Category Archives: Sports

Braves’ Soroka pulled out of game after HBP

Atlanta Braves rookie phenom Mike Soroka was removed from Sunday’s game against the Washington Nationals after his right arm was hit by a pitch during his at-bat in the third inning.

X-rays on the 21-year-old’s forearm came back negative. He could start in his regular rotation spot Friday against the New York Mets, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com.

“It feels like a bruise,” Soroka said, according to 680 The Fan. “I’ve been hit by enough pucks, baseballs in my lifetime to know the aftermath. It’s just a bruise.”

He stayed in the game to run the bases but was removed in the bottom of the third inning for pitcher Josh Tomlin.

Soroka was visibly upset on Atlanta’s bench after he was removed from the contest. He’d thrown just 21 pitches. The Braves then announced that Soroka had been removed as a precaution.

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“It was an easy decision. He got hit pretty good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said after Atlanta’s 4-3 victory in 10 innings.

“We’ll know more in a couple of days when he tries to throw the ball around. They don’t seem to think it’s going to be other than a nice bruise,” he said.

Soroka allowed one hit and struck out a batter in the first two innings of the game.

“I knew I got it right in the flexors and as soon as those tighten up there’s pretty much no chance of throwing a baseball today. But good news is the inflammation is going to get out of there and hopefully I’ll be in line for the next start,” Soroka said. Soroka, a contender for National League Rookie of the Year Award, was 8-1 with a 2.12 ERA in 12 starts entering Sunday.

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Federer wins Halle Open

Roger Federer made history on Sunday in Halle, defeating David Goffin 7-6(2), 6-1 to win a record 10th NOVENTI OPEN title. It is the first time that Federer has earned 10 crowns at one tournament, joining Rafael Nadal as the only men in the Open Era to accomplish the feat.

“It’s amazing. For some reason I didn’t think I was going to make it anymore. Didn’t think of it much. I just thought match-for-match because the second round and quarters were so tough that I never really thought about how it would feel if I won and now it’s reality,” Federer said. “[It’s the] first time ever I could win a title 10 times in one place, so it’s obviously a very special moment in my career.”

This is Federer’s 102nd tour-level title, moving to within seven trophies of Jimmy Connors’ record of 109. It is also the Swiss star’s 19th tour-level victory on grass.

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Only four other active players own at least 19 titles on all surfaces combined. Federer is also the oldest tour-level champion since 43-year-old Ken Rosewall won at 1977 Hong Kong, giving him plenty of momentum as he heads to Wimbledon to pursue his ninth title at the grass-court Grand Slam.

No. 10 in Halle didn’t come easily, though. Federer had to battle through two three-setters in his first three matches of the week. And Goffin, who despite only winning one of eight previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against the top seed, had shown his ability to beat Federer on a big stage by doing so in the semi-finals of the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals.

Federer is now 68-7 in Halle, and those 68 victories are his second-most for an event that is not a Grand Slam, trailing only his hometown tournament in Basel, where he has won 71 matches. In 17 Halle appearances, Federer has never failed to advance to at least the quarter-finals.

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Fernando Torres announces retirement

The 35-year-old, who is currently playing for Sagan Tosu in Japan, confirmed the end of his football career on social media.

He wrote: “I have something very important to announce. After 18 exciting years, the time has come to put an end to my football career. “Next Sunday, the 23rd at 10:00AM, local time in Japan, I will have a press conference in Tokyo to explain all the details. See you there.”

Torres joined Sagan Tosu in July 2018 after leaving boyhood club Atletico Madrid for a second time. He has scored just four goals in 32 games for the J League side.

The striker came through the youth system at Atletico, making his debut against Leganes in a Spanish second division game in March 2001.

He scored his first goal for the club a week later in a 1-0 victory over Albacete, before helping Atletico to promotion to La Liga the following season.

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Torres then established himself as one of the most prolific strikers in Spain, top-scoring for them in five successive seasons, which earned him a move to Liverpool.

Torres’ time in London got off to a slow start. His first game for Chelsea was a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool, and he scored just once in 18 games for the club during the remainder of the 2010/11 season.

