106

Piscotty loses mom, less than year after her ALS diagnosis

The mother of Athletics outfielder Stephen Piscotty has died, less than a year after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Gretchen Piscotty died Sunday night from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,cheap discount nfl jerseys the A’s said Monday.

She was diagnosed with ALS in May 2017 when her son was with St. Louis. The Cardinals traded him to Oakland in December in part to allow Piscotty to be closer to his home in the East Bay suburb of Pleasanton during his mother’s terminal illness. The A’s stressed they had targeted Piscotty beginning last July and were in search of a right-handed hitting outfielder.

Stephen Piscotty was with his mother and family at the time of her passing, according to manager Bob Melvin.106

”Obviously as an organization and certainly the players, we have heavy hearts for him,” Melvin said. ”We know what he’s been going through. He’s been going through it for quite a while now. He’s really close to his mom. We all feel bad about what he’s been through and what he’s going through right now.”

The A’s planned to honor Gretchen by matching up to $50,000 in donations made to the ALS Therapy Development Institute via youcaring.com/piscotty.

”The Athletics organization extends its deepest condolences to the Piscotty family on the loss of Gretchen,” executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said. ”She was a devoted wife and mother, whose legacy will live on through her husband, Mike, and their sons Stephen, Austin and Nick.”

”I remember them from the draft all the way through,” Matheny said. ”It’s been a tough go for them, so I’m thinking about them and praying for their family. You just can’t put a template on how to go through that and how he’s supposed to handle it. Stephen is a first-class guy himself, and a great family. kids authentic nfl jerseys I’m just hurting for them all the way through.”

Signed to a $33.5 million, six-year contract last May, the 27-year-old Piscotty is batting .243 with two home runs, seven doubles and 13 RBIs in 32 games.

105

Bruce homers in his old ballpark, Mets overpower Reds 7-6

Jay Bruce started circling the bases and heard the roughly 15,000 fans chant his name again in that familiar way. Yes, ”BRUUUUUUCE” was back, and so was the Mets’ struggling offense.

Bruce hit a two-run homer in the ballpark that’s the scene of his best moment in baseball, and Adrian Gonzalez connected twice on Monday night, powering New York to a slump-ending 7-6 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.discount authentic nfl jerseys

It was a nostalgic moment for Bruce, who was traded in 2016. He considers his top moment in sports the walk-off homer he hit at Great American Ball Park in 2010 to clinch a division title. Reds fans chanted his name in unison as he circled the bases for the 136th time at GABP, trailing only Joey Votto (144) for the ballpark record.

”Obviously every Reds fan wants the Reds to win, but we went through a lot together,” Bruce said. ”We had a lot of time together here and a lot of experiences.”

His third homer of the season was part of a Mets resurgence.105

They hit the road after getting swept during a six-game homestand that included three shutout losses and 11 runs total by New York’s offense. Michael Conforto got it going with a leadoff homer against Homer Bailey (0-5), and Bruce had a two-run shot off his former teammate in the third for a 4-0 lead.

”We’re excited as hitters to come here,” said Conforto, who was in an 0-for-13 slump and had gotten the last couple days off. ”We talked about it. Here it’s a small park.”

Gonzalez had a pair of solo shots as the Mets set a season high with four homers.

Left-hander P.J. Conlon lasted 3 2/3 innings in his major league debut, filling in with Jacob deGrom on the disabled list because of a hyperextended elbow. The Irish-born Conlon also had a single off Bailey, and it wound up costing him. He hurt his thumb on the hit and it contributed to his early exit.

”I went back on the mound and I didn’t really have feeling on that thumb,” Conlon said. ”I didn’t have a guide on any of my pitches.”

Robert Gsellman (4-0) gave up only a solo homer in 2 2/3 innings for the win. Jeurys Familia retired the side in order in the ninth with two strikeouts for his 10th save in 13 chances.

Billy Hamilton, Eugenio Suarez and Scooter Gennett hit solo homers for the Reds.cheap discount nfl jerseys Cincinnati fell to 8-27, matching the worst 35-game start in franchise history along with the 1931 and 1934 teams. It’s the worst start in the majors since the Tigers had the same record in 2013.

