Category Archives: Sports

Pollock to rejoin Dodgers after All-Star break

Dodgers outfielder A.J. Pollock is scheduled to come off the injured list and return to the team for the first game after of the All-Star break, next Friday against the Boston Red Sox, manager Dave Roberts confirmed.

The date was Pollock’s target since he had the peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line removed from his biceps last month. The line was required to treat the infection in his right elbow, which landed Pollock on the injured list April 30.

Pollock, 31, went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and played five innings in center field before he was pulled in his rehab assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. The plan, Roberts said, was for him to play five innings Thursday and seven innings Friday before playing a complete game. Roberts said Pollock will remain with the minor league affiliate until Monday or Tuesday before joining the Dodgers.

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Rookie Alex Verdugo has excelled since replacing Pollock as the everyday center fielder, but Roberts has insisted Pollock, who is batting .223 in 28 games, will return to his full-time role. As a result, Verdugo probably will move to left field, pushing Joc Pederson to first base against right-handed starting pitchers — a change the Dodgers began preparing for two weeks ago by putting Pederson, a lifetime outfielder, at first base or the first time with mixed results.

While Pollock reported to Rancho Cucamonga, Roberts said there is a chance shortstop Corey Seager will not go on a rehab assignment and instead be activated from the injured list before the All-Star break.

“That remains to be seen,” Roberts said. “I don’t know. This is kind of the last day, hours, we’ve got to make a decision. So I don’t really don’t want to answer that right now. obviously, anything is possible. But we should have a decision here soon about his course of action.”

Seager was placed on the 10-day injured list June 13 with a strained left hamstring. The shortstop was one of the hottest players in baseball in the three weeks before the injury, but the Dodgers entered Thursday 14-6 without him, plowing through the competition without a hiccup.

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Grizzlies send Kyle Korver to Suns for Josh Jackson, DeAnthony Melton

The Memphis Grizzlies are sending Kyle Korver and Jevon Carter to the Phoenix Suns for De’Anthony Melton, Josh Jackson and two second-round picks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Korver is expected to have his contract bought out so he can sign elsewhere while the Suns are reportedly making room to go after Ricky Rubio.

It’s the second deal of the day for the Grizzlies, who traded the oft-injured Chandler Parsons to the Atlanta Hawks for forward Solomon Hill and center Miles Plumlee.

The Grizzlies gained the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft, though Jackson hasn’t made much on-the-court noise in Phoenix. He’s averaged 12.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists over his two-year career. Off the court he was arrested at a music festival in May, the latest issue for the young player. He was fined as a rookie for showing a “menacing gesture” to a fan during a game and failed to appear at a team event.

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The 21-year-old point guard was a second-round pick in 2018 out of USC and started 31 games for the Suns. He averaged 3.2 assists over 50 games.

Korver, one of the league’s best 3-point shooters, joined Memphis last month as part of the Mike Conley, Jr trade with the Utah Jazz. That trade is not official yet, so the Memphis/Phoenix trade is also awaiting completion.

The Suns will reportedly buy out his contract — he’s due $7.5 million next season, per Basketball Reference, with $3.4 million guaranteed — so that he can join a team in the hunt for the postseason.

Those interested in signing Korver include the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks. They’ll be saving $5.5 million by buying out Korver than by keeping Jackson, per Wojnarowski. The slim savings will enable the Suns to take a run at signing Ricky Rubio, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks. The move opened up salary cap space to sign him to a three-year, $51 million deal.

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Braves’ Soroka aims to add Phils to his conquest

Mike Soroka last week became the youngest Atlanta pitcher to be named to an All-Star team. On Thursday, the rookie will try to nail down a series win against his team’s biggest rival and increase the Braves’ momentum headed into the break.

Soroka (9-1, 2.13) will face Philadelphia right-hander Zach Eflin (7-7, 3.34) in the rubber game of the three-game set in Atlanta.

The Phillies won the first game 2-0 on Tuesday thanks to Aaron Nola’s eight shutout innings, but the Braves bounced back to club three home runs and win 9-2 on Wednesday. Philadelphia leads the season series 5-3, but Atlanta expanded its lead in the National League East to 5 1/2 games over the second-place Phillies.

Soroka will be 21 years, 339 days old when he appears in the All-Star Game. The former record was held by Hall of Famer John Smoltz, who was 22 years, 57 days old when he appeared in the 1989 game.