Torres’ fortunes did pick up though, and he won the FA Cup and the Champions League in 2012, as well as the Europa League in 2013, before leaving for AC Milan in 2014.

He then returned to Atletico six months later, winning another Europa League title in 2018 in his penultimate match before his move to Japan. Torres was arguably most successful on the international stage, and was an important member of the Spain side that won back-to-back European Championships in 2008 and 2012, as well as the World Cup in 2010.

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Pujols returns to St. Louis but with Angels

The long-awaited return of Albert Pujols to the city where he played his first 11 major league seasons will finally happen Friday, when the Los Angeles Angels visit the St. Louis Cardinals for the first time since 2010.

Pujols, who joined the Angels on a 10-year, $240 million contract as a free agent in December 2011, told reporters Thursday it will be special for him to return to the place he essentially grew up.

“I think it’s just going to be emotional for myself,” Pujols said. “When I got to St. Louis, I was 21, and when I left, I was 32. I got there as a baby and left as a man. You can’t ignore the success I had there, individually and team accomplishments, winning championships. It’s pretty awesome. I’m excited.”

Despite being gone for seven-plus seasons, the 39-year-old ranks second in Cardinals history in homers (445) and RBIs (1,329), behind only Hall of Famer Stan Musial (475 and 1,951, respectively).

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“He was obviously a tremendous player with the Cardinals for 11 years,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “I’m sure it’ll be emotional. He has a lot of good memories from his time there.”

Pujols and Co. will face right-hander Michael Wacha (4-3, 6.00 ERA) who is coming off a rough outing Saturday, in which he allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits in four innings of an 8-7 loss to the New York Mets. It was Wacha’s third outing in his last five allowing at least six runs in fewer than five innings.

Wacha has never faced the Angels, though he had some trouble with Zack Cozart (12-for-25 with three doubles and two triples) during the infielder’s time with the Cincinnati Reds.

Los Angeles will counter with rookie right-hander Griffin Canning (2-3, 3.93), who is also coming off a loss. He allowed four runs on six hits in six innings of a 6-5 defeat to the Rays at Tampa Bay on Sunday. Canning has not been credited with a win since May 18. Both teams were on the wrong end of extra-inning losses Thursday, despite overcoming three-run deficits to force extra frames.

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Del Potro suffers second fracture in right knee

Just over a month after making his comeback from a knee injury, Juan Martin del Potro could face another spell on the sidelines.

Del Potro hurt his knee when slipping during a first-round victory over Denis Shapovalov at the Queen’s Club Championships on Wednesday.

The 2009 US Open champion only returned to the ATP Tour at the Madrid Open in May after an absence of almost three months, during which time he underwent new regenerative knee treatment.

Del Potro could face another lay-off after the injury-plagued Argentine’s fall on a rain-affected day of his first grass-court tournament of the season in London.

Jorge Viale, the former world number three’s spokesman, tweeted: “Juan Martin del Potro finished his first-round match at Queen’s with pain and swelling in his right knee after slipping close to the net in the eighth game of the second set.

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Tests confirmed the Argentinian’s worst fears, showing a fracture of his right knee cap. 

A statement released on Twitter by Del Potro’s agent, Jorge Viale, read: “The medical studies done last night in a clinic in London show that Juan Martin Del Potro has suffered again a fracture in the right patella.

“After consultation with his doctor, Angel Cotorro, it has been determined that it will require surgery. This will take place in the next couple of days with a date and location to be determined. We will keep you informed.”

Del Potro has been notoriously unlucky with injuries during his career and this is the second time in less than a year that he has fractured the same kneecap. The first incident came in a fall at the Masters tournament in Shanghai last October. He initially returned in February but was then sidelined again with further pain until May and has played just five tournaments all season. 

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Twins’ Odorizzi faces Royals, seeking 11th straight win

Minnesota right-hander Jake Odorizzi will try to take over the major league lead in wins on Thursday night when the American League Central-leading Twins open a four-game series at Kansas City.

Odorizzi (10-2, 2.24 ERA) enters the game tied with Lucas Giolito of the White Sox for most wins in the big leagues. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Glenn Sparkman (1-3, 4.01) in a sequel to a matchup that took place in Minneapolis on Saturday, when the Twins won 5-4.

