6

Indians get three-time All-Star Josh Donaldson in trade with Blue Jays

“This is one of the most dynamic players in the game on both sides of the ball when he’s healthy,” Indians president Chris Antonetti said late Friday night. “We think there’s an opportunity for him to get to a point this month where he’ll be playing in games regularly and has a chance to impact us in the postseason.”

Donaldson, 32, has battled shoulder and calf injuries this season and has not played for Toronto since May 28. In 36 games, he batted .234 with five home runs and 16 RBIs.

On Thursday, Donaldson homered in his first at-bat in the second game of his rehabilitation assignment with Class A Dunedin. He finished the night 1-for-3 after going 1-for-2 with a walk and an RBI on Tuesday.

The Indians are satisfied he is worth taking on for the season’s final month and into October.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

“We had to do our due diligence to make sure we were getting back a player that we felt had a chance to help us,” Antonetti said. “We know we’re taking on some risk with that. But we feel we’ve built that in appropriately with the structure of the deal and spent quite a bit of time talking with the Blue Jays on how we appropriately balance that risk.”

Cleveland, which leads the AL Central by 14 games, begins a four-game series in Toronto on Thursday.6

A three-time All-Star, Donaldson shut down contract talks with the Blue Jays in February, saying the sides did not see “eye to eye” on a long-term deal. He is set to become a free agent in the offseason.

“I’m going to miss him,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said shortly before the trade was announced. “We had our battles. He is a high-strung player, but he did a lot for us.”

Donaldson is the third former MVP to be traded within the past nine months and the second to be traded Friday, following Andrew McCutchen’s move to the New York Yankees.

A player must be on a club by Aug. 31 to be eligible for the postseason.

Antonetti said Donaldson will be in Cleveland on Saturday and that a plan will be mapped out for him to join the club on a full-time basis. It’s possible Donaldson could be placed on the disabled list so he can play in minor league games while rehabbing a calf injury.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Once Donaldson is ready, Indians manager Terry Francona will play him at third base, which means the club will move All-Star Jose Ramirez to second and replace Jason Kipnis.

Antonetti said the club had preliminary discussions with Ramirez and Kipnis but will meet with them again before Saturday’s game. The team president is confident Ramirez and Kipnis will be willing to do whatever is best for the Indians.

“What we’ve seen repeatedly with our roster is we have guys that are first and foremost focused on winning, trying to get to the postseason and win a World Series,” Antonetti said. “We’ve seen repeated examples of guys willing to make either personally difficult decisions or, in some cases, sacrifices to help the team win. I think that is part of the culture that Tito [Francona] has continued to build here, and our players actively embrace.”

7

Eagles expected to start Nick Foles in opener, sources say

The Eagles have not officially named a starting quarterback for Thursday night’s game. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman wouldn’t confirm that Foles would start in Week 1 when asked by reporters on Saturday.

“No, I’m not going to talk about any play-time decision or any starter decisions,” he said. “That’s not my dojo. And I certainly don’t feel like we’re in a position to give any answers to any tests here about any position on our football team. I appreciate the question.”nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Coach Doug Pederson told reporters earlier in the week that he would likely know who was starting by Friday, but the public announcement could come as late as “90 minutes before kickoff.”

The prevailing thought from those who have privately weighed in on the Eagles quarterback situation in recent days is that the team is maintaining the long view when it comes to Wentz and will let him heal a bit longer before exposing him to game action.7

Wentz, the former No. 2 pick out of North Dakota State, has looked increasingly like his old self in recent weeks. His mobility is returning, and his throwing velocity is up compared to last year. He has been splitting first-team reps with Foles during practice of late.

He is still on the early side of a traditional timetable for return from this type of injury, however. ACL tears typically take nine to 12 months to recover. The Atlanta game comes a few days shy of that nine-month mark. Wentz tore his LCL as well, which delayed the rehab process and made for a more complicated surgery and recovery.

Given all those factors, bringing Wentz back before he hits that nine-month mark is viewed by some as a gamble. The belief is that if owner Jeffrey Lurie sees any unnecessary risk, they’ll opt to let their star QB heal another week or two before exposing him to game action.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

“It should be a cautious approach,” Dr. James Bradley, who performed Wentz’s knee surgery, said to NBC 10 in Philadelphia. “What’s a few [missed] games over 12 to 15 years?”

