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Struggling Tebow hits first Triple-A home run

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What started off as a tough spring for Tim Tebow with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse, New York, took a turn for the better Sunday when he hit his first International League home run.

It came in his 105th at-bat of the season, and the former Heisman Trophy winner didn’t exactly receive a hero’s welcome when he returned to the dugout.

At least not at first.

Tebow’s teammates largely gave him the silent treatment before the celebration at NBT Bank Stadium began in earnest.

Tebow went 1-for-4 in an 8-2 home loss to Columbus, lifting his batting average to .157. He has 11 RBIs on the season. He has a hit in seven of his past nine games.

On Thursday, he told The Associated Press that he was unfazed by his slow start.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“I think I’m improving. I’m working, developing,” Tebow said. “I think I’m getting better, adapting to some really good players, and I think that’s important.”10

Tebow’s average was at .130 after the team’s first 23 games before his productivity increased of late, a stretch that he said has helped with his confidence as he’s found more of a rhythm at the plate.

“I think sometimes if you’re not in rhythm, you can press a little bit, swing at pitches you don’t want to swing at,” Tebow said. “But when you’re in a rhythm, it just flows a little bit better. I think that’s important.”

Syracuse Mets manager Tony DeFrancesco told The Associated Press that the move from Double-A to the top rung of the minor leagues has proved daunting.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“Double-A pitching is a lot of younger guys that have good velocity on the fastball but no secondary pitches,” DeFrancesco said. “Here, Tim is seeing everything coming at him but the kitchen sink. They’re throwing fastballs hard in on him, they’re breaking balls, they’re elevating. He just hasn’t seen enough of that right now — and they’re throwing strikes.”

DeFrancesco said Tebow’s recent surge has been encouraging and he was hoping that the power production would arrive after Tebow had six homers and 36 RBIs in 271 at-bats in Double-A before an injury ended his season after 84 games.

“He’s playing a corner position in baseball, which is offensive production, so he’s going to definitely need to drive some home runs soon,” his manager said. “Getting into June, you’ve got to be able to put up the numbers.”

Houston’s Fifth Ward gave Dolphins’ Xavien Howard his ambition

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Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard returns to Houston to play the Texans on Thursday night (8:20 ET, Fox). This weekend, he plans to walk the streets of his old neighborhood.

A Houston native, Howard tells outsiders to stay far away from the Fifth Ward. It’s a high-crime neighborhood northeast of downtown. Danger can find you in the Fifth Ward.

In making his way out, Howard is starting to make a name for himself.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“Who’s Xavien Howard?” asked Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins, tongue-in-cheek, in the lead-up to Thursday’s game.

Howard, 25, in his third NFL season, is tied for the NFL lead with three interceptions. He made his big splash last December with two interceptions each against the Denver Broncos and Tom Brady’s Patriots in back-to-back games.

“He’s kind of an underrated guy across the league. Last year he played really well, and this year he’s been playing great. He’s been shutting everything down,” rookie defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick said. “He’s just waiting on his moment for everybody to recognize who he is and the job that he does.”9

You’ve likely heard stories similar to Howard’s before. The NFL is full of players who used football to get out of bad circumstances. Howard knows he is fortunate, given some of the things he witnessed growing up.

When he was in middle school, Howard was playing basketball near his home when, he says, a man shot another man 10 yards away from him. Then the shooter saw Howard.

“I was traumatized by that for a long, long time. After he did it, he looked at me and said, ‘Go in the house, they shooting.’ I’m just happy the guy didn’t shoot me or come get me,” Howard said.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Howard told his mother, Luckcher Howard, what happened and she feared for his safety. She sent him to stay with his grandmother, who lived 30 minutes away, for two months. He was still frightened the man would find him.

“That day made me change everything about me. I straightened up. I started taking sports seriously,” Howard said. “I said, ‘I got to get me and my family out of the hood and away from seeing this.'”

Howard uses the ritual of returning to his old neighborhood to remind himself of what he escaped.