Odorizzi allowed seven hits, including home runs by Jorge Soler and Whit Merrifield, and all four Royals runs in six innings. He walked two and struck out seven in winning his 10th straight decision, the longest winning streak by a Twins starter since Johan Santana set the club record of 17 consecutive wins between July 17, 2004, and April 26, 2005.

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Still, by Odorizzi’s standards this season, it was one of his poorer starts of the season. In eight previous starts entering that contest, Odorizzi had allowed a total of four runs and had six games in which he didn’t allow a run.

“When you’re throwing the ball as well as he’s thrown the ball for so many starts, it feels like anything but six or seven innings with no runs, there’s something to talk about,” Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said afterward. “For me, there’s nothing to talk about. I thought he threw the ball well and battled through making those pitches that maybe he didn’t want to make and figuring it out and getting us to the middle of the game.”

Minnesota has won 11 consecutive games started by Odorizzi. He hasn’t lost a decision since April 10, when he allowed three runs on one hit and four walks in 4 2/3 innings of a 9-6 loss to the New York Mets.

Odorizzi, who also leads the AL in ERA, is just 3-4 with a 4.56 ERA in 10 career games (nine starts) against Kansas City. He is just 1-2 with a 5.91 ERA in four starts at Kauffman Stadium.

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Conley sent to Jazz for 3 players, picks

The Memphis Grizzlies are trading Mike Conley Jr. to the Utah Jazz for a package of forwards and draft picks, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the deal consists of Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver and Jae Crowder along with the 23rd pick of Thursday’s NBA draft and a future first-rounder.

alks reportedly “intensified” this week, per Charania, between the teams as the Jazz look to take a deeper run in the postseason next year. They were in talks prior to the deadline, but the Jazz couldn’t reach a deal to acquire the star point guard.

Conley confirmed the news in a tweet and thanked Memphis for his time there. Conley, who spent all 12 of his NBA seasons with the Grizzlies, has franchise records for games played, points scored, assists, steals, field goals made and 3-pointers made. He averaged a career-high 21.1 points per game with 6.4 assists. The point guard joins 2017-18 all-rookie selection Donovan Mitchell (23.8 ppg) and 2017-18 Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert (15.9 ppg).

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The Jazz lost in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs to the Houston Rockets in five games. With questions surrounding the Golden State Warriors’ hold on the conference — and new queries into what exactly the problem is in Houston — the Jazz are taking their shot at the title.

The Grizzlies missed the playoffs for a second consecutive year at 33-49. The team has the 27th rated offense in the league, per Basketball Reference, and scored a league-worst 103.5 points per contest.

They have the No. 2 pick in the draft Thursday night and are likely to pick Murray State sensation Ja Morant. They’ll also now have the 23 pick, where USC’s Kevin Porter Jr was slated to go to the Jazz in the latest Yahoo Sports mock draft. Crowder, 28, averaged 11.9 points per game for the Grizzlies in ’18-19. The 38-year-old Korver averaged 9.1 points per game in his one season with Utah.

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Nats’ Scherzer breaks nose during bunting drill

Max Scherzer is considered by many to be the most dominant pitcher in baseball and it’s not hard to disagree after looking at his stats year after year.

The 34-year-old hasn’t finished a season with an ERA higher than 2.96 since 2014 when he was still with the Detroit Tigers, and has led the league in strikeouts the past three seasons, totaling a whopping 300 strikeouts in 220.2 innings last year.

On Tuesday afternoon, the three-time Cy Young Award winner decided to work on his bunting with the Nationals’ game getting rained out for the second straight night, and he’s probably regretting it all right about now.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner was scheduled to start one of the two games of Washington’s day-night doubleheader against Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Nationals said Scherzer’s status was still to be determined.

Left-hander Patrick Corbin, originally slated for Monday’s game, will pitch Wednesday afternoon. Both Scherzer and Erick Fedde could get pushed back to a weekend series against Atlanta while the Nationals keep right-hander Stephen Strasburg on his regular rest for Thursday’s game.

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“The only thing right now is that Strasburg will still pitch on Thursday,” manager Dave Martinez said after the Nationals’ game against Philadelphia was rained out Tuesday night for a second straight day.

