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.”


Rockets defy critics and stick to the plan in Game 2 win

The call came in a little after 1 a.m. early Tuesday morning. PJ Tucker saw the caller ID and shook his head. James Harden was calling to talk about the Houston Rockets’ demoralizing loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Monday. Tucker wasn’t sure if the MVP front-runner was calling to vent or cheer him up. Either way, he was in no mood.

“I was so mad I didn’t answer the phone,” Tucker told ESPN on Wednesday night after the Rockets righted the ship to win Game 2 127-105 and salvage a split on their home court. “James was mad I didn’t answer. But it wasn’t one of those where we had to talk it out. We all knew what happened.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

“We played like the Rockets tonight. The first game, I don’t know who that was.”212

To a man, the Rockets insisted they didn’t change their approach in Game 2 after being criticized for playing such an isolation-heavy game Monday night. If anything, they seemed to double down on that approach and way of being Wednesday night. They just did it a whole lot better.

Houston’s passing in Game 2 led to much better shots than it did in Game 1. On Wednesday, for example, the Rockets created 12 uncontested 3-point shots off assists and made six of them. In Monday’s loss they created only five uncontested 3-pointers off assists and made two of them.

“I had better opportunities. We moved the ball better. Everybody was knocking down shots. Once we do that, how can you stop us?” said Rockets guard Eric Gordon, who scored 27 points including six 3-pointers Wednesday.

“I think this game was a matter of the Rockets bringing the force that’s necessary to win a game and we didn’t,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We had seven turnovers in the first quarter. We set the tone early with our own play, and allowed them to get some confidence and some easy buckets in transition. We let guys get going.

“We got what we deserved. They kicked our butts. No other way to say it.”cheap nfl jerseys nike china

The only Warrior who seemed to be sharp Wednesday was Kevin Durant, who basically carried his team when nobody else could hit a shot or find a rhythm. Durant had a game-high 38 points on 13-of-22 shooting, but noticeably no assists as the Rockets forced him into isolation situations and decided to live with the results so long as he didn’t get anyone else involved.


Stephen Curry: Warriors need more aggressiveness, discipline on D

The Rockets targeted Curry on 23 possessions in Game 2, the most he has been targeted in a game this postseason, as they routed the Golden State Warriors 127-105 on Wednesday night to even the series at one game apiece. He was the primary defender on 20 plays in Game 1.

According to Second Spectrum, Curry defended 15 isolation plays in Game 1 and 13 in Game 2. nfl replica jerseys cheap Both were more than he had defended in the past four seasons, regular season and playoffs.

“They made shots,” Curry said about the Rockets’ high point total. “We were just a step slow on our rotations and our switches. Guys got into the paint. We know their M.O. is isolation, trying to get dribble drives, get the ball in the paint. … We’ve got to respond with some more aggressiveness and more discipline on the defensive end.”

Asked about how relentlessly the Rockets are zeroing in on Curry, coach Mike D’Antoni said, “It’s obviously one of our things we like to do.”

In the series, James Harden and Chris Paul are consistently calling for screens from the teammate Curry is guarding to get the two-time MVP to switch onto them. Once Curry switches to the primary ball handler, the Rockets attempt to penetrate to the basket.211

Houston shot 7-of-15 from the field on those 23 possessions Curry was the primary defender. Curry was beat off the dribble frequently and too often allowed Harden to drive to his stronger left side.

“We were trying to be too cute with our [defensive] exchanges and our switches and all that stuff instead of just manning up and playing one-on-one defense,” Curry said. “Whether they score or not, as hard as we’re working on the defensive end, they’re working as hard on the offensive end to get shots up. That was the difference between Game 1 and Game 2. They made a concerted effort to turn those one-on-one situations into a little bit more ball movement, and we were just a step slow, myself included.”

Many are questioning whether Curry is fully healed from his left knee injury that forced him to miss five weeks.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

“I physically feel fine,” he told ESPN. “I’m playing without really any limitations so I can just go play basketball.”


Jon Gruden’s plan: 35-year-old Derrick Johnson in the middle of the Raiders’ D

There is no doubt Derrick Johnson has much to prove in what will be his 14th NFL season this fall, his first with the Oakland Raiders.

After all, the Kansas City Chiefs essentially told the longtime fan favorite his services were no longer needed when they exercised the option to void the final year of his contract this spring.

The question, though, is this: where can i buy nfl jerseys cheap How much does Johnson, who turns 36 in November and has torn both Achilles tendons since 2014, have left in the tank?

“The main reason I’m still playing ball and chasing a championship ring [is] just because I believe I have a lot left in the tank; I have a lot left in the tank,” Johnson, who signed with Oakland on May 7, emphasized on a recent conference call with Bay Area reporters. “That’s the only reason I’m back. When I get to a point where I’m like, ‘Man, I’m hanging on,’ I’ll get out. I’ll get out of the NFL.”204

Indeed, Raiders coach Jon Gruden believes there is enough playmaking ability remaining in Johnson to have him serve as Oakland’s middle linebacker in a rebuilt 4-3 base defense. Yes, that means purportedly taking the place of NaVorro Bowman, who is more than five years younger but also has had major injuries to his left knee and left Achilles (Johnson was Pro Football Focus’ 33rd-ranked linebacker last season with an overall 77.3 grade, while Bowman was 11th with an 84.8 grade).

