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Reds’ Lorenzen pitches, then moves to outfield

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Reliever Michael Lorenzen has begun the Cincinnati Reds’ mound-to-outfield experiment, pitching one inning, then moving to center field on Monday in a game against the Cleveland Indians. It didn’t take long for the ball to find him.

Lorenzen chased Jose Ramirez’s leadoff double in the bottom of the sixth inning of a 5-5 tie, his biggest test during his first time in the outfield.

“It was fun,” Lorenzen said. “I didn’t necessarily get any fly balls, but I had a couple hit to me. Hopefully, next time I get to run one down.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The Reds are exploring options for replacing center fielder Billy Hamilton, who signed with the Kansas City Royals. Lorenzen was a center fielder at Cal State Fullerton who also closed games on occasion. The Reds drafted him as a pitcher in 2013, and he has lobbied for a dual role in the majors.9

Lorenzen came on to pitch the bottom of the fifth inning and retired all three Indians, two by strikeout. Instead of heading off to ice his shoulder, he looked for his batting helmet. He faced Mike Clevinger and struck out swinging, then replaced Nick Senzel in center field.

Lorenzen started shading Ramirez, the first batter, toward right field, then moved back the other way. Ramirez hit the ball to the gap in right for a double.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“The game knows,” Lorenzen said. “It was funny, because I was actually shaded to right-center. I ended up moving into left-center.”

In the seventh inning, Cleveland’s Eric Stamets went from first to third on a single to center. Lorenzen fielded the ball and threw to third too late.

“I’d rather err on the side of overdoing it; that’s my personality,” Lorenzen said.

Lorenzen left after his two innings in the outfield.

First-year manager David Bell likes the option of using Lorenzen in center. After getting him ready to pitch during the first part of camp, Bell finally gave him a chance to play center.

Iguodala: Curry still ‘underrated,’ No. 2 PG ever

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Golden State superstar Stephen Curry has won two MVP awards and three NBA championships, but he is still “underrated,” according to Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala.

In fact, Iguodala believes that Curry is the second-best point guard of all time at this point in his career.

“I still think he doesn’t really get the respect he deserves,” Iguodala said after watching Curry drop 28 points in a 120-117 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night. “Guys think he uses a lot of screens and guys think they can draw mismatches with him defensively, but he’s a real problem. I think I told [Kevin Durant], he said he missed me on the shot he took, and I said, ‘Y’all two are like Michael Jordan, there’s no such thing as a bad shot.’ That’s for real, and people don’t understand the presence they bring to the court. Especially on the offensive end.”

Iguodala, who later said that Magic Johnson is the best point guard of all time, does not think that Curry ever will get the respect he deserves.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“It is what it is sometimes,” Iguodala said. “But when you sit down and have serious conversations, that’s when you — he’s the second-best point guard ever — you argue that.”9

Curry took Iguodala’s comments in stride after helping the Warriors finish off a win at the end of a long four-game road trip.

“Every day he texts me when I wake up in the morning and tells me that same comment,” Curry said, with sarcasm. “I got some work to do to get to No. 1 apparently.”

Iguodala’s comments also gave Curry a chance to promote the tour he has set up for prospects who fly under the radar.

“Underrated.com,” Curry said after being told of Iguodala’s “underrated” remark. “Check out the tour. They’re in Philly today and tomorrow. I’m trying to share that with the world for sure. Underratedtour.com, sorry.”

Curry said he is not thinking about his own legacy at the moment, but his teammates already know the powerful force he has had on the game all over the world.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“Most important is [his] impact on the game of basketball,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “Have you been to a high school game or a middle school game — Mark Jackson said a few years ago, ‘Steph is ruining the game of basketball.’ We all was pissed off like, ‘What, what is he talking about?’ I went to some high school games, and I said I see what he’s talking about. He’s not talking about Steph per se that’s ruining basketball, but he’s making a lot of other people think they can do what he does. And it ain’t the case. And so organization good, game good, team good, but the game of basketball is really where he makes his hay.”

