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Braves’ Keuchel pitches 7 scoreless in minors

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Newly signed Atlanta Braves pitcher Dallas Keuchel pitched seven scoreless innings in a minor league start with Class A Rome on Monday, striking out nine Charleston batters.nike nfl jerseys for cheap

Keuchel allowed one hit, walked one batter and threw 77 pitches (55 strikes).9

The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner had been scheduled to pitch Saturday for Triple-A Gwinnett against Durham, but the game was called off because of inclement weather.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Keuchel signed a one-year deal last week that pays him $13 million. The two-time All-Star went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA in 34 starts last season for Houston.

Sources: Rockets, D’Antoni close to extension

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The Houston Rockets and Mike D’Antoni have rekindled discussions about a contract extension for the head coach and are nearing an agreement, sources told ESPN on Saturday.

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has agreed to eliminate the buyout language that was the primary reason that D’Antoni and his agent, Warren LeGarie, ended talks on May 30, sources said.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Fertitta and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey visited D’Antoni at his offseason home in West Virginia this week to smooth over any hard feelings. LeGarie was not part of those discussions and told ESPN that a deal still needs to be worked out through him.

“Did Mike speak to those guys down there? Yes, he did,” LeGarie told ESPN. “As always, they asked Mike what he thought, and Mike said, ‘Sounds great, but talk to Warren.’ Mike’s job is coaching, and he leaves the negotiating to me.10

“Mike is always affable with everybody out there, not trying to raise the rancor in a situation clearly gone astray.”

After the previous talks ended, Fertitta told reporters during a hastily arranged media availability that the offer to D’Antoni was a one-year extension with a $5 million base salary plus $4 million in incentives for advancing in the playoffs.

However, the original offer included only $2.5 million in guaranteed money, due to a buyout in case the Rockets fired D’Antoni before the end of the season, or if they did not make the playoffs and terminated him after the season.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

LeGarie maintains D’Antoni deserves a multiyear extension with a higher base salary than what the Rockets have offered so far.

D’Antoni, who is under contract through the 2019-20 season, has a 173-73 record in three seasons with the Rockets. Houston is 23-16 in the playoffs during that span, losing to the Golden State Warriors the past two seasons.

With Durant sidelined, non-Nike brands have big Finals opportunity

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The Golden State Warriors aren’t the only team feeling the hurt of Kevin Durant’s calf-induced absence from the 2019 NBA Finals.

Without Durant on the court — and with LeBron James home for the postseason for the first time since 2005 — Nike is facing its first Finals since 2006 without one of its active signature stars playing.

Even that Finals matchup between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks included former Nike signature players Gary Payton and Alonzo Mourning wearing black-and-red, Heat-themed editions of their respective late-’90s signature shoes, the Zoom Glove and Air Alonzo.

In the 13 seasons since, Nike has been able to count on signature stars such as James, Durant, Kobe Bryant and Kyrie Irving playing deep into June every year, giving the company the ability to introduce new technology, Finals-themed colorways and elaborate marketing campaigns.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Nike, the league’s official uniform and apparel outfitter, does boast Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam in this series, but none of them has their own shoe. In fact, Siakam’s 32-point performance in Game 1 came in Durant’s KD10, which was released two years ago.

For Under Armour, Anta, Puma, New Balance and Adidas, there’s an opening this spring for the first time in more than a decade, as Nike’s superstar roster had continued to dominate the landscape. The last Finals MVP who wore a non-Nike Inc. sneaker was Tim Duncan, who sported Adidas in the 2005 Finals, two years after Nike declined to re-sign him.9

A similar story could be unfolding in 2019 with Kawhi Leonard, who chose not to re-sign with the Nike-owned Jordan Brand and instead inked a deal with New Balance, immediately becoming the face of the company’s re-entry into the basketball market.

