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Montgomery goes 6 strong innings, Yankees beat Rays 3-1

Jordan Montgomery pitched six strong innings, Aaron Judge and Gary Sánchez homered, and the New York Yankees defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Tuesday night.

About two hours before the start, it was revealed that Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin is away from the team after a positive COVID-19 test.

The Yankees beat Tampa Bay for just the second time in seven matches this season. The AL champion Rays had won 18 of the last 23 meetings, including a five-game victory in last year’s Division Series.

New York slugger Luke Voit went 0 for 3 in his first game this campaign.

The major league home run leader last year with 22, he was reinstated from the 10-day injured list after having knee surgery on March 29.

Voit was hit by a pitch around the right wrist in the fourth inning and had a flyout to the right-field wall in the seventh.

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Montgomery (2-1) gave up one run, two hits, walked one and tied a career high with nine strikeouts. After Jonathan Loaisiga worked two innings, Aroldis Chapman got three outs to get his eighth save and complete a three-hitter.

Chapman had an eventful ninth, including a visit by a trainer. 

Austin Meadows reached on shortstop Gleyber Torres’ error, but Sánchez later threw out the Rays DH attempting to advance to second. The lefty also walked one and struck out one.

Judge started in right field after being rested Sunday and hit a first-pitch, first-inning solo homer off Luis Patiño (1-1). Judge, who entered with two hits in his previous 24 at-bats, has been dealing with what manager Aaron Boone is calling “lower leg stuff.”

Sánchez made it 3-1 with his shot in the seventh off Josh Fleming. It was his second homer in three matches after a career-high tying 18-game homerless streak.

Mike Zunino connected on a 472-foot solo drive in the third for the Rays. It was the fourth longest homer in MLB this season, behind Yermin Mercedes (485 feet), Ronald Acuña Jr. (481 feet) and Marcell Ozuna (479 feet). Patiño allowed two runs and three hits in four innings.

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New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom headed to IL with tightness in right side

Jacob deGrom will be placed on the injured list by the New York Mets with tightness in his right side, a move that will keep the ace from taking the mound until May 20 at the earliest.

The Mets stated an MRI on Sunday night was “clean of any issues.” The team said it will place deGrom on the injured list before Tuesday’s series opener versus Baltimore, a move that will be retroactive to Monday.

A 32-year-old right-hander, deGrom is 3-2 with a major-league-best 0.68 ERA and 65 strikeouts, two K’s behind Trevor Bauer of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL lead. DeGrom has seven walks in 40 innings over six starts.

He pulled himself from Sunday’s outing versus Arizona, his first appearance after skipping a start due to discomfort in his right latissimus dorsi, a back muscle that connects the upper arm to the spine and the hip.

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The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 68 pitches over five innings against Arizona, premitting one run, but he called for trainer Brian Chicklo when he felt tightness trying to get loose before the sixth. He left with Chicklo and went straight to the clubhouse.

DeGrom struck out six and allowed one hit.

He was perfect through four innings before struggling in the fifth, when he allowed a run and walked three in an inning for just the second time in his big league career, the first having been May 13, 2018, at Philadelphia. He left after one inning in that game, his return from the injured list.

DeGrom is baseball’s hardest-throwing starting pitcher, with 79 pitches of 100 mph or higher since the start of the 2020 season, according to MLB Statcast data. Miami’s Sixto Sanchez is second with 13.

Of those, deGrom reached 100 mph 42 times in the first inning alone. Sanchez is second with eight. New York said it will reveal a corresponding roster move Tuesday.

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New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley on track to be ready for start of season

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is on track to be ready for the beginning of the season, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Barkley tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a Week 2 loss at Chicago. He had surgery in late October, giving him almost 11 months to rehab and be ready for the start of the 2021 season.

The procedure included ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair. It was deemed a success at the time.

The Giants also picked up the fifth-year option on Barkley’s rookie contract Wednesday, the team revealed. With the move, Barkley’s 2022 salary, worth about $7.2 million according to OverTheCap.com, becomes fully guaranteed.

Barkley told the AP Pro Football Podcast in February that his surgically repaired knee was doing well, but he would not set a possible return date at that time.

Barkley and the Giants have been optimistic from the start that the team’s top offensive player would return at full strength for this season. Coach Joe Judge told him it’s “gonna be a hell of a story.”

