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Cubs closer Strop to sit out a week (hamstring)

Chicago Cubs reliever Pedro Strop will sit out at least a week of spring games after straining his right hamstring on his final pitch against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“According to the MRI, it was barely noticeable,” manager Joe Maddon said on Tuesday. “So we don’t think it’s going to be anything horribly long but we don’t know for sure. We’d like to think we’ll be able to get him ready for the beginning of the season.”

Strop, 33, has no doubt.12

“I’ll be ready for Day 1, 100 percent,” he said Wednesday. “I’m not even limited in doing anything.”

Strop is the Cubs’ de facto closer as Brandon Morrow is on the mend after minor elbow surgery this past winter.

The team stressed the injury to Strop was minor enough that he can keep throwing, but the Cubs won’t risk him causing more damage to himself in a game.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Strop injured his left hamstring late last season while running to first on a ground ball during a rare plate appearance.

He saved 13 games last year, in place of Morrow, who missed the entire second half. Morrow is expected to miss the first month of this season and if Strop is out as well, the Cubs are likely to turn to Carl Edwards Jr, Steve Cishek and Brandon Kintzler to close games. The latter two have ninth-inning experience.

11

Sabathia throws first BP session since procedure

Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia threw 20 pitches Tuesday during his first batting practice session since a heart procedure in December.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Sabathia, expected to miss his first two or three regular-season starts, is slated to throw a simulated game Saturday.

The 38-year-old, who is retiring after the season, had a stent inserted Dec. 11 after a blockage was found in an artery from his heart. He has had chronic right knee problems that required several operations.11

“He’s really responded well to everything,” Yankee manager Aaron Boone said. “He’s doing well.”

Sabathia also is suspended for five games for hitting Tampa Bay’s catcher Jesus Sucre with a pitch on Sept. 27.

The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner with Cleveland, Sabathia is 246-153 with a 3.70 ERA and 2,986 strikeouts in 18 major league seasons. He was 9-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 29 starts last season. This will be his 11th year with the Yankees.

Center fielder Aaron Hicks, who hurt his back during batting practice March 1, got a cortisone shot Monday. Boone said there is still enough time for Hicks to be ready for Opening Day.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“There’s a level of concern but I’m not too worried about it,” Boone said.

Acquired from Minnesota in November 2015, Hicks has been on the disabled list in all six of his big league seasons, nine trips in all for hamstring strains (three times), oblique strains (twice), shoulder, forearm and intercostal strains, and a concussion.

12

‘I don’t ever get gun-shy’: McCollum, Blazers roll past Clippers

But when the fourth quarter arrived, the Portland Trail Blazers guard turned an off night into one of the hottest of his career.

McCollum scored 23 points in the final frame of a 125-104 win over the LA Clippers, his most points ever in the fourth quarter, as he topped his previous high of 16.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Most impressive of all: McCollum outscored the Clippers 23-20 in the fourth.

“I don’t ever get gun-shy,” said McCollum, who finished with a game-high 35 points on 12-of-21 shooting from the floor. “I’ve missed a lot of shots in my career. You’ve just got to stay confident.”12

After his slow start, McCollum finished the night by making 12 of his final 14 shots from the floor and keyed the decisive fourth quarter, in which the Trail Blazers outscored the Clippers 40-20.

“He showed what he’s made of,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “He came in here, never lost confidence, took the shots that were there and got us over the hump.”

Said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, “We made a lot of defensive mistakes, but CJ McCollum was on fire. A lot of that was just shot-making because some were just one-on-ones. You live with it.”

Portland guard Damian Lillard wasn’t surprised by his backcourt mate’s big night.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“I’ve seen that movie,” said Lillard, who scored 20 points to go with 12 assists. “I always tell you guys: When he sees the ball go in a few times, he can get going. At that point, my job is to just make it last as long as possible.”

McCollum said he didn’t know that he started 0-for-7 from the floor.

“I just knew I had missed some easy shots,” he said. “Just a couple minor adjustments, and once one goes in, it’s all downhill from there usually.”

11

Westbrook not interested in revisiting fan drama

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook declined to share any thoughts Wednesday about the Utah Jazz issuing a lifetime ban to fan Shane Keisel for the incident that occurred during Monday night’s game.

“If you want to talk about tonight’s game, we can do it,” Westbrook said when asked his reaction. “If not, enjoy your night.”

Westbrook was fined $25,000 by the NBA for “directing profanity and threatening language to a fan.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

The Thunder did not practice Tuesday, and did not hold a morning shootaround Wednesday. In the locker room before Wednesday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets was the first time Westbrook had officially been available, but he declined to talk. (By rule, Westbrook is required to be available at least once on game day before tipoff, whether at shootaround or in the locker room pregame.)11

Thunder coach Billy Donovan called the incident an “unfortunate situation” and credited the Jazz for how quickly they responded with the ban.