Russell Wilson, Seahawks still haven’t talked about new deal for QB

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As Russell Wilson heads into the final year of his deal, the Pro Bowl quarterback and the Seattle Seahawks have not engaged in a single contract discussion since the day they announced their last deal in 2015, league sources told ESPN.

Neither Wilson nor the Seahawks have mentioned to each other whether they are hoping to extend his deal or what a potential new contract would look like, according to sources.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

But Wilson’s deal, like others ahead, could be complicated because of the potential work stoppage that awaits the NFL in 2021.

The last time Wilson and the Seahawks reached agreement on a contract came on July 31, 2015 — the day Seattle opened training camp.9

The sides could be hoping to be on a similar timeline this season — and Wilson has other business to tend to in the interim. He has spoken to the New York Yankees and plans to participate in their spring training, according to a source.

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said during his season-ending news conference that he and Wilson spoke about the quarterback’s future and that an extension this offseason is “very much in our plans.”

Said Wilson, one day after the Seahawks were eliminated by the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC wild-card round: “To be the franchise quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks is a special thing, so we’ll see where that goes. I don’t like talking about my contract or anything like that, but I think good things will happen.”nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Wilson quickly answered in the affirmative when asked whether he’d be willing to play out the final year of his current contract, which would put him in position to go year-to-year on the franchise tag. He’s set to make $17 million in 2019.

“Oh yeah, if that’s what I’ve got to do,” he said. “It’s business and everything. I know essentially after the season, I could potentially be a free agent, that kind of thing. I don’t think that way. I see myself being in Seattle. I love Seattle, and it’s a special place for me.”

DeMarcus Cousins blasts NCAA system after Zion Williamson injury

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Cousins, who spent one season at Kentucky before being selected with the fifth pick in the 2010 NBA draft, said he enjoyed his time in college, but he has a different perspective after almost a decade in the professional basketball.

“I loved my experience in college,” Cousins said. “… But with that being said, just how crooked the whole NCAA business is — I actually saw a post the other day where I think the highest ticket for that UNC-Duke game was $2,500, $3,500. How much does Zion Williamson see? That’s who they’re coming to see, so how much of that is he getting? Actually, who does it go to? How does it benefit any player on that team? But if they were to get $20 and a free meal, they’re this bad kid, they get a bad rep, uncoachable, or thugs, whatever the case may be. So it’s bulls—. It’s been bulls—.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Cousins believes the G League route, over time, will gain more traction with younger players looking for a different route to the NBA.10

“The D League/G League route,” Cousins said, “I think that’s helpful. Obviously, it’s not a popular thing right now, but I think it will grow over time. You’ve seen a couple of young guys in that program already.

“So it was kind of cool what [LaVar] Ball did with his whole little league. I think it’s a cool thing. Obviously he doesn’t have the greatest name and people look at him in a foolish manner, but what he’s doing makes sense. He wants to help these kids. He understands how the college level, he understands how it’s corrupt. He saw what his kid went through. He sees what his other two boys are going through, so I think there’s ways [to fix the system]. Obviously everything with basketball is a trendy thing, so once the ball kind of gets rolling for that, I believe more people will be willing to join it.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was more demure in his thoughts regarding what Williamson’s next step should be.

“I have no comment on what he should do for his future,” James said Thursday. “If he needed any advice, he can find a way to find me, but it is not for you guys, it is not for someone to go sit across the table and say, ‘Well, LeBron said this about this kid.’

“He has to do what is best for him. His family has always been his support system. I just wish great health for the kid, but that’s not my lane to talk about what he should do going forward.”