As far as the eye test goes, teammates agree that Wentz is passing with flying colors. On Thursday, right tackle Lane Johnson said that he would be a bit surprised if Wentz weren’t the starter against Atlanta, based on what he has seen.

9

LAFC resumes home success with shutout of the Colorado Rapids

Lee Nguyen and Diego Rossi scored second-half goals on Sunday night, and LAFC got back to their winning ways at home with a 2-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids.

LAFC was unbeaten in 10 home MLS matches and 14 home matches across all competitions when it was defeated Aug. 11 by Sporting Kansas City. Sunday was LAFC’s first match at Banc of California Stadium since that defeat.

The Rapids saw their three-match unbeaten streak come to an end. Colorado had two victories in that stretch, including a win and a tie against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

With the three points, LAFC moved it into a tie for second place in the Western Conference with Sporting Kansas City, which holds the tiebreaker edge based on goal differential. Both teams are three points behind first-place FC Dallas.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Four minutes into the second half, Nguyen worked his way through the left side of the box in tight traffic, switching from his right to his left foot before poking a quick shot past Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard and into the upper left corner of the goal. It was Nguyen’s second goal of the season.9

Rossi’s breakaway from near midfield came in the 80th minute, as he changed direction to beat defender Danny Wilson and put a right-footed shot past Howard. It was Rossi’s eighth goal of the season.

The teams were unable to produce in a scoreless first half despite solid chances.wholesale nfl jerseys cheap

Colorado’s Niki Jackson had a shot on goal from outside of the box in the 35th minute that was saved by Tyler Miller. Jackson then sent a diving header off target less than a minute later. Miller earned his eighth clean sheet of the season, making five saves.

In the 36th minute, LAFC’s Carlos Vela took a left-footed shot from inside the box that was deflected over the goal by Howard. In first-half stoppage time, LAFC’s Laurent Ciman blasted a curving free kick from 30 yards out that Howard redirected away from goal.

Adama Diomande, LAFC’s leading scorer, came on as a second-half substitute after missing the previous two MLS matches with a hamstring injury. Diomande got an assist for setting Rossi free on his breakaway goal.

6

NFL’s biggest, quietest, most tantalizing defender is changing his story

The Pittsburgh Steelers call him “Big Dan.” They perceive the 6-foot-7, 352-pound Big Dan as giving questionable effort at times, and he’s earned at least some of that perception. He is big-bodied potential unfulfilled after four seasons, re-signed on a minimal one-year deal for depth.

His family calls him “Daniel Ray.” Daniel Ray is sweet-natured. Behind a sad face is a shy, gentle man who wants to play football and video games and chill out. He wants to go hard every snap, but sometimes he gets tired.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Big Dan needs to be pushed and told repeatedly to get nasty. Daniel Ray isn’t mad at his parents for bouncing in and out of his life. On and off the field, riling him is an arduous task.

But Dan McCullers is tired of watching teammates get rich, so he’s bringing Big Dan and Daniel Ray together, hoping to find his edge on the field and get angry for good.6

“They signed me back to a one-year deal — well, I want a multiple-year deal,” McCullers said. “I just have to work hard and grind my ass off so they can sign me for multiple years and I can make that money, set up my family to be good.”

A motivated McCullers is exactly what the Steelers want. A former fifth-round pick with 28 career tackles in four seasons, he has earned some first-team reps in this week’s practices after an active performance in the preseason opener in Philadelphia. And he impressed on Thursday against the Packers, starting the game and driving an interior lineman back and into the turf on two of the first three snaps.

Players and coaches are forecasting greatness — with a qualifier.

“If that guy can get his motor running like we see it do sometimes, he can be a dominant force,” defensive line coach Karl Dunbar said.

“Once it clicks for him, it’s going to be dangerous,” defensive tackle Tyson Alualu said.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal
The NFL’s biggest defender has teased them before, surging into the backfield one play and getting moved by an undersized center the next. The Big Daniel Ray transition has McCullers viewing bigness no longer as unrealized potential or judgment but as a great way to make a living.

“We’re really trying to figure that out for him, how to turn it on and off,” said McCullers’ older sister, Deonica Sanders, whom McCullers nicknamed “Nuk.” “He’s had to realize, ‘[Getting angry] is what I need to do for my job.'”

