Rangers’ Cole Hamels scratched with stiff neck, not likely for Friday

The Texas Rangers scratched left-hander Cole Hamels from Thursday’s start against the Chicago White Sox due to neck stiffness.

Hamels said he woke up Wednesday with a stiff neck and it kept getting worse. nfl jerseys cheap nike He could barely sit on the Rangers’ plane ride from Seattle to Chicago.

“Sometimes in hotels it happens, I guess,” he said. “Everything comes down to timing. If this happened the day after we could get through it and get to the next game. Something that happens right before your start, there’s not enough time to be able to get right and go out there and give your team six, seven innings and a hundred pitches without something really disastrous happening.”

Veteran right-hander Doug Fister moved up one day to pitch the series opener against the White Sox on regular rest. He tossed seven scoreless innings in the Rangers’ 4-2 loss.227

Now Matt Moore will move up one day to pitch on regular rest Friday. The Rangers were off on Monday.

Hamels, 34, is 2-4 with a 3.48 ERA in nine starts this season. cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale He pitched six sparkling innings in a 1-0 victory against the Astros last Friday.

“At times we do pitch through some bumps and bruises, and I did think about how far I could push it,” he said. “But when you notice you cannot look at a target when you throw a baseball, it’s not good.”


Robinson Cano can go to Hall, Mark Cuban’s pitch and MLB’s next big thing

Breathless reactions aside, we can at least agree that Robinson Cano has done a very stupid thing, even if he’s genuine in his explanation. A professional ballplayer in his 14th major league season has to know what is being put into his body. If he wanted, someone like Cano could afford to pay a nutritionist, a personal trainer and a medical doctor just to follow him around. Now, because he failed a drug test, he is going to miss half of the 2018 season, less whatever time he would have missed because of his hand injury. And he’s losing $11 million in the process.

Cano is one of the foundation players for Seattle.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale The Mariners are in their 42nd season and as yet have never won so much as an American League pennant. They aren’t favored to do so this season, either, but with a 24-18 start, it’s within the realm of possibility for the M’s to make a run. That is made more difficult by Cano’s absence. And even if Seattle gets into the postseason, Cano won’t be eligible to aid the quest.

That is the tangible fallout from Cano’s suspension, and it can be evaluated and weighed someday when we look at Cano’s career for its Hall of Fame merit. When we do, we must also consider that he’s likely to finish with more than 3,000 hits and already has surpassed 300 homers, 293 of which have been hit as a second baseman. That’s an American League record. We must also consider that he’s won two Gold Gloves, five Silver Slugger awards, played in eight All-Star Games and finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting six times. We must consider that, according to JAWS, he ranks seventh all time among second basemen and could finish in the top five.224


This is the résumé of a clear Hall of Fame player. These are all facts embedded in baseball’s permanent record. To my knowledge, they have not been stricken or asterisked in any way. Evaluating these facts in the context in which they were established is the primary task of the Hall voter. Many might say it should be the only task.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick laid out the reasons Cano’s Hall chances are now greatly diminished with this week’s news. That’s almost certainly true. My stance is that it shouldn’t be.

The problem there is that nebulous clause in the criteria laid out in every Hall ballot: “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contribution to the team(s) on which the player played.”

If you ask 100 different people how they delineate and define the concepts of integrity, sportsmanship and character, you are sure to get 100 different answers. Those who won’t vote for, or support, proven or suspected PED users wave these words around like a matador’s muleta. To me, they shouldn’t be in there, but they are. Fine.

Are we going to say that because Cano failed that drug test he now lacks integrity,cheap nfl jerseys china nike sportsmanship and character? Look him up on your favorite search engine. His foundation has helped numerous underprivileged children in the Dominican Republic, New York City and Seattle. There is a school in the Dominican bearing his initials and number, built with funds raised by the foundation he established with his parents. Cano has twice been a finalist for the Roberto Clemente Award. Regardless of how worked up you get about performance-enhancing drugs, if we are going to evaluate the character of a person, shouldn’t these things be considered as well?


New leader of Patriots’ defense, Brian Flores, ‘tough on players’

The New England Patriots’ defense will have a new leader in 2018. Coordinator Matt Patricia has moved on to become head coach of the Detroit Lions, and linebackers coach Brian Flores will elevate his responsibilities without the specific coordinator title.buy cheap nfl jerseys

Don’t expect anything major, according to Flores, who made it clear that coach Bill Belichick’s preferred philosophy will continue to be on display.