Chiefs end home playoff curse, advance to AFC title game

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If the Kansas City Chiefs could have designed the way they will enter the AFC Championship Game, they would have drawn up their 31-13 divisional-round win against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Chiefs didn’t merely beat the Colts on Saturday, they used them as a launching pad. Kansas City will have a full head of steam going into next week’s game against the winner of the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots (1:05 p.m. ET, Sunday). The AFC title game will be in Kansas City for the first time.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said. “It’s something we feel as an organization we should have accomplished in recent history. Since Andy [Reid] came here, we’ve had a lot of shots. But finally we get a chance to win that AFC championship and to get to do it at home is so special for us.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The victory was a big confidence boost for the Chiefs, particularly on defense. They played their best defensive game of the season, forcing the Colts to go three plays and punt on each of their first four possessions.10

The defense pitched a shutout until the Colts scored an offensive touchdown with less than six minutes left. The Colts scored their first touchdown on a blocked punt in the second quarter.

The Chiefs, who entered the game allowing 18 points a game at home, didn’t allow a touchdown in their final regular-season game, a 35-3 win against the Oakland Raiders.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Kansas City made some recent defensive lineup changes that seem to be working. Third cornerback Charvarius Ward and safety Jordan Lucas, who is starting in place of the injured Eric Berry, have played well over the past couple of games.

The Chiefs had been plagued by defensive penalties most of the season but against the Colts they had just one — a pass interference call against Ward with 41 seconds remaining. They had no defensive penalties against the Raiders.

“You could feel the energy all week,” Reid said. “I think some of the young guys are maturing right in front of our eyes and playing well. We added a couple of guys in there. … Everybody’s taking up their game.”

With the emphatic victory, the Chiefs buried their many playoff demons. They won at Arrowhead Stadium in the playoffs for the first time since January 1994. The streak included losses of one, two, three and four points.

Rams QB Jared Goff is really funny … if you’re paying attention

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There’s sometimes a smirk or raised eyebrow. And it’s often coupled with a sly, dry barb launched at a reporter or aimed at a teammate.

Take Week 14, when a reporter asked, innocuously enough, how would the Rams quarterback prepare to play a defense that had intercepted a league-high 21 passes?

“Try to throw it to our guys,” Goff deadpanned.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The response drew a chuckle from the small media contingent, and that smirk appeared on Goff’s face. It was another unexpected zinger from Goff, who is routinely dull in his delivery but chooses his spots wisely.

Goff’s humor is dry and nonchalant. He’ll deliver a one-liner, then continue like it never happened. If you’re not paying attention, or simply aren’t around Goff frequently, his jokes might go undetected.9

“He’s really good at poking the bear,” Rams receiver Cooper Kupp said. “If he can find something that kind of can get you, he’ll sit there as innocently as possible and just little pokes here and there, just to see how much of a rise he can get out of you.”

It’s also part of a budding, and almost unexpected, boldness off the field, where the Northern California native has shown more of a willingness to engage his personality as he adapts to shouldering the responsibilities of leading the NFC’s No. 2 seed against the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round Saturday (8:15 p.m. ET, Fox).nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“As time goes on you become more comfortable in your role and I think that’s no different with [being a leader],” said Goff, who received an $18.5 million signing bonus as a rookie. “Just being able to be the leader I want to be, the teammate I want to be, the person I want to be, and just continue to mature and grow and be the best I can be every day.”

In his third season as a pro, and his second under coach Sean McVay, Goff has improved his timing, accuracy and decision-making. The proof is in his results. Goff has passed for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns, with 12 interceptions, while completing 64.9 percent of his throws. He also has rushed for a touchdown.

Solanke transfer, like Neymar deal before it, could permanently distort the transfer market

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This may be the only time you will see Neymar’s and Dominic Solanke’s names appear in the same sentence, but the two forwards actually have something in common: Both men may have distorted the transfer market with their fees.

