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Laudrup ready for ‘special’ games

first_imgMichael Laudrup is confident his Swansea side can overcome any ring-rustiness when they begin a “special” Europa League campaign against Malmo on Thursday night. Press Association The third qualifying round first-leg meeting at the Liberty Stadium will mark the first time Swansea have taken part in continental competition since 1991, when they were thrashed 10-1 on aggregate by star-studded Monaco in the Cup Winners’ Cup. Their appearance in Europe comes courtesy of their Capital One Cup success last season and Laudrup is eager for the Welsh club to savour the experience earned by their Wembley triumph. “Of course it is special,” said the Dane, who was no stranger to success in Europe during his playing career, helping Barcelona win the European Cup for the first time in 1992. “Suddenly as a player and a manager you are against sides you are not used to facing. In the league you play and you go on and on, here you have two games and one team will go out. “The only time we tried it last season was the fantastic semi-final against Chelsea in the cup. “But even with the cups here in the UK it is usually one game, here it is two legs and even in the first game you have to think ahead. It is very different.” But Malmo look set to be a tricky proposition for the Swans, having handed a comprehensive 9-0 beating out to Hibernian in the last round. The Swedish club, beaten European Cup finalists in 1979, also have the advantage of being 17 games into their Allsvenskan campaign which started in April and sit second in the table, while Swansea are still rounding off their Premier League preparations. But Laudrup is confident his side have the quality and the fitness to handle the visitors, but has stressed the importance of not conceding on home soil. He said: “They are a good side but it always difficult to compare them with us. “The Allsvenskan is not the Premier League, but they are 17 games, plus a couple of European fixtures, into their season, whereas we are just starting. “They have played a lot of games with the same 12-13 players, we have new ones coming in. “If this game were played in three months time we would be favourites; now I think it is much more even.” He added: “Perhaps at the end of the game there could be some rustiness. “But if you look at the three pre-season games, we have done well. “Against Reading last weekend we were 3-0 up with 20 minutes to go. “Maybe in the last 15 minutes there could be something but I think the players will be just fine. “We want to win but we know it’s important not to concede as away goals are so important in this competition.” Laudrup looks set to be without centre-half Chico Flores against the Swedish side as the Spaniard struggles with a thigh problem. Jordi Amat is set to deputise alongside Ashley Williams and make his Swansea debut, with fellow summer recruit Wilfried Bony also in line to make his bow. last_img read more

Lambert salutes Villa resilience

first_imgAston Villa boss Paul Lambert believes his team have coped well to battle through an “incredible” start to the season which has seen them already face five of the Barclays Premier League’s big six. Villa were in relegation trouble for much of last season but have started the current campaign brightly, picking up 10 points from eight games, including wins over Arsenal and Manchester City. They lost 2-0 to a classy Tottenham side last Sunday and have also squared off with Liverpool and Chelsea already – losing narrowly in both. Press Associationcenter_img On Saturday they will be under more pressure to get a positive result as they go up against Everton. “The thing for us is that in our start to the season we’ve played five of the top six which is an incredible thing to come through,” said Lambert. “You need a bit of respite at certain times from that. You can’t keep going like that. “The only one we haven’t played yet is Manchester United so when you look at it like that, our points tally is pretty decent. “I know this will be a hard game as Everton have been going well.” Everton pose a significant threat themselves after a solid start to life under Roberto Martinez, who succeeded Manchester United-bound David Moyes in the summer. “They have a different way of playing now,” Lambert said. “It’ll be a hard game but we’re at home. “They’ve have got off to a great start but those players have been there for a long time under David. “They’re ahead of us regarding the stability they’ve had for a number of years now. Look at their defence and it’s been there for years, the goalkeeper has been there for years, all the lads have known the football club for that length of time. “They’re ahead of us on that side of it, the stability. They were there under David and he did great at Everton. It was probably a good club to go in at that time but Roberto has done well.” last_img read more

