Tagged in: Los angeles

Atlanta Braves’ Kenley Jansen put on IL with irregular heartbeat

The Atlanta Braves have placed closer Kenley Jansen on the 15-day injured list with an irregular heartbeat, the team informed Tuesday.

The move was made retroactive to Monday when Jansen felt discomfort, manager Brian Snitker said.

Jansen underwent corrective heart surgery — his second procedure — in November 2018 after a recurrence of an irregular heartbeat prompted him to be admitted into a Denver hospital in early August 2018.

He initially underwent a cardiac ablation in 2012, when abnormal tissue in the left atrium of his heart was cauterized in order to stop from generating abnormal electrical signals.

Jansen, 34, gave up two runs in the ninth to blow a 2-0 lead in an 11-inning, 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night. It was Jansen’s fourth blown save in 24 opportunities.

The right-hander, who signed a $16 million deal with the Braves in March after spending his first 12 MLB seasons with the Dodgers, is 4-0 with 20 saves this season. He has a 3.58 ERA and 47 strikeouts.

“He’s been unbelievable,” Snitker said. “Having him has allowed us to use our bullpen depth.”

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Will Smith or A.J. Minter could be called upon to close out matches in Jansen’s absence. They are a combined 2 for 7 in save opportunities this year.

“It’s another injury you have to deal with,” Snitker said. “You can never have enough pitching. We have guys down there who have closed a lot of ballgames.”

A three-time All-Star, Jansen is second among active pitchers with 370 career saves.

The Braves recalled Jesus Cruz to take Jansen’s place on the active roster.

Also Tuesday, Braves manager Brian Snitker stated outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. has remained in Atlanta to receive treatment on his left foot but could rejoin the team in the next two days. Atlanta opened a series against the Phillies in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

Acuna fouled a ball off his left foot Saturday versus the Dodgers and did not play in the series finale the next day. Tests showed no fracture, but the star outfielder said he couldn’t put pressure on the foot.

In other moves, left-hander Tyler Matzek is set to start a rehabilitation assignment with Class A Augusta on Tuesday night, and right-hander Jay Jackson will continue his rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett.

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Kyrie Irving says he’s opting in to $36.5 million option with Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie Irving is opting in to his $36.5 million option with the Brooklyn Nets for next season, he told The Athletic on Monday.

“Normal people keep the world going, but those who dare to be different lead us into tomorrow,” Irving told The Athletic. “I’ve made my decision to opt in. See you in the fall. A11even.”

Irving had created a list of teams he would have liked the Nets to consider working with on a sign-and-trade deal if they couldn’t agree on terms for him to stay in Brooklyn, but the Los Angeles Lakers were the only team known to be interested.

Without the ability to find a sign-and-trade deal, Irving plans to exercise his player option, sources confirmed. He has until 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday to file to paperwork to opt in.

Irving is now no longer eligible for a sign-and-trade deal.

The Nets could still work to trade him as an expiring contract, but Irving would have no formal voice in a potential landing spot. He has until June 30 of next year to work out an extension with the Nets before becoming an unrestricted free agent.

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Irving, 30, averaged 27.4 points, 5.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds last season but only played in 29 regular-season games. By deciding not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Irving was ineligible to play in New York City because of a city vaccination mandate for employees.

When he did play, Irving reminded everyone just how talented he still is, as evidenced by a stretch in March and April when he scored at least 40 points in four games, including 60 during a March 15 win over the Orlando Magic.

There were usually large gaps in between when he could play in the schedule, until New York City mayor Eric Adams reversed course in late March and allowed a vaccination exemption for athletes and performers. Irving played in all four games of the Nets’ first-round loss to the Boston Celtics in the playoffs.

A seven-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA selection, Irving has averaged 27.1 points and 6 assists while shooting 49% from the field and 40.6% from 3 over the past three seasons. But due to a variety of injuries and other issues off the floor, he has played in just 103 regular-season games over that span.

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Seattle Seahawks’ Uchenna Nwosu wants bigger role than at Los Angeles Chargers

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Uchenna Nwosu cited the desire to take on a more prominent role in an NFL team as a reason for leaving the Los Angeles Chargers for his new team.

Nwosu spent four seasons with the Chargers, with his last being the most productive. The 25-year-old registered a career-high five sacks in 2021, featuring in 17 matches last season.

However, he considers he can play an even bigger role at the Seahawks, who are expected to deploy a 3-4 defensive scheme, similar to the one which finally brought out his best abilities in his last season with the Chargers.