At £198 million, Neymar’s world-record move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017 was a moment of financial folly that sent shockwaves through the game. The transfer was over £100m more than the previous record of £89.3m — set by Paul Pogba’s 2016 switch from Juventus to Manchester United — and it triggered a domino effect of similarly inflated deals. PSG went on to negotiate a £166m deal for Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe, following an initial 12-month loan period. Barcelona dipped into their Neymar cash by spending a potential £135m on Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele and then, six months later, splashed out a further £142m on Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

In a game flush with money at the top end of the market, those transfer fees were perhaps an inevitable consequence of the riches flowing through Europe’s biggest clubs. In fairness to the players involved — even Dembele and Mbappe, teenagers at the time of their big moves — they had all shone in the Champions League before making their moves. Even Bayern’s repeated bids for Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi, an 18-year-old with high potential, look reasonable given the Bundesliga giant’s need for young talent, as does Chelsea spending nearly £60m for Christian Pulisic, a player with a track record in Germany and a skill set that will help the Blues over the long term.8

Yet Bournemouth’s move for Solanke feels significant in a different sense. It’s not unusual to see teams completing surprisingly expensive deals, but the Cherries’ £19m move for a player with one Premier League goal and just five starts since his Chelsea debut in 2014 feels significant for all the wrong reasons.nfl nike jersey cheap

Solanke cost Bournemouth less than a tenth of Neymar’s world record fee but it’s still a major outlay for a club of their stature; it could yet rise to an eventual £25m if the former Chelsea youngster is able to trigger £6m worth of incentivised add-ons.

The deal means that Solanke becomes the third-most-expensive English striker of all time behind Andy Carroll and Wayne Rooney. Carroll ultimately flopped at Liverpool after his £35m move from Newcastle in January 2011, but he had at least proven himself in the Premier League at St James’ Park — Carroll had scored 33 goals in 90 league games for Newcastle — prior to his transfer. Rooney, who was just 18 when he completed a £30m move to United from Everton in August 2004, was a star for club and country before swapping Goodison Park for Old Trafford. He was also clearly a prodigious talent.

However, Solanke makes the top three on the list having scored just one Premier League goal during his time at Liverpool and Chelsea. The 21-year-old started five league games in a season-and-a-half under Jurgen Klopp at Anfield (also making 16 substitute appearances) and did not appear at all in the Champions League. At Chelsea, he never kicked a ball in the Premier League and became a symbol of the club’s failure to promote its highly rated youth-team prospects.

Popovich exercising patience as Spurs navigate uneven start to season

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So when the embarrassing San Antonio Spurs losses stacked early in December the way the sweaty jerseys piled on the floor of the locker room after their 108-101 setback Saturday at the hands of the Houston Rockets, the organization seemed almost flippant in not displaying even the slightest hint of frustration.

Step 2 in this process involves the players justifying Popovich’s faith by continuing to make strides toward achieving continuity through trust in one another and familiarity from time spent together on and off the court. Despite the loss to the Rockets, the Spurs believe they’re getting there.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

With 10 new players on the roster (counting two-way players), San Antonio appears to be trending toward its consistency of old.

“We’ve gotten better for sure,” LaMarcus Aldridge said after finishing with 18 points and six rebounds. “We’re playing a better brand of basketball. I think we’ve learned how to play with each other.”8

Until the third quarter of Saturday’s game, that certainly appeared to be the case. San Antonio built an early seven-point lead in the second quarter, and led at intermission 43-41 despite shooting just 38.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from range.

But Houston changed the complexion of the game in the third quarter with a high-powered display from long range. Houston knocked down nine 3-pointers in the third quarter, which ranked as its most long-range connections of any quarter so far this season. The Rockets drained 69.2 percent of those attempts, outscoring San Antonio 43-26 in the quarter to go up 84-69 at the buzzer on Gary Clark’s 25-footer. Houston jumped out to an 18-9 run over the first six minutes of the quarter.

Eric Gordon then handed Houston its largest lead of the night (17 points) just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter on a driving layup.

Still, San Antonio found a way to cut through the deficit to go up 97-96 with 3:03 left to play on a Rudy Gay 3-pointer off an assist from DeMar DeRozan.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“We stayed in it and fought,” said DeRozan, who led the Spurs with 28 points and eight assists. “We had a chance. It came down to a couple of rebounds. I thought we could’ve taken advantage of the one-point lead. We fought. We’ve got to be happy about that. But we can’t have the start in third quarter like we had.”

The Spurs also can’t afford to be outworked on the boards the way they were in this one. Houston held the rebounding edge 58-43, but where that showed up most was in second-chance scoring. The Rockets scored 26 second-chance points to San Antonio’s seven.

‘Elite’ football IQ allows hybrid safety Adrian Phillips to thrive on Chargers

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On a star-studded defense that includes the likes of Joey Bosa, Derwin James, Melvin Ingram and Casey Hayward, a little-known safety for the Los Angeles Chargers could be the key cog that helps slow down an explosive Kansas City Chiefs offense led by Patrick Mahomes.

Versatile safety Adrian Phillips’ unique skill set allows the Chargers to play a smaller, speedier personnel group that helps contain potent passing games, yet still holds up against the run.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said Phillips is one of the most cerebral players that he has coached — high praise considering that group includes Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Derrick Brooks.

That intelligence allows the University of Texas product to play several positions on the field.9

On Thursday, the Chargers will need Phillips and the rest of the defense to help slow down a Kansas City offense that has recorded a league-high 87 explosive plays (runs of 16-plus yards or passing plays of 20-plus yards).

“First of all, he’s extremely intelligent,” Bradley said. “He can play strong safety, free safety, dime [linebacker] and nickel [linebacker] for us, and we’d feel extremely comfortable if he was in any of those positions.

“So that intelligence, he’s got a football IQ that is, to say compare him to anybody, he’s just one of the most elite guys in that area that I’ve ever been around.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Phillips, 26, got an opportunity to play last year because injuries at linebacker forced Bradley to think out of the box, using a 5-foot-11, 210-pound backup safety as a linebacker in obvious passing situations.

By happenstance the Chargers turned a weakness into a strength, creating a hybrid safety-linebacker in Phillips.

The fourth-year pro has totaled 63 combined tackles, eight pass breakups and an interception in 474 defensive snaps this season.

“When I sit back and think about where I’ve been and how far I’ve come, it’s just all been a blessing,” Phillips said. “It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t smooth sailing. There were a lot of nights that I was frustrated and trying to find my way.

“But to be where I’m at now, I wouldn’t change any of that because it made me the player and person I am now.”

Newcastle revival continues with victory at Burnley

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Newcastle United surged clear of the Premier League relegation zone after a Ben Mee own goal and Ciaran Clark’s header in the first half helped them to a 2-1 win at struggling Burnley on Monday.

Newcastle celebrated a third successive league victory after failing to win any of their opening 10 fixtures and moved up to 13th place on 12 points from 13 games.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

The Magpies are four points clear of the relegation zone and three points ahead of 17th-placed Burnley, who stretched their winless league streak to six games.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez praised his team after a solid performance.10

“We had an idea of how to play, we knew crosses would come from everywhere, we defended well, our effort and attitude was great,” the Spaniard told Sky Sports.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“We suffered a bit at the end but we could have scored a third goal. Our defenders did well because the [Burnley] strikers are big and then they put another big lad up front.”

The kick off was delayed by half an hour when the referees’ assessor Eddie Wolstenholme collapsed in the tunnel and was taken to hospital, but once the match got underway Newcastle dominated the opening period.

The Magpies took a fourth-minute lead after a Federico Fernandez shot from 20 metres took a heavy deflection off Mee and Clark then made it 2-0 with a superb header in the 23rd minute as he met a fine cross from the left by Matt Ritchie.

Sam Vokes pulled one back for Burnley shortly before the break with a looping header from 15 metres, with Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka caught out of position after a long ball by Mee.

Ritchie was guilty of an astonishing miss just after the break when he shot wide from two metres with Burnley keeper Joe Hart beaten. Joselu also hit the post for Newcastle with a stinging low shot and they then held on in the closing stages.