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Former Cubs, Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis hired by Mets

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Chili Davis has been hired as hitting coach of the New York Mets after spending last season in that role with the Chicago Cubs.

Davis was hitting coach for Oakland manager Bob Melvin (2012-14) and Boston manager John Farrell (2015-17) before moving to the Cubs under manager Joe Maddon.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Davis was fired in October. The Cubs were 22nd among the 30 teams, with 167 home runs and finishing 13th with a .410 slugging percentage despite a .258 batting average that was third behind Boston and Cleveland.i

A three-time All-Star during a 19-year career that ended in 1999, Davis replaces Pat Roessler, who was fired after Mickey Callaway’s first season as Mets manager.

New York also said Sunday it had hired Chuck Hernandez as bullpen coach and Luis Rojas for the new job of quality control coach.

Hernandez was fired after two seasons as Atlanta’s pitching coach. He was pitching coach of the Angels (1992-96), Tampa Bay (2004-05) and Detroit (2006-08), and bullpen coach of Cleveland (2009).cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Rojas is to be a conduit between the front office and coaching staff on game preparation, strategy and analytics.

Mike Napoli, who made three trips to World Series, announces retirement

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Veteran Mike Napoli, a popular clubhouse figure who hit 267 home runs and made three World Series trips during his 13-year career, announced his retirement Saturday.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Napoli, who did not play in the majors last season because of a knee injury, said in a statement that he hopes to “be remembered as someone who always tried to keep the clubhouse atmosphere light and inclusive.”

Napoli, 37, was a career .246 hitter over parts of 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians. He entered the majors as a catcher before switching to first base, and he helped Boston win the World Series in 2013 while also reaching the Fall Classic with the Rangers (2011) and Indians (2016).9

“Thank you fans, coaches, teammates and the media members and organizations in Anaheim, Texas, Boston and Cleveland,” Napoli said in a letter posted on Twitter. “You supported me, believed in me and gave me a platford to be successful on and off the field. You helped shape who I am as both a person and player, as I grew up right in front of your eyes.

“This is the end of my playing career, but the beginning of the next chapter in my professional life — one window closes and another one opens. I look forward to exploring opportunities in the baseball world as I plan to continue giving back to the game that has given me so much.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Napoli signed a minor-league deal with the Indians last year but had season-ending surgery in April for a torn right ACL suffered while fielding a popup in foul territory during a Triple-A game.

He had his best season in 2016, when he helped lead the Indians to the World Series after career highs in home runs (34) and RBIs (101 RBIs) while serving as a clubhouse leader for manager Terry Francona.

LeBron James gets logic of critiques by Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant about his workload

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Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, made his comments to SiriusXM NBA Radio last week after ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that advanced scouts were noticing that James was running point more and more for the Lakers, taking the ball out of point guard Lonzo Ball’s hands and frequently running the offense without consulting Lakers coach Luke Walton possession by possession.

Bryant chimed in Monday at the Lakers’ annual “All-Access” event when he credited James for righting the ship but said he sees that style of play as merely a temporary solution.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Walton is playing James 34.7 minutes per game, which would be a career low for the 16-year veteran. The coach explained months ago that his plan is to manage James for the long run, making sure the four-time MVP can be at his best when the Lakers’ championship window opens. James signed a four-year, $154 million deal to come to L.A. in July.10

James, while conceptually behind the plan, sometimes balks at the minutes restriction. For instance, he sat the entire fourth quarter of L.A.’s 120-96 blowout win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, finishing with 22 points in 31 minutes, but he doesn’t think that little extra rest does him much good.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“It doesn’t matter,” James said. “Like you guys asked me the other day, ‘Do you feel better after playing 30 minutes compared to playing 40 minutes?’ It’s like, ‘No.’ I work myself all year round to get in tip-top shape all year round. I don’t stop. So I can do whatever. I mean, I played a Game 7 of the Finals and I damn near played every minute. Last year I played every single game. Every single game. So, you know, you can kind of slice it how you want it, but I understand what Magic and Kobe are saying, and we have to continue to develop these guys because if we don’t, then long-term, what does that do for our franchise?”

“I understand the logic behind it,” James said. “I understand what Magic and Kobe are saying because we want to continue to grow the young guys. We want to see how much our young guys can grow and be the best they can be. I mean, Magic and Kobe know who I am. I know who I am. They know what they’re going to get out of me.

“That is, you know what you’re going to get out of me every game. Am I going to play well every game? Am I going to shoot the ball well every game? No. But you know who I am, and when it’s time to — when it’s really, really, really money time, you know who is going to be there. So we got guys who just want to continue to develop and guys that continue to get better and better just from experience. They haven’t had a lot of experience. So I think people are trying to blow it out of proportion, like, ‘OK, why do you have LeBron if you don’t want to use him?’ They don’t understand the logic behind it.”

