All posts by phnseo

Sixers´ Joel Embiid returns from injury against Warriors

The Philadelphia 76ers held serve at home versus the Golden State Warriors 115-104 on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center.

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 24 points and 10 rebounds in his first game back after missing nine matches with a torn radial collateral ligament in his left hand.

All five 76ers starters scored in double digits. Big man Al Horford was two assists shy of a triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight dimes. 

Raul Neto dropped 19 points off the bench, all in the first half.

Philadelphia led by only four points heading into the final quarter, but Embiid keyed a 9-0 run to start the fourth with a pair of buckets and an assist. Philadelphia never led by fewer than seven from that point forward. 

The match was the first in Philadelphia since Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Maria died Sunday along with seven others in a helicopter accident.

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The 76ers paid a pregame tribute by holding a moment of silence and sounding a bell nine times.

In what has became a leaguewide norm since Sunday, the two teams started the game with an eight-second backcourt violation and a 24-second shot clock violation in honor of Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys.

Embiid paid tribute to the former Laker for the night by changing his jersey number from 21 to Bryant’s 24, which he wore in the latter half of his career.

Bryant was born in Philadelphia and played high school basketball at Lower Merion High School in nearby Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

For the Warriors, D’Angelo Russell led all scorers with 28 points. Draymond Green added a near-triple-double with nine points, 12 assists and nine boards.

The 31-17 Sixers have won six of their last seven. The 10-38 Warriors lost their fourth consecutive.

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Bears land top CFL free agent Tre Roberson

The Bears have made an interesting signing, landing the services of the much sought after CFL cornerback Tre Roberson. He was a hot topic this NFL offseason, a player most critics agreed was the No. 1 CFL free agent. 

Roberson has an interesting background. He originally came up through the ranks as a quarterback, eventually becoming the first true freshman to ever start at quarterback for Indiana University Bloomington.

After transferring to Illinois State and playing the 2014 and 2015 college football seasons with the Red Birds, Roberson turned pro and ultimately went undrafted as an extremely under-the-radar prospect. 

Eventually, the athletic Roberson made the switch to cornerback. He didn’t stick with the Minnesota Vikings after making their roster ahead of the 2016 NFL preseason, being a part of the final round of roster cuts.

He made his way to the Calgary Stampeders in 2018, where he really started to make a name for himself at cornerback.

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Roberson has a total of 95 tackles and 10 interceptions over his two campaigns in the CFL, helping lead the Stampeders to a Grey Cup (CFL’s title game) win.

The 27 year old chose the Bears over nine other NFL teams and according to NFL insider Adam Schefter.

The Bears have made their first “splash move” and for the sake of Bears faithful, hopefully, this represents the first of many great additions to the Bears’ roster.    

He had seven interceptions and 41 tackles last season for Calgary, and he scored two touchdowns. Roberson played college ball at Illinois State.

The Bears are expected to give Roberson the largest CFL-to-NFL compensation since the Miami Dolphins signed defensive end Cameron Wake to a reported four-year, $4.9 million deal in 2009.

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Inter complete Eriksen signing from Tottenham

Christian Eriksen has completed his protracted €20m (£16.9m) move from Tottenham Hotspur to Inter. The Dane had already agreed personal terms with the Italian club, who are second in Serie A, and the deal was announced on Tuesday. The 27-year-old has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract.

With his contract at Tottenham expiring at the end of the season, Eriksen could have joined Inter for free in the summer. But with Antonio Conte keen to bolster his attacking options right away, a deal was reached sooner, bringing to an end the midfielder’s largely fruitful but ultimately frustrating time in north London.

Spurs announced on Tuesday that they had signed Giovani Lo Celso on a permanent basis from Real Betis. The Argentinian, who has impressed recently after returning from injury, has signed a contract until 2025.

The fee is understood to be €35m and Tottenham waited until Eriksen’s move had been done before confirming Lo Celso’s signing.

