Category Archives: Sports

Ryan Braun placed on DL, out for Friday against Twins

After missing the past three games with a sore back, Ryan Braun was placed on the disabled list Thursday and won’t be available when the Milwaukee Brewers open a three-game interleague series with the Minnesota Twins on Friday night at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Braun hasn’t played since Sunday when he left a 7-3 victory over the Rockies in the eighth inning. He was originally in manager Craig Counsell’s lineup Monday at Arizona, but was a late scratch for that game and hasn’t played since.

Braun had surgery to repair a herniated disc after back problems plagued his 2015 season, but said the current issues were unrelated to that procedure.

“It’s not going to completely go away while I’m playing,” Braun said while the team was in Arizona. “You just have to try to manage it.”

Braun is off to a slow start in 2018. He is batting .222 with a .268 on-base percentage, and was batting .121 with a .167 OBP in May.

The Brewers are averaging 5.6 runs over their last seven games — including a shutout loss to the Rockies and a 2-1 defeat at Arizona on Tuesday night.

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The Twins got bad news Thursday, learning that catcher Jason Castro will miss the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery. He was originally expected to miss 4-to-6 weeks but the procedure revealed more damage than anticipated.

The Twins send right-hander Kyle Gibson (1-1) to the mound for the series opener. Gibson gave up two runs on three hits and four walks against the Angels in his most recent outing Saturday. He has held opponents to seven earned runs over his last four starts, but he did not have a decision in any of those games while lowering his season ERA to 3.43.

His is 1-1 with 5.03 ERA in three career starts against Milwaukee, but he has not faced the Brewers since 2015.

Milwaukee answers with left-hander Brent Suter (2-3, 5.14 ERA). He has allowed six runs and 12 hits in his last two outings, spanning 9 2/3 innings.

He has faced the Twins only once in his career, and that came last season, when he started the game and gave up three runs on five hits and two walks in four innings, but did not get a decision.

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Broncos sign undrafted CSU QB Nick Stevens

John Elway has changed his mind about adding another quarterback to the Denver Broncos’ roster.

The Broncos signed undrafted free agent Nick Stevens of Colorado State on Thursday, three weeks after Elway said he wouldn’t bring in a fourth passer for offseason workouts.

Stevens, 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, is one of four quarterbacks on the Broncos’ offseason roster, joining Case Keenum, Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly. NFL teams generally have three quarterbacks on their regular-season roster, with the third often on the practice squad rather than the active roster.

Former Colorado State University coach Steve Fairchild, who has been working with Stevens to sharpen his skills for the NFL, believes “he’s good enough” to make a regular-season roster. He’s got the physical skills needed, Fairchild said, and the ability to quickly learn a new offensive system.

Stevens threw for a school-record 70 career touchdowns and 8,550 yards — second only to Garrett Grayson’s 9,191 on CSU’s career list — and led the Rams to three straight 7-6 seasons and bowl appearances while starting 33 games over the past three years. Grayson was a third-round draft pick by the New Orleans Saints in 2015. He is now with the Atlanta Falcons.

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Stevens earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from CSU a year ago and last weekend earned a master’s degree in tourism management.

Stevens said he’s improved the accuracy and velocity of his throws during his offseason work with Fairchild. Fairchild worked with former University of Northern Colorado quarterback Kyle Sloter last winter and spring and helped him land a spot as the Broncos’ No. 3 quarterback last season. Sloter has since been signed by the Minnesota Vikings.

Stevens will begin offseason workouts with the Broncos immediately and participate in organized team activities next Tuesday through Thursday, May 29-31 and June 4-7 leading up to a mandatory minicamp June 12-14.

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Atletico wins Europa Cup after beating Marseille

Antoine Griezmann scored twice as Atletico Madrid swept aside Marseille in Lyon to win the Europa League for the third time in nine years.

France forward Griezmann opened the scoring by punishing Andre Zambo Anguissa’s poor touch to coolly slot home, then casually dinked in a second.

Marseille knew they would not have too many goal-scoring chances against the best defence in La Liga. After four minutes they had already wasted a good one. Valere Germain blazed over when he should have least hit the target after Dimitri Payet put him through. For the first 15 minutes Marseille were the better side; they enjoyed more possession than their opponents and won more 50-50 challenges. Their supporters also outnumbered the Madrileños and encouraged them noisily forward. But they found no breakthrough.