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Despite his age, Soroka has pitched at a high level all season. In 14 starts, he has allowed more than two runs only twice. He has won nine straight decisions.

“He’s just businesslike,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Every game, he’s out to win that game, win that inning, win that at-bat. Kind of compartmentalizes things really, really well. Keeps things in really good perspective. He’s a really pleasant, really neat kid to be around.”

In his last start against the New York Mets on June 28, Soroka pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. He showed no ill effects from being hit on the pitching hand and leaving after two innings in his previous start against the Washington Nationals. Soroka will be facing the Phillies for the first time in his career.

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Federer loses 1st set, then rolls at Wimbledon

After losing the first set against an opponent playing his first tour-level match on grass, Roger Federer got back to normal Tuesday at Wimbledon.

Federer shrugged off an early deficit to beat Lloyd Harris of South Africa 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 on Centre Court at the All England Club in London, beginning his quest for a record-extending ninth Wimbledon title.

“I think once I got going, just legs weren’t moving and things were not happening,” Federer said. “You know, it is always … unusual first, let’s say, two to three matches maybe, here at Wimbledon, they’re always so different to any other court in the world, the way the ball bounces, the kick goes or doesn’t go.

“I just felt like it was slow. I couldn’t really have any impact. He was doing a good job of returning me. I don’t think I had an ace in the first two sets maybe. I had two in the first three sets. It wasn’t like I was serving poorly, you know. I guess I wasn’t hitting my spots, and he was reading my serve, or he was just doing a good job.”

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Harris was making his debut at the grass-court Grand Slam and rode his powerful serve to a one-set lead. Federer dominated after that, breaking his opponent twice in each of the next three sets and serving out the match with an ace.

“I think with my experience I stayed calm,” Federer said. “I know I have other things in the bag that I can come up with, other tricks. I just took a bit of time.”

Playing his first match since winning his 12th French Open title, Rafael Nadal had little trouble in making the switch from clay to grass. Nadal began his search for a third Wimbledon title by beating Japanese qualifier Yuichi Sugita 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 on No. 1 Court to reach the second round.

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76ers offer Simmons max deal

The Philadelphia 76ers want to make sure Ben Simmons remains in the City of Brotherly Love for years to come.

According to ESPN, the team has offered Simmons a five-year maximum contract extension worth around $170 million. The deal has not been signed just yet, but ESPN says the two sides — Philadelphia and Rich Paul, the agent Simmons shares with LeBron James and other NBA stars — are “expected to work through the details toward an eventual agreement.”

Simmons, 22, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft. He missed his first year with a foot injury but emerged as the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2017. Last season, the 6-foot-10 point guard averaged 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game and was a first-time All-Star.

Simmons is entering the final year of his rookie contract. The news of Simmons’ extension comes on the heels of an eventful opening few days of free agency for the Sixers.

While Philadelphia lost Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat, the front office reached an agreement for a five-year extension with versatile forward Tobias Harris while also plucking five-time All-Star Al Horford away from the Boston Celtics on a four-year deal.

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In losing Butler, the team arranged a sign-and-trade with Miami, acquiring guard Josh Richardson to fill out the starting lineup.

Throughout the playoffs, the Sixers often deferred late-game ball-handling and playmaking responsibilities to Butler, relegating Simmons to an off-ball role. With Butler out of the picture, Simmons’ development — especially the emergence of a credible jump shot — will be paramount in the team’s efforts to ascend to the top of the Eastern Conference.

The Sixers pushed the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors to seven games in the East semifinals, but lost on Kawhi Leonard’s improbable buzzer-beater.

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Klay accepts max offer to remain with Warriors

Klay Thompson has made it clear at every turn: If the Warriors offer him a max contract, he’ll re-sign. If they don’t, he’ll consider leaving for the Clippers, Lakers or whichever other team he could use for leverage.

There’s no guarantee Thompson, who’s 29 and has a torn ACL, will provide positive value throughout this contract. But Golden State absolutely had to offer him it.

He’s a star on a capped-out team trying to contend. The Warriors have no way to adequately replace him. The stakes are enormous, with championships potentially on the line.

And Thompson might be worth all that money. His superb outside shooting should age reasonably well. His defense could slip and still remain effective.