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The club have also agreed a fee of €30m for the PSV Eindhoven winger Steven Bergwijn, plus €2m in add-ons, with the player set to undertake his medical and put the finishing touches to the deal.

Eriksen joined Tottenham from Ajax for £11.5m in August 2013 and after an initially slow start he blossomed under the management of Mauricio Pochettino, become a key creative cog in a team that established themselves in the Premier League’s top four and, on occasion, pushed for the title.

The 27-year-old was also part of the Spurs side that reached last season’s Champions League final, which they lost 2-0 to Liverpool and, ultimately, there were no trophies for the team when they were at their best and prior to a downturn this season that led to Pochettino being released in November.

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Reds get OF Nick Castellanos on 4 year deal

Free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos has signed a $64 million, four-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.

It was Cincinnati’s latest big-money move to emerge from years of losing.

The deal allows Castellanos to opt out and become a free agent after the 2020 or 2021 campaigns. He gets salaries of $16 million in 2020, $14 million in 2021, and $16 million in 2022 and 2023. There’s a mutual option for 2024 at $20 million with a buyout of $2 million.

It was the fourth significant move by the Reds, among the most active teams in free agency since their sixth straight losing season.

“This is an off-season where we have prioritized adding to the offensive side of the club,” said Dick Williams, the team’s president of baseball operations. “Nick was one of the most attractive options on the market. He has been a consistently elite producer offensively and that complements our existing team well.”

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The Reds have has committed $164 million to new players, including the two biggest free agent deals in club history.

Cincinnati signed second baseman Mike Moustakas to a $64 million, four-year contract and added left-handed starter Wade Miley on a $15 million, two-year deal. Outfielder Shogo Akiyama, a five-time NPB All-Star, got a $21 million, three-year deal.

Cincinnati’s biggest weakness last season was offense. The Reds ended near the bottom of the National League in runs despite playing in one of its most hitter-friendly ballparks.

Castellanos batted .289 last season with the Tigers and Cubs, who got him in a midseason trade. He hit 27 homers overall, drove in 73 runs and had a major league-leading 58 doubles while playing mostly in right field for Detroit and Chicago.

Castellanos became only the 10th player with 58 doubles in a season. He has 229 doubles since the start of the 2014 season, tied with Boston’s Mookie Betts for most in the majors over that span.

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Nadal needs 4th-set tiebreak to beat Kyrgios

Rafael Nadal battled his way into the quarter-finals of the 2020 Australian Open on Monday, overcoming home favorite Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (4) in a gruelling matchup. 

The two men shared the first two sets, before Nadal was able to edge an attritional third through a nervy tiebreak.

Nadal controlled long spells of the fourth set but spurned the chance to serve for the match, with Kyrgios doing brilliantly to cling on. The top seed got a second chance in another tiebreaker and eventually found a way past his battling opponent.

The victory for Nadal means he will face fifth seed Dominic Thiem in the last eight as he goes in search of his 20th Grand Slam title overall and his first win at this event since 2009.

When the tennis got started, the home player was given raucous backing by the Melbourne crowd. However, the atmosphere didn’t daunt Nadal, who was able to quickly settle into an ominous groove.

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The top seed was able to conjure this magical forehand down the line early on and grab a break of serve.

By contrast, Kyrgios was unable make a dent in his opponent’s serve and was powerless to prevent the 19-time Grand Slam champion from clinching the first set.

After being comprehensively outplayed early on, it was imperative Kyrgios started the second set well.

He had to dig deep to hold serve against a Nadal barrage, and that appeared to fill the Australian with confidence.

Kyrgios then broke to move 3-1 in front and behind his booming serve he was able to do enough to level things up with the second set.

In the third set, both players settled in behind their serve and there was just one break point carved out between the pair; that was for Nadal, although Kyrgios was able to hold.

However, even with that impetus, Kyrgios couldn’t force a fifth.

In the tiebreak, Nadal was able to show more match awareness and discipline on the crucial points, ensuring he eventually finished a draining affair in four sets.