FL homeowner injured, 2 dead after exchanging fire during break-in

first_imgA north Florida homeowner was seriously injured, and two suspects are dead after exchanging gunfire in an attempted robbery.The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said that deputies were called to the scene Wednesday and found one man dead and two others, including the homeowner, with gunshot wounds.The injured suspect identified as 22-year-old Nigel Doyle was taken to a hospital where he died.The homeowner was transported to the hospital and reportedly remains there at this time.The suspect found dead at the scene was identified by police as 21-year-old Keith Jackson Jr.Authorities later arrested two other suspects identified as Robert John Hamilton, 19, and Seth Adam Rodriguez, 22.Rodriguez is facing charges of murder and home invasion robbery with a firearm.Hamilton faces charges of home invasion robbery with a firearm.Deputies said the homeowner vaguely recalled one of the suspects from a recent Craigslist transaction.Rodriguez and Hamilton are being held on no bond at the Marion County Jail.No other information is available at this time.last_img read more

The Latest: NFL announces Draft-A-Thon to help with relief

first_imgThe Latest: NFL announces Draft-A-Thon to help with relief A groom who worked at Belmont Park has died from complications of coronavirus.The New York Racing Association says Martin Zapata died Tuesday. The 63-year-old native of Panama had spent the past two years working for trainer Tom Morley in New York, which has been hard-hit by the pandemic.NYRA says Zapata tested positive for COVID-19 on March 24 and was hospitalized two days later. He lived and worked at Belmont Park.___Sevilla has become the latest Spanish soccer club to put its players on furlough to reduce labor costs during the coronavirus pandemic. Bobblehead Hall of Fame CEO Phil Sklar will present a virtual $100,000 check Wednesday afternoon to the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy after the Milwaukee-based museum launched a fundraising campaign with a Dr. Anthony Fauci bobblehead that became its best-seller ever. More than 20,000 orders had come in as of Wednesday from 50 states and a dozen-plus countries to support the “100 Million Mask Challenge.” The Fauci bobblehead was unveiled April 1.The creation features Fauci wearing a suit as he makes a motion showing how the nation needs to “flatten the curve” in the coronavirus pandemic.The museum picked Fauci because many people see the plain-speaking expert on the coronavirus as a hero right now, Sklar said. ___ The league said Tuesday eight teams had already requested the furloughs. It expected nearly all clubs in Spain to eventually reach agreements for the reduction of salaries of their players.The Spanish league estimates $1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in losses if the competition can’t resume.___Former French rugby player Christophe Pras has died after getting infected by the coronavirus.Several of his former clubs announced the death. He was 35. April 8, 2020 ___Formula One says it will furlough half of its staff until the end of May and senior executives will take pay cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic.F1 has postponed eight races so far this season and the Monaco Grand Prix has been canceled.F1 says senior leadership figures will take “voluntary pay cuts while still continuing to work and not in furlough.”CEO Chase Carey will take a “much deeper” pay cut. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The NFL is turning the league’s 2020 draft into a three-day fundraiser to help six charities dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The former under-18 France international had a short-lived professional career before going into coaching.Pras is survived by his wife and two children.___The group charged with monitoring tennis gambling and punishing corruption found a near-doubling in the number of suspect matches in the first three months of 2020. That is an increase it ties to the coronavirus pandemic.The London-based Tennis Integrity Unit’s quarterly report says it received a total of 38 alerts from the regulated betting industry about matches on lower-level tours from the start of the year through March 22. Associated Press Thomas and Hawkins, who since retiring from the NFL have partnered on a popular weekly podcast, also plan to match every dollar in contributions up to $50,000 to the Children’s Hunger Alliance.Donations can be made at https://childrenshungeralliance.org/thomahawk/.The CHA serves nutritious meals to Ohio’s at-risk children, helping day care providers, day care centers, local school districts, and after-school and summer programs.A 10-time Pro Bowler, Thomas played 11 seasons in Cleveland before retiring after the 2017 season. Hawkins, who played college ball at Toledo, spent three seasons with the Browns and three with the Cincinnati Bengals.___ The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals are teaming with State Farm to donate one million meals to local food banks to help families during the new coronavirus crisis.The team said on Wednesday that the number of people seeking help from local food banks has more than doubled while the number of donations has decreased dramatically.The Cardinals have already made a $1 million donation to the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund and organized three blood drives at State Farm Stadium to help boost the area’s shrinking blood supply. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury was among those who donated blood.