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Barkley has been training primarily in Los Angeles and Arizona this offseason. He has spent time rehabbing alongside former teammate and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who also is rehabbing an ACL tear.

The Giants have been working under the assumption that Barkley would get back to 100 percent. Still, they allowed backup Wayne Gallman to walk in free agency and replaced him with Devontae Booker because of his three-down capabilities.

Barkley, 24, was hurt on Sept. 20. He was running toward the sideline when Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson tackled him. Barkley grabbed the knee as he was headed to the ground.

Barkley was helped off the field and later carted to the locker room. He had four rushes for 28 yards before exiting. His season ended with 19 rushes for 34 yards and no touchdowns. It was the second consecutive injury-shortened season for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

Barkley played 13 games and just barely topped 1,000 yards rushing in 2019 as he dealt with a pesky high ankle sprain. He won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, when he led the NFL with 2,028 yards from scrimmage and scored 15 total touchdowns.

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Rays finish Bronx sweep, last-place Yanks lose 5th straight

The last-place New York Yankees lost their fifth consecutive game as Yoshi Tsutsugo hit a tiebreaking double off Gerrit Cole in the seventh inning that lifted the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-2 victory Sunday and a three-game sweep.

Four pitchers combined on the Rays’ second three-hitter of a series in which New York managed 11 hits in all.

Cole (2-1) was hurt by slipshod defense that made three mistakes in the third inning alone, two by center fielder Aaron Hicks and one by left fielder Clint Frazier.

One of the three runs off Cole was unearned, giving the Yankees a major league-high 10.

Joey Wendle added a ninth-inning home run off Darren O’Day, prompting more boos from the crowd of 10,606, who saved their loudest jeers for the final out.

Tampa Bay has won 16 of its last 21 versus the Yankees, including in last year’s Division Series. New York has lost five straight for the first time since Sept. 4-8, getting outscored 30-14. The Yankees have started 5-10 for the first time since 1997, when they finished second to Baltimore at 99-66.

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Aaron Judge struck out three times and is 4 for his last 28, Hicks has 1 hit in his last 15 at-bats, Gleyber Torres 3 in his last 24 and Giancarlo Stanton, despite a second-inning home run, is 3 for his last 26.

Clint Frazier is 1 for his last 24 and does not have an RBI in 40 plate appearances this season.

The Rays swept a series for the second time in their last three visits to Yankee Stadium after sweeping just two of their previous 51 series of three games or more in the Bronx.

Ryan Yarbrough (2-1) followed opener Andrew Kittredge and permitted one run and two hits in five innings. Diego Castillo got four outs, and Jeffrey Springs pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first big league save.

Cole struck out 10 in 6 1/3 innings and with 39 strikeouts set a Yankees mark for most in his first four starts, with three more than Masahiro Tanaka in 2014.

Cole retired 13 in a row before Wendle singled with one out in the seventh. Tsutsugo followed by driving a changeup, Cole’s 108th and final pitch, to right-center, where the ball bounced to the wall for an RBI double and a 3-2 lead. Tsutsugo was batting .146 at the time and was benched in the first two games of the series.

New York had been outscored 25-12 since Cole’s previous start and had not led since the second inning Wednesday versus Toronto.

Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 in the third after Mike Zunino singled leading off. Hicks got a late break on Kevin Kiermaier’s bloop to short center, then bobbled the ball and lost an opportunity for a forceout at second.

Yandy Díaz followed with an RBI single to center, and Hicks allowed the ball to kick off his glove for an error that let Kiermaier take third, sparking another round of boos from the crowd.

Manuel Margot followed by a sacrifice fly that put the Rays ahead 2-1, and Frazier heaved the ball past second as Díaz advanced.

Judge likely saved a run with a tumbling catch on Tsutsugo in right that ended the second with a man on. New York tied it 2-2 in the fifth. Gio Urshela fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches and poked a changeup to the opposite field and into the right-field corner, No. 9 hitter Kyle Higashioka walked and DJ LeMahieu looped an RBI single into right.

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RB Tevin Coleman first San Francisco 49ers free agent to join coach Robert Saleh’s New York Jets

Addressing their thin backfield, the New York Jets agreed to terms Wednesday with former San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman on a one-year deal that can be worth up to $2 million, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Coleman will be reunited with Jets coach Robert Saleh and several assistants, all of whom left San Francisco after the season. After a few failed attempts over the past week, Saleh finally landed a 49ers free agent.