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Ryan Zimmerman agrees to 1 year deal with Nationals

The Washington Nationals have retained their longest-tenured player after agreeing to a one-year deal with Ryan Zimmerman on Friday, pending a physical, according to the Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga. 

The contract, which reportedly includes a $2 million base salary, could be worth as much as $5 million through various performance bonuses. 

The first baseman has spent his entire professional career with the Washington Nationals, including 15 years at the major league level. In that time, he earned two All-Star selections and one Gold Glove award while totaling 270 home runs and a .279 batting average.

His career with the team culminated last campaign with a World Series title, with Zimmerman hitting an important home run in Game 1 against Gerrit Cole and the Houston Astros.

Though the Nationals declined his 2020 option worth $18 million, they thought highly enough of him to re-sign him on a new deal.

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Injuries have kept the 35-year-old from being a full-time contributor in recent seasons; he only played 137 matches over the past two years combined. Zimmerman ended the 2019 campaign with a .257 batting average and six home runs in 52 games.

However, he’s only two years removed from an impressive 2017 season in which he ended with a .303 average, 36 home runs and 108 RBI while gaining MVP votes.

Though it was the only season since 2013 that he played more than 120 games, it showed he can still be an impact player when he stays on the field.

The Nationals are likely banking on this upside while keeping as much of the clubhouse intact as possible after securing the first World Series championship in franchise history. At the least, Zimmerman can provide help off the bench for a deep lineup next season.

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Mariners´ Mitch Haniger likely needs core-muscle surgery

This was already going to be a year where the Seattle Mariners would be relying heavily on young players and some of their top prospects right from the beginning of the campaign.

Now the Mariners expect to be without one of their few veterans – likely for the first month.

Outfielder Mitch Haniger is expected to miss the start of the regular season and likely needs to undergo core muscle surgery, general manager Jerry Dipoto said Thursday.

Haniger suffered the injury during one of his offseason workouts earlier this week. Dipoto said the latest setback is tied to Haniger’s injury issues from last season.

“I was expecting him to show up for the first day of spring training ready to go but that does not appear to be the case,” Dipoto said.

Haniger missed the final 3 1/2 months of the season after suffering a ruptured testicle and then experiencing back and core issues during his recovery. Haniger was limited to 63 matches and batted .220 with 15 homers and 32 RBIs.

A year earlier, Haniger was an All-Star after hitting .285 with 26 homers and 93 RBIs and an OPS of .859.

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Dipoto said the expectation is that Haniger’s recovery will take about six to eight weeks following the surgery.

He could be ready to join the major league club sometime in late April.

The loss of Haniger is two-fold for the Mariners. Along with Dee Gordon and Kyle Seager, Haniger was expected to be one of the few experienced veterans the Mariners could lean on early in a season where the next phase of Seattle’s rebuild will starts.

The Mariners are likely to field one of the youngest teams in the American League, with a handful of rookies or second-year players expected to be in the everyday lineup. Seattle expects the likes of outfielder Kyle Lewis, first baseman Evan White, second baseman Shed Long and pitchers Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn to be key pieces of the upcoming campaign.

The injury to Haniger may also allow Jake Fraley or Braden Bishop to earn more playing time early on.

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Gary Kubiak to take over OC duties for Vikings

Gary Kubiak has reportedly agreed to become the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator, substituting Kevin Stefanski after he departed to take over the head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns. 

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Kubiak will take the role after spending last season as an assistant head coach and offensive adviser on Mike Zimmer’s staff. 

Minnesota has been in the market for a new offensive coordinator since Stefanski was named as the Browns head coach Jan. 13. 

Stefanski took over as the Vikings offensive coordinator on an interim basis midway through the 2018 campaign after John DeFilippo’s firing. He was given the full-time job this season, and his unit ranked ninth in the NFL with 25.4 points per game. 