Facing the media alongside Houston Texans defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo at an NFL FanZone event in Accra on Sunday, Nwosu said: “Sometimes, everybody’s situation is different, but some people might want to take on a bigger role, and to do that, you might have to switch teams.

“The best opportunity was presented to us [himself and Okoronkwo, who recently joined the Texans from the Los Angeles Rams], and we took it and thought it was the best decision for us.”

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Nwosu has been assisting the NFL with training prospects in Ghana, with a pool of 49 African players, scouted predominantly by New York Giants legend Osi Umenyiora, congregating at the Right to Dream Academy’s soccer venue.

Nigeria has been the most prominent African country in NFL history, with 92 players in the league currently, and Nwosu, who was born in Carson, California, expressed pride in his heritage.

“We [Nigerians] work hard. We always want to finish first. We never give up and always represent and carry the name well, with respect, and just carry ourselves to a higher standard,” Nwosu said.

Commenting on what sets Nigeria apart as a producer of NFL talent, he added: “I wouldn’t say it’s because of our size or because we’re bigger or better or anything like that. I just feel like we just … play. It’s a good question.

“Don’t get us wrong; there’s a lot of Ghanaians and other African countries in the NFL too.”

Okoronkwo added that it was a circular process.

“I think it’s more of a perception thing,” he said. “When Nigerians started coming into the league, they started doing well, so more Nigerians were getting opportunities because Nigerians were doing well.”

The pair pledged to work together in Nigeria in the near future, with Okoronkwo saying: “We both plan on, at some point — maybe next offseason — going to Nigeria and doing some things there.”

As Nwosu added, “Whether that be a camp or just helping out in the community, the sky is the limit, so we look forward to doing that.”

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Los Angeles Angels’ Reid Detmers optioned to minors 6 weeks after no-hitter

The Los Angeles Angels have optioned Reid Detmers to the minors just six starts after the rookie left-hander threw a no-hitter.

The Angels assigned Detmers to Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday, a day after he made his sixth consecutive winless appearance since his no-hitter versus Tampa Bay on May 10.

The 22-year-old Detmers became the youngest pitcher in Angels history to throw a no-hitter during that 12-0 triumph over the Rays at Angel Stadium, and he did it in just his 11th career start.

But Detmers is 0-2 with a 5.67 ERA in his six starts since that historic night. He has allowed eight homers and yielded 13 walks over those 27 combined innings, his performance dipping along with the Angels’ lengthy team-wide slump.

Detmers yielded five hits and five runs over five innings Tuesday night while getting no-decision in the Angels 12-11, 11-inning loss to Kansas City.

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The Angels also placed right-handed reliever Jimmy Herget on the 10-day injured list with a shoulder injury.

Los Angeles recalled right-handers Elvis Peguero and Oliver Ortega to fill its two open roster spots.

Detmers is 2-3 with a 4.66 ERA in 12 starts this season for the Angels, who hoped their precocious 2020 first-round pick was ready for a permanent move to the majors.

Instead, he will get more seasoning while Los Angeles continues its annual search for competent starting pitching.

The club already demoted fellow young homegrown starter José Suarez to the minors after he started the season in the rotation alongside Detmers.

Right-hander Griffin Canning, the AL Gold Glove winner in 2020, has yet to pitch this season in the midst of a lengthy recovery from a back injury. Los Angeles has lost 21 of 27 heading into its series finale versus the Royals.

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Kendrick Nunn, 26, opts into final year of contract with Los Angeles Lakers

Kendrick Nunn, who missed all of last season because of a bone bruise in his right knee, is opting into the final year of his contract with the Los Angeles Lakers worth $5.25 million, sources told ESPN on Tuesday.

Nunn, who turns 27 this summer, signed with Los Angeles for the midlevel exception last summer but never played a match during the regular season after injuring an ankle during training camp and later discovering the bone bruise, which was slow to heal.

The Chicago product came into the league undrafted out of Oakland and latched onto the Miami Heat, averaging 15 points on 36.4% from 3 and 88.1% from the foul line in two seasons, along with 3.0 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game.

During his exit interview with reporters in April, Nunn announced his plan to return to Los Angeles.

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“Knowing that I just took this entire year off, it’s a no-brainer for me to opt in,” Nunn said.

Nunn’s decision puts the Lakers at five guaranteed contracts on the books for next season, along with LeBron James ($44.47 million), Anthony Davis ($37.98 million), Talen Horton-Tucker ($10.26 million) and Austin Reaves ($1.56 million).