___Former Cleveland Browns teammates Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins have donated at least $50,000 to feed Ohio children affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The players and coach on Switzerland’s national soccer team have declined to take more than 1 million Swiss francs ($1.03 million) of payments that were due from their federation in 2020.The team was scheduled to play in the now-postponed European Championship in June and had two games in Qatar canceled last month because of the coronavirus pandemic.The shutdown of games has cost the Swiss soccer body millions of dollars.Federation chairman Dominique Blanc says it’s a “magnificent gesture” from the players.Blanc tested positive for the virus three weeks ago.center_img TCU football coach Gary Patterson and his wife, Kelsey, made a $50,000 donation to support the school’s Frog Family Crisis Fund.Athletic director Jeremiah Donati announced the donation in a tweet. The fund supports TCU students and their families who are in need during times such as the current pandemic.Patterson is the second-longest tenured FBS head coach, going into his 20th season next fall leading the Horned Frogs. He was their defensive coordinator three seasons before that.___The opening of the stable area and training track at Saratoga in upstate New York and barn area at Monmouth Park in New Jersey is being delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Team captain Stephan Lichtsteiner says “we wanted to set an example and show solidarity.”___The president of the International Paralympic Committee says the body has “cash-flow” problems because of the Olympic and Paralympic postponement until 2021.Andrew Parsons says about 5% of spending is being cut from the IPC’s budget. A 2018 financial report showed a budget of 24 million euros ($25.7 million).Parsons says the problem was due partly to broadcast rights holders who want to delay their payments until the product is delivered. The Oklahoma training track at Saratoga was set to open April 15. The New York Racing Association says it has yet to decide an appropriate date to safely open.The delay does not impact the start of the Saratoga racing season which is scheduled to begin on July 16 and run through Sept. 7. The meet will be highlighted by the Travers and Whitney.In New Jersey, Monmouth Park has pushed back the opening of its stable area until June 1. That’s a month later than the planned opening. Live racing is set to start the Fourth of July weekend.The centerpiece of Monmouth Park’s summer season is the $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 18. The winner of the 1 1/8 mile race earns a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. It also will serve as a prep race for the Kentucky Derby, now slated for Sept. 5.___ That is up from 21 in the same period of 2019.The 38 match alerts in the year’s first quarter break down as six from the ATP Challenger Tour and 16 apiece from the men’s and women’s International Tennis Federation World Tennis Tours.The report concludes the jump indicates that entry levels of tennis “were deliberately targeted” as the sport moved toward suspension because of the outbreak of COVID-19.All pro tours are on hold until at least mid-July.___ The club says the measure was needed because it was significantly affected financially by the stoppage of competitions in Spain and Europe.It says it reached an initial agreement with the first-team players and coaches regarding their salaries but no details were immediately released.The club says 360 employees in total will be affected. It says workers who can continue doing their jobs remotely will not go on furlough.The current contracts will remain valid after the furloughs end.Barcelona and Atlético Madrid had already requested government furloughs to reduce labor costs. They reached agreements with players to reduce their salaries by 70%. Parsons says it’s not a question of “losing money” but rather some temporary belt tightening.He says “like all businesses we are tremendously affected by the COVID-19 crisis.”He says he is dealing with 150 contracts that are games-related but adds “we have no plans to let any staff go at the moment.”___The track world championships in Eugene, Oregon, have been rescheduled for July 15-24, 2022. The event was pushed back a year because the Tokyo Olympics were delayed until 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.The track worlds were originally scheduled for Aug. 6-15, 2021.World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says 2022 will be a “bonanza for athletics fans around the world” with the Commonwealth Games beginning in Birmingham, England, only three days after the track worlds.The 2022 Commonwealth Games are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 7 and the multisport European Championship is currently slated for Aug. 11-21 in Munich.World Athletics has also postponed the bidding processes for 2023 World Athletics Series events. They will now open in November 2020. The “Draft-A-Thon” announced Wednesday will benefit COVID-19 relief efforts and pay tribute to healthcare workers and first responders. The fundraiser will be featured during the draft April 23-25 to raise money for non-profits selected by the NFL Foundation: the American Red Cross, CDC Foundation’s All of Us, Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund for member food banks, Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund, the Salvation Army, and United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. “The Draft-A-Thon will deliver much-needed funding to many who are suffering as well as those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Conducting this event virtually, and taking all necessary precautions while doing so, underscores the importance of staying home and staying strong during this unprecedented moment in our history.”___ CONI says he is the first Italian Olympian to die with the virus.Sabia finished fifth in the 800 at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and seventh at the 1988 Seoul Games. He also won the 800 at the 1984 European Indoor Championships.Sabia died in his hometown of Potenza in southern Italy shortly after his father also died from the virus.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 The McLaren and Williams teams had already put some staff on furlough schemes. McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz have also taken pay cuts.The season is currently scheduled to begin in France on June 28. F1 management has said it still hopes to hold between 15 and 18 races this year in place of the original 22.___A two-time Olympic finalist in the 800 meters has died after getting infected with the coronavirus.The Italian Olympic Committee says Donato Sabia has died. He was 56.last_img read more

