Blue Jays’ Troy Tulowitzki says he likes his chances to return

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It’s likely to be more than a year between Troy Tulowitzki’s appearances in a major league game, but the injured shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays says he’s getting there.

“I can honestly say for the first time in a while I feel like I’m headed in the right direction,” Tulowitzki said Tuesday before the Blue Jays’ game at Tampa Bay.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

The 33-year-old Tulowitzki, a five-time All-Star, had surgery April 2 to remove bone spurs from both heels. He’s just getting back to the point of taking ground balls, hitting and starting to run in the outfield. He last appeared in a game on July 28, 2017, but did not elect to have the surgery until this year.48

“This spring training, it just got to be a little bit too much,” he said, “and at this point in my career I wanted to give myself a fair chance to come back and be the player I know I can be, and also end my career when I want to end it, not because it’s being forced.”

His recovery process is “all on feel, there’s really no schedule,” Tulowitzki said. But at this point there is no pain, and he said he will fight the temptation to hurry back onto the field.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

“I don’t want to sit here and say for sure I will be back, but I like my chances,” he said. “I’m in a good spot. I feel like this needed to be done. I feel like I’m getting better.”

Nationals’ Bryce Harper deemed OK after being hit by pitch for second time

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Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper left Tuesday night’s 3-0 loss to the New York Yankees after being hit on the left foot by a pitch in the eighth inning.

Harper was hit by Dellin Betances with an 89 mph slider with no outs in the top of the inning. After taking a few steps toward first base, Harper trotted back to the dugout and did not return to the game. He was replaced by Brian Goodwin.

Manager Dave Martinez said Harper left the game for precautionary reasons and that he is expected to be back in the lineup Wednesday.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Earlier Tuesday, Harper was hit on his right elbow by a 90 mph pitch from CC Sabathia in the fifth inning and fell to the ground.47

“I feel fine. Elbow feels OK, and the big toe just hurts a little bit,” Harper said. “I already got an X-ray on the toe. I’m fine.”

Harper, who leads the NL with 19 homers but is hitting .215 since May 1, had been hit by a pitch just once previously this season and had not been dinged twice in a game since Aug. 16, 2013, at Atlanta.

“Kind of worried me when he started walking off the field,” Martinez said.

A free-agent-to-be, Harper had walked in his first two plate appearances.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

“It just hurt, so trying to walk down the first-base line, there was no point,” he said. “No ill feelings at all.”

With LT’s help, Melvin Gordon is working on bigger role as a receiver

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One of the evaluations of Melvin Gordon coming out of Wisconsin was that he couldn’t catch the ball out of the backfield. Gordon had just 22 career receptions for the Badgers.

However, over three seasons for the Los Angeles Chargers, Gordon has built a perceived weakness into a strength through hard work, catching extra balls after practice or during his pregame routine on game days.

Gordon finished with 58 receptions for 476 receiving yards and four touchdowns last season. Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said Gordon’s role in the passing offense could expand even more for the upcoming season, particularly with the loss of Hunter Henry for the year because of an ACL injury to his right knee.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“We can do some different things because Melvin has become such a good receiver out of the backfield,” Whisenhunt said. “And that’s not something that you saw from him in college. Not that he couldn’t do it; they just didn’t throw him the ball. He was too busy running for 8 million yards or whatever it was he was running for.

“So, yes, that’s been a real bonus that we’ve had. Those two guys [Gordon and Austin Ekeler], and their adaptability and flexibility can help some.”42

Gordon is part of leaguewide trend of running backs being used more in the passing game. According to ESPN Stats & Information, running backs totaled 2,757 receptions in 2017, the most in a season since 2002 (2,858).

Le’Veon Bell (85 receptions), Alvin Kamara (81 receptions), Christian McCaffrey (80) and Duke Johnson (74) all finished among the top 20 in the NFL in receptions last year.

Tomlinson said Gordon’s increased production in the passing game is part of his natural evolution, and a similar transition the TCU product went through as a player.

“What you’re seeing is a player become more comfortable in the offense,” Tomlinson said about Gordon. “His role in the offense has evolved, and it’s not just rushing the football and picking up the hard yards. It’s now becoming an asset in the passing game where you have to be an outlet for Philip.nike nfl cheap jerseys

“Most coaches aren’t going to put too much of the passing game on a rookie running back. So I think the first year, that’s what we saw from Melvin. And then in the second year you saw him start to be more of an outlet for Philip Rivers — the swing routes, letting Philip get the ball out quickly into Melvin’s hands, and letting him make plays.”