96

How Rajon Rondo used team dinners to bring the Pelicans together

No matter what city the New Orleans Pelicans are in, the script remains the same: A group text goes out and then player after player responds, showing up to that night’s outing when they could be somewhere else during a night off in the midst of the unforgiving NBA schedule.

“I guess it’s like hanging out with your boys, new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap really,” Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday said. “Camaraderie, just being able to talk about things other than your job or basketball. Finding interests in other people, getting to know them, really, this is going to sound … making them feel like you care. I mean actually really caring — being friends.”

A major reason for one of the most successful seasons in franchise history — the Pelicans’ series against the Golden State Warriors marks just the second time they’ve reached the Western Conference semifinals — is the chemistry that has developed between a group of talented young players and hungry veterans, thanks in large part to the power of those group messages.

“We all feel like we’re here together, like we should be able to have a core and be able to, I guess, hang out, and be with [each other],” Holiday said.

It’s a formula that has worked for past championship teams, as veteran point guard Rajon Rondo knows well.96

“It’s kind of like my Boston days,” said Rondo, who dished out a franchise-postseason-record 21 assists in the Pelicans’ Game 3 victory. “It’s hard to say because the personalities are different, but at the end of the day I love the unselfishness of the group. And I think what we’re finding out is that when we play together, we’re a better team. The only thing that matters — the locker room and culture is different when you’re winning, and when you win it’s a great feeling.”

Holiday, who averaged a career-best 19.0 points per game in the regular season and has upped that to 23.9 PPG in the playoffs, knows the vibes around this team are different, not only because it has had significant success, but because the players enjoy being around each other.cheap nike jerseys nfl

“It’s fun,” he said of the team dinners. “It’s usually a free meal.”

Holiday hasn’t had to pay despite signing a $126 million contract last summer because only two people have picked up the tab for the team meals all season: All-Star center Anthony Davis and Rondo.

95

Draymond Green’s 4 a.m. text elicits ‘I got you’ reply from Kevin Durant

Throughout the night, he got so agitated by his team’s performance that he sent Durant a “long-ass text message.”

The All-Star power forward wouldn’t divulge his message in its totality, nfl cheap nike jerseys but he said he had to let his teammate know how he felt at that moment.

“I just challenged him to be who he is. I had to tell him,” Green told ESPN. “I didn’t see him attacking or being aggressive enough on both ends of the floor like we need him to be. You know, I don’t hold back. When I see something’s wrong, I have to voice my opinion. There were no hard feelings. We’re just trying to win a ballgame.”

When Durant woke up hours later, his reply to the text message was “I got you.”95

Durant said he was a little surprised to have a text waiting for him, but he wasn’t surprised by Green’s viewpoint. A stat line of 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting in 35 minutes of a 19-point loss won’t do for a player of Durant’s caliber.

“In short, [Green] said don’t worry about s— else but playing with force and being aggressive,” Durant told ESPN. “And I tried to do that as much as possible today. I wasn’t aggressive in Game 3, and I knew that. It’s good to know that teammates got your back. It was good to hear that from him.”

The series shifts to the Bay Area for Game 5 on Tuesday. new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap Golden State hopes to close out the series at home. There is no desire to return to New Orleans, and that was the reason behind Green’s early-morning text message.

On and off the court, Green is producing for his team.

“This place is a crazy environment,” Durant said of the Smoothie King Center. “So I wanted to start off settling us down a bit. I was able to attack in different ways, and it helps when your teammates are motivating you, urging you to go to work. Draymond is one of my biggest supporters. He’s a team-first guy, and you can’t do nothing but respect that.”

82

Raiders’ Hurst happy to turn focus from heart to football

After months of questions about the health of his heart sent him tumbling down the draft board until being taken by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round, Maurice Hurst was happy to get on the practice field and turn the conversation to football.

Hurst took part in his first practice as a pro Friday when the Raiders opened their rookie minicamp with three promising pass rushers they hope can bolster their defense.

”Just trying to get all of that stuff behind me, new nike nfl jerseys cheap try to get people to stop talking about it,” Hurst said. ”You know, some sort of issue or all of those kinds of things – just try to move past that and focus on playing football and just having fun out there.”