Kubiak returned to coaching in 2019 after spending the previous two years as a senior personnel adviser with the Denver Broncos. He walked away from being head coach of the Broncos following the 2016 season, citing health concerns.

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The 58-year-old was hospitalized with a complex migrane in October 2016 that caused him to miss Denver’s Week 6 game versus the San Diego Chargers. He had a previous health scare during the 2013 season as head coach of the Houston Texans when he was taken off on a stretcher after collapsing while leaving the field during halftime of a game versus the Indianapolis Colts.

Kubiak went 82-75 in 10 combined seasons as head coach of the Texans (2006-13) and Broncos (2015-16).

He won Super Bowl 50 with the Broncos and made the playoffs twice with the Texans, exiting in the divisional round on both occasions. 

Kubiak’s passing offenses have ranked in the top 10 in net yards per attempt 12 times since his first year as a coordinator in 1995. Eleven times, his scoring offenses cracked the top 10 during that span. A lot of that had to do with how much he was able to get out of the quarterback position.

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Ex-titleholder Andy Ruiz cuts ties with trainer Manuel Robles

Former WBO, IBO, WBA, IBF heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz has parted ways with head trainer Manny Robles.

Robles led Ruiz to one of the biggest upsets in the history of the heavyweight division, when the Mexican heavyweight stopped heavily favored Anthony Joshua in seven rounds to conquer the unified crown at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

But the December rematch was a complete tragedy.

After winning the first bout, Ruiz partied for two months. He started training camp way too late – and entered the rematch out of shape with a bloated 283.5-pounds on the scale.

He was unable to put his punches together, he was much slower in the ring, and all of that let Joshua to easily reclaim his titles with a lopsided twelve round decision.

Since that defeat, Robles had barely any contact from Ruiz.

So the veteran coach was not surprised when Ruiz’s father reached out on Wednesday night to advise him that his son was going in another direction.

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“I’ve seen it coming, I’ll be honest with you,” Robles said to Steve Kim of ESPN. “I’ve seen it coming during camp. I saw it coming, Andy was just doing whatever the hell he wanted to do. The dad, obviously with him being the manager, he just had no control over his son. None of us had control of him, for that matter.

As per Robles, he was told by Ruiz’s father that Al Haymon made the final decision for a trainer change. Ruiz is advised Haymon and fights under Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions banner.

“They apparently told them that they didn’t want the same thing to repeat itself, again,” Robles said. “It is what it is, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me. I’m sure it’s not the first time it’s happened to other coaches. It happens time and time again. We always end up getting the short end of the stick. But it is what it is, you keep moving forward.”

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Eli Manning retires after 16 NFL seasons

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will inform his retirement from professional football after 16 seasons, the team announced Wednesday.

The durable 39-year-old signal-caller walks away following a decorated career that includes a pair of Super Bowl championships and nearly every team passing record for one of the NFL’s blue-ribbon franchises.

Manning, a four-time Pro Bowl selection who retires with a career record of 117-117 as a starter, saved his best for dramatic runs through the 2007 and 2011 postseasons.

Both times, the Giants barely qualified the playoffs following uneven regular campaigns – 10-6 in 2007 and 9-7 in 2011 – only to catch fire in January before upsetting the New England Patriots in a pair of razor-close Super Bowls.

“For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field,” co-owner, president and CEO John Mara said in a statement. “Eli is our only two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the very best players in our franchise’s history.

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“He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability. It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us. We are beyond grateful for his contributions to our organization and look forward to celebrating his induction into the Giants Ring of Honor in the near future.”

Manning, who turned 39 on January 3rd, said after the regular season ended that he intended to discuss his future with family before making a decision.

He said, “I think I can still play,” but added he didn’t see a future with the Giants, noting, “Being a backup is not real fun.”

Manning was benched after Week 2 of the regular season in favor of rookie Daniel Jones, a first-round draft pick who went on to start 12 matches. Manning filled in for two starts in Weeks 14 and 15 when Jones was injured, winning his final start at home versus the Miami Dolphins.

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