Donald’s status, Cooks-Goff connection headline Rams’ minicamp

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Aaron Donald did not attend any portion of the Rams’ nine-week voluntary offseason program, including organized team activities, because of a contract dispute, and coach Sean McVay said he was uncertain if Donald would report for mandatory minicamp without a contract resolution.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Donald is scheduled to earn $6.9 million in the final season of his five-year rookie deal and is seeking to become the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, if not among the highest-paid players in the league.

Last year, Donald stayed away from the offseason program but reported to minicamp to avoid a fine — though he did not participate in drills. Donald then held out of training camp before arriving at the team facility a day before the regular-season opener, without a new deal.41

After sitting out the first game, he went on to help the Rams to an NFC West Division title and their first playoff appearance since 2004. He had 11 sacks, forced five fumbles and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Jared Goff is working on his connection with receiver Brandin Cooks, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the New England Patriots.

Cooks replaces Sammy Watkins, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency. Watkins is the only offensive starter who will not return from last season’s top-scoring team.

Cooks is expected to develop into a deep threat for Goff, and the two displayed as much on Day 1 of OTAs, when Cooks caught a deep pass in stride for a touchdown.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

McVay said it was a bonus that Cooks, who caught 65 passes for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns last season, has been available to participate in the offseason program and develop a rapport with Goff.

Last year, Watkins did not arrive until the second week of training camp and struggled to develop a reliable connection on deep passes.

What undrafted free agent could make Lions?

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Dan, good question. It’s still pretty early and these types of things don’t typically get sorted out until late in training camp or if injuries cause attrition. But on first glance, two receivers have stood out the most to me throughout minicamp and the one OTA we watched. Teo Redding and Chris Lacy both have been written down in my notebook in positive ways every practice I’ve watched, usually making some sort of deep catch or circus-type reception. Now they are mostly going against undrafted rookie corners, too, so it is somewhat like talent versus like talent, but the two of them have made some plays in the unpadded workouts.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

If they start off training camp making similar moves, the buzz will only continue. It also helps here that if the Lions were to keep five receivers, that No. 5 spot would be wide open. The top three spots seem locked in with Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay. The No. 4 role should go to TJ Jones, who has been limited during the spring after suffering a season-ending injury last year. But a fifth receiver spot could go to one of those two guys or an undrafted rookie preseason sensation of years past, Jace Billingsley.10

This is a good question and one that doesn’t have an obvious answer at this point. First, it’s not clear how much longer Pasqualoni, 68, wants to coach. He still seems to have a lot of energy from what we’ve seen in practices, and he’s clearly passionate about the game based on conversations with him. It’s entirely possible that Pasqualoni’s eventual successor isn’t even on the coaching staff. Remember, too, that even if Pasqualoni is the coordinator, this defense is still in the mold of Matt Patricia and that won’t change as long as he’s the head coach.

But if you look at the current staff, defensive backs coach Brian Stewart is the name that stands out. Stewart has NFL experience as a coordinator in Dallas in 2007 and 2008 and has been a DC at three college stops: Maryland, Houston and at Rice last season. So he understands what it would take to run a defense and that is extremely valuable. So if I had to pick someone on the staff at this point, he would be my selection.

David, thanks for the question and for reading on the other side of the Atlantic! Really enjoyed my time in Porto last summer. As to your question, I’m higher on the Ragnow pick now than I was when it was initially made. Ragnow has slid right into the starting lineup (as a left guard, however, not a center), and considering Detroit’s clear plan to fix its run game through the draft, the pick made sense. Plus, there was not a run on defensive linemen immediately after, meaning that at least some teams questioned the value level of the defensive line prospects at that point.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

That being said, I still think the Lions could have done well with picking Taven Bryan at No. 20. While it’s tough to judge any line play during unpadded practices, the defensive linemen have not been standing out at all through the practices the Lions have opened to the media. It’s still early, but the defensive front continues to be the biggest question mark Detroit has.

Redskins’ Derrius Guice fast becoming man of the people

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As the line of players dwindled Wednesday, one slowly worked his way down the autograph line until nobody was left. He signed; he chatted with some and laughed with others. Running back Derrius Guice already has become a man of the people, it seems, in only one month of being a Washington Redskin.

It’s too early to have a foregone conclusion on what any rookie might do in his first season. Most players should look good in the spring; they’re at their healthiest and no one is in pads.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

But it’s clear via social media Guice has become a player Redskins fans can’t wait to see in action. When it comes to Redskins rookies, the list of those who have generated a lot of buzz with their talent and personality isn’t long. In the past 20 years, LaVar Arrington and Robert Griffin III would be on that list. The late Sean Taylor was a buzzworthy player, mainly because of how much people liked his game. He was a big presence, but did not need the sort of spotlight others craved. Griffin just needed to smile and fans would swoon; he was charismatic, too. When camp was at Redskins Park, Arrington would pit groups of fans against one another, asking them to loudly cheer to decide where he’d go sign. He enjoyed it; fans ate it up.