6

Did the Home Run Derby ‘fix’ Bryce Harper?

Rhys Hoskins is convinced that the Home Run Derby helped him. Bryce Harper, not so much.

It’s been exactly one month since Harper staged an epic comeback on his home turf to defeat Chicago’s Kyle Schwarber in the final round of the Derby in D.C. Schwarber’s opponent in the semis was Hoskins, who’s already gone on record as saying the Derby jump-started his second half.
“Hundred percent,” the Phillies slugger said late last month. “I think it kind of forced me to be aggressive to the pull side. I haven’t done that very well this year. For whatever reason, I’ve been a little more passive on the inner half of the plate. In the Derby, I was able to pull balls more true and keep the ball a lot straighter instead of hooking the ball. It seems to be carrying over.”

Hoskins has an OPS of 1.001 since the All-Star break, nearly 200 points higher than in the first half. After hitting 14 home runs in 86 games prior to the break, he already has nine homers in just 24 games since.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

As for Harper, heading into the All-Star break there were whispers that maybe the Derby was just what the doctor ordered — that contrary to the recent trend of superstars skipping the contest for fear of ruining their swings and/or injuring themselves, the most well-known National might actually benefit from it. After all, he had nowhere to go but up. Following a first half in which he hit an anemic .214 and struck out more than 100 times, the Derby might actually snap him out of his funk. Or so went the thinking.6

The way the Home Run Derby played out, with Harper captivating the capital en route to hoisting the hardware, only added fuel to the fire. The way Harper came out of the break hasn’t done anything to douse those flames.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Since the Midsummer Classic, the former MVP is hitting .337. His slugging percentage is more than 200 points higher than it was before the break. His 1.115 OPS is up nearly 300 points. His swing-and-miss rate is down (from 33 percent to 30 percent), as is his chase rate (28 to 22). Perhaps most important, he’s using the whole field.

“Better approach,” says one National League scout who’s watched Harper recently. “He’s staying on the ball, using the opposite field, not pulling everything.”

The numbers back up the scout’s take. During the first half of the season, 24 percent of Harper’s batted balls went to the opposite field. Since the break, that number has spiked to 35 percent, a telltale sign he’s feeling more comfortable at the plate.

8

Bengals look to fix big-play element that was broken in 2017

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green should have had a touchdown connection in the second quarter of their Week 13 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season.

Dalton had good protection and dropped back to his own 45-yard line to make the throw, finding Green one-on-one racing down the sideline. The ball flew 50 yards through the air.

As Green reached the Steelers’ 5-yard line, the defensive back had fallen down and the Bengals had a chance to extend their lead to 17-0.

Instead, the ball sailed somewhere over Green’s head right and out of bounds. Cameras caught both players grimacing over the missed opportunity.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

This type of missed opportunity became routine during 2017, and the answers aren’t so clear as to why. It would be easy to point to the offensive line struggles or the change in coordinators after Ken Zampese was fired after the team failed to score a touchdown in the first two weeks.8

Sometimes Dalton just plain missed. At other times, it was clear the protection had broken down. Sometimes the receivers simply didn’t run crisp enough routes or get open in time to make the catch.

“It’s a two-way street,” new quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said. “Obviously, we don’t want to throw them out of bounds, but we also have to have the space out there.”

It’s not that Dalton doesn’t have the arm or the capabilities to make the deep pass. He routinely has found Green in stride for a touchdown or watched John Ross turn on the jets to shoot past defenders for a big gain in training camp.

In the Bengals’ scrimmage earlier in camp, Dalton hit Green for a 50-yard bomb that probably would’ve been an 85-yard touchdown had they been playing by the rules of a normal game.

But it’s easy to do those things in August when the quarterback knows he won’t get hit and the star receiver routinely gets single coverage. The real test comes in September, and the Bengals’ clearly failed that test last season.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

So what was the problem? Bengals offensive coordinator Bill Lazor smiled slightly one day when he was asked if he could pinpoint that answer.

“Yeah [I can], but I won’t,” he said to a reporter. “Statistically, it looks just like it felt. You were there.”