Coleman joins a relatively unproven backfield that incorporates Ty Johnson, La’Mical Perine and Josh Adams, none of whom has rushed for more than 511 yards in a season.

There’s also a good chance the Jets will draft a running back. The Jets plan to run the 49ers’ offense under new coordinator Mike LaFleur, a former San Francisco assistant, so Coleman will be familiar with the scheme.

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Coleman’s best year was 2018 with the Atlanta Falcons, when he ran for 800 yards in a contract year.

He rushed for 544 yards on the 49ers’ NFC championship team in 2019, but 2020 was a washout because of injuries.

In Week 2 versus the Jets, Coleman suffered a sprained knee that landed him on injured reserve. He was one of several 49ers players to get injured that day at MetLife Stadium, prompting complaints from the team about the quality of the turf.

Coleman sprained a knee later in the season and wound up playing only 63 offensive snaps in eight matches. He was limited to 53 yards on 28 carries (1.9 average) and no touchdowns.

It will be a new-look backfield for the Jets, whose leading rusher last season was Frank Gore, 37, a free agent who might retire.

The Jets also made a move on defense, signing former Philadelphia Eagles pass-rusher Vinny Curry to a one-year, $1.3 million contact. Curry, who turns 33 on June 30, projects as a situational rusher.

He recorded three sacks and 10 quarterbacks hits in 11 games last season. In nine seasons, including eight with the Eagles, he has 32.5 career sacks.

The Jets, one of the most active teams in free agency, have signed 11 players.

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New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone has surgery to get pacemaker

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone is taking an immediate medical leave of absence after having surgery Wednesday to get a pacemaker, the team revealed.

The team stated Boone’s surgery went “as expected” and that he will spend the night at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, to rest and recover. Boone was “in good spirits,” the team said.

General manager Brian Cashman said Boone could return to the team in two to three days.

The 47-year-old Boone, who had open-heart surgery in 2009, said in a statement that he has had mild symptoms of lightheadedness, low energy and shortness of breath over the past six to eight weeks. He said further tests in New York before spring training indicated he had a low heart rate, necessitating the surgery.

“My faith is strong, and my spirits are high,” Boone said. “I’m in a great frame of mind because I know I’m in good hands with the doctors and medical staff here. … They are confident that today’s surgery will allow me to resume all of my usual professional and personal activities and afford me a positive long-term health prognosis without having to change anything about my way of life.”

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Boone, entering his fourth season as manager of the Yankees, said he looks forward “to getting back to work in the next several days.”

Bench coach Carlos Mendoza took over as acting manager for Wednesday night’s exhibition, a 4-1 victory over Toronto in Tampa.

Mendoza, 41, was a minor leaguer mostly with San Francisco and the Yankees from 1997-09 and is starting his 13th season working for the Yankees. He joined the major league staff as quality control and infield coach under Boone in 2018 and succeeded Josh Bard as bench coach for 2020.

“The mindset doesn’t change,” Mendoza said. “We have a really good group of coaches here and really good personnel that are going to continue to get these guys ready to play the regular season.”

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said “the thoughts of the entire organization are with Aaron and his family” in a statement released by the team.

“Aaron leads our players, coaches and staff with a rare combination of work ethic, intelligence and a genuine concern for others,” Steinbrenner said. “Our only priority at this time is Aaron’s health and well-being, and we will support him in every way throughout his recovery.”

Boone played in the major leagues from 1997 to 2009. He was an All-Star for the Cincinnati Reds in 2003 shortly before getting traded to the Yankees. Later that year, his 11th-inning home run off Boston’s Tim Wakefield in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series won the pennant for New York.

Boone is a third-generation major leaguer; his grandfather Gus, father Bob and brother Bret also played in the big leagues, and his nephew Jake is a minor leaguer in the Washington organization.

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New York Mets outfielder Tim Tebow retiring from pro baseball

Tim Tebow is retiring from baseball after five years as a minor leaguer with the New York Mets.

The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner returned to baseball in 2016 for the first time since his junior year of high school and reached Triple-A, encouraged by then-general manager and current team president Sandy Alderson.