Fans light up around Guice, mainly because he lights up around them. Whether it’s treating fans to a movie (and refreshments) on a whim or greeting them behind the ropes as players exit the field. Stories on the running back generate more action on Twitter and Facebook than almost any other. Just a Twitter mention of how no one seemed to be enjoying themselves more on the field than Guice warranted more than 275 likes. And counting.9

Guice also has quickly embraced his new city, tweeting about the Washington Capitals and even attending the watch party at the Capital One Arena for the Stanley Cup-clinching Game 5.

It’s impossible to speculate how Guice will develop as a player. Thus far he looks patient, but decisive when he cuts. Rob Kelley looks good, too. But what happens when the defenders are in full pads and going a lot harder than they are in the spring? We won’t get a taste of that until the preseason games begin in two months. In college, Guice ran with violence; more of the same is expected with the Redskins, but who knows to what degree.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Guice also showed Wednesday he can catch. He doesn’t let the ball get into his chest, grabbing it with his hands. He’s able to gather his feet quickly and turn in stride. Protection, not his hands, will dictate how well he does when the Redskins have him in passing sets.

Paul Pogba: Lionel Messi isn’t criticised for playing style, but critics won’t change me

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Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has said criticism of his personality and style of play will not make him change.

Pogba recorded 10 assists in the Premier League last season — bettered only by the Manchester City quartet of Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling — but has found his place in the France team questioned ahead of the World Cup.

In a poll run by France Football following the 3-1 friendly win over Italy, 73 percent said they wanted to see Pogba dropped by coach Didier Deschamps in favour of Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso.nfl cheap nike jerseys

“A lot of people are proud of what I do and what I represent,” he told France Football. “When they meet me in person, they’re surprised and say to themselves I’m really nice.

“From the outside, they don’t have that image and think I’m a star, arrogant, that I’m going to look down on them. It’s funny. In fact, I’m just me. Those who don’t know me look only at appearances.

“There will always be people who think: ‘Ah, he’s a bighead, ah, he shows off,’ and everyone has the right to their opinion. You have the right to criticise me — to speak. But that’s not going to change me.”44

On his style of play, Pogba added: “I have always been like that. What I have won, I have won by being like that. I’m like that. It’s my playing style. You’re not going to criticise [Lionel] Messi when he walks on the pitch. He scores three goals and you’re going to say: ‘Ah, but he walks on the pitch?’ No.

“People can’t tell me how I have to play. No-one can tell me how I have to play. If I’m in this position today, it’s by being like this. No one has told me how to be. It’s my football, that’s all. People either love it or not.

“Do I need that for people to love me? Do I need that for people to judge me differently? Or speak better of me?”

In February, United boss Jose Mourinho appeared to aim a dig at Pogba when he praised Scott McTominay for being “a humble kid.”

“Honestly I think Scott deserves more than what he’s getting,” Mourinho said. “I think maybe because he’s this kind of kid profile, a normal haircut, no tattoos, no big cars, no big watches.”

Pogba faced criticism in April when Gary Neville questioned his decision to start the derby against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium with blue hair.

“The problem with Pogba is he doesn’t help himself,” former United and England defender Neville said. “I always think if you’re wise you don’t attract attention when things aren’t going your way, but Pogba doesn’t work like that.”cheap nfl nike jerseys free shipping

Pogba scored twice as United fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and postpone City’s title celebrations.

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius suffered concussion in Champions League final

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Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius suffered a concussion in the Champions League final against Real Madrid that may have impacted his performance, Massachusetts General Hospital confirmed on Monday.

Karius, 24, made two crucial mistakes which contributed to Real Madrid’s 3-1 victory in Kiev after being floored in a collision with Madrid’s Sergio Ramos while defending a corner prior to Madrid’s first goal early in the second half.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Liverpool’s medical team were concerned about the possibility of Karius suffering a concussion in the incident with Ramos, sources told ESPN FC, and their fears were confirmed in an examination carried out in the United States last Thursday — five days after the final.43

“After carefully reviewing game film and integrating a detailed history — including his reported present and immediate post-contact subjective symptoms — physical examination and objective metrics, we have concluded that Mr. Karius sustained a concussion during the match,” Mass General said in a statement.