Lazor is expected to put his stamp on the offense after taking over for the fired Zampese. The Bengals’ offense hasn’t been the same since Hue Jackson left after the 2015 season, and Lazor is under a lot of pressure to right the ship.

7

Lionel Messi’s Argentina retirement ‘would be understandable’ – Carlos Tevez

Former Argentina international Carlos Tevez would not be surprised if Lionel Messi decides to permanently retire from the national team.

Messi, Argentina’s captain, is expected to take a break from international competition for the rest of the year and will miss the friendlies against Guatemala and Colombia next month.

“It would be understandable if Messi doesn’t return to the national team,” Tevez told TyC Sports. “When you give and then you are criticised, it becomes very difficult. I’ve been through that and at times you don’t want to go [to the national team].”cheap new nike nfl jerseys

Argentina football federation (AFA) president Claudio Tapia said last month that it is important for his organisation to have Messi play for the national team for financial reasons, but that he would give Messi time to decide if he will return.

Pressure led Messi to quit the national team, albeit briefly, in 2016 after Argentina lost to Chile in the Copa America final.7

Messi’s mother, Celia Cutticini, said during the World Cup that Messi has been deeply affected by criticism of his performances with Argentina, and former Barcelona forward Hristo Stoichkov also believes Messi has been unfairly treated by some fans and media.

Messi has been accused of selecting coaches and influencing which players do and do not make the squad, and Stoichkov, who is close friends with Messi, denied he makes those decisions for the national team.

“That’s a lie that someone invented a while back,” Stoichkov told TyC Sports. “If that were the case, I would be the coach of Argentina because I’m Lionel’s friend. It’s a complete lie.

“A lot of people don’t know Messi. I know him very well and I can say that he never got involved in the construction of the national team. It’s all lies.”

It will not be Ricardo Gareca, who was considered the top candidate after leading Peru to their first World Cup appearance in 36 years. After signing a new contract with Peru last week, he said he was never contacted by the AFA.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

“I never got a call, not even an informal one, to guide Argentina,” Gareca told TyC Sports. “I took time because I wanted to listen and see what was there [before signing a new contract with Peru]. If Argentina called me up, things would have changed.”

The AFA has turned to Lionel Scaloni and Pablo Aimar to guide Argentina for the friendlies, which will be played in the United States.

7

New year, same story: Major injury threatens Redskins offense

It’s almost as if the 2017 season never ended. The Washington Redskins dealt with serious injury after serious injury a year ago. And after their first preseason game, they had to deal with yet another crucial blow, one that could alter the direction of their season.

The player they had drafted to finally provide a strong running game is out for the season after one preseason game. An offense that had hoped to be more versatile will now be questioned.

In some ways it’s hard to say what the Redskins have lost with running back Derrius Guice now sidelined with a torn left ACL. He hadn’t yet played a game. But the promise of what he could do left others feeling good. His presence was supposed open up the attack, allowing the Redskins to move away from relying on the pass for consistent success.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Now we’re back to the same question the Redskins faced in 2017: Can they coax a consistent run game from Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine? Coaches say both players are quicker this summer, owing to their familiarity in the offense and perhaps having shed some weight.7

Perine did look quicker Thursday vs. New England; he also was inconsistent running up the middle and lost one ball (a quick whistle negated a likely fumble). Kelley has lost weight and also ran with a little more pep. In two seasons he’s averaged 3.9 yards per carry. Will they be any different this season? Not if the blocking — the line and the tight ends — doesn’t improve. Good health will help the line, but after last season — and now with Guice out — does anyone want to predict that will happen?

The ground game was inconsistent last season with the same group, ranking 30th in yards per carry and 28th in total rushing yards. The hope for Guice was that he could help create extra yards with his vision and quick cuts and violent running style, overcoming whatever blocking issues arose. He also excelled in the red zone at LSU, and the Redskins ranked 25th in red zone yards per carry last season.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

They also have Chris Thompson, who’s coming off a broken fibula. They will keep either Byron Marshall or Kapri Bibbs, but both are third-down types. They could always call a veteran; Adrian Peterson and former Redskins running back Alfred Morris are among those unsigned. A team source said Friday they will go with what they have.

10

Braves land starter Kevin Gausman from Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles sent right-handed pitchers Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to the Atlanta Braves, the teams announced Tuesday.