A ball deflected off Scherzer’s bat and into his face during pitchers’ batting practice, sending him to the dugout to be checked by the training staff. A CT scan was reportedly negative according to MASN, though it remains to be seen whether he’ll make his scheduled start for one game of a Wednesday doubleheader against the Phillies.

It’s possible he could be pushed back to start the series finale Thursday. The scheduled Tuesday night game was postponed, so Patrick Corbin, who was due to start Tuesday, likely will pitch one end of the Wednesday twin bill. Scherzer is 5-5 on the season with a 2.81 ERA.

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Horford to be unrestricted free agent

Boston Celtics centre Al Horford will not exercise his $30.1 million player option and become an unrestricted free agent, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski adds, however, that both sides have interest in reaching a new deal next month.

Horford had a $30.1 million player option for the 2019-20 season, the final year of the four-year, $113 million deal he signed with Boston in 2016. Not picking up his option and signing a deal for less annual money but with a few additional years would give Boston some wiggle room under the salary cap this summer, as they’ll likely be looking to replace Kyrie Irving in the coming weeks. Horford could also head elsewhere this summer, opting to sign with a title contender.

Last season, the 33-year-old averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists in his 68 regular season games last season. He boosted those averages to 13.9/9.0/4.4 in Boston’s nine playoff games, and averaged 16.2 points per game in the Celtics’ five-game series loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the East semis. But he’s much more than just the numbers on the stat sheet.

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Horford was a much-needed veteran presence for Boston’s young roster, since their lone All-Star didn’t fill that role very well, and was considered their glue guy on the floor. While the former No. 3 overall pick doesn’t light up the scoreboard much, he’s lauded for doing the intangibles that often go by the wayside in the today’s all-flash NBA.

Although his $30.1M option for next season is a nice chunk of change, Horford could make that money with more long-term stability over a few years. Not only would this option be better for Horford’s career as he ages into his 30’s, but it also gives Boston more flexibility.

Horford could front-load this contract to reflect salary vs. expected production, or he could choose another route to distribute salary over the next few years. Take less than $30.1M next season could certainly add flexibility to Boston in case Kyrie Irving does, in fact, bolt for Brooklyn. Although Boston won’t dip below the salary cap with just a lower salary for Horford, it would make it easier to make a few trades to be able to re-tool the roster.

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McCown retires from NFL

Josh McCown was sometimes the starting quarterback, often the backup — and always among the most-respected and well-liked players in whatever locker room he was in.

McCown, who turns 40 on July 4, wrote in a piece for The Players’ Tribune posted Monday that he is retiring from playing football after an NFL career that spanned 16 NFL seasons and included stints with 10 teams. He will be helping coach his two sons — also quarterbacks — in high school this year. McCown said he also plans to work as a TV football analyst in the future, and ESPN said later Monday it had hired him as an NFL analyst.

McCown was often considered a “bridge” quarterback, and his career record as a starter was only 23-53. But McCown’s career was about more than numbers.

“I guess it just goes to show that you don’t always get to choose your own path,” McCown wrote. “But looking back, I’m proud of how my career has gone. I don’t shy away from the journeyman label. I embrace it, full force. “Because it’s been one heck of a journey.”

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He played the last two seasons with the New York Jets, serving as the starter in 2017 and as a veteran backup to rookie Sam Darnold last year. Darnold often raved about how McCown prepared every week, particularly during a four-game stretch when the rookie was sidelined by a foot injury. McCown filled in during that time for Darnold, who stepped back into the starting job when he was healthy and finished his first NFL season with a flourish.

McCown was a third-round draft pick of Arizona in 2002 out of Sam Houston State. McCown and Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers were the only remaining active players from their draft class. Now, there are none; Peppers announced his retirement in February.

McCown finished with 17,707 career yards passing, 98 touchdowns and 82 interceptions, with a 60.2 completion percentage and 79.7 quarterback rating.

“At the end of the day, no matter what team I was on, I tried to serve it to the best of my ability, and I tried to influence my team in a positive manner,” McCown wrote. “I hope I did that. And I made sure that when my number was called, I was prepared, and I gave it everything I had, every time.”

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