, 6-1, 203 pounds, has played in 24 career games (eight starts) with the Atlanta Falcons (2015-17) and has compiled 43 tackles (40 solo), 2.0 tackles for loss, two interceptions and 10 passes defensed. He started three postseason contests for the Falcons and registered 18 tackles (16 solo), two passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Collins was originally selected by Atlanta in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft out of LSU.

Walker, 5-11, 216 pounds, has had four stints on Indianapolis’ practice squad this season. He participated in the team’s 2018 offseason program and training camp before being waived during final cuts on September 1. Walker signed a reserve/future contract with the Colts on January 1, 2018. He spent the entire 2017 season on Indianapolis’ practice squad. Walker was originally signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent on May 4, 2017.

Suspended four times before he could finish his third NFL season, Collins nearly washed out of the league before his 25th birthday.

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“It’s been a long, long time being out,” he said Thursday before his first practice with the team. “I took some time for myself, to get my head in a good place, and get the things I was struggling with behind me.”

Of those things, all Collins would allow was this: “I just let things get out of control. It took me too long to get everything under control.”

It was an obvious area of need, and though Collins likely won’t be ready to play for a few weeks, he could offer depth in December.

“The only way I know how to play football is physical – hitting guys, and trying to be in the mix,” he said.

The Colts’ thinking: it’s worth the risk. In Collins they see a player with loads of potential who, if given the right system to develop and mature in, could pay off down the line. If it backfires, the Colts aren’t crippled.

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Lions place guard T.J Lang on IR

The Detroit Lions have allowed 16 sacks in the past two games — and this week isn’t off to a good start either for the offensive line.

The Lions put guard T.J. Lang on injured reserve with a neck injury Wednesday. Lang has missed three games this season, including last weekend’s loss at Chicago. Detroit signed cornerback Mike Ford to the active roster from the practice squad and signed safety David Jones to the practice squad.

“He was a good veteran leader,” center Graham Glasgow said. “All of us will need to pick up the slack a little bit on that end.”

The 31-year-old Lang is in his second season with the Lions after playing eight with Green Bay. Lang signed a three-year deal with Detroit before the 2017 season, returning to his home area. He was born in Royal Oak, went to high school in Bloomfield Hills and went to college at Eastern Michigan.

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Lang hasn’t played a full 16 games since the 2014 season, but he’s also never played fewer than 12 in his career. That obviously changes now. Lang has also dealt with back, concussion and hip problems this year.

Guard Kenny Wiggins, who signed with the Lions in March, has started the three games that Lang missed so far this season.

“Same way I always approach it,” Wiggins said. “I’ve been preparing all year like I was a starter. Now it’s just how it’s going to be now from now on.”

The Lions have invested a lot in recent years to try to improve their offensive line. Detroit has used four of its past seven first-round draft picks on offensive linemen. Two of those selections — Taylor Decker and rookie Frank Ragnow — have started every game for the Lions this season.

Lang, however, has been limited, and his future seems uncertain. Detroit’s running game has improved a bit, but the sack totals have stood out over the past two weeks. The Lions have fallen behind early, which makes it harder for them to take advantage of their running game.

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Jimmy Butler moves to Philly

Jimmy Butler is in Philadelphia, and upon his arrival he immediately began talking about winning a championship.

“The Process” has a whole new meaning.

Butler, a four-time All-Star forward, is now officially a member of the 76ers, after they and the Minnesota Timberwolves received approval from the league office Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) on the terms of the trade that was agreed to over the weekend.

The deal gives Philadelphia a legitimate “Big Three,” with Butler joining All-Star forward Joel Embiid and reigning rookie of the year Ben Simmons on a team that already was expected to be a major Eastern Conference contender this season. Butler flew into Philadelphia on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) and told NBC Sports Philadelphia that fans should expect “a guy who wants to win.”

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“We want a championship,” Butler said as he signed a couple of autographs before he was driven away from the airport. “And I think the core group of guys that we have will figure out a way to get it done.”

Butler and Justin Patton were traded to Philadelphia for Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Jerryd Bayless, along with a 2022 second-round draft pick.

The 76ers won 47 games in a three-season span between 2013 and 2016. They won 28 in 2016-17, made the jump to the playoffs at 52-30 last season and now will be considered an even more serious threat to emerge as the East representative in the NBA Finals.

“The biggest challenge is piecing all this together,” Brown said. “It’s not even close. … I say that completely from an excitement standpoint. This isn’t a burden. Sure, it’s a responsibility. But I’m excited with piecing this together.”

Butler has averaged 21.8 points per game since the start of the 2014-15 season, the 13th-highest clip in the NBA over that span.

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Le’Veon Bell fails to report to Steelers, to miss rest of season

The Pittsburgh Steelers have faced countless deadlines with Le’Veon Bell this season, but none have been as significant as the one the running back let pass on Tuesday at 4 p.m ET. By opting not to sign his franchise tag before this final league imposed deadline, Bell is now barred from playing at all in 2018, as per the rules of the CBA.

His decision will save Pittsburgh the reminder of the outstanding salary he would have been due over the final seven weeks of the season and he has now forfeited a total of $14.544 million. Money that the Steelers will be able to rollover into 2019 to spend on players who actually want to be in Pittsburgh.

When Bell returned to the city last week, it had been assumed that his relocation from Miami was a precursor to him reporting to team facilities to sign his franchise tag. However, it would seem the running back has had yet another change of heart and is happy to turn his back on his teammates altogether this year.

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With the cost of a third franchise tag now expected to be in the region of $25 million or more next season, it appears Bell has finally realized he does not need to report this year to be assured the Steelers will not tag him again.

If Bell can secure a contract that will pay him around $30 million in year one to make up for the money he walked away from this season, opting to sit out the entire year will have been financially worth it. Anything less and this decision will have been a failure.

The Steelers are 6-2-1 this season after beating the Panthers 52–21 on Thursday.

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