“There is a long history of this defense. Bill’s been here for a number of years, so I would say we’re going to continue to play defense like we’ve played the past 18 seasons he’s been here,” the 37-year-old Flores said.203

As for what that means, Flores elaborated on the characteristics he’d like a “Brian Flores-coached defense” to have, and the first thing he said was that it was “going to sound like a Bill Belichick-coached team.”

“Tough, smart, dependable, can play under pressure,” Flores noted. “That’s been a good formula. I’ll go with that one.”

Schematically, that means a multiple unit that will do a number of different things on a weekly basis (and sometimes a play-to-play basis), with defensive linemen often asked to carry out two-gap responsibilities (being responsible for gaps on both sides, which is more of a read-and-react style of play compared to an up-the-field penetrating line).

Listening to Flores speak for a little more than 15 minutes late last week, it was clear why he’s already on the radar for head-coaching openings, as he had interviewed with the Arizona Cardinals this past offseason.where can i buy nfl jerseys cheap


Young Finland defenseman Heiskanen eyes NHL

The talented defenseman opened it at the junior world championship in Buffalo before becoming a mainstay on the Finnish men’s national team at the next two top tournaments: the Pyeongchang Olympics and the ongoing world championship.

In that time the 18-year-old has established himself as a reliable defenseman who has passed the test against top NHL talents at the tournament in Denmark. He plays in the top unit, meaning he has to stop the offensive aces of the opposition and that’s exactly what he has done.

NHL leading scorer Connor McDavid could attest to that.nike football nfl jerseys

On Saturday, Finland upset star-studded Canada captained by McDavid 5-1 and Heiskanen contributed a great deal.

He played 18:25 but his best moment came in the middle period when Canada was trailing 3-1 and desperately pressing to score. At one point, McDavid had just an empty net in front of him. Goaltender Harri Sateri was still at the far post and McDavid’s shot from the left circle was heading for goal.

But then Heiskanen came seemingly out of no where to Finland’s rescue, tipping the puck to safety.190

”It was almost in the net but I hit the puck,” Heiskanen said. ”It was a good save.”

When the two met in the third period, the result was a two plus two-minute penalty for high sticking for a frustrated McDavid, effectively ending Canada’s chances of a comeback.

Finland captain Mikael Granlund praised Heiskanen.

”I have seen him at the games here and nothing really surprises me about him,” Granlund said. ”The way he skates, the way he handles the puck and sees the ice. He can play these games. He’s been really, really good this tournament. He’s got a great career ahead of him.”

The obvious next step is the NHL.

The Dallas Stars picked him with the third overall selection in the 2017 NHL draft and signed him to a three-year entry level contract. He spent last season on loan with IFK Helsinki where he played since he was 17.cheap nfl throwback jerseys

He finished with 23 points including 11 goals in the regular season and added three goals and nine points in the playoffs.


US routs Norway 9-3 at hockey worlds, Germany upsets Finland

Captain Patrick Kane scored two goals for the second straight game and added an assist to lead the United States to a 9-3 victory over Norway for its sixth straight win at the ice hockey world championship on Sunday.

Defending champion Sweden also recorded its sixth win, 5-3 at the expense of Switzerland, while Finland was upset by Germany 3-2 in overtime – a day after the Finnish team outplayed Canada.

The Czech Republic beat France 6-0 for its second consecutive shutout.authentic nfl football jerseys

Kane scored with a slap shot from the right circle on a power play to open the scoring and added another power play goal almost from the same spot for a 2-0 lead.

The forward leads the tournament with 15 points for five goals and 10 assists.189

”A good performance by the team tonight,” Kane said. ”We had a lot of different guys to contribute and chip in, which is good to see, and give us a lot of confidence going into the next game against Finland.”

Forward Patric Hornqvist, who joined the Swedish team after Pittsburgh Penguins’ elimination from the NHL playoffs, scored in his first game of the championship against Switzerland.

John Klingberg, Mikael Backlund, Adam Larsson and Magnus Paajarvi also netted for Sweden.

Markus Eisenschmid scored the winner for Germany against Finland two minutes into overtime.

”For us to get a win against a nation that plays such good hockey is pretty big,” Germany captain Dennis Seidenberg said.

A day after a 5-1 victory over Canada, Eeli Tolvanen put Finland 1-0 up in the first period when the Germans were held to just two shots on goal.

But they came back in the second period. Frederik Tiffels tied it at 1 and Bjorn Krupp scored for a 2-1 lead. Sebastian Aho scored the equalizer for Finland with 2:06 left in regulation, forcing overtime.

”We were little bit down in the second period,” Finland captain Mikael Granlund said. ”Their goalie played a great game. Let’s move from there and let’s get ready for the next one.”