Coming from the Chiefs also should help stoke this ancient AFC West rivalry, what with Johnson’s standing as Kansas City’s all-time leading tackler with 1,262 stops and a four-time Pro Bowler with 27.5 career sacks, 23 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and 14 interceptions.

“He brings us status at a critical position,” Gruden said. “He’s got a great history in this league. He’s been productive under a lot of different coaches, different schemes. He understands the AFC West. He certainly understands this rivalry. I’m really excited to add him to our team with Tahir Whitehead and some of our young linebackers. I think his presence will be very valuable.

“Getting a guy like Derrick Johnson, I think, could be huge for us.”

Again, so long as the 6-foot-3, 242-pounder is healthy, right?nfl jerseys discount

Johnson blew out his right Achilles tendon in the 2014 season opener and was back for a full 16-game season and Pro Bowl nod in 2015. He tore the left Achilles in Week 14 of the 2016 season, against the Raiders. He played in 15 games last year.


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


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.


Brandon Drury reinstated from DL, assigned to Yankees’ Triple-A team

The Yankees reinstated Brandon Drury from the 10-day disabled list Monday and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, meaning rookie Miguel Andujar likely will remain New York’s starting third baseman.

The 25-year-old Drury, who started seven games at third base for the Yankees to begin the season, nfl authentic jerseys cheap went on the DL on April 7 because of migraine headaches and blurred vision.

Andujar, 23, has started the bulk of games at third base in Drury’s absence, batting .282 with three home runs and 14 RBIs.

In his 20-day rehab assignment that ended Monday, Drury batted .315 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 67 plate appearances.165

The Yankees acquired Drury in February from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-team trade that also involved the Tampa Bay Rays.

Andujar is among a wave of players who have sparked the Yankees to a 28-12 record, tied with AL East rival Boston for the best in the major leagues.

New York has 13 pitchers on its roster, leaving room for just three bench players. The current backups are catcher Austin Romine, infielder Ronald Torreyes and infielder-outfielder Tyler Austin. The Yankees start a trip Tuesday at Washington.

With Scranton off Monday, the Yankees transferred the rehab assignments of first baseman Greg Bird (right ankle surgery on March 27) and outfielder Billy McKinney (left shoulder sprain on March 31) to Double-A Trenton.customized nfl jerseys cheap

Neil Walker, originally envisioned as mostly a second baseman when the Yankees signed him in March, has played mostly at first in the absence of Bird. Gleyber Torres, a touted 21-year-old prospect, made his major league debut April 22 and has become the starting second baseman. He is hitting .319 with three doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs.


Tony Parker wants to play 20 NBA seasons, even if not with Spurs

Tony Parker remains committed to completing 20 NBA seasons, even if it means playing for a team other than the San Antonio Spurs.

Parker, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent, has long maintained that his preference is to remain in San Antonio, but the 17-year veteran made it clear Thursday in an interview with RMC Sports that he understands his tenuous standing on a San Antonio roster in transition.

“It is not yet sure that I’ll stay with the Spurs,” Parker said. “I am open to all proposals. I would like to make my entire career in San Antonio. The sport remains a business, and we will have to make choices. I have been 17 years with the Spurs.nike nfl cheap jerseys I would always be nostalgic, but it’s not the end of the world if I change my club. I say two or three years more [I can play if] I can go somewhere else, I’m 50-50. I do not see myself outside of basketball yet. I want to stay three more years to do the 20 seasons.”

Parker played in a total of 55 games last season and averaged 19.5 minutes, 7.7 points, 3.6 assists and 1.7 rebounds after losing his starting job in January to Dejounte Murray. Parker has said he would be fine with returning next season to play a backup role.155

Spurs general manager R.C. Buford told ESPN that the club would make a decision on Parker at the appropriate time. It’s expected Parker will have to accept a contract worth significantly less than the $15.4 million he earned during the 2017-18 season.

San Antonio’s longest-tenured player, Parker, 35, suffered a torn quadriceps tendon during the 2016-17 Western Conference semifinals and believes the recovery process from such an injury requires two years before he’s fully healed.

“I’m almost back to 100 percent,” Parker said. “There are ups and downs, times when we’re not feeling well. It takes time, and this summer it’s going to be important to do some rehabilitation. We’re always better the second season.”

As for Parker’s potential return to San Antonio for an 18th season,cheap nike nfl jerseys from china the veteran has answered such questions since April with similar responses.

“We’ll see,” Parker said in April. “I said already I want to keep playing. I’m happy I don’t have those retirement parties. I want to keep playing, and we’ll see if it’s in San Antonio. Everybody knows I would love to stay here. But free agency is always crazy, so we’ll see.”