Russell Westbrook, entering into the final year of his deal worth $47.06 million, has until June 29 to inform L.A. whether he intends to opt in or not.

Los Angeles also has team options on Stanley Johnson ($2.35 million) and Wenyen Gabriel ($1.88 million) for next campaign.

Even if the Lakers exercise those options, the front office will still have half the roster to fill out this summer as it looks to regroup from one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history (33-49 in 2021-22).

In other Lakers news, the team is hiring Nets assistant coach Jordan Ott for a more prominent role on Darvin Ham’s new staff.

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Los Angeles Angels fire Joe Maddon; Phil Nevin named interim manager

Over the past couple of days, while his team navigated through a mystifying losing streak that still has not ceded, Los Angeles Angels general manager Perry Minasian started to think a change at manager might be necessary.

On Tuesday morning, as he drove into Angel Stadium after watching his daughter receive an award for her second-grade class, Minasian became convinced that it was time to let Joe Maddon go.

He called Angels owner Arte Moreno, received his blessing, then later drove to Maddon’s house to inform him he had been fired.

Thirty-two months ago, in October 2019, Maddon’s return to the organization he came up with was marked with celebration.

Now, on the heels of a 12-game losing streak that tarnished the Angels’ remarkable start, it’s over in swift, sudden fashion.

“It’s tough,” Minasian stated during a news conference at Angel Stadium on Wednesday afternoon. “Disappointed it’s come to this. I really like the man. It’s somebody I’m gonna talk to the rest of my life. Just the conversations daily. Who he is, what he’s about. You guys were around him — the energy he brings, how consistent he is on a daily basis. It’s tough. It’s tough. But you gotta be able to take emotion out of things and make decisions. I’ve taken the emotion out of it and taken a step back. Looking at where I’m at, as tough of a decision as it is, I felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Phil Nevin, the longtime corner infielder who joined the Angels coaching staff this year, will manage the team in the interim and will remain in that role through the end of the season, Minasian said. Mike Gallego will replace Nevin as the team’s third-base coach.

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The Angels, coming off getting shut out by Michael Wacha and the Boston Red Sox on Monday night, sit at 27-29 despite boasting a 27-17 record just two weeks earlier.

The 12-game losing streak ties the longest for a single season in franchise history and is tied for the second longest since 1900 by a team that was at least 10 games over .500 entering the streak, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau. During that 12-game stretch, the Angels had a minus-43 run differential, a .596 OPS and a 6.31 ERA.

“There hasn’t been one phase of the game where we’ve been good,” said Minasian, whose team finds itself 1½ games out of a playoff spot despite an expanded field.

“We’ve struggled on the mound, we’ve struggled at the plate, we’ve struggled defensively, we’ve struggled baserunning. The one thing I will say is the effort’s been great. I believe in this group. I know we’ve gone through a tough stretch, but we have 106 games left. And I’m excited about the 106 games.”

Maddon, 68, was in his third season with the organization he previously spent four decades with as a player and as a coach, largely in the minor leagues.

Maddon was Mike Scioscia’s bench coach on the team that won the 2002 World Series, then went on to a highly successful nine-year run with the low-budget Tampa Bay Rays, with whom he won two of this three manager of the year awards. In 2016, he led the Chicago Cubs to their first World Series championship in more than 100 years.

But it never quite clicked with the Angels.

The team concluded the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season with a 26-34 record, missing the postseason in a year when 16 teams made it. The Angels enjoyed a historic two-way season by Shohei Ohtani in 2021, but prolonged absences by Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon sent them to a sixth consecutive losing season.

They started 2022 with a dominant first month and a half but are suddenly in danger of missing the postseason for the eighth consecutive season.

In an interview with The Athletic shortly after his firing was announced, Maddon expressed surprise at the decision.

“You always rely on people in charge to read the tea leaves properly. This time, they did not,” Maddon told The Athletic, adding that he wants to continue managing.

“You can ask any of the players or coaches. They’re the ones who really know. Perry was in a tough spot. I understand that. Let me put it that way. I would really rely on the sentiments of the coaches and the players.”

Maddon added that he had what he considered to be a good working relationship with Minasian and that his relationship with the players and coaches “could not have been better.”

Nevin becomes the third Angels manager since the end of Scioscia’s 19-year run in 2018. Minasian, a longtime executive for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Atlanta Braves, is the team’s fourth full-time GM since Bill Stoneman ended his nine-year run in 2007.