Inside Pascal Siakam’s 6,000-mile journey to Raptors stardom

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Brown aims to body up this long drink of sinew and muscle and bone, but he errs by a half second to take measure of the Raptors’ animated big man. Siakam seizes on that glint of hesitation, unleashing a 360-degree spin move that is too quick, too fast, too explosive for Brown to counteract.

Siakam whirls to the basket, leaving Brown — and an incredulous Garden crowd — dumbfounded. “I’m so quick with it,” Pascal says, “it’s hard to recover from it.“cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Like that spin move, Siakam’s career is exploding at warp speed, his trajectory as limitless as those long arms that afford him a 7-foot-3 wing span. Toronto has burst out of the blocks with a 20-4 mark, tops in the Eastern Conference, and while the chatter has rightfully centered on the blockbuster trade that netted the Raptors supernova Kawhi Leonard and valued veteran Danny Green, new head coach Nick Nurse, who traversed the country charting the offseason workouts of his players, came to an additional conclusion. “I knew,” Nurse says, “that Pascal would be a focal point for us.”9

Siakam’s NBA ascent has been astonishing, beginning in 2016 when he arrived as a raw 22-year-old whose energy and athleticism landed him in the starting lineup after Jared Sullinger, signed to be the team’s power forward, was injured.

For a Cameroonian kid who didn’t start playing organized basketball until he was nearly 18, Siakam’s rise through the ranks was almost too good to be true. It was. One day, Siakam recalls, Toronto president Masai Ujuri informed him he would be playing for the Raptors’ D League (now G League) affiliate that night.

Siakam swallowed his disappointment and reported to the Raptors 905. “Only one night,” he told himself. “You can do this.” But one night turned into a D League road trip, leaving Siakam a world away from the comforts of the NBA. He was angry, hurt, confused — but silent. What did he do wrong? He knew this much: It didn’t matter.

What he did from that moment on would define or derail his future with the team. “It was definitely my lowest point,” Siakam says, “but I’m built for moments like that. This is how my life has gone. I’ve always had to fight through everything.”

He snatched MVP honors with the Raptors 905, then emerged as a key cog in the Raptor’s Bench Mob last season. His game is a montage of motion and effort and explosiveness, the only missing component a reliable perimeter presence. “I can’t wait until I’m an elite shooter,” Siakam said in March.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

No matter that Siakam was statistically one of the worst 3-point shooter in the NBA last season. His effective field goal percentage, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, was 26 percent below that of an average player — far and away the lowest of anyone in the league.

Next Packers coach must make it work with Aaron Rodgers

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In fact, some might consider Aaron Rodgers the most attractive thing about the job.

But consider this: What if the Packers are vying for coaches who also have the option of working with a young, impressionable quarterback like, say, Baker Mayfield in Cleveland?cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Perhaps that coach might look at what Mike McCarthy went through in recent years with Rodgers and decide that he’d rather work with a quarterback he can mold rather than one he’d have to manage. McCarthy’s relationship with Rodgers wasn’t the sole reason he was fired moments after Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals; they successfully co-existed for years before this with conflict they both often described as positive and had a successful run.

Coaching an elite quarterback with high-level intelligence like Rodgers isn’t easy, and any candidate for this job might be wise to ask McCarthy what that’s like. Or just cue up Rodgers’ postgame media conference after this year’s win over the Bills in Week 4, when Rodgers trashed McCarthy’s offensive plan.10

Earlier this season, after Rodgers rekindled the talk of a disconnect with McCarthy’s game planning, former Packers coach Mike Holmgren told ESPN.com that he was disappointed Rodgers brought it publicly. Holmgren said he never had to deal with that while coaching Brett Favre and that no coach should.

“It’s a different time now with social media and the stuff that gets out that previously would have been behind closed doors, it’s out there now,” Holmgren said at the time. “But still, my approach to those types of things was, first of all, I’d want to find out if in fact that’s what was said. Then if it was said, let’s talk about this. I had a rule — I didn’t have a lot of rules — and one of them was we’re going to operate from a mutual respect. I won’t embarrass you, and I don’t expect you to be embarrass me.

“When I read stuff like that, first of all I don’t know exactly what to believe. But secondly, it’s sad to me a little bit. I certainly did not want to hear that, no one does. I know both of those guys. I know Aaron a little bit, and I know Mike pretty well. I have tremendous respect for those guys. If in fact he was critical, then I would say, ‘Don’t do that. You don’t have to do that. You’re too good to do that.’”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

McCarthy was careful to never publicly criticize Rodgers, though any coach couldn’t help be feel emasculated by that. McCarthy’s public demeanor changed after that. He looked like a dead-man walking, at times.