Tebow, who works for ESPN’s SEC Network as a football analyst during the offseason, played 77 matches at baseball’s highest minor league level in 2019, batting .163 with four home runs.

He concluded his career with a .223 average over 287 games.

“I want to thank the Mets, Alderson, the fans and all my teammates for the chance to be a part of such a great organization,” Tebow said in a statement released by the Mets on Wednesday. “I loved every minute of the journey, but at this time I feel called in other directions.

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“I never want to be partially in on anything. I always want to be 100% in on whatever I choose. Thank you again for everyone’s support of this awesome journey in baseball, I’ll always cherish my time.”

A lefty-hitting outfielder, the 33-year-old was invited to major league spring training this season, taking one of New York’s 75 spots after Major League Baseball limited spring roster sizes as a coronavirus precaution. Position players aren’t slated to report to the Mets’ spring complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, until next week.

Over four big league spring trainings, Tebow batted .151 in 34 games, connecting for his first and only homer last spring before camps were closed because of the pandemic.

“It has been a pleasure to have Tim in our organization, as he’s been a consummate professional during his four years with the Mets,” Alderson said.

“By reaching the Triple-A level in 2019, he far exceeded expectations when he first entered the system in 2016 and he should be very proud of his accomplishments.”

Tebow’s baseball career started with a bang — he homered in his first professional at-bat during an instructional league game versus the St. Louis Cardinals in the fall of 2016. Later that fall, he made headlines by comforting a fan who had a seizure in the front row during Tebow’s Arizona Fall League debut.

The former NFL quarterback — a first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010 — was an All-Star at Double-A in 2018, when he batted .273 with six homers in 84 games. He struggled the next year at Triple-A and had his season cut short by a laceration on his left hand.

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New York Yankees agree to deal with LHP Justin Wilson

Left-hander Justin Wilson returned to the New York Yankees after two seasons with the Mets, agreeing Monday to a deal, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Wilson joins a bullpen headed by closer Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton, both left-handers. Hard-throwing right-hander Chad Green is joined by side-arming right-hander Darren O’Day, who was signed after the Yankees dealt Adam Ottavino to Boston in a cost-cutting move.

The 33-year-old Wilson was 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA in 74 appearances for the Yankees in 2015, then moved on to Detroit and the Chicago Cubs before spending 2019 and 2020 with the Mets.

He was 2-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 19 2/3 innings over 23 appearances last season. He struck out 23 and walked nine

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Wilson averaged 95 mph with his fastball, throwing it slightly more often than on half his pitches. He also throws cutters, mixing in an occasional slider and curveball.

Wilson is a nine-year major league veteran who spent his first three campaigns with Pittsburgh.

His deal with the Yankees was first reported by WFAN in New York.

New York also is also finalizing a minor league contract with catcher Robinson Chirinos, who would report to big league spring training, according to multiple reports.

The 36-year-old split last season with Texas and the Mets, who attained him on Aug. 31. He hit .162 with one homer and seven RBIs in 74 at-bats over 26 matches.

Chirinos also is a nine-year big league veteran who had two homers and three RBIs for Houston in its 2019 World Series loss to Washington. His best campaigns were with Texas in 2018, when he batted .222 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs, and with Houston in 2019, when he hit .238 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs.

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Jason Garrett expected to return as New York Giants’ offensive coordinator

New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is expected to return after a shaky campaign in which the team concluded 31st in total offense and points scored, a source told ESPN.

Although Garrett will stay, there will be some variations to the Giants’ offensive staff, among them the possibility of internal alterations when it comes to the responsibilities of those currently on staff. Increased responsibility for quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert and tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens is possible.

In addition, the Giants are searching for a new offensive line coach, with assistant line coach Ben Wilkerson and former Houston Texans line coach Mike Devlin among those being interviewed. Tolbert is also reportedly in the running to be the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator.

This was the anticipated outcome with Garrett despite the Giants’ offensive struggles, especially after the coaching carousel had spun for weeks and there was no word on his future. The belief is that some stability for quarterback Daniel Jones and the offense could be valuable. Jones has already had two offensive coordinators and systems in his first two NFL seasons.