When he walks the streets of the Fifth Ward in Houston, Howard sees a drug dealer on the corner selling an eight-ball of cocaine; his eyes settle on a homeless man sitting on the side of Lyons Avenue; his friends tell him a story of the kid who got jumped and robbed near the Fruits of the Fifth Ward mural. Howard could have been any of those people.

Taking the walk is his version of therapy, self-preservation and making sure he never gets too comfortable.

Borussia Dortmund keep title hopes alive in win over Fortuna Dusseldorf

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Borussia Dortmund kept the Bundesliga race alive by beating Fortuna Dusseldorf 3-2 on Saturday.

Dortmund almost blew another two-goal lead after letting 10-man Düsseldorf come perilously close to an equaliser in injury time.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Christian Pulisic, playing his last home game for Dortmund, opened the scoring four minutes before the break with his first headed goal in the Bundesliga. It could be his last. The American midfielder is leaving for Chelsea in a €64 million deal agreed in January.9

Dortmund keeper Marwin Hitz — who was filling in for the injured Roman Burki – let Dusseldorf captain Oliver Fink’s harmless-looking header slip through his fingers in the 47th.

Then came the news that Goretzka had scored for Bayern, but it was ruled out and Thomas Delaney restored Dortmund’s lead over Düsseldorf in the 53rd.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Dodi Lukebakio missed a penalty for Dusseldorf, before Mario Götze thought he’d sealed it in injury time. Dawid Kownacki pulled one back, however, to set up another nervy finale.

Bayern Munich, who drew 0-0 against RB Leipzig, boasts a considerably better goal difference by 17 goals, meaning a draw against Eintracht Frankfurt in Munich next Saturday will be enough to seal the title. Dortmund must win at Borussia Monchengladbach and hope for a Frankfurt victory to take the title.

Butler after 76ers’ 36-point loss: ‘We laid an egg’

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Brett Brown became a meme, Joel Embiid was mocked by Raptors fans the way he normally mocks opponents, and the 76ers suffered one of their worst losses in the franchise’s postseason history in a 125-89 defeat Tuesday night.

The Sixers now trail the Raptors 3-2 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

“I think we laid an egg,” guard Jimmy Butler said after the 76ers coughed up 19 turnovers leading to 31 Toronto points and failed to crack 100 points for the fourth time this series.
By halftime, Philadelphia had more personal fouls (16) than made field goals (14), and the Sixers’ two All-Stars, Embiid and Ben Simmons, struggled as much as anyone. The duo combined for seven turnovers in the first half, which was more than the field goals and assists they combined to register in that span (six).cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Embiid, still reeling from the upper respiratory infection that limited him in Game 4, finished with 13 pcheap nike nfl jerseys wholesaleoints on 5-for-10 shooting (2-for-6 from 3), six rebounds, one assist and eight turnovers. In the past five postseasons, only two players have finished a game with one or zero assists and eight or more turnovers: Kevin Durant in 2016 and Embiid, who has now done it twice, as he matched his one-assist, eight-turnover game in the first round against the Miami Heat last year.10

“It sucks,” Embiid said. “I know I got to do a better job for us to win. I got to do the little things. When I’m needed to score the ball, I got to show up. Setting screens, I got to do a better job of rebounding the ball. So that’s on me. … I just got to do more.”

Embiid played one of his finest games as a pro in Game 3 against the Raptors, putting up 33 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks to put the Sixers up 2-1 in the series. In the two losses since, he has totaled just 24 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.

When the Sixers center checked out of Game 5 for good with 9:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, fans in the stands at Scotiabank Arena — including Canadian rapper Drake, the Raptors’ global ambassador — spread their arms out and mimicked Embiid’s airplane celebration that he broke out after his late windmill dunk in Game 3.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Embiid hasn’t been able to help the Sixers land a win since.

“I just saw them shake their bodies,” Embiid said of the fans. “I didn’t pay attention about what the hell they were doing. Good for them. … I don’t care if it offends anybody, but what I do is all about having fun. I don’t care. And I’m going to do that because I know I’m going to dominate.”

Kyrie Irving’s failed leadership tells the story of the Celtics’ failed season

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cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesaleAt first, it seemed like things were going to be just fine.