This is a no-brainer offer, and after all his signaling, Thompson will almost assuredly accept it as soon as he can. The Warriors will also be tasked with deciding whether or not to bring back DeMarcus Cousins. In addition, versatile forward Draymond Green is eligible for a supermax contract extension, so that will be something that the franchise will have to ponder going forward.

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Adam Kolarek (3-2) got the win and Jose Alvarado pitched the ninth for his first save since May 26. Alvarado is 7 for 9 in save opportunities.

The Rays’ third straight win brought them to 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees, who did not play Monday.

Thomas Eshelman gave up two runs on six hits in five innings without recording a strikeout, and left the game with the Orioles leading 3-2.

”I was impressed. He can locate the baseball, and you can pitch in this league if you can locate the baseball,” said Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde.

”We have some guys in our bullpen that have premier stuff that have a tough time locating the baseball. So hence, you see the six-to-eight ERAs not because of stuff but because of command. . . . This guy, Eshelman, did a great job of pitching and we just have a long way to go with a lot of our guys.”

The 25-year-old right-hander avoided a disastrous first inning by getting McKay to ground out with the bases loaded after RBI singles by Ji-Man Choi and Garcia

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Mckay goes 0-4 in hitting debut, Rays beat Orioles

Brendan McKay had a rough debut as a hitter for Tampa Bay going hitless in the Rays’ win over Baltimore.

McKay went 0-for-4 in Tampa Bay’s 6-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.

”I thought I had some good at-bats. It’s not the results you want, but making solid contact is putting you in the right direction,” said McKay, who will pitch again Friday night against the New York Yankees. ”It’s been great to get everything out if the way quickly and get your feet wet on both sides, pitching and hitting.”

McKay, who gave up one hit in six scoreless innings Saturday night in his major league pitching debut against the Texas Rangers, grounded out four times and was picked off second base on a throw from catcher Pedro Severino.

Kevin Kiermaier hit a three-run homer off Branden Kline in the sixth inning that proved to be the difference. It was his 10th home run of the season and came after a walk and single by Avisail Garcia.

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Adam Kolarek (3-2) got the win and Jose Alvarado pitched the ninth for his first save since May 26. Alvarado is 7 for 9 in save opportunities.

The Rays’ third straight win brought them to 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees, who did not play Monday.

Thomas Eshelman gave up two runs on six hits in five innings without recording a strikeout, and left the game with the Orioles leading 3-2.

”I was impressed. He can locate the baseball, and you can pitch in this league if you can locate the baseball,” said Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde.

”We have some guys in our bullpen that have premier stuff that have a tough time locating the baseball. So hence, you see the six-to-eight ERAs not because of stuff but because of command. . . . This guy, Eshelman, did a great job of pitching and we just have a long way to go with a lot of our guys.”

The 25-year-old right-hander avoided a disastrous first inning by getting McKay to ground out with the bases loaded after RBI singles by Ji-Man Choi and Garcia

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Middleton will rejoin Bucks for five years

Khris Middleton has agreed to a five-year, $178 million deal to remain with the Milwaukee Bucks, ESPN reports.

He declined the final year of his previous contract valued at $13 million in anticipation of signing a max deal.

A versatile scorer and a 3-point threat, Middleton was key to the Bucks’ success last season as head coach Mike Budenholzer built his offense around Giannis Antetokounmpo.

He earned his first All-Star selection while averaging 18.3 points, six rebounds and 4.3 assists. He shot 37.8 percent from 3-point distance last season and was Milwaukee’s No. 2 option behind Antetokounmpo as the Bucks posted the best record in the NBA.

Middleton’s range and ability to space the floor was a vital component in Milwaukee’s ability to open the lane for Antetokounmpo to attack the basket. Middleton, 27, was one of several players the Bucks faced a decision on this offseason, with Malcolm Brogdon, Brook Lopez and Nikola Mirotic all eligible for free agency.

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The 33-year-old Swarzak, pitching for his eighth big league team, has provided a major boost to the Braves since arriving from Seattle in a May 20 trade. He has allowed only one run and eight hits in 17 1/3 innings, striking out 21.

Lopez has also reportedly agreed to a new deal with the Bucks while Mirotic opted to leave the NBA to join Euroleague club Barcelona.

Brogdon, meanwhile, is reportedly headed to the Indiana Pacers in a sign-and-trade deal.

