Tagged in: second

Rookie Gutierrez wins again as Reds beat Brewers 7-3

Vladimir Gutierrez pitched seven effective innings, Tyler Stephenson drove in three runs and the Cincinnati Reds stopped Milwaukee’s five-game win streak with a 7-3 triumph over the Brewers on Wednesday night.

Gutierrez (2-1) permitted two runs and six hits in the longest of his three big league starts. The right-hander struck out seven and walked three in his second consecutive win.

Cincinnati backed its rookie pitcher with five runs in the first two innings. Stephenson doubled home Jesse Winker in the first, and Nick Castellanos hit a two-run double in the second.

Stephenson made it 7-1 with a two-run double off Eric Lauer in the fourth, driving in Winker and Castellanos.

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Willy Adames had four hits for Milwaukee. Brett Anderson (2-4) labored through three innings, allowing five runs and five hits.

Daniel Vogelbach hit a towering homer to right against Heath Hembree in the ninth. Christian Yelich then doubled, but Hembree struck out Avisaíl García and retired Manny Piña on a fly ball to right to end the match.

The Brewers dropped into second in the NL Central, a half-game back of the Cubs.

Gutierrez got off to a tough start, plunking Luis Urías with the first pitch of the game. Urías advanced to third on García’s two-out single and scored on a balk.

But Gutierrez settled down from there. He got a standing ovation after inducing an inning-ending ground ball from García in the seventh.

RHP Sonny Gray was put on the 10-day injured list after straining a groin muscle while warming up for the fourth inning Tuesday night. Manager David Bell said Gray likely will miss at least his next two starts.

Right-hander Freddy Peralta, who came within five outs of a no-hitter in his last outing, starts against the Reds in the series finale on Thursday. Right-hander Luis Castillo gets the call for the Reds.

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John Harbaugh guarantees Baltimore Ravens will pick up Lamar Jackson’s fifth-year option

For those who had any doubts, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh stated Tuesday that the team will pick up quarterback Lamar Jackson’s fifth-year option before Monday’s deadline.

“Guarantee it,” Harbaugh said on “The Rich Eisen Show.”

Jackson will make a guaranteed $23.1 million in 2022, a significant raise from his $1.7 million salary this season. This will be the highest fifth-year option in the league next season, tying Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen.

By exercising Jackson’s option, the Ravens will squash the speculation that the team will let Jackson to “graduate” after four seasons.

An NFL Network analyst recently suggested the Ravens could trade up to draft a quarterback this week and move on from Jackson before his heightened salary-cap hit limited Baltimore’s spending.

Harbaugh made it clear that won’t be the case. “He’s definitely going to be our quarterback,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the plan, absolutely.”

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Jackson, 24, has won more games (30) than any other NFL quarterback since taking over as Baltimore’s starter midway through the 2018 season and became the second unanimous league MVP in 2019.

He’s the first player in NFL history to produce 5,000 yards passing and 2,500 yards rushing in his first three campaigns.

Harbaugh pointed out how the Ravens have scored more points than any other team in Jackson’s two full seasons as a starting quarterback.

“I feel like it all points to one thing and the thing he talks about all the time: He wants to win a Super Bowl,” Harbaugh said.

“I think he’s a very unique guy. He’s a guy that’s different in a lot of ways than any quarterback that’s ever played. Lamar is somebody that just kind of breaks the mold a little bit. He does it in a way that a lot of people didn’t anticipate. They didn’t see this coming. He’s very determined — and we’re very determined — to prove those people wrong.”

In March, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta stated the team is “confident and committed” to getting a long-term deal done with Jackson.

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Denver Broncos placing franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons

The Denver Broncos are placing the franchise tag on safety Justin Simmons for the second successive season, it was announced Friday.

Simmons, who was poised to become an unrestricted free agent, becomes the first player to be tagged this offseason. The Broncos now have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal.

“Designating Justin with the franchise tag is a procedural move that allows us to continue working on a long-term deal,” general manager George Paton said in a statement Friday. We are completely focused on making sure Justin remains a big part of the Denver Broncos for many years to come.”

NFL teams have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to place the franchise tag on their most valuable player.

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Simmons, the Broncos’ third-round pick in the 2016 draft, played on the franchise player tag in 2020, worth $11.4 million.