Captain Gabi drilled in the third goal late on as Atletico again lifted the trophy they also won in 2010 and 2012.

Atletico have been one of Europe’s most consistent teams in recent seasons, breaking Barcelona and Real Madrid’s stranglehold on La Liga by claiming the title in 2013-14.

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Second in the Spanish top flight with one match remaining, they are on course for a top-three finish for the sixth straight season and have appeared in two Champions League finals in that period, losing on both occasions to city rivals Real.

With manager Diego Simeone in the stands – serving a four-game ban for being sent off in the semi-final against Arsenal – Atletico repelled Marseille’s early thrusts and produced a performance which has become a trademark under the Argentine.

“I am very happy,” said Griezmann.

“I have been working to experience such a moment for many years. I left home when I was 14 for that. We will celebrate. My family is here.

“I don’t know how to describe the finish, perhaps cold-blooded.”

Atletico conclude their league season against Eibar on Sunday, and it remains to be seen if that is Griezmann’s last game for the club as he has been heavily linked with Barcelona.

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Rockets rout Warriors to tie series

James Harden and Eric Gordon each scored 27 points to lead a balanced attack and the Houston Rockets routed the Golden State Warriors 127-105 on Wednesday night to even the Western Conference finals at one game apiece.

The Rockets didn’t trail after the first quarter and led by double digits for most of the night. They head to Oakland, California for Game 3 on Sunday night feeling much better after rebounding from a deflating 119-106 loss in the series opener.

“We can beat anybody, anywhere at any time playing the way we play,” coach Mike D’Antoni said.

P.J. Tucker added a playoff career-high 22 and Trevor Ariza had 19 as both bounced back after struggling in Game 1. Tucker had just one point in that game and Ariza scored eight, but was limited on defense after collecting his fifth foul early in the third quarter.

Kevin Durant had 38 points after scoring 37 in the opener, but Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for just 24 points after the pair went for 46 in Game 1.

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Houston wasn’t able to slow down Durant, but did a much better job of limiting open 3-pointers by Thompson and Curry, and the two made just 3 of 12 attempts.

“They were desperate tonight and played like it, and we weren’t and it showed,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.

Houston led by as many as 19 in the first half and was up 64-50 at halftime. The Warriors cut it to 74-64 with five quick points from Durant, but the Rockets opened it back up to 89-72 when Gordon made an off-balance layup before crashing to the court while being fouled and made the free throw.

The Rockets were up by 16 to start the fourth quarter but Golden State got within 98-86 with about 10 minutes left. Curry had five points in that span, including his first three after missing his first six attempts of the night.

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Miguel Cabrera is done playing hurt, feels unappreciated

Miguel Cabrera won’t be back on the field until he’s completely ready.

In a brief interview Tuesday that ranged from jocular to intense, the Detroit Tigers slugger said he didn’t get any credit for playing hurt in 2017 and he has no plans to rush back in 2018.

“I went through that last year, so I don’t want to do the same thing,” he said. “Nobody appreciates you when you play hurt, so I’m going to take my time and play when I’m good. I played hurt a lot of years here in Detroit. They don’t appreciate that. When you are doing bad, they crush you. They crush you. They say you’re bad, you should go home, you don’t deserve anything, you’re old. I say, ‘OK, I’m done playing hurt.’ Now I take my time.”

Cabrera was eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, but he has not yet resumed on-field activities after briefly jogging last week before a game in Texas.

Cabrera’s went on the disabled list with a hamstring injury on May 4, but the aggressive rehab of that ailment has caused a flare-up in his back.

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“When you are tight here,” said Cabrera, gesturing to the hamstring, “your back is tight. It’s all the same thing.”

Cabrera was off to a hot start in 2018. Before going on the disabled list, he was hitting .323/.407/.516 in 93 at-bats with three homers, nine doubles and 21 RBIs.

The Tigers are encouraging him to take it slow.

“He’s not ready,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He has to go through some things to get on the field and be able to run. Right now he’s just been running on the treadmill. We have to be very careful here. We have to make sure we get it right so when he comes back he’s not dealing with anything.” The back tightness was revealed Monday night.