Germany goaltender Mathias Niederberger made 36 saves.nike football nfl jerseys

David Pastrnak and Roman Horak had two goals each and Dmitrij Jaskin and Martin Necas contributed one each for the Czechs against France.


Fulham end long wait for playoff win to reach Wembley

Fulham ended their play-off hoodoo in style by coming from behind to beat Derby 2-0 and put themselves one win away from the Premier League.

The Cottagers had not won any of their previous seven play-off ties, including Friday’s Championship semi-final first leg, but second-half goals from Ryan Sessegnon and Denis Odoi overturned a one-goal deficit at Craven Cottage and sent them to Wembley.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Sessegnon, tipped for a potential summer move to a big club, will take the headlines but it was an all-out attacking display from Slavisa Jokanovic’s men, who were worthy winners.

Fulham, who have only lost twice since December 16, will now meet either Aston Villa or Middlesbrough at the national stadium on May 26 and are 90 minutes away from a first return to the Premier League since 2014.177

The Rams would have wanted to put up more of a fight and they are condemned to an 11th successive season in the second tier.

After a disappointing night at Pride Park on Friday, Fulham were desperate to wipe out their deficit as quickly as possible and they could not have wished for a better chance in only the eighth minute.

The Cottagers showcased their attacking speed as they broke from a Derby corner with Aboubakar Kamara squaring for Sessegnon but the 17-year-old first touch was not great and his shot was too close to Scott Carson, who palmed behind for a corner.

Aleksandar Mitrovic took a while to get into the game, but he soon became a threat and was within inches of an opener 10 minutes before half-time when he superbly turned Curtis Davies on the edge of the area and curled just wide.nfl cheap nike jerseys

The only reason Fulham did not go into half-time at least a goal to the good is due to the heroics of Carson, who pulled off three top drawer saves in the space of five minutes.

First he blocked Kamara’s swerving shot, then tipped over Ryan Fredericks’ dipping effort before saving the best until last when he miraculously kept out Mitrovic’s powerful header.

Carson, though, was finally breached just two minutes after the restart as Sessegnon struck.


Jameson Taillon open to urinating on hand to heal cut finger

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon is open to trying anything that will heal a cut on his middle finger and keep him on the mound, including urinating on it.

Taillon told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he’s received that suggestion as a possible remedy.customized nfl jerseys cheap

“I said if it helps, I’ll put a sign-up sheet and everyone can come and pee,” he told the newspaper.

“I don’t care. I just want (the cut) to go away.”166

Taillon was forced out of his last start Friday against the San Francisco Giants after three innings because of the injury.

Taillon wouldn’t be the first baseball player to urinate on his hands as a form of treatment. Both Moises Alou and Jorge Posada, who both didn’t wear batting gloves during their careers, have said they tried the practice to toughen up their skin. Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill said in 2016 that he urinated on his hand to try to heal blisters.

Taillon, who is 2-3 with a 4.08 ERA in eight starts, is scheduled to start Wednesday,cheap nfl jerseys china nike  but Pirates general manager Neal Huntington has indicated the team will be cautious with the right-hander.

“We’d rather err on the side of conservatism and have him miss one start than risk missing a couple because it doesn’t heal properly,” Huntington told reporters, according to the newspaper.

The Tribune-Review reported that Taillon currently is wearing a silver nitrate sleeve on the finger to try to speed up the healing process.


Stephen Curry reflects on longtime link with Chris Paul

Over the past five years, Stephen Curry and Chris Paul established a bit of a point guard rivalry whenever the Golden State Warriors and LA Clippers linked up.

However, Curry said there was a time early in his career when he considered Paul — now a member of the Houston Rockets and the Warriors’ opponent in the Western Conference finals — to be a mentor of his.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

The two All-Star point guards worked out together in the summer when Curry was taken seventh overall out of Davidson in the 2009 NBA draft.

“He was a great mentor when it came to understanding how a guy on his level prepared over the summer for an NBA season,” Curry said after practice Friday. “How disciplined he was, his work ethic, and I got to see that firsthand after summer league through the beginning of the season. And obviously, we got a Carolina connection.”

Paul, who played collegiately at Wake Forest, was 24 when he worked out with Curry. In an interview that year, he revealed some of the advice he gave the young Curry.

“I just told him to be aggressive, as aggressive as possible,” Paul said then, almost nine years ago. “And as you watch games, because you’re not sure if you’re going to start when you come in as a rookie, I told him when you watch, learn different things. The best thing you can do coming in as a rookie is to watch. Watch basketball. When your team’s not playing, watch another team play, because that’s how you learn.”153

The two are not as close as they once were, but a mutual respect remains.

Paul is in the conference finals for the first time in his career, and Curry is seeking to advance to the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive season.