Since being brought in at the start of the 2021 season, Minasian has been given the freedom to make major decisions in a manner that wasn’t afforded to prior executives such as Billy Eppler and Jerry Dipoto.

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DT Aaron Donald gets big raise from Los Angeles Rams in reworked contract

All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald is returning to the Los Angeles Rams with a big raise that will make him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL.

The Rams reworked Donald’s contract to give him a $40 million raise over the last three years of his existing contract, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, making him the first non-quarterback to eclipse $30 million per season. The reworked deal brings the total value of Donald’s contract to $95 million over three years.

The deal, which was negotiated by agent Todd France, includes $65 million guaranteed in the first two years of the contract and is structured in such a way that Donald can either retire or return for the 2024 season for an additional $30 million guaranteed, sources told Schefter.

The reworked contract contains a no-trade clause, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

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Donald, 31, underwent his physical and signed the contract Monday.

The Rams started their mandatory minicamp Tuesday.

The Rams tweeted a video from Donald on Monday in which he said: “What’s up, it’s Aaron Donald, I’m locked back in. Let’s go get us another ring. Why not? At SoFi Stadium, getting chills thinking about it. Let’s go to work.”

Donald had indicated on the “I Am Athlete” podcast last week that his return for the 2022 season was contingent on getting a new deal and that he would be “at peace” with his career if an agreement couldn’t be reached.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year sealed the Rams’ triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI when he pressured quarterback Joe Burrow into an errant throw on fourth down late in the fourth quarter.

Donald had 12.5 sacks in the regular season and then followed that up with 3.5 more in the playoffs during the Rams’ run to the Super Bowl championship.

In eight campaigns, Donald has 98 sacks. He has six seasons with at least 10 sacks — the second most by a primary interior lineman since sacks became official in 1982, trailing only John Randle, who had nine such seasons. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his NFL seasons and has been a first-time All-Pro selection seven times.

He is one of three defensive players since the 1970 merger to earn a Pro Bowl selection in each of their first eight NFL seasons, alongside Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor (10) and Derrick Thomas (9).

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Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams to open 2022 season; Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football

The NFL will open its new season where the last one kicked off — in Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium, as the Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, Sept. 8, the teams revealed.

The Bills-Rams matchup features elite quarterback play between Matthew Stafford and Josh Allen, who has guided the Bills to back-to-back playoff appearances. This game highlights a challenging calendar for the Rams, whose opponents have the league’s highest winning percentage from last year (56.7%). NBC will broadcast the game.

The Monday Night Football opener offers a spicy storyline

Russell Wilson making his Denver Broncos debut against his old team, the Seattle Seahawks, in Lumen Field.

Wilson guided the Seahawks to two Super Bowl appearances and nine winning seasons over 10 years. Seattle traded Wilson to Denver in March for multiple draft picks and veteran players.

Other key Week 1 matchups include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night, a rematch of last season’s Thursday night opener; the Los Angeles Chargers hosting the Las Vegas Raiders, reigniting a dramatic 2021 regular season finale with playoff implications; the Cincinnati Bengals at the Pittsburgh Steelers, a clash of fierce AFC North rivals; and the Kansas City Chiefs making the trip west to play the Arizona Cardinals, two high-powered offenses in the desert.

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The Buccaneers will face serious firepower in the first month of the campaign, with a Sept. 25 home opener versus the Green Bay Packers and a clash with the Chiefs the following week.

Other Week 1 matchups include the Jacksonville Jaguars, with new coach Doug Pederson, at the Washington Commanders, with new quarterback Carson Wentz. Pederson coached Wentz in Philadelphia and won a Super Bowl with the Eagles, although Nick Foles was behind center with Wentz injured.

Several key division matchups, meanwhile, are also on tap for Sept. 11: the New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans, New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, and the Packers at Minnesota Vikings.

Also, it will be the Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers at Chicago Bears, Eagles at Detroit Lions, Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets, and New York Giants at Tennessee Titans.

NFL teams started releasing information on their home openers a few hours before the 8 p.m. league-wide schedule reveal.

Teams have known their opponents since the end of last season, but the NFL builds drama around the schedule release, announcing the order, kickoff times and broadcast networks for all 272 games on one night each May.

This will be the second NFL season that follows a 17-game schedule, as agreed upon by the NFL and players union during recent labor negotiations.

The regular season runs through Jan. 8, with the Super Bowl set for kickoff Feb. 12.