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Eagles Brandon Graham had ankle surgery, to miss spring workouts

Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham recently underwent surgery on his right ankle, Tim McManus of ESPN reports. Graham could miss all of Philadelphia’s organized team activities.

Graham injured his ankle in a Christmas night game against the Raiders. He played through the injury, making a strip sack of Tom Brady to preserve the Super Bowl LII victory for the Eagles.

He currently is wearing a protective boot.

Early in the fourth quarter of an unnecessarily close game against the Oakland Raiders (but with 1st seed in the NFC on the line), Graham seemed to hurt his ankle on this tackle against Marshawn Lynch. He doesn’t seem to get rolled up on, as is typically the agent of high ankle sprains among linemen, but Jalen Mills’ diving tackle attempt may have twisted his foot at a bad angle.

Graham, 30, had been a vital part of the Eagles’ fearsome defensive line in recent seasons and is entering the final year of his contract in 2018. Earlier this offseason, Graham went on NFL Network and made public his desire for a long-term deal that could help him retire in Philadelphia.

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There are no signs at this point that the Eagles are close to an agreement with Graham to keep him on the team after this season, however.

The possibility of missing most of the Eagles’ team activities is pretty high, but the hope is that Graham will be ready to roll once July training camp begins.

Graham, 30, is entering the final year of his contract with the Eagles and hasn’t been shy about his ambition to get a new deal. In fact, signing Graham to an extension would probably help bring his salary cap number of $8 million down this season.

It’s been a long time since Graham was once prematurely labeled a bust. The former first-round pick has come into his own in recent seasons and has grown into the Eagles’ best defensive end as a pass-rusher and run-stuffer. In 2017, he set a new career high with 9½ sacks.

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Warriors take game 1 against Rockets

The Golden State Warriors began a playoff series on the road for the first time since 2014, but they had no trouble getting a win, as they took down the Houston Rockets, 119-106 in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. It was an exciting, entertaining first half that featured both teams going back and forth before entering the break tied at 56-56. But coming out of the locker room, the Warriors used one of their patented third-quarter bursts to take control of the game. The Rockets kept things from getting out of control, and had things within striking distance for much of the rest of the way. But the Warriors were never really in danger of losing their lead, and held on for the win.

“It was definitely a different feeling, but I think it was a good challenge for us,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “You get so much of the same stuff over and over again, you tend to take it for granted. To start off on the road for us in this series is kind of cool.”

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The Rockets provided enough challenges with star point guard James Harden (41 points) along with their prized offseason acquisitions in Chris Paul (23 points, 11 assists). Yet, the Warriors countered with a 2017 Finals MVP in Kevin Durant (37 points), an unassuming All-Star in Klay Thompson (28 points) and a two-time regular season MVP in Stephen Curry (18 points).

“No matter how we play, we feel like we’ve got a solid chance,” Durant said. “We just try to focus on not being on the road or trying to win the first game of the series. We just focus in on what we need to do very possession and let the rest take care of itself.”

How did the Warriors do it? It did not just involve their future Hall of Fame talent. It involved their past experiences, both good and bad.

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David Tepper expected to sing Panthers purchase deal

Pittsburgh Steelers minority owner David Tepper is expected to sign the deal Tuesday to buy the Panthers and keep them in Carolina, a league source told ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and Adam Schefter.

The deal would be expected to be approved at the owners meetings in Atlanta on May 22. The purchase needs to get approval from the NFL financial committee and then three-fourths approval from the 32 owners.

Because Tepper, 60, is a minority owner of the Steelers, he has already passed the league’s vetting process. He currently owns 5 percent of the Steelers and would have to sell that interest before completing the Panthers’ purchase.

Tepper, the founder of the global hedge fund firm Appaloosa Management who has a net worth of $11 billion according to Forbes, is committed to keeping the team in Charlotte.

The Panthers were put up for sale after the 2017 season following sexual harassment and workplace misconduct allegations against owner Jerry Richardson that were published by Sports Illustrated in December.

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David Tepper, who is expected to sign the paperwork to purchase the Panthers, according to a source, is committed to keeping the team in Charlotte.