When the Boston Celtics convened for media day back in September, they were the heavy favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in this season’s NBA Finals, and arguably no team in the league had a brighter road ahead.

Brad Stevens saw something different.

“I knew going in that it was going to be super challenging, but October screamed it,” the Celtics coach told ESPN recently. “I knew after the first two exhibition games, it was going to be really, really hard.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

It turned out to be harder than he could have imagined. And in the end, it was too difficult to overcome, as Boston suffered a fourth consecutive loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday to crash out of the second round of the playoffs.9

This was not what was supposed to happen to a team that made the conference finals the past two years — and then added a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward to the mix.

There are plenty of reasons to explain why this season was so hard, and why these Celtics were so disappointing. At the root of all of them, though, is Irving — and, more specifically, his leadership through words and actions on and off the court.

Those comments became the guideposts of this long, strange trip of a season in Boston, the things that — in retrospect — were signaling to the world how hard this was turning out to be for the Celtics.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Irving’s words not only defined the Celtics’ disappointing season; they help to explain how a season that was supposed to mark Boston’s return to the top of the sport instead left all involved searching for answers.

Melbourne Victory take second-string side to face Daegu FC

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Melbourne Victory have taken the kids to South Korea for their midweek AFC Champions League distraction, leaving the bulk of their senior squad at home to prepare for Sunday’s A-League semifinal.

All five foreigners have been spared the gruelling 20-hour door-to-door trip to face Daegu FC on Wednesday night.

Victory’s result against the K League 1 side will have no bearing on their season, given they have already been mathematically eliminated from the tournament.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

As Victory boss Kevin Muscat has just one priority — reaching the A-League Grand Final — he opted for a travelling party of just 15 players.

Of the team that defeated Wellington Phoenix 3-1 on Friday night, Thomas Deng, James Donachie and Elvis Kamsoba are the only starters to travel, along with substitutes Storm Roux and Kenny Athiu.10

Along with the foreign five, Lawrence Thomas, Terry Antonis, Leigh Broxham, Carl Valeri and Anthony Lesitotis were told to stay put.

James Troisi, the club’s sole member on the injury list as he recovers from a small hamstring tear, also won’t be risked.

Ola Toivonen, who scored Victory’s third goal in the elimination final against Wellington, said the contest with the Phoenix took a toll.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“We knew it was gonna be a physical game and we were ready for it,” he said. “We played smart. So we deserved to win.”

Toivonen’s chip from an acute angle over Filip Kurto was a superb individual effort from Friday’s man of the match.
He might have finished with a hat trick except he twice played in teammates while in goal-scoring positions.

“I’m not really a goalscorer. I like to put other players in positions as well,” he said.

Having scored twice against Sydney FC this season already, Toivonen will be a marked man at Jubilee Stadium.

The 32-year-old said he was delighted to be heading to Kogarah, where he scored a fine free kick back in November, and not their most recent venue, the SCG.

Red Sox get 10 straight hits in nine-run inning

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The Boston Red Sox strung together 10 consecutive hits against Chicago White Sox left-hander Manny Banuelos, ending one hit shy of the major league record during a nine-run third inning Saturday night.

Banuelos retired his first eight batters before Christian Vazquez opened Boston’s two-out rally with a single. Xander Bogaerts, Michael Chavis and Eduardo Nunez each homered, Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez had RBI doubles, and Vazquez capped the streak with another single before White Sox manager Rick Renteria pulled Banuelos with a 9-1 deficit.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Carson Fulmer replaced Banuelos and interrupted the hit parade by walking Andrew Benintendi. Betts flew out to right to end the inning after 14 batters.8

The Red Sox won Saturday’s game 15-2.

The Colorado Rockies had a major league-record 11 straight hits during a 17-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Coors Field in Denver on July 30, 2010.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Boston went on to score five runs in the fourth and one run in the fifth to take a 15-1 lead.

Rangers option lefty Bird to Triple-A Nashville

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The Texas Rangers have optioned left-hander Kyle Bird to Triple-A Nashville after his second stint in the majors this season.