In exchange, the Orioles are getting four minor leaguers — right-hander Evan Phillips, infielder Jean Carlos Encarnacion, catcher Brett Cumberland and left-hander Bruce Zimmermann — and international slot money.

Braves manager Brian Snitker applauded four trades made by general manager Alex Anthopoulos. The Braves also added outfielder Adam Duvall, acquired from the Reds late Monday, and relievers Brad Brach and Jonny Venters in the past five days.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

“I feel really good,” Snitker said. “We talked about what you would like to have, and I think he hit all the boxes. Bullpen depth, starting pitcher, maybe a bat off the bench. I think they did a great job.”

Gausman, 27, is 5-8 with a 4.43 ERA for the Orioles this season. He is under contract and arbitration-eligible through the 2020 season.10

O’Day appeared in 20 games for the Orioles before having season-ending surgery on his left hamstring. He had a 3.60 ERA and two saves before the injury. The 35-year-old veteran has a 2.56 career ERA in 11 seasons and is under contract through 2019.

Cumberland, 23, was selected by the Braves in the second round of the 2016 draft. He is hitting .228 with 11 home runs and 39 RBIs in two levels of the Braves’ system this season. He is currently at Double-A Mississippi.

Phillips has an 8.53 ERA in four appearances with the Braves this season. The 23-year-old right-hander is 4-4 with a 1.99 ERA in 31 appearances for Triple-A Gwinnett.

Zimmermann, a 23-year-old left-hander, is 9-4 with a 2.86 ERA in two levels of the Braves’ system this season. He also is currently at Double-A Mississippi.

Encarnacion, 20, is hitting .288 with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs for Class-A Rome this season.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

“We’re always reluctant to move some of our higher-ranked guys,” Anthopoulos said. “… We like the guys we lost. There are certain guys that are more high-profile. We didn’t go into the trade deadline saying we refuse to move on our top prospects. Certain guys are harder to acquire than others. For the right deal for the right player, we’re open to it.”

The Braves entered Tuesday’s trade deadline a half-game behind first-place Philadelphia and five games ahead of third-place Washington in the NL East. The Phillies have also made a push, adding catcher Wilson Ramos and left-hander Aaron Loup on Tuesday after picking up infielder Asdrubal Cabrera last Friday. The Nationals traded away reliever Brandon Kintzler but otherwise stood pat at the deadline.

9

Matt Patricia trying to change Lions’ culture with more physicality

Matt Patricia had players lay down on the ground, offense on one side, defense on the other. At the whistle, they popped back up and the offensive player — the ball carrier — then had to try to beat the defensive player one-on-one.

On the first padded day of Detroit Lions practice Sunday, they ran a modified version of the Oklahoma drill — just one example of the physicality and intensity under Patricia, the first-year Lions head coach, who is trying to change the culture of a team that hasn’t won a division title since 1993.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

To do so, Patricia said at some point the Lions will tackle to the ground — a stark difference from former coach Jim Caldwell, who rarely had live tackling during practices. Patricia does want to keep his players upright for the most part, but he recognizes there are times that tackling has to happen.

Just to be prepared.9

“At some point you have to go live. You have to be able to experience that both offensively and defensively because you don’t want to do it for the first time in a game,” Patricia said. “You have to be able to get in good position. There’s certainly a manner in which we can practice in pads where we can thud each other up and be in a good hit position and know that from the strike standpoint everything is clean and we’re in good space but then not really follow through or try to finish at that exact moment.

The potential for more tackling and contact is just one area where Patricia has changed Lions practices. Detroit does more running under Patricia than it did under Caldwell — including running laps for mistakes made in practice, something the defense had to do at least once Sunday.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

On Friday, Patricia opened his first training camp practice by working on goal-line strategy because of the importance Patricia places on it in games. The Lions offensively struggled in goal-line and short-yardage situations in 2017, something general manager Bob Quinn said after the draft bothered him during Caldwell’s final season.

Now, as the pads go on, they can work on that even more. The players noticed an increased energy having pads on as well. The linemen can hit. The players move just a little faster. For the third straight day, practice ran at least two hours.

“It’s definitely physical and that’s what we want to be, a physical team,” receiver Marvin Jones said. “So we’re out here working hard and the most dominant team wins every Sunday, so that’s what we have to be and that’s how we practice.