Under league rules, Tepper must put up at least 30 percent of the selling price. Forbes placed the value of the Panthers at $2.3 billion in September 2017. Anything over the $2.2 billion that the NBA’s Houston Rockets sold for in 2017 would be a record for a sports franchise in the United States.

Tepper grew up in a lower- to middle-class neighborhood in Pittsburgh and received a degree in economics from University of Pittsburgh. Early in his career, he worked as a credit analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Ben Navarro, the founder of Charleston, South Carolina-based Sherman Financial Group LLC, was considered with Tepper to be the top candidates to get Richardson’s recommendation. Fanatics owner Michael Rubin and CEO and chairman of Bedrock Industries LP Alan Kestenbaum were also reported to be interested in becoming primary owners of the franchise.

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Keynan Middleton with damaged UCL in right elbow

An MRI performed on Los Angeles Angels reliever Keynan Middleton revealed damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the team announced Monday.
Middleton is seeking a second opinion, the team said.
He has been placed on the 10-day disabled list.Right-hander Felix Pena was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake.
Middleton, 24, was removed from Sunday’s game against the Twins in the top of the eighth inning because of elbow discomfort with a 1-1 count on Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario.
Middleton had just returned from the disabled list last Thursday after being sidelined with elbow inflammation.

“It’s tough news,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think anytime a pitcher has news that there’s some damage to any part of their arm, obviously there’s great concern. We’re going to take this one step at a time and see what happens.”

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Middleton has been a key cog in the back end of the Angels’ bullpen this season and was the club’s primary closer before his initial DL stint, logging a 2.04 ERA with six saves over 17 2/3 innings. No other Angels reliever has more than one save this year, though veteran Jim Johnson has drawn most of the closing opportunities of late.

“I don’t think we ever had one guy that was the ninth-inning guy,” Scioscia said. “Keynan was pitching the eighth inning the other day. We’ve got some guys in the back end that are going to have to get outs for us, and how they line up in a certain game right now will be dictated by how the game unfolds and some matchups and things like that. But we’re confident that we’re going to have arms down there that will get the outs we need.”

The Angels are hoping to incorporate right-hander Blake Wood into their relief corps soon. Wood, who has been on the DL since April 23 with an elbow impingement, pitched a scoreless inning in his first rehab appearance with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Monday night.

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Bills sign Tremaine Edmunds to 4 year deal

The Buffalo Bills have one of their two first-round draft picks in the fold.

The team announced Saturday that linebacker Tremaine Edmunds signed his rookie contract. The deal is for four years, and includes a team option for a fifth as a first-round pick. Edmunds was chosen with the 16th overall selection, after the Bills traded up from No. 22 with the Baltimore Ravens.

Edmunds’ contract is for a total of $12.6 million, all of which is fully guaranteed, per Spotrac. He signed the contract on the second day of Buffalo’s rookie minicamp. Speaking of that minicamp, it is apparent that Edmunds was heavily featured and head coach Sean McDermott spent plenty of one-on-one time with his prized rookie linebacker, Chris Brown of Buffalo’s official website.

Edmunds was making the calls for Buffalo’s defense, a sign the team believes in not only his talent but maturity and intelligence.

After the practice, McDermott spoke at length about Edmunds.

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“First of all, he comes from a great family; that was evident fairly early on in our process. Our scouts, Brandon [Beane] and his staff did a great job, as you’ve heard me say before, with the process involved and getting to know, not only Tremaine, but a lot of the other drafted players. When Tremaine visited the day after the draft there with his family, it was clear early on where he comes from and what his roots are. His maturity level at a young age, I would go back and credit where he comes from and his support system, really; we all saw his brother was drafted as well. It’s a little bit unique, but my hat really goes off to his parents, and his family, and his support system.”

“You’ll see him out here commanding the huddle. That’s a big part of the evaluation. A guy who is a signal caller and whether he can come in and have great command of the huddle on the defensive side in this case for Tremaine and then execute at a high level.”

Edmunds was a standout linebacker for Bud Foster’s Virginia Tech Defense. The 6-foot-5 250-pound outside linebacker was responsible for 226 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, an interception, and four forced fumbles during his time in Blacksburg.

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