Drafted by the Detroit Pistons out of Texas A&M in 2012, Middleton was traded to the Bucks in 2013 as part of a package that sent Brandon Jennings to Detroit. He has been a regular starter in Milwaukee since as he has developed into an All-Star-caliber player.

“We are not done. The goal wasn’t to reach the Eastern Conference finals — we are on a mission to win a championship,” Middleton wrote in a post on ESPN.com. “I want to be a part of that mission, which is why I am staying here in Milwaukee for the next five years.”

The right-hander has thrown 13 consecutive scoreless innings over his last 13 appearances, and his success earned him a late-inning role in high-leverage situations.

Sobotka had a 7.07 ERA in 14 relief outings with Atlanta this year. He had given up 13 hits, nine walks and three home runs in 14 innings. In other injury news, second baseman Ozzie Albies was out of the starting lineup. Albies exited Saturday’s game after getting hit by a pitch on the inside of his left elbow. He wore a protective sleeve on the elbow Sunday afternoon but was available off the bench, Snitker said.

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Braves reliever Swarzak on IL with inflammation

Atlanta Braves reliever Anthony Swarzak was placed on the 10-day injured list Sunday with inflammation in his pitching shoulder, a significant blow to the bullpen for the NL East leaders.

The team hopes Swarzak will be ready to return immediately after the All-Star break on July 12.

The move was made retroactive to Saturday. Right-hander Chad Sobotka was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett before Atlanta’s series finale against the Mets.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said Swarzak mentioned some discomfort when he came off the mound Friday night after escaping a bases-loaded jam to preserve a one-run lead in the seventh inning of a 6-2 victory over New York.

”It’s nothing structural, nothing bad, so hopefully this little time off, he’ll be good to go in San Diego after the break,” Snitker said. ”Just hope it’s nothing more than what it is. But he checked out and everything and they don’t feel like it’s anything that’s going to be a problem.”

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The 33-year-old Swarzak, pitching for his eighth big league team, has provided a major boost to the Braves since arriving from Seattle in a May 20 trade. He has allowed only one run and eight hits in 17 1/3 innings, striking out 21.

The right-hander has thrown 13 consecutive scoreless innings over his last 13 appearances, and his success earned him a late-inning role in high-leverage situations.

Sobotka had a 7.07 ERA in 14 relief outings with Atlanta this year. He had given up 13 hits, nine walks and three home runs in 14 innings. In other injury news, second baseman Ozzie Albies was out of the starting lineup. Albies exited Saturday’s game after getting hit by a pitch on the inside of his left elbow. He wore a protective sleeve on the elbow Sunday afternoon but was available off the bench, Snitker said.

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Federer-Nadal set for potential Wimbledon semi

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal could meet in the semi-finals of Wimbledon after both were drawn in the same half. Nadal was unhappy about being seeded below Federer in a reversal of their world rankings but ultimately it has made no difference, with both in the opposite half to top seed Novak Djokovic.

Nadal has the most eye-catching draw, with a second-round clash against Nick Kyrgios looming assuming he beats Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, while Denis Shapovalov is a potential third-round opponent and Marin Cilic his seeded rival in the fourth round.

Federer opens against South Africa’s Lloyd Harris and is a carrot in the second round for Britain’s Jay Clarke, who takes on American qualifier Noah Rubin in round one.

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Nineteen-year-old wild card Paul Jubb will make his Wimbledon debut against Portugal’s João Sousa while Dan Evans and James Ward would play each other if they can beat Federico Delbonis and Nikoloz Basilashvili respectively. The final British player in the men’s singles, Cameron Norrie, will play Denis Istomin and could face eighth seed Kei Nishikori in the second round.

Djokovic will get things going at Centre Court on Monday against Philipp Kohlschreiber, a former top-20 player who was a 2012 quarterfinalist at Wimbledon and beat Djokovic on a hard court at Indian Wells, California, this year.

Intriguing first-round pairings men’s include: Thiem against 2017 semifinalist Sam Querrey; 12th-seeded Fabio Fognini against 21-year-old American Frances Tiafoe; No. 19 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime against Vasek Pospisil in an all-Canadian matchup; and Nick Kyrgios against Jordan Thompson in an all-Australian matchup, with the winner likely facing Nadal, who was upset by Kyrgios in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2014.

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