Both players are likely future Hall of Famers, and despite their battles on the court,cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal Curry said he appreciates the foundation Paul instilled in him.

“He demonstrated firsthand what it takes to be great in this league, and it was a nice little eye-opener for me that summer,” he said. “Work out with him, compete against him and take that confidence I had into my rookie year [to] get off on a good foot.”


Arden Key epitomizes the Raiders’ boom-or-bust draft class

Looking for the epitome of the Oakland Raiders’ boom-or-bust draft class, coach Jon Gruden’s first in Oakland since 2001?

Look no further than the Raiders’ fourth of nine picks, a self-styled top-five talent who fell to the back of the third round, where Oakland snatched him up at No. 87.

Yes, there were character concerns when it came to Arden Key.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

“I went through some situations that caused me to be a third-round pick,” said the former LSU defensive end. “I’ve learned from those things, and this is the consequence of me going through what I went through. I’m a better person now than I was prior to it.”143

Boom? Key set a school single-season record with 12 sacks as a sophomore in 2016 and had 21 sacks in 31 career games for the Tigers. The Raiders, even with the presence of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, need help getting to the quarterback. If a healthy and motivated Key can address that need, he’s a draft steal.

Bust? Key, after being suspended for the 2016 season finale, took a leave of absence in the spring of 2017 — reportedly to go to rehab for marijuana use — and had a subpar season last fall with four sacks and five missed games due to injury as his weight got as high as 280 pounds. He was coming back from shoulder surgery in May and endured a knee injury as well as a broken right pinkie finger that required surgery. Can the Raiders truly trust him?

“He had a big season two years ago with 12 sacks, but even then, was too one-dimensional,” Kiper said. “The majority of his impact plays were versus the pass. He has to get stronger and has to become more polished in terms of pass-rush moves. [He] beat collegiate OTs with speed and has shown the ability to bend the edge. But he’ll need to convert speed to power in the NFL and also maintain the proper weight where he can maximize his talent.cheap youth nfl jerseys

“In the later portion of Round 3, he’s worth a roll of the dice. Jon Gruden always talks about closing out and finishing games. You do that by having multiple pass-rushers. That’s how the Eagles finished things off against Tom Brady and the Pats with Brandon Graham’s strip sack. Key brings that element if you can keep him focused on the job at hand and maximize all of his talent and athleticism.”


Has Georgia become the Patriots’ new go-to college program?

The Patriots have five Georgia players on their current roster: First-round picks Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel, starting center David Andrews, backup receiver Malcolm Mitchell and undrafted free agent John Atkins. That ties Iowa for the high total. After the first round of this year’s draft, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said of the Georgia double dip with Wynn and Michel: “Both players come from a great program. cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping We have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach [Kirby] Smart and the job he does and he’s doing at Georgia and the job he did at Alabama [as defensive coordinator].”

So that provides some good insight as to how the Patriots view Georgia, but I’d caution from taking this connection too far because had a few things unfolded differently in the first round of the draft, I easily could have seen the Patriots going in a different direction. For example, had Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander, Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, or Arkansas center Frank Ragnow been available at No. 23, I could have envisioned all three been given serious consideration over Wynn. Likewise, had a team offered a nice trade package for the No. 31 pick, I could have envisioned a scenario in which the Patriots traded back and gave up the chance to select Michel there.

With that context, I’m not reading too much into the team having five Georgia players on the current roster. While the program is obviously highly regarded by the team, I’d put this into the category of a result of circumstance than any calculated plan.141

Pzan, one of the points that Bill Belichick stresses annually is how these sessions are geared toward teaching — not evaluating. The idea is that by teaching/reviewing the system, it gives players a chance to be at their best when training camp begins and the coaching focus shifts more to evaluation than teaching in a competitive environment. So, to answer the question, are these necessary? I think they can only help most players, whose developmental time with coaches is already limited. They are especially helpful for younger players. But there are also stories of teams who don’t place a high emphasis on the offseason program that have still had success, and one example to relay is the 2007 Indianapolis Colts under Tony Dungy. When I was visiting ESPN a few weeks ago, analyst (and former Colts GM) Bill Polian relayed a story about how the team was coming off its Super Bowl championship in the 2006 season and there was a sense of fatigue among some in the building as players returned for the following season. nfl nike jerseys for cheap The way I remember Polian telling the story, Dungy asked if he could significantly pull things back quite a bit until training camp, and Polian agreed it would be a smart decision. The Colts then went 13-3 in the 2007 season and lost to the Chargers in the divisional playoffs. I pass along the story as one example of how teams do things differently. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer, as much as it is the preferred philosophy of those in charge.