Haenlin steadies still-developing Syracuse back line

first_img Published on October 8, 2014 at 12:01 am Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds The Syracuse women’s soccer team went to T.G.I. Friday’s for dinner during its recent road trip to Miami. Junior defender Taylor Haenlin walked in with a textbook sticking out of her pocket.Her teammates weren’t surprised.“I always sit next to her on the planes because it always works that way and she’s literally studying all the time,” sophomore defender Maddie Iozzi said.Not only does Haenlin have a 4.0 grade point average, she also uses her smarts in soccer. She’s the Orange’s (5-5-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) most experienced defender and her quiet leadership approach has translated into success on the field. SU has allowed just two goals in four conference games, partly because of Haenlin’s play as a center defender.Haenlin, a vice-captain, is considered a role model by her teammates because of how she carries herself. In the past three years, she’s missed only two games, earning her a reputation of reliability, and SU head coach Phil Wheddon described Haenlin as the “quintessential Syracuse soccer player.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHaenlin’s responsibilities this season include nurturing a young defense that experienced growing pains.Before the Orange’s Sept. 25 game against Miami, Wheddon changed the formation from using three defenders to using four defenders. In three games since, SU has only given up one goal, which came off a penalty kick.“I think I’m definitely getting my confidence back,” Haenlin said. “The back four is really starting to connect a lot better and we’re really starting to know how each other play.”Haenlin isn’t the most vocal player, but she prioritizes speaking with teammates one-on-one in practice. Anytime there is a break in a drill, she discusses what to do in potential scenarios with other defenders.Though Haenlin mainly leads by example, she also gives necessary commands to her peers.“Step,” “hold,” “press” and “shift over” are things she says on the field. Keeping the entire defense on the same page is one of Haenlin’s biggest duties. Her communication is important to keep less experienced defenders together, and Haenlin uses her viewpoint from the center of the field to relay information that her outside defenders may not have noticed.“Trying to keep our back four connected so when we shift over, I talk and help pull players in and then releasing them,” Haenlin said. “Pushing up, then dropping. It’s all about talking.”From her studies to her leadership, Haenlin is anchoring a defense that’s finding its identity while moonlighting as the Orange’s throw-in specialist.Haenlin gives her outside defenders, like Iozzi, a chance to drop back and rest when she runs up on offense to throw the ball in. When the throw-in is deep in opponent territory, Haenlin launches a pass resembling a corner kick into opponents’ 18-yard box.Her skill set is so vast that her throw-in ability sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.“Oh my god, her throw-ins, I forgot about those,” Iozzi said. “They’re awesome. They’re a really big help.”In the previous two seasons, Haenlin played alongside Rachel Blum at center defense. Since Blum graduated in the spring, her role has increased and she’s responding just how her head coach would like.Said Wheddon: “Taylor’s had to step up a little bit and she’s starting to do that more and more.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