Leonard debuted the OMN1S model during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte and has worn a rotation of 27 different colorways in the months since. With an expected wide release not coming until October, the brand has released only a few hundred pairs of the sneaker to date. Dubbed the “2-Way Pack,” drafting from his status as perhaps the league’s best two-way player, a pair of the OMN1S and a similarly styled pair of the 997 Sport lifestyle sneaker was released online, selling out in mere seconds.

Luckily for New Balance, the sole launch to date featured the same colorway Leonard was wearing when he nailed his instant classic, Game 7 buzzer-beater over the outstretched arms of Joel Embiid, advancing the Raptors past the second round and toward their first trip to the NBA Finals in franchise history.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Both models were designed by Leonard himself, featuring regal hues of gold and purple, along with a faux crocodile, textured collar. The instant sell-out gave New Balance confidence and hope as it heads toward additional moment-driven, surprise releases should Leonard win the NBA championship.

In the week leading up to the Finals, New Balance digital banners flanked the streets of Toronto, declaring Leonard the “King of the North.” The morning after the Raptors’ convincing Game 1 win, the brand launched yet another billboard campaign, this time just off Oakland’s 880 highway heading toward Oracle Arena.

Cards place Molina on IL due to thumb injury

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Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was placed on the 10-day injured list Friday because of a strained right thumb tendon.

The 36-year-old, a nine-time All-Star, got hurt during Saturday’s game against Atlanta and tried to play through the injury.

“It’s just a slight little tear between the thumb and the webbing, his right finger, rather,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.

Shildt said the injury affected Molina’s batting.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

St. Louis said the roster move was retroactive to Wednesday.10

Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said surgery had not been discussed.

“We did an MRI this morning and that indicated that there is some damage to the tendon in his thumb, throwing hand, and we’ll have him see a specialist this afternoon, as well,” Mozeliak said. “Probably have a better idea of maybe length and what to expect by sometime tomorrow morning.”cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

Matt Wieters will get most of the playing time while Molina is sidelined. St. Louis selected the contract of Andrew Knizner from Triple-A Memphis.

Molina is batting .265 with four home runs and 33 RBIs and started 49 of the Cardinals’ first 53 games.

Knizner, 24, was batting .286 with five home runs and 17 RBIs at Memphis.

Roma owner sorry for season, explains De Rossi exit

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AS Roma president James Pallotta has admitted in a brutally honest open letter that the club’s season was a “complete disaster” but defied his critics by saying he would not standing down.

Roma fell far short of expectations as they finished sixth in Serie A and were beaten in the Champions League round of 16 by Porto. Coach Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked after that elimination in March and sporting director Monchi also left.

Roma, currently without a coach, have not won a major trophy since Pallotta, among the U.S. investors who took over the club in 2011, became president in 2012.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

He said the team’s lack of success was a “major regret,” adding that nobody “has been more disappointed, more depressed or more upset with how things have gone at Roma over the last 18 months than I have been… Last season for me was a complete disaster.”

The coach, he said, he been handed an unsuitable squad.10

“The team simply didn’t fit well together with the system that Di Francesco wanted to play,” said Pallotta. “He was clearly put in… a tough position this past year and was collateral damage. That’s something that we all regret.”

Roma fans were infuriated when the club decided not to offer stalwart midfielder Daniele De Rossi a new contract, forcing him out after 18 seasons, but Pallotta said he could not afford to risk the 35-year-old getting injured and leaving the side short of options in a key area.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“While I would love to have Daniele on the team, you only have two [defensive midfielders] and if one gets hurt, Roma is screwed. It’s just as simple as that.”

Palotta added: “We may have had some differences of opinion on how his playing career at Roma has ended but I’m not going to get into that in the public domain; that’s between Daniele and myself.

“Daniele was emotional but he’s emotional because he cares and has cared about Roma forever. He plays with his heart – we’ve seen it for 18 years with Roma and on the world stage with Italy. He shows his emotion in the locker room, that’s what made him a great captain, and I firmly believe that whatever Daniele has ever done, it has been for the betterment of the club.”