“It sheds to light sometimes these things that players have to deal with during the course of games,” Donovan said. “It’s unfortunate because I think a lot of people do come to the games as fans and want to root and cheer their team on, but those situations are really unfortunate. If anything, it brings light to something the league, along with players — everybody can try to make it better.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Westbrook was sensational in the Thunder’s 108-96 victory over the Nets, recording his 26th triple-double of the season with 31 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. After one particularly thrilling sequence late in the fourth quarter that ended with Westbrook drilling a dagger 3 to put the Thunder up 13, he danced and shimmied at half court as the Nets called timeout.

“I’m extremely blessed man, humbled, to go out and hoop,” Westbrook said when asked if playing Wednesday was helpful in moving on from the recent situation. “And that’s that.”

12

Source: Jets to keep DE Anderson on 3-year deal

Spurned earlier in the day by linebacker Anthony Barr, the New York Jets addressed their front seven by agreeing Tuesday with their top free agent, Henry Anderson, on a three-year, $25.2 million deal, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

The New York Daily News was first to report the news.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Barr had told the Jets he intended to sign with them but changed his mind and informed the Vikings that he would be returning to Minnesota, a source confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday.

Anderson, 27, was one of the biggest surprises last season for the Jets, tying for the team lead with a career-high seven sacks. He made $1.9 million in the final year of his rookie contract.12

The Jets acquired Anderson on draft day, sending a seventh-round pick to the Indianapolis Colts because they wanted a veteran presence on the defensive line after releasing Muhammad Wilkerson. They never imagined he’d record more than twice as many sacks as he did in three seasons with the Colts; he had only three from 2015 to 2017.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Initially, Anderson was used by the Jets primarily on passing downs, which he felt contributed to his improved production. That enabled him to stay fresh throughout games. He saw an uptick in playing time over the second half of the season and wound up playing 60 percent of the defensive snaps for the year, second among the Jets’ defensive linemen.

Anderson, a third-round pick of the Colts in 2015, was traded because he didn’t fit their new 4-3 front. It made for a taxing offseason. He dropped 30 pounds before the trade with the hope of improving his viability in a 4-3 front. When he went to the Jets, who played a 3-4 base, he regained the weight so he could hold up against double-team blocks.

Listed at 6-foot-6, 301 pounds, Anderson also has a knack for blocking field goals and extra points. He became the first Jets player since 1997 to block kicks in back-to-back games.

12

Manchester City’s Sterling: Flashy footballer portrayal degrading’

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has spoken of his frustration over the media’s portrayal of him as a flashy footballer describing it as “hurtful” and “degrading.”

Sterling previously hit out at media coverage that he said “helps fuel racism,” after he suffered alleged abuse during a match at Chelsea in December.

Sterling, 24, highlighted a difference in the coverage of young white and black players and added that he has been unfairly depicted as extravagant.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“From the very start of my career, there has been a perception of a flashy kid from London: loves cars, loves the flashy lifestyle,” he told the New York Times. “I’m not saying I’m a saint or anything, but that is the complete opposite of who I am.

“These people do not know me. They will define me by what they read about me; that is how they will treat me. When people are making the public believe you are a character you aren’t, that is hurtful, and it is degrading.”12

Sterling has emerged as a potential candidate for Player of the Year after his hat trick in the 3-1 victory over Watford took his goal tally for the season to 18 in all competitions.

He was also a major part of England’s run to the World Cup semifinals in the summer, although that hasn’t stopped the boos that come his way at many away grounds across the country.

And Sterling said negative depictions are not just confined to football with the focus on spending among successful black people.

“It is not just me,” he said. “Whenever you see a report on a black player or a black entertainer it has to end up with money, or bling, or cars, or something flashy.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“With a successful white person, it is nice, short, sweet, what a lovable person.”

He added: “It is a stereotype of black people: chains and jewellery, bling and money. These are words that are associated with black people. If I was showing 10 cars on my driveway, if I was on Instagram biting my gold chain, or with two Rolexes on, you can call me flashy.

11

Manchester United push for De Gea contract agreement to avoid summer bids from rivals – sources

Manchester United are pushing for a breakthrough in their contract stand-off with David De Gea before the summer to avoid fielding cut-price bids for the goalkeeper during the transfer window, sources have told ESPN FC.

United have been negotiating with the Spain international over the terms of a new five-year deal for more than a year and there are fears that if the stalemate stretches into the last 12 months of his contract, due to expire in 2020, offers from Europe’s heavyweight clubs could further complicate the situation.

Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid have all been linked with a move for Spain’s No.1 and bids in the summer — likely to be below De Gea’s market value — would force United to choose between cashing in on a big asset or risk losing one of the world’s best goalkeepers on a free transfer a year later.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Sources have told ESPN FC that De Gea, who has made more than 350 appearances since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2011, is keen to stay but only if the club can come up with a wage packet that reflects his importance at Old Trafford. He has won United’s player of the year award in four of the last five seasons and, at 28, is reaching his peak years.11

United, according to sources, are reluctant to make De Gea their highest paid player although there is still hope that a compromise can be reached.

The club are willing to offer a deal worth £350,000-a-week which would see De Gea earn more than £90 million over five years. However, that is still short of De Gea’s expectations and the next three months will be crucial as the two parties seek to find a middle ground.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

There are also concerns that the overall price of the agreement is being driven up by associated costs, including agent fees, that could end up pricing United out of the deal.

De Gea’s situation is starting to mirror a similar contract stand-off in 2015. Four years ago, United accepted a bid from Real Madrid as De Gea was entering the final year of his deal only for the move to collapse at the last minute. He was dropped by manager Louis van Gaal for the first six games of the 2015-16 season while the transfer saga rumbled on and only returned to the team after signing a new contract.

After De Gea was at fault for Arsenal’s first goal in a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates on Sunday, caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rejected suggestions De Gea’s form could suffer while his long-term future is still up in the air.

12

Cooking too long gives Dodgers’ Kelly sore back

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said hard-throwing right-hander Joe Kelly, who was scratched from his scheduled appearance Wednesday night, will throw lightly on Friday and hopes to get in a game in a couple of days.

Kelly felt tightness in his back on Wednesday. Roberts said Kelly told him he hurt his back when he stood too long cooking Cajun food.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Roberts said the injury was not expected to be serious.12

In December, the team signed the reliever, who spent the last four seasons with the Boston Red Sox, to a three-year, $25 million free-agent contract.

He has made two appearances. In his debut, he allowed two walks, two hits and one run in an inning, but on March 3 allowed just one hit in a scoreless inning against the Texas Rangers.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Roberts said that catcher Russell Martin, who has also been sidelined with a back issue, could play Sunday.

11

Rangers name LHP Minor Opening Day starter

The Texas Rangers on Sunday named Mike Minor their Opening Day starter against the Chicago Cubs on March 28.

“He’s earned it. Obviously, the way he pitched last year, the way he came to camp as a No. 1 guy, his arm feels great and he’s ready to go,” manager Chris Woodward said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Mike’s got a different way about him. He’s almost possessed.”nfl nike jersey cheap

The left-hander finished 12-8 with a 4.18 ERA in 28 starts for the Rangers last season, his first with the team.11

He signed a three-year contract with Rangers after the 2017 season when he pitched exclusively in relief for the Kansas City Royals, finishing with a 2.55 ERA in 65 appearances. He began his career as a starter with the Atlanta Braves, going 38-36 in 110 starts from 2010-14 but had shoulder surgery in 2015 and didn’t pitch that season or in 2016.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“I’ve always been labeled a No. 5 or a 3 or a 4. I believe I can be an ace,” Minor told reporters Sunday, according to the News.

12

Michael Bennett’s arrival shouldn’t close door on Trey Flowers

Defensive end Michael Bennett is in, so does that mean Trey Flowers is out?

This was one of the first, and most obvious, questions that resulted from the New England Patriots’ agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday to acquire Bennett and a seventh-round pick in exchange for a fifth-round pick.

Bennett’s arrival shouldn’t automatically close the door on Flowers’ return — it’s more likely to affect Adrian Clayborn’s return for a second season — as it’s a trade the Patriots would have made regardless of Flowers’ free-agent status.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The 6-foot-2, 265-pound Flowers has proven to be a versatile chess piece along the line of scrimmage in the Patriots’ multiple scheme, aligning everywhere from outside the tackle to over the center. Off the field, he would be a leading candidate to be a team captain if he returns in 2019.12

The 6-foot-4, 274-pound Bennett might be able to do some of the same things as Flowers, but it’s notable that most defenses he has been part of over his 10-year career have played a notably different style. The Buccaneers, Seahawks and Eagles have primarily been 4-3 units, and seldom altered their looks — or what techniques they asked their linemen to execute — as frequently as New England does.

Because of this, many defensive linemen who play in New England have relayed that it takes a certain selflessness to thrive in the scheme.

Flowers has proven to be an ideal fit, and that’s why it’s hard to imagine the Patriots simply letting him walk out the door without an earnest attempt to retain him. The team still has the salary-cap space to do so after acquiring Bennett, while also leaving itself room to make other necessary moves.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

But should Flowers’ market expand to a point that the Patriots aren’t comfortable going — similar to what unfolded last offseason with offensive tackle Nate Solder and the New York Giants — Bennett’s arrival would at least soften the blow.