With Cowboys in first place, pressure is not off Jason Garrett

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The all-or-nothing trade for Amari Cooper and the change at offensive line coach did not favorably impact the Cowboys in their Nov. 5 loss to the Tennessee Titans. It all looked bleak, especially for Jason Garrett.

Eight full seasons was enough. Two playoff appearances were too little. The whispers for Lincoln Riley to be the next head coach became louder, as anybody but Garrett would do.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping
The four-game winning streak has brought expectations. The win against the Saints has some thinking bigger things than just making the playoffs. The Cowboys don’t have any opponent with a winning record the rest of the way.

“He does a good job conveying the message to us and making it very clear of where we stand and where we need to go,” cornerback Byron Jones said. “You can see it throughout the team, people are bought in.”9

After the victory over the Saints, owner and general manager Jerry Jones was somewhat muted in his praise of the coach.

“Well, he’s won a big game tonight,” Jerry Jones said outside the locker room. “I’ll just leave it at that. He won a big game tonight.”

Was there any reason Jones was holding back?cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“What? I’m not. Give him everything you should give him for having just beaten the top-rated team in the NFL,” Jones said. “You’re the wordsmith. Give it to him. I’m serious. Give it to him, yes, because we know how tough it is when it goes the other way. But give that to him, for sure.”

It’s always tricky to read into Jones’ words one way or the other. He backed Garrett in the difficult times at the start of the coach’s career during three straight 8-8 finishes. At the start of this season, he said Garrett was not on the hot seat. Jones said after the Tennessee loss that he would not make an in-season head-coaching change.

Neymar shows the good, bad and ugly of his game in PSG’s win over Liverpool

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The nature of being Neymar is that he can never, truly deliver the performance that his talent insists he should. Even when he has moments of brilliance, the Paris Saint-Germain forward will let himself down with a touch of carelessness or that overriding desire to make the show all about him.

He was outstanding at times during PSG’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool at the Parc des Princes — a win that puts their Champions League qualification hopes firmly in their own hands — but the Brazil international then let himself down with unnecessary showboating and the kind of histrionics that have always been a stain on his game.cheap wholesale nfl jerseys china

Perhaps it is being overly critical of the 26-year-old to focus on the negative parts of his game on a night when he really delivered when it mattered for PSG. After all, the French champions didn’t smash the world transfer record by spending £198 million on the former Barcelona forward for him to be the difference against the likes of Montpellier and Nimes in Ligue 1.

Neymar was a statement signing back in the summer of 2017, but it wasn’t all about making headlines. PSG signed him to take the club to the next level in the Champions League, but a long-term metatarsal injury put paid to that last season before Real Madrid knocked them out in the round of 16.10

Maybe it is too easy and unchallenging for him in the French league because a player focused solely on his game would not let himself down as Neymar does. But at 26, he is approaching the very peak of his career and with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo now in their 30s, Neymar ought to have a cold-eyed determination to be the man who knocks them off the summit of world football.cheap nfl jersey wholesale

Against Liverpool, Neymar showcased just why PSG spent so much to sign him. He displayed pace, strength, vision and the ability to transition PSG from defence to attack in the blink of an eye. He scored one and could have scored a couple more; at times, he even looked as though he was a 15-year-old playing against 10-year-olds. But he switches off too easily. When you watch Neymar, you wonder what he would really be like if he had the focus and drive of Ronaldo, who always wants more whether or not he has already scored a hat trick or wonder goal.

Neymar is simply wired differently. The moment in the second half of this game, when he turned his back on the play to urge the crowd to turn up the volume, was a case in point. While he was throwing his arms in the air, the ball to Neymar from midfield ended up sailing past him and out of play, unseen by the player who was instead looking at the crowd. That just wouldn’t happen with Ronaldo or Messi.

Real Madrid find rich vein of young talent as Barcelona’s conveyor belt all but stops

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Xavi Hernandez would have appreciated the irony at the Camp Nou on Sunday very much indeed. Barcelona were about to bring on a talented, highly exciting kid from their academy to replace a battle-scarred, high-profile midfield general: Carles Alena ordered to take over from Arturo Vidal.wholesale cheap nfl jersey china

Boos and whistles rang out around the Camp Nou. A brutal reminder, if your memory is long enough, that the more things change, the more things stay the same.9

The reference to Xavi is that, when he was Alena’s age, the young Catalan maestro often had to listen to his beloved Camp Nou boo and whistle shrill disapproval while he queued on the touchline to replace Pep Guardiola. The anger and spleen venting were back in the barren times, when Barcelona were failing miserably and in the midst of a six-year trophy drought. The Camp Nou didn’t appreciate that their declining hero, Guardiola, appeared to be falling victim to Xavi’s precocious skills.