Hurst was one of the most productive defensive players in the country last season at Michigan. He had 5+ sacks as an interior rusher and led all nose tackles and defensive tackles with 49 total quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.82

Hurst was sent home from the combine after a heart issue was detected. Hurst said it was something he has dealt with for a long time and hadn’t impacted him on the field. He said he has been cleared by doctors at Harvard and Michigan but that didn’t prevent every team passing on a player projected as a first-rounder until the Raiders got him at 140th overall.

”I’m not going to answer any more health questions on Hurst,” coach Jon Gruden said. ”I realize there are a lot of ghost stories out there about unnamed sources that have their opinion on why we shouldn’t have drafted him. This man played at Michigan. I know the head coach there. They’ve looked after him carefully. We’re happy to have him in any round, and I’m excited for him and I’m really excited for him because he’s an Oakland Raider and he’s a great kid. I hope you just judge him on the field. He’s been cleared medically and I’ll just leave it at that.”

The additions of Hurst, second-round defensive tackle P.J. Hall and third-round defensive end Arden Key give the Raiders help on a defensive front that has ranked near the bottom of the NFL in sacks in recent years despite the presence of edge rushers Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.nfl nike jersey cheap

The Raiders have the second fewest sacks in the NFL the past two seasons with just 56 – one more than the last-place New York Jets. Nearly two-thirds of those sacks have come from Mack (21 1/2) and Irvin (15), as the edge players have gotten almost no help from the inside rushers.

81

Med school beckons, Calgary Stampeders quarterback Andrew Buckley retires

Two years into his pro football career with the Calgary Stampeders, the 24-year-old quarterback’s acceptance into medical school brought him to a fork in the road.

Buckley announced his retirement from the CFL on Monday. He was Calgary’s backup last season behind starter Bo Levi Mitchell.customized nfl jerseys cheap

A homegrown football product who starred with the University of Calgary Dinos before joining his hometown CFL team, the decision to retire was hard for Buckley.

“I was kind of one of those weird kids that probably grew up dreaming to be a doctor instead of a pro football player. The way things worked out, the door opened to play pro football and I ran through it and loved every minute of it.”81

Buckley’s father Richard, also a former Dino, is an orthopedic surgeon. His mother Lois is a general physician. Buckley was accepted into his alma mater’s medical school starting in July.

“The opportunity was too good not to take it,” Buckley said. “You can decline the offer and try and re-apply, but I’ve heard horror stories of people that do that and never get back in.”

A two-time winner of the Hec Crighton Trophy as the top player in Canadian university football, Buckley also won the 2016 BLG award as U Sports male athlete of the year. The Stampeders drafted him in the seventh round in 2015.

In a league where Canadian quarterbacks are few and far between, Buckley was an impact player for the Stampeders.

Used for carries in short-yardage situations, he scored eight rushing touchdowns in 2016 and tied a CFL single-season record for rushing majors by a Canadian quarterback.

He scored a fourth-quarter touchdown in the Grey Cup that year.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

Montreal offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of the Kansas City Chiefs went to med school in the off-seasons at McGill and is scheduled to graduate this year with his medical degree.

Montreal-born long snapper J.P. Darche began med school studies at McGill before he was drafted by the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts and later played in the NFL for Seattle and Kansas City. He resumed med school after retiring.

69

New leadoff man Bryce Harper just wants to hit

That’s why, four hours before Tuesday night’s 12-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was out on the field at Nationals Park, taking early batting practice. Taking hack after hack after hack in the bright D.C. sunshine, for no other reason than he just wanted to knock the ever-loving snot out of the baseball.

“Just hit some homers,” said Harper when asked what the goal of his rare early BP session was.nfl jerseys cheap authentic “Get some balls over the plate and do some damage. BP is a good spot to get out there and, when you’re not swinging the bat as much, try to stay as effective as you can. Just feel the ball hitting the barrel. I was trying to hit the ball as far as I could.”69

Then he went out against the Pirates and, facing starter Chad Kuhl in the fifth inning, hit the ball as far as he could. To be exact, Harper’s three-run bomb to left-center traveled 416 feet, which, when it comes to opposite-field shots, is roughly equivalent to a country mile. It was a welcome sight for Harper, who lately had been struggling to hit the ball so much as a country meter.