Bird has a 6.75 ERA with a save in five relief appearances for the Rangers in his first big league action.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap10

Texas will make a corresponding move before Friday’s series opener against Houston to fill Bird’s spot on the 25-man roster. The Rangers were off Thursday after sweeping a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

The Rangers got Bird from the Tampa Bay Rays during the offseason as part of a three-team deal that sent infielder Jurickson Profar to Oakland.

Atletico’s Godin ’90 percent sure’ to join Inter Milan in summer – source

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Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin is “90 percent sure” to join Inter Milan this summer, a source close to the player has told ESPN FC.

The 33-year-old is out of contract in June, having won eight trophies including a La Liga title since joining from Villarreal in 2010, and has also been linked with Manchester United, AC Milan and Juventus.

However the Uruguay international is almost certain to take up Inter’s offer of a three-year contract and leave at the end of the campaign, ESPN FC has been told.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

The source maintained it was still possible for Atletico to retain Godin, but a club policy of not giving extensions of more than 12 months to players aged over 30 means that is unlikely.10

United made an attempt to sign Godin last summer — but he cited “personal reasons” for staying in Spain.

It was claimed at that time that Atletico had offered him a deal which ran until June 2021, although no such agreement was ever signed.

Godin is not the only experienced Atletico defender in a similar situation, with full-backs Juanfran, 34, and Filipe Luis, 33, also coming to the end of their deals and likely to move on.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

Meanwhile, Lucas Hernandez has agreed a move to Bayern Munich in the summer, after the Bundesliga leaders met the France international’s €80 million buy-out clause.

Ajax left-back Nicolas Tagliafico is among the potential replacements for Hernandez, according to ESPN FC sources.

The Rojiblanco hierarchy are also looking at Benfica’s Ruben Diaz, Getafe’s Mathias Olivera and Porto’s Alex Telles.

Devils beat odds to win lottery, chance at Hughes

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The New Jersey Devils won the 2019 NHL draft lottery after entering Tuesday night’s event in Toronto with the third-best odds.

It’s the second lottery win in three years for the Devils. They won it in 2017 and selected center Nico Hischier.

“I said the No. 1 thing we needed was [more] talent, and this is a huge part of getting more talent. It’s a huge day for the Devils,” GM Ray Shero said after the draw.

The 15 teams that did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs were all eligible to win the lottery. The NHL uses three separate drawings to select the teams for the top three picks in the draft, in an effort to discourage tanking.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The Devils had a 11.5 percent chance of winning the lottery. The New York Rangers, who had just a 7.5 percent chance, jumped up from No. 6 to snag the second overall pick. The Chicago Blackhawks made an even more dramatic move, going from No. 12 all the way to the third pick in the draft. They had just a 2.5 percent chance of winning the lottery. The Colorado Avalanche, via a pick acquired from the last-place Ottawa Senators in a 2017 trade involving center Matt Duchene, entered the lottery with the best odds at 18.5 percent. The Los Angeles Kings (13.5 percent), Devils (11.5 percent), Detroit Red Wings (9.5 percent) and Buffalo Sabres (8.5 percent) rounded out the top five teams in draft probabilities.8

This year’s lottery was a painful one for Ottawa fans to watch. The Senators finished the regular season with the NHL’s worst record but did not own their first-round pick, which was traded to Colorado in the Duchene trade. They had the option to give Colorado their first-rounder in the 2018 NHL draft, but instead opted to select center Brady Tkachuk with the fourth overall pick. That gave Colorado the Senators’ 2019 pick and the best lottery odds. To add insult to injury, the Senators traded Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets in February after 118 games in Ottawa.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The prize of the 2019 NHL entry draft is Hughes, a special talent who skates at an elite level and can make plays at high speed.

The 17-year-old center’s footwork is unique among most players in that he skates deceptively well on top of having higher-end puck skills. Hughes also has elite vision, which combined with his shiftiness, allows him to exploit open ice and find teammates with ease. There are somewhat limited concerns about his size and physical strength, but they have done little to dissuade most that he belongs at No. 1.