“At the time of our evaluation, Mr. Karius’s principal residual symptoms and objective signs suggested that visual spatial dysfunction existed and likely occurred immediately following the event. Additional symptomatic and objectively noted areas of dysfunction also persisted. It could be possible that such deficits would affect performance.”

Karius collided with Ramos in the 48th minute but did not appear to receive treatment, and Real Madrid scored their first goal a little more than two minutes later. Karius tried to roll the ball out to a defender, only for Madrid striker Karim Benzema to stick out his boot and redirect the throw into the net.nfl cheap nike jerseys

The German then made a further error in the closing stages of the game, allowing a long-range effort from Gareth Bale to slip through his grasp to give Madrid a 3-1 lead.

Karius was in tears after the game and wrote an apology for his performance after being widely blamed for Liverpool’s defeat. Merseyside Police said they were investigating comments and threatening posts directed at Karius on social media.

Ramos was also heavily criticised, but largely for an earlier incident that caused Liverpool star attacker Mohamed Salah to leave the game with an injured shoulder. Over 500,000 people signed an online petition for the Spain international to be punished for the play.

Blake Snell ties AL record with seven straight K’s to start game

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Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Blake Snell tied the American League record with seven consecutive strikeouts to start a game against the Mariners on Sunday.official nfl jerseys cheap

Snell, who was born in Seattle and pitched for nearby Shorewood High School, matched the mark set by Joe Cowley of the Chicago White Sox on May 28, 1986, and also reached by Carlos Rodon for the White Sox on Sept. 30, 2016.

The modern-era major league record is eight straight strikeouts to start a game, set by Jim Deshaies for the Houston Astros in 1986 and matched by Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets in 2014. Snell also tied a club record for most consecutive strikeouts at any point during a game.32

The all-time record is nine strikeouts to start a game, set by Mickey Welch for the New York Gothams in 1884.

Snell struck out the side in the first two innings on swinging strikes, and he tied the record with a called strike three on Guillermo Heredia to open the third.

Denard Span, the Mariners’ eighth batter, worked the count full before grounding out to second to end Snell’s strikeout streak. Snell struck out Mike Zunino to end the third inning for his eighth K of the game.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

Snell had 12 strikeouts through six innings but was removed from the game in the bottom of the seventh inning after throwing 100 pitches.

The Mariners rallied off the Rays’ bullpen and won the game 2-1.

Olney: The time is right for dynasty-minded Astros to be all-in

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If A.J. Hinch makes an induction speech at Cooperstown someday, he could thank Lance McCullers Jr., Brad Peacock and Charlie Morton for helping to make him look really smart during the Houston Astros’ inaugural championship run.

Hinch rightly received credit for eschewing the traditional bullpen structure after Ken Giles’ declining performance midway through October last year, and for picking the right guys at the right time to get outs late in games. But unless the hands in the all-hands-on-deck strategy had performed as well as McCullers, Peacock, Morton and others did, Hinch probably would have been second-guessed for eternity (which,cheap nfl jerseys china as fellow manager Bruce Bochy once noted, is what happens when you lose in the postseason). McCullers closed out the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, Peacock shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the World Series and Morton finished the World Series, while others pitched in, as well.

But the situation was unbelievably fragile, and as the Astros try to become the first team since the 1998-2000 Yankees to win the World Series in consecutive years — and the Astros’ MLB-leading run differential in 2018 suggests they have a hell of a shot — they should probably acquire at least a bullpen safety net before the July 31 trade deadline. This is one of two developing holes for Houston, which made the most important deal last summer when it acquired Justin Verlander.31

If you recall, Jay Bruce had an excellent season for the Mets last season and yet there were no ardent trade suitors before the deadline, and he passed through waivers unclaimed. In the end, the Mets dumped him on the Indians for some salary relief. Inevitably, there will be similar opportunities for the Astros, who might be able to improve their left-field situation without having to surrender much prospect value.

There is a right time and a wrong time for contenders to trade. The Braves, for example, are probably in the pennant chase a year before anybody expected, and while it makes sense for Atlanta to make some modest auditions, a blockbuster for someone like Manny Machado would be a very expensive luxury at a time when the Braves need to continue fostering their farm system.

But for the Astros, the timing for doubling down and fixing problems could not be more perfect. official nfl jerseys cheap They are right in the middle of their window to win, as they have a historically great rotation and a dangerous lineup. But they’ll have to run the AL gantlet in the playoffs before they have a shot at back-to-back titles, and they’ll probably need a better bullpen to survive the Red Sox/Yankees/Indians steel-cage matches. Whether it’s Giles or somebody else, they could really use a lockdown closer.