After a white-hot start to the season — through Washington’s first 17 games, he was hitting .315 with eight home runs and 17 RBIs — the former MVP had gone blue cold. Entering Tuesday, he was mired in a 5-for-35 slump and had gone 12 games without an extra-base hit, the longest such drought of his career. That’s not to say he wasn’t getting on base.

Entering Tuesday, Harper — slump and all — was leading the National League with a .458 on-base percentage. Because that’s what happens when you get walked more frequently than a canine with a bladder problem. He’d received 38 free passes in 29 games, by far the most in the majors. He was on pace to draw 212 walks, the second-highest single-season total ever behind Barry Bonds (232 in 2004). He had been walked intentionally six times in his past six games, becoming the first player with six purposeful passes over a six-game stretch since … Bryce Harper.

Perhaps you recall the last time Harper hosted his own walk-a-thon. custom nfl jerseys cheap The year was 2016, and the cluster in question was centered around a four-game May set at Wrigley Field. It was the infamous series wherein Cubs pitchers walked him an unfathomable 13 times. In the finale alone he drew six free passes, three of which were intentional. That series (perhaps combined with some unpublicized health issues) helped send Harper, who at the time was the reigning MVP, into a tailspin from which he never recovered. He grew impatient. He started chasing pitches out of the strike zone. He tried to do too much. As a result, he ended up doing very little.

67

The Padres want to win over fans and become the team of Mexico

The kids from Tijuana’s municipal league were gathered at a park named after a local Major League Baseball player, Andrés Berumen, on a recent spring afternoon. Having just completed an hour-long training session, the 8- and 9-year-olds listened to their manager barking instructions before they were pointedly interrupted and asked to name their favorite baseball team.

That is precisely what the Padres intend to do,nfl jersey wholesale  fanning out once again to play ball across Mexico. On Friday, they open a three-game series against the Dodgers in sprawling Monterrey, a commercial hub and the third-largest metro area in Mexico, after the capital, Mexico City, and Guadalajara. This will be the third time the Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey has hosted a regular-season MLB series in Mexico. In 1996, the Padres squared off against the New York Mets; three years later, they faced the Colorado Rockies.

In addition, the Padres hosted the Mexico City Diablos Rojos, from the summer league, at Petco Park in the 2015 preseason. A year later, San Diego played two exhibition games in Mexico City against the Houston Astros. In the rarified air, at 7,380 feet above sea level, the teams combined for 39 runs in two games.

The Dodgers are just one team the Padres will need to overtake not just on the diamond, but also in popularity, to reach their objectives south of the border. To become Mexico’s team, the Padres still have their work cut out.67

A recent study conducted by MLB ranks the Padres as Mexico’s eighth-most-popular team. The Yankees are first, the Dodgers are second and the Red Sox are third. The Cubs, Astros, Giants and Blue Jays (with Mexican pitchers Jaime Garcia, Marco Estrada and Roberto Osuna all on the Toronto staff) all rank above San Diego. The data was based on Mexican fans’ selection of their favorite teams on the MLB At Bat mobile app.

During the course of the franchise’s history, the Padres have forged a consistent relationship with Mexico. In 1997, the team refurbished Campo Andrés Berumen as part of its Little Padres Parks program to provide quality fields for youth. The diamond is named for Berumen, the Tijuana native who played for the team in 1995-96.

The Padres were also the first to place an official team store outside the United States and Canada, operating one in Tijuana in 1996-2016. The store sold Padres tickets and gear, and even operated a shuttle to Petco Park. It was shuttered to make way for a partnership with Tijuana’s Liga Mexicana de Béisbol team, the Toros, which then became the outlet for Padres merchandise in Tijuana.

Further, Mexican billionaire Alfredo Harp Helú is a minority owner of the Padres, nfl jerseys cheap authentic purchasing a stake in 2012. A lifelong baseball fan, Harp Helú has been the sole owner of the Mexico City Diablos Rojos summer-league team since 1994, and is believed to be the only Mexican national who is a member of an MLB ownership group. (The Los Angeles Angels’ owner, Arte Moreno, is Mexican-American).