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Los Angeles Lakers fire Frank Vogel after disappointing 33-49 season

The Los Angeles Lakers fired Frank Vogel on Monday, choosing their title-winning head coach to take the fall for one of the most disappointing campaigns in NBA history.

Vogel was under contract through next season, but almost nothing has gone right over the past two seasons for the rosters assembled by vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka and coached by Vogel, who went 127-98 in his three seasons running the club.

Pelinka declined to elaborate Monday on why he and owner Jeanie Buss felt Vogel needed to be fired.

“Today is not going to be a day of finger-pointing and unwinding all the specific reasons,” Pelinka said. “We just felt organizationally, at the highest level, it was time for a new voice. … That’s not to say anything against the incredible accomplishments that Frank Vogel has had. He was a great coach here, and he’s going to go on to be a great coach somewhere else.”

Pelinka doesn’t plan to replace Vogel right away, and he said he hasn’t even assembled a list of potential candidates. The GM said it “would be great” to have a coach in place before the draft in June, but that the Lakers’ search will be “thorough and methodical.”

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The Lakers have not dismissed any of Vogel’s coaching staff at this time, league sources told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

The Lakers concluded the 2021-22 season with a 33-49 record, failing to qualify for the play-in tournament.

“This was a disappointing Lakers season at every level,” Pelinka said. “In the face of disappointment, our fans expect more, and that’s in every facet. It starts in the front office led by me, and our ability to construct the right roster. It starts with the coaches holding players accountable and making sure there’s on-court execution.”

Continuity was a constant challenge for Vogel and the Lakers this season, as they had to contend with injuries to stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis and a roster construction with challenges that included limited shooting and athleticism.

James spoke to the media Monday morning before Vogel’s fate was revealed by the Lakers’ front office.

“I respect Frank as a coach, as a man,” James said. “Our partnership that we’ve had over the few years here has been nothing but candid, and great conversations. This is a guy that gives everything to the game and prepared us every single night. … I don’t know what’s going to happen with Frank being here, but I’ve got nothing but respect for him.”

Los Angeles was the only team to not have a single five-man lineup play 100 minutes together, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Despite entering the season with high expectations, the Lakers were only able to have James, Davis and Russell Westbrook on the floor together for 21 games. They went 11-10 in those contests.

The Lakers finished the season in the bottom 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, ranking 21st in defensive rating after finishing first in 2020-21 and third in 2019-20.

L.A. lost 18 of 24 matches following the All-Star break, with only the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers finishing with worse records during that span.

Vogel was hired in May 2019 to assemble a cohesive team around James and Davis, who was officially acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans two months later. Vogel’s plans worked right away: His first team weathered the NBA’s COVID-19 shutdown and then won the Lakers’ 17th NBA championship in the Orlando bubble.

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Los Angeles Dodgers add reliever Dellin Betances on minor league deal

The Los Angeles Dodgers, looking to deepen their pitching staff with low-risk, high-reward signings, have agreed to a minor league contract with four-time All-Star Dellin Betances, a source confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.

Betances, 34, can earn a prorated portion of a $2.75 million base salary if he reaches the major leagues, with an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses, according to the New York Post.

Betances was one of the sport’s most dominant relievers while with the New York Yankees from 2014 to 2018, posting a 2.22 ERA with 607 strikeouts in 373⅓ innings. But the 6-foot-8, 265-pound right-hander has made only 17 appearances over the past three years, and there’s no set timetable for his return to the major leagues.

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Betances has been off a mound this offseason, but the Dodgers need a longer look to determine how far he is from tapping back into some of his prime form.

Betances spent the first 5½ months of the 2019 campaign rehabbing a right shoulder impingement and a strained lat, then returned on Sept. 15 and tore his left Achilles tendon on his eighth pitch, ending his season for good.

He then struggled through a 7.71 ERA in 11⅔ innings with the New York Mets during the COVID-shortened 2020 season and made only one major league appearance in 2021, opting for season-ending shoulder surgery at the end of June.

Betances joins a handful of rehabbing pitchers who might evolve into major contributors in the Dodgers’ bullpen later this season, involving Danny Duffy and Dustin May, traditional starting pitchers who probably won’t be stretched out enough to reenter the rotation in 2022.

The Dodgers also employ Tommy Kahnle, who is nearing his return from Tommy John surgery, and have re-signed Jimmy Nelson, who will spend most of this campaign recovering from Tommy John surgery but could factor into the mix in 2023.

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