12

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.”

10

DE Bennett calls Belichick the ‘Yoda of football’

Michael Bennett will soon be a New England Patriot. After the initial shock wore off, Bennett said he is looking forward to this next chapter.

“I’m excited about it,” Bennett said Monday during an appearance at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium.

Bennett, who was scheduled to take a physical with the Patriots in Boston on Tuesday, said he looked forward to being coached by Bill Belichick and playing on a team led by Tom Brady.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“From a football perspective there’s a respect for Belichick,” Bennett said. “I consider him the Yoda of football when it comes to the ins and outs of what’s happening around how to prepare for a game.”10

As for leaving the Eagles after a season and joining what many fans consider the NFL’s Evil Empire, Bennett said he embraces the change.

“The Patriots are a team that people love to hate because they always win,” he said. “The opportunity to learn from that and be in that environment is good.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Bennett said the trade to New England initially surprised him. He was one of a core of NFL players who followed Colin Kaepernick’s lead beginning in 2016 and protested during the playing of the national anthem.

The protest agitated many fans and drew the ire of President Donald Trump, who condemned the protesting players and suggested they should be fired.

Belichick and Brady are enthusiastic supporters of the president. In meetings with Patriots executives, Bennett said he would continue to remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthem.

“I explained to them that my integrity means everything,” Bennett said. “I think they respect that about me, they respect who I am as an individual.”

He added: “The Patriots have been trying to trade for me for two years. Last year they tried to get me, the year before they tried to get me.”

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.

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.

11

Olivier Vernon trade signals another Giants move is coming

The Giants were toeing the line with Vernon. He had a big contract (counting $19.5 million against the salary cap this season) and an injury history in recent years. But he was still the team’s best pass-rusher, by a wide margin. The plan, according to a source close to the team, was to move Vernon only if they could find a suitable replacement.

That would indicate something is in the works either via free agency or trade. Vernon is gone, and now we’re left to wait for the other shoe to drop.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

One intriguing name on the trade market that would fill their desire to replace Vernon with a top pass-rusher is Kansas City’s Dee Ford. He is probably a better fit in the Giants’ 3-4 defense than the 4-3 defense Steve Spagnuolo is bringing to the Chiefs.

In free agency, there are players such as Baltimore’s Za’Darius Smith and Washington’s Preston Smith near the top of the list. Za’Darius Smith had 8.5 sacks in 2018 and would be a natural fit with the Giants. Markus Golden, with his familiarity with Giants coordinator James Bettcher’s defense, is also a strong possibility.11

As currently constituted, the Giants’ cupboard is bare. Vernon will officially be traded next week and Connor Barwin was released last month. That leaves Lorenzo Carter, Kareem Martin and Avery Moss as the team’s only edge rushers. Carter flashed some promise as a rookie and Martin isn’t known for his pass-rushing skills. Moss spent the season on the practice squad.

The Giants can’t wait until the draft to address these gaping holes, no matter how strong and deep it is in pass-rushers. They are going to make a significant move either via trade or free agency in the next week or so.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Legal tampering begins on Monday. Teams can officially start signing players at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.

The trade for Vernon makes sense for both parties. The Browns upgraded on the edge and the Giants added a right guard. Jamon Brown filled in admirably at that spot in the second half of the season, but Zeitler is at a different level.

11

Judge, Gardner: Yanks will break team HR record

Asked whether he agreed with Gardner’s emphatic statement, Judge doubled down.

“Oh definitely. You get this whole team healthy, we’re going to crush the record that we set last year,” Judge said. “We’ve got a good team, a lot of guys that could make a lot of solid contact, and a lot of big boys that when they make contact, man, it goes. We’re a team that’s primed and ready to do that.”

The 267 homers the Bronx Bombers slugged last season — Gleyber Torres’ record-setting blast was crushed at Fenway Park late last September — outpaced the 264 the 1997 Seattle Mariners had hit.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

The Yankees’ record-breaking season came during a year that was fraught with injuries to key power hitters. Judge was out for two months with a broken wrist. Groin strains sent Gary Sanchez to the disabled list twice. An early-season ankle surgery slowed Greg Bird and may have led to a general lack of production from him late in the year.11

Two of those hitters had homer drop-offs from their 2017 seasons. Judge went from 52 home runs in his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2017 to 27 last year. Sanchez fell from 33 to 18.

“So far in camp, everybody’s healthy, everybody’s hungry and working hard,” Gardner said. “Yeah, I expect us to have a better year, collectively, and not just me, or Giancarlo [Stanton] or Bird or whoever. But collectively as a unit, I expect us to be a better offense and score more runs.”

The 5-foot-11 Gardner said he has joked often with the hulking Stanton and Judge about them individually posting massive homer totals.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

“I tell them, anybody can hit 50,” Gardner said, drawing laughter from reporters. “I know I run my mouth a lot to everybody … [but] we’ll see. Whether it’s 42 or 62 or something in between, we all know what they’re capable of and how much raw power they have. It’s a lot of fun to watch. Seems like every day or every other day I still get amazed by what they’re able to do.

12

Manchester City are thriving on title pressure – Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez has said Manchester City are keeping calm and enjoying the pressure of the Premier League title race.

Mahrez, who joined City in a club-record £60 million deal in the summer, was part of the Leicester side that won the 2016 title in one of the greatest shocks in English football history.

The Algeria international said City — bidding for a second successive title — were enjoying the battle with Liverpool, who are a point ahead of them.

“We live for this, to be honest, this type of pressure,” he told reporters. “It’s good pressure — it makes you try to achieve more and more.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“At Leicester we had a feeling where no one had won the league, but here everyone has won it so it’s not the same thing. Here, it’s more calm and composed. We know what to do.12

“At Leicester, everyone was like: ‘We have to win! We have to win! Quick!’ There is no comparison. Everyone here is good, everyone is focused and we will try to win every game.”

Mahrez struck to give City a 1-0 victory at Bournemouth on Saturday, and boss Pep Guardiola said the goal was “important for him” after he had struggled for a starting role.

“As an attacking player it’s always good to score and help the team to win,” Mahrez said. “I know I was a long time without playing, but I’ve always been focused.

“But scoring is not a final thing — I still have to work hard because everything you have done in football is forgotten and it’s about the future.

“You have to respect the choices of the manager. When he needs you, you have to give everything. Do that, and the goals and assists will come.”cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Mahrez saw his volley squirm past Bournemouth keeper Artur Bourc and said: “I was lucky, to be honest. Sometimes when it comes to my right I just close my eyes and shoot. I tried to shoot across but hit the floor at the same time, so it went inside the post.

“Sometimes it’s enough and you have to take it. We are not always going to win 3-0 or 4-0. I remember when I was at Leicester, around this time we were winning every game 1-0. It’s a win, very good.”