58

Pelicans show up for Game 2, but so does Stephen Curry

The Stephen Curry Show at Oracle Arena remains one of the most exciting spectacles in sports.

The two-time MVP, who hadn’t played since March 23 because of an MCL sprain in his left knee, custom nfl jerseys cheap electrified the sellout crowd of 19,586 by dropping in 28 points and grabbing seven rebounds in Tuesday’s 121-116 win over the New Orleans Pelicans in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals. The Warriors lead the series 2-0.

In what came as a bit of a surprise before tip off, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr decided to bring in Curry off the bench in his return game, limiting him to only 27 minutes — but the point guard still made the biggest difference for the veteran group by registering a plus-26 plus/minus — while reinforcing that the Warriors appear to be hitting their stride at the right moment.

After racking up a triple-double in Game 1, Draymond Green had another big performance Tuesday night scoring 20 points, dishing out 12 assists and grabbing 9 rebounds. As much as the Warriors fed off the emotion of Curry’s return, it was Green who provided an important energy jolt at various points in the game when his team needed one. Kevin Durant led all scorers with 29 points (on 11-of-23 shooting) and added 6 rebounds and 7 assists.58

The Pelicans can take solace in the fact that they had an answer for each of the Warriors’ runs throughout the majority of the game. But as was the case in Game 1, the Warriors proved to have too much talent — beating the Pelicans at their own up-and-down game.

After a poor offensive performance in Game 1, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday responded with a solid night of 24 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists, and Anthony Davis chipped in with 25 points and 15 rebounds of his own. Rajon Rondo had 20 points, 12 assists and 7 rebounds, but the Pelicans’ trio didn’t have an answer as Curry and Durant made plays in the waning minutes.

The scariest part for the Pelicans is that they did a solid job defensively for most of the night nike nfl jerseys for cheap — especially on Klay Thompson who finished just 4-for-20 from the field — but they still lost.

To find a victory in this series, the Pelicans are going to have to play close to a perfect game because their margin of error is so slim. Curry’s presence back in the Warriors’ lineup gives Golden State the type of championship swagger that has defined it over the past four seasons.

57

How Harden-to-Capela became the NBA’s most-feared connection

The raw kid from Switzerland, the center with soft hands, springy legs and open ears, offered James Harden reason for optimism during the roughest year of the Houston Rockets superstar’s career.

It was 2015-16, the final season of Harden’s failed marriage with former All-Star center Dwight Howard. nfl jerseys cheap authentic As their relationship fizzled due to differences in basketball philosophy, a major factor in a catastrophe of a 41-41 season, Harden saw potential in 21-year-old Clint Capela.

Capela’s physical tools caught Harden’s eye. His work ethic earned Harden’s respect. His willingness to listen — the word Harden uses most often when discussing Capela’s development — planted seeds of trust, allowing the bearded face of the franchise to believe he could help groom the project big man into an impact player who would perfectly complement his MVP-level game.

“I knew it wasn’t going to happen right away,” Harden recently told ESPN, “but I continued to work with him, and now look where he is.”57

Now, the 23-year-old Capela stands right in the middle of the Rockets’ success, a blossoming star for a team that had the NBA’s best record in the regular season and has won five of its first six playoff games. He embraces his role alongside Harden and appreciates the perennial All-NBA guard’s guidance.

Capela has come a long way in a few short years since he was a wide-eyed rookie who missed the first 11 field goal attempts of his NBA career, a streak of futility that fittingly ended when he finished an alley-oop from Harden.

Count Harden as one of the first to see this coming from Capela, the 25th pick in the 2014 draft, who spent most of his rookie year with the G League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

“James is very smart,” said Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, custom nfl jerseys cheap who has turned over the entire roster with the exception of Harden, Capela and glue guy Trevor Ariza in the past two years.

“[Harden] saw the potential — [Capela’s] ability to get off the ground quick, his ability to apply what he learned quick, his ability to finish around the rim, all that. I think James saw that early and really helped develop that.”