WWE US Champion AJ Styles marks third reign by beating Ricochet

first_img First Published: 24th September, 2019 13:18 IST SUBSCRIBE TO US A PHENOMENAL OUTCOME for @AJStylesOrg, the now 3️⃣-TIME #USChampion at #ExtremeRules! pic.twitter.com/COFu6hlmDm— WWE (@WWE) July 15, 2019 LIVE TV 11 months ago Will WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan be able to make a comeback? Last Updated: 24th September, 2019 13:18 IST WWE US Champion AJ Styles Marks Third Reign By Beating Ricochet WWE US Champion AJ Styles marks his third reign against Ricochet in Extreme Rules in July 2019. The phenomenal one is credited as one of the best wrestlers. They’re about to be brotherin’ softly in City of Brotherly Love.@LukeGallowsWWE & @KarlAndersonWWE pay dividends to make @AJStylesOrg the NEW #USChampion! #ExtremeRules pic.twitter.com/ym0ntcX3Nk— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) July 15, 2019 ALSO READ| WWE: Here’s How The Miz Messed Up His Contest With Baron CorbinALSO READ| WWE: The Difference Between WWE Of Today And The 1990s WE RECOMMEND AJ Styles defeated Ricochet to capture the United States Championship at WWE Extreme Rules. Ricochet’s road to victory was anticipated by many seniors like the legend Triple H and the executive director Paul Heyman. But, his stardom soon came to halt after his title was captured by AJ Styles while reigning the title for mere 22 days. ALSO READ| WWE RAW: Five Infamous Rumours About WWE RAW That Fans Almost BelievedWWE US Champion 2019 AJ Styles marks his third reignAJ Styles has been getting better at being the heel in WWE after this fight as he ruthlessly wrestled through the whole match whereas Ricochet was being a bit respective according to the live commentators. In the end, Styles did a top rope Styles Clash on Ricochet thus winning the match. The fact that the O.C pack (Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) went on to beat down Ricochet just before the start of the championship could have lead to Styles’ victory. The trio (The O.C. pack and AJ Styles) celebrated their win after their match. Check out the tweet below shared by WWE post this match. Who is to say that the trio will remain together for long? Can AJ Styles ace his game without his two emotional support? Only time can tell.ALSO READ| Kane Adds Another Feather In His Cap, Wins The WWE 24/7 Championship COMMENTcenter_img WATCH US LIVE 11 months ago WWE: The difference Between WWE Of Today And The 1990s FOLLOW US Written By 11 months ago WWE RAW: Five infamous rumours about WWE RAW that fans almost believed 11 months ago Kane adds another feather in his cap, wins the WWE 24/7 Championship 11 months ago WWE: Here’s how The Miz messed up his contest with Baron Corbin WWE US Champion AJ stylesAJ Styles completely shocked the WWE fandom defeating Kevin Owens to become the United States Champion during WWE’s Live Event at New York City’s Madison Square Garden marking it his first reign at the title. AJ Styles is the current WWE US Champion marking his third reign on July 14, 2019.  He is currently signed to WWE and performs on the RAW brand. Recently, WWE surprised the viewers with Kickoff matches in Charlotte and pitting the current United States champion AJ Styles against a former Cruiserweight champ in Cedric Alexander on the Clash of Champions pre-show. As usual, the O.C. got involved in the match to aid AJ Styles. The kickoff saw a surprise entry by The Vikings Raiders duo in the middle of the fight, who came up to stray away Styles and the O.C and thus becoming unexpected saviours for Cedric Alexander. Surabhi Sabat last_img read more

Paddy Power tests VAR promotions

first_img Related Articles Flutter moves to refine merger benefits against 2020 trading realities August 27, 2020 Submit Bookies Corner: Trump Presidency sinks as US 2020 enters its 100 day countdown July 29, 2020 Share Paddy Power raises awareness of Missing People with Motherwell ‘silhouette’ stand August 7, 2020 StumbleUpon In recent months the debate surrounding Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) has encompassed English football and with the FA cup returning to our screens this weekend, the debate looks set to recommence. In a recent interview with SBC, Jeevan Jeyaratnam, Head of Compilation at Betting data and tailored odds specialist Abelson Info, predicted that it was “highly likely that some of the UK operators will offer VAR concessions as a sweetener to offset any potential punter antipathy towards in-play wagers.”And this weekend, Paddy Power have proved him right, offering a VAR money back special to new and existing customers with registered Paddy Power accounts, that bet on the FA Cup 5th round games which feature VAR, namely Chelsea v Hull and Huddersfield v Man United.If a punter backs a first or anytime goalscorer, and it is ruled out because of VAR, the firm will pay out bets in full within 15 minutes of the goal being disallowed.A spokesman for Paddy Power said: “Whether you’re of the belief that VAR ruins or saves the beautiful game, we don’t care, we’re paying out on it.“That way, when Lukaku finally scores after 20 attempts on goal against Huddersfield, and it’s ruled out, at least Man United fans will have full pockets.”Marketing & Brand Director Michelle Spillane added: “Paddy Power’s objective here is to bring our brand personality to a contentious topic – VAR.“We knew a lot of football fans were frustrated at losing out when a goal was disallowed. So we thought, why not turn it on its head?“So we decided to pay out on any first or anytime goalscorer that was thwarted by VAR in this weekend’s cup games.” Sharelast_img read more