Xavi — I know because he told me so — felt the acute horror of a vast public referendum against him and dislike appearing to rain down from the dark nighttime skies while Guardiola trotted toward him. His stomach was knotted with the fear of failing in front of a hostile audience that should, in principal, already have been head over heels in love with this locally bred, Camp Nou-educated starlet.cheap wholesale nfl jerseys china

Not for a second am I saddling Alena with the burden of being named “the next Xavi,” but the 20-year-old, Catalan-born midfielder is talented — anyone who can’t see that is a fool. He also has vision, technique and confidence that evoke better days in the Barcelona academy when Cruyff principles were taught and taught well.

The real comparison is that there he stood, unable to be wholly sure what the hostile reception was about while waiting to seize this massive chance to advance his Barcelona career. The Spanish champions’ injury list is like a phone book, the match with Villarreal was balanced on a knife edge, and Ernesto Valverde had tapped him on the shoulder.

Cubs tender contract to Addison Russell amid 40-game domestic violence ban

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The Cubs on Friday tendered a contract to suspended shortstop Addison Russell, who is eligible for arbitration.

Russell, 25, will miss the first month of the season after accepting a 40-game suspension late in 2018 after his ex-wife Melisa Reidy accused him of domestic abuse in a blog post. From the start, the Cubs have said they want to see Russell get help while also being a positive force on the issue.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Although the Cubs tendered him a contract for next year, it still doesn’t mean Russell will suit up for them again. The move before Friday’s deadline simply prevented Russell, who made $4.3 million last season, from becoming a free agent.

“While this decision leaves the door open for Addison to later make an impact for us on the field, it does not represent the finish line nor rubber-stamp his future as a Cub,” team president Theo Epstein said in a statement. “It does however reflect our support for him as long as he continues to make progress.”10

The Cubs also tendered six other players: Kris Bryant, Kyle Hendricks, Carl Edwards Jr, Mike Montgomery, Kyle Schwarber and Javy Baez

They nontendered Ronald Torreyes, whom they just traded for on Wednesday, as well as pitchers Justin Hancock and Allan Webster.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Russell issued a statement Friday offering his “heartfelt apology” to his family, his ex-wife and the team for “letting them down” with his past behavior.

“Since accepting my suspension, I’ve had time to reflect on my past behavior and think about the next steps I need to take to grow as a person,” Russell said. “… I am just in the early stages of this process. It is work that goes far beyond being a baseball player — it goes to my core values of being the best family man, partner, and teammate that I can be, and giving back to the community and the less fortunate.

“While there is a lot of work ahead for me to earn back the trust of the Cubs fans, my teammates, and the entire organization, it’s work that I am 110 percent committed to doing.”

Reports: Mariners, Mets finish off seven-player blockbuster trade

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A blockbuster trade that gained momentum throughout the week has been completed, as the Seattle Mariners have agreed to deal All-Star closer Edwin Diaz and veteran second baseman Robinson Cano to the New York Mets, according to multiple reports.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

In return, the Mariners reportedly will receive veteran right fielder Jay Bruce and several prospects — right-handed pitcher Justin Dunn, a first-rounder in 2016; outfielder Jarred Kelenic, the sixth overall pick in 2018; right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak and right-handed pitcher Gerson Bautista.

The Mariners also are sending $20 million to New York.9

The trade is contingent upon the players passing their physical exams. The deal could be announced as soon as Monday

Cano, 36, has five years, $120 million remaining on the 10-year, $240 million contract he signed with Seattle in December 2013, when current Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen served as his agent, along with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation.

Cano, who starred for the Yankees from 2005 to 2013, reportedly was happy to return to New York and waived his no-trade clause for the deal to be completed.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The eight-time All-Star was suspended for 80 games last season for PEDs. Cano hit .303 with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs in 80 games.

Diaz, 24, is the prize in the deal. Armed with a 100 mph fastball, he had a 1.96 ERA and led the majors with 57 saves last season — tied with Bobby Thigpen (1990) for the second-most in a single season in baseball history, trailing only Francisco Rodriguez’s 62 in 2008.

Diaz also comes to New York cheaply.

He made just $571,000 in 2018, isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2020 and won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2022 season.

Seattle, which finished 89-73 this past season, has since decided to go into rebuilding mode, having already traded ace James Paxton to the Yankees.