He concluded with 96 tackles and five interceptions. It was his third consecutive 90-tackle season. He has consistently been an active player in run defense along the line of scrimmage with the versatility to match up on a variety of players in coverage.

The 27-year-old has the combination of on-field performance and off-field community engagement, given that he has played every defensive snap for each of the past three campaigns and was the Broncos’ nominee this past season for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

When Paton was hired in January, Broncos president of football operations John Elway said trying to re-sign Simmons was “one of the biggest things” Paton had on his to-do list.

Simmons has consistently been one of the most active players in the community and one of the team’s leading voices in social justice initiatives.

He has acquired the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award, given out by the Denver chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America each season to a Broncos player to recognize professionalism and depth in interactions with the media. Simmons is the only three-time winner of the award since it started in 2006.

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Kansas City Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins optimistic about playing in Super Bowl

Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins stated he is optimistic about playing in Super Bowl LV on Sunday versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after missing both previous playoff games because of a calf injury.

“Feeling great,” Watkins said Tuesday. “Still working out with the training staff and [athletic trainer Rick Burkholder], just going over everything so I can have a chance and possibly go out there and feel 100% or 95% or 85%, wherever I get at by Sunday. Feeling pretty good, very optimistic. Been having good practices.”

Watkins also missed six games during the regular season. He was fifth on the Chiefs with 37 receptions, 421 yards and two touchdowns.

In the final campaign of his contract, Watkins said he would listen if the team would like to re-sign him because he values winning and playing in Super Bowls over personal stats and money.

“I would say, let’s win this Super Bowl and see where my head will be at,” Watkins said. “It would definitely be something to think about. It would definitely be something I would talk to my wife and my kids about, to think about coming back. Would I love a third ring? For sure.

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“I would definitely not say no about it. … To come back and win a third one? Yeah. I don’t mind. I would definitely have to sit and think about it, see what my future holds.”

Watkins’ return would add another dimension to a dynamic Chiefs offense, led by last year’s Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

“You never see him get rattled… You just see the calm guy that’s kind of like controlling the game,” Watkins said of his quarterback. “I think that’s what has taken this offense to a whole different level… I think we have an offense that understands now, if we just do the little things right, we can’t be stopped.”

The Chiefs punched their ticket to their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance with a 38-24 victory over the Bills in the AFC Championship game.

The Bills traded up to get Watkins with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.  The team traded Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, along with a 2018 sixth-round draft pick, in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick and cornerback E.J. Gaines, who opted out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic and was released by the Bills in January.

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New York Giants QB Daniel Jones has second leg injury

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is dealing with a second “lower leg issue” coming out of Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, coach Joe Judge stated Wednesday.

Jones confirmed Wednesday afternoon it was a low ankle sprain and that it was “sore.” This is in addition to the right hamstring strain that limited his ability to run, resulting in six sacks in the 26-7 loss, and forced him to miss the previous week’s game.

“There really is nothing worse for the wear with the previous injury,” Judge said as the Giants returned to practice. “He did come out with some bumps and bruises. There is another lower leg issue we’re dealing with right now. We’re going to go ahead and move him around at practice and see where he’s at.”

Judge said no decision has been made about whether his starting quarterback will be able to play Sunday night versus the Cleveland Browns. Jones, with a propensity to downplay injuries, said the hamstring feels good and overall he “felt good” during Wednesday’s practice.

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Colt McCoy, who saw an increase in practice reps with Jones listed as a limited participant in practice, would start if Jones can’t play.

“I’m going to give him the opportunity this week to work through practice, see how he moves and how he reacts to things,” Judge stated. “… If he’s not at risk beyond any normal game, then we’ll go ahead and give him the chance to play. If we think that is an issue, that he can’t go out there and defend himself, then we’ll make then best decision for him long term and the team as well.”

Jones looked hampered during Wednesday’s open portion of practice. He backpedaled gingerly while the team warmed up and stretched, and he hobbled at times during individual drills.

His back leg even jolted a couple times after making short throws.

McCoy, who started in Jones’ place in a 17-12 win over the Seattle Seahawks, took more reps than usual at Wednesday’s practice. McCoy was behind center for the first snap with the first-team offense, which is generally a decent indication of who starts at quarterback that week.

Jones was 11-of-21 for 127 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and a lost fumble against Arizona. The second-year quarterback did not have a rushing attempt for the first time in his career.

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