Angels GM Billy Eppler says they ‘stretched’ budget to land Cody Allen

Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros “I think it’s just dangerous to look at ERA and make determinations on that, especially in a reliever,” Eppler said. “I don’t think that ERA was appropriate for the level of pitcher that Cody has been.”Allen’s velocity also declined slightly in 2018, which Eppler said was likely the result of a “timing” issue in his delivery. Eppler said Allen had been aware of the issue before discussing it with the Angels in their talks leading up to the deal.Allen’s history and his awareness of what went wrong last year led the Angels to believe he was the right player for them to make a rare foray into the high-priced reliever market.“Cody has a history of durability and a history of being a well above average reliever, and obviously has a history of closing big games in big spots, and we anticipate him being our closer,” Eppler said. “One of the things we talked about was him being our closer and adding that playoff experience and veteran presence to a young group.” Cody Allen may have been the last piece to the puzzle for the Angels’ offseason.A day after the Angels officially completed the $8.5 million deal for the new closer, general manager Billy Eppler said Monday that the club needed the “blessing” of owner Arte Moreno to “stretch” the budget.Asked then if that meant the Angels were finished for the winter, Eppler would not go that far, but he did suggest that he sees no glaring holes.“We are a point where we feel complete with our club,” he said. The core of the pitching staff is a rotation led by Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney, Harvey, Cahill, Jaime Barría and Nick Tropeano, with top prospects Griffin Canning and José Suarez waiting in Triple-A.Allen now anchors a bullpen, surrounded by hard-throwing Ty Buttrey, Hansel Robles, Justin Anderson and Luis Garcia, with Cam Bedrosian also in the mix.JC Ramírez and Keynan Middleton are expected back from Tommy John surgery around midseason.Offensively, the Angels have added Justin Bour to supplement the production around Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani, with Jonathan Lucroy at catcher and Tommy La Stella as a utility infielder.They also hoping to get full seasons from Zack Cozart, Kole Calhoun, Pujols and Mike Trout, all of whom missed time with injuries. Cozart and Calhoun also performed below their career norms when healthy. Ohtani also figures to get perhaps double the number of at-bats this season, as he focuses solely on hitting while recovering from Tommy John surgery.“I think people realize how significant our offense is,” Eppler said. “Last season we were one of the top clubs in home runs (seventh in the majors),” Eppler said. “We wanted to address on-base percentage and we felt with some of the guys we’ve gone out to add that they can increase our overall on-base percentage, which was a goal of ours over the winter.”The Angels had been plugging holes with stopgaps in the everyday lineup and the rotation ever since Eppler arrived in October 2015, mostly because he inherited the worst farm system in the majors.Eppler has since traded just one top prospect (Sean Newcomb, to get Andrelton Simmons) but otherwise allowed the farm system to refresh while cycling through short-term fixes on the big league level.That approach has left him few resources to commit to the bullpen, making the Allen deal uncharacteristic. Allen is the first free agent reliever that Eppler has signed to a guaranteed major league deal.And he did so after what was, by some measures, Allen’s worst season.After posting a cumulative 2.59 ERA over five seasons, Allen had a career-worst 4.70 mark in 2018. Eppler, however, pointed out that his ERA was skewed by a few bad outings, and also said that the same size of a reliever’s innings is too small for using ERA as a barometer of performance.Related Articles Allen’s deal stretches the Angels current major league payroll to around $182 million, including some expected performance bonuses. Allen, Trevor Cahill and Matt Harvey alone could earn up to $6.5 million in performance bonuses.Their payroll will be in the top quarter in the major leagues in 2019.Last season’s final payroll was about $176 million.Based on those figures and Eppler’s comments, it would seem unlikely that the Angels would enter the fray for any of the remaining free agents.“We feel very good with the names we have on our depth chart right now,” Eppler said. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter read more