How the NFL’s Australian punter revolution made its way to San Francisco

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In the run up to the 2019 NFL draft, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan spent an inordinate amount of time doing something they’d never done before.

“Kyle and I studied punters more this year than I think we ever will,” Lynch said.

A big part of that study time was the Niners’ glaring need for help after Bradley Pinion departed in free agency. But it wasn’t just that.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Quietly, a punting revolution has come to the NFL and it’s happening in plain sight. It’s coming by way of the land down under and a place called Prokick Australia based in Melbourne.
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For most of the past decade, Prokick has become sort of a punter factory for the college game, as former Aussie rules football players learn how to kick an American football under the tutelage of Prokick founder Nathan Chapman and his staff. In 2018, about 65 Division I schools had punters who came by way of Prokick.

Now, those punters are starting to make their way to the NFL, as Seattle’s Michael Dickson, Philadelphia’s Cameron Johnston, Pittsburgh’s Jordan Berry and the Jets’ Lac Edwards have all gone through the Prokick experience.

After plenty of film study, the Niners joined the fray by spending a fourth-round draft pick on Utah’s Mitch Wishnowsky, the punter who quickly became the object of their affection at the Senior Bowl in January.

A league that has long leaned heavily on convention is starting to take the time to understand how the arsenal of punts deployed by former Aussie rules football players can impact a game.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“Here’s the way I see it right now: If you are a punter coming through college and you want to make it, you better have all of these shots in your bag because that’s where it’s going,” Chapman said. “Right now, the NFC West has two of them and they’re both very good at it and every other team is going to play them twice. So there’s four games a year where you might play against a real pain-in-the-ass punter. And everyone else is thinking, ‘We better get one — if we don’t get one of these, we are going to be behind the eight ball.'”

Wobbly start: Lamar Jackson critical of his early offseason practices

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At the end of Thursday’s practice, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh wanted to finish with a pressure scenario, telling his players that there were seven seconds remaining and the offense was down by six points.

Lamar Jackson threw a 3-yard touchdown pass through heavy traffic to running back Gus Edwards, winning the drill but apparently not winning over the second-year quarterback. Jackson gave a blunt assessment of how he performed in his first week of offseason practices.

“I’d say, my first day, I sucked. Second day, I did better. Today, it was all right but it could’ve been better,” Jackson said. “I’m always trying to be perfect in practice.”cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

The development of Jackson as a passer has been the big question mark surrounding the Ravens all offseason and will continue to be the hot-topic issue. If Baltimore wants to return to the playoffs, Jackson has to improve upon his 58.2 percent completion rate and his 159.1 yards passing per game as a starter.9

On Thursday, Jackson showed more velocity on his passes than last season. He stepped into his throws and drove them downfield, especially on the deep passes along the sidelines.

There were other times when Jackson struggled connecting with his receivers, specifically in the red zone.

Harbaugh explained that Baltimore has rebuilt its offense under new coordinator Greg Roman, from the cadence to the terminology. As Harbaugh pointed out, the Ravens didn’t have the luxury of an extra two weeks to practice like teams that hire a new head coach do.

“It’s a process,” Harbaugh said. “So, we’re not exactly clicking on all cylinders yet. But I’m really happy with the progress and where we’re going.”nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

At the top of Jackson’s checklist this offseason is changing the look of his passes. He wants his spirals to be tighter, which were a problem last season and during the first week of spring workouts. Several of Jackson’s passes wobbled through the air.

“It’s been crazy. It’s been everywhere,” Jackson said of his throws. “I feel like my hand is a little too high on the football and that makes the ball go out of whack a lot.”

Jackson has impressed coaches and players with how hard he has worked this offseason. A mainstay in the Ravens’ conditioning program, Jackson has been seen doing chin-ups in the weight room and running around cones in the indoor field house.

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.