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“As far as the potential of Jason leaving, of course it makes you a little antsy,” general manager Dave Gettleman said after the season. “Just imagine, anybody, any of you guys, having your fourth editor in four years. It’s the same thing. It’s no different. We’ll adjust and adapt and do what we have to do, and obviously anything we do moving forward, Daniel is a big part of it. We’re certainly conscious of that piece, to answer your question.”

Garrett, 54, came to New York after nine seasons as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach.

But it was at the request of ownership that first-year coach Joe Judge looked at the former Giants backup quarterback to be his coordinator.

Despite Judge signing off on it, the marriage seemed arranged and wasn’t perfect in Year 1. It became obvious that Garrett might not be the perfect match with Judge when offensive line coach Marc Colombo was fired midseason. Colombo and Garrett had spent years together in Dallas. Colombo wasn’t happy that Judge was bringing in veteran offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo as a consultant, and the situation deteriorated from there.

DeGuglielmo’s contract has since expired, and he is not expected to return, according to multiple sources.

Garrett sidestepped a question late in the season about whether he would return for a second year with the Giants.

“I’m just excited about the opportunity we have this week,” he said before the season finale against the Cowboys. “Really, I’ve just tried to stay in the moment in any position I’ve had as a player or coach in the NFL. That’s typically when you play your best and coach your best. That’s really what I’m focused on.”

Before his nine-season stint as the Cowboys’ head coach, Garrett was Dallas’ offensive coordinator. But he hadn’t called plays since 2012. The Giants’ offense also took a serious hit when star running back Saquon Barkley tore his knee in Week 2. Barkley, along with Garrett now, also is expected back for next season.

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Corey Kluber excited to join Yanks

Limited to one inning in two years, Corey Kluber considers his ability will show with the New York Yankees.

“I consider myself to be healthy at this point. I’m not rehabbing anything or tending to any issues with anything lingering or anything like that,” the right-hander said Thursday, a day after finalizing an $11 million, one-year contract. “I’m basically at a normal stage of my offseason right now.”

Kluber completed his contract on the day AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu finalized a $90 million, six-year contract to remain in pinstripes.

“It’s no secret that I wanted to be back with the Yankees, I wanted to be back in New York. It was frustrating at times because it took so long,” the relieved second baseman said. “I just think the whole free-agent market in general was just slow.”

A three-time All-Star who turns 35 on April 10, Kluber joins a new-look rotation that contains returnees Gerrit Cole, Deivi García and Jordan Montgomery along with Jameson Taillon, who was acquired from Pittsburgh last weekend after missing most of the past two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

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Kluber won the 2014 and 2017 AL Cy Young Awards with Cleveland, going 56-20 over the 2016-18 seasons. He was hit on the right forearm on May 1, 2019, by a comebacker off the bat of Miami’s Brian Anderson and concluded 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA in seven starts, then was traded to Texas. Kluber tore a muscle in his right shoulder in his Rangers debut on July 26, ending his season after one inning. The injury healed without surgery.

“That was extremely frustrating time for me, but I don’t think I ever got down on myself,” Kluber said. “I think that it’s probably more of overcoming the mental aspect of it as opposed to physical … getting out of that rehab mindset where you’re trying to work through things or feel for things.”

A three-time All-Star who is 98-58 with a 3.16 ERA in 10 seasons, Kluber has worked with Eric Cressey, who started last year as New York’s director of player health and performance.

With age, Kluber has been prepared to make variations to his preparation.

“The biggest thing with those adjustments is listening to my body when something is telling you something, you got to listen to it,” he stated. “I think that there are times when you have to be smart and probably not try to have that mentality just to push through, push through, push through. I think that there’s times when you’re going to get in a little more treatment or maybe back off.”

He already has prepared for reporting to the Yankees by shaving his beard to comply with a team rule.

“It feels a little bit naked but I’m getting used to it,” Kluber said.

He is one of a few additions to the Yankees, who traded reliever Adam Ottavino to Boston and have a pending $2.5 million agreement with Darren O’Day, a bullpen switch that helps them remain below the $210 million luxury tax threshold.

In addition, Luis Severino is expected to return at some point this season from Tommy John surgery last Feb. 27 and Domingo Germán is expected back from a domestic violence suspension that caused him to miss last season.

New York said goodbye to Masahiro Tanaka, who revealed Thursday he had agreed to a two-year contract to return to Japan with the Pacific League’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles.

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