March Madness 2019: 3 storylines to follow in the Final Four

first_imgIt’s almost time for the Final Four.Virginia, Auburn, Michigan State and Texas Tech all picked up victories last weekend in one of the most exciting Elite Eights in history. The regional final games were decided by a combined 18 total points, the slimmest margin ever. The #FinalFour is set!See you in Minneapolis! 🌲 #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/AsoOpX4CSw— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 31, 2019The four teams that advanced will now head to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Virginia will play Auburn and Michigan State will face Texas Tech on Saturday. The winners will matchup in the title game two days later.Here are three storylines to follow in the Final Four. Related News UCLA job search: Jamie Dixon, Mick Cronin emerge as two top candidates, report says Can Auburn continue its run?Almost no one expected Auburn to reach the Final Four.The Tigers dropped to 18-9 when they fell to Kentucky for a second time on Feb. 23 and appeared to be trending in the wrong direction. Since then, however, they captured the SEC postseason title and reeled off 12 victories in a row, including wins over top programs like North Carolina in the Sweet 16 and the Wildcats two days later.OT to decide who goes to the #FinalFour?Relive the final 5 minutes of @AuburnMBB’s thrilling win over Kentucky! #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/gU4bBYWNIR— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) April 1, 2019Auburn will head to the Final Four — its first in school history — as the hottest team remaining in the field. Will the Tigers be able to continue their run against Virginia?We’re about to find out.Michigan State will have a chance to break the streakThe Big Ten last won an NCAA championship in 2000, when Michigan State took home its only title under coach Tom Izzo.The conference has come close to capturing the ultimate prize multiple times. Michigan lost in the final game last season and in 2013, Wisconsin fell to Duke in 2015 and the Spartans were topped by North Carolina in 2009.In total, the Big Ten is 0-7 in the championship game over the last 18 years. The program will again have a chance to snap that streak with two more victories this season.There’s definitely star powerThere is no one-and-done player in this year’s Final Four, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t stars.Cassius Winston is an All-American candidate and played a huge role in Michigan’s upset over Duke in the Elite Eight. Virginia forward DeAndre Hunter has been inconsistent in the tournament, but he’s a projected top-10 NBA draft choice.center_img March Madness 2019: Updated odds to win the NCAA Tournament entering Final Four Jarrett Culver will also be selected in the top seven of the draft and he has had a breakout season for Texas Tech. He’s averaging 21.5 points through the first four tournament games.Jarrett Culver (22 PTS, 4 ASTS, 4 REBS, 3 STLS) didn’t have his best shooting game (0/4 3FG’s) but he put together a nice all-around game in #TexasTech’s 63-44 win over #Michigan in the #Sweet16. It will be interesting to see how he fares against #Gonzaga tonight in the #Elite8 pic.twitter.com/cwJhlOatg8— DraftExpressContent (@DXContent) March 30, 2019These players may not have received the same attention Duke’s RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson did this season, but they’re all certainly worth watching.last_img read more

White Sox slugger Eloy Jimenez demolishes first two career home runs vs. Yankees

first_imgAcquired from the Cubs for left-handed pitcher Jose Quintana in 2017, Jimenez was not expected to start this season with the White Sox. Many believed he would be held in Triple-A for part of April so Chicago could preserve another year of team control. Just before the campaign, however, Jimenez signed a contract extension that bought out his arbitration years, meaning he could start the year with the big-league club.Eloy Jimenez has been waiting for this moment.We caught up with the potential star at the end of last season: https://t.co/5Y22NernRQ pic.twitter.com/u9N2rjGpjY— Sporting News MLB (@SN Studio_mlb) April 13, 2019Considering his .337/.384/.577 slash line in the minors last year, the majors are where he belonged. And while the White Sox are not expected to be competitive for some time after missing out on free agent Manny Machado, Jimenez’s presence alongside fellow graduated top prospect Yoan Moncada makes the team more watchable than it was a couple of years ago.Two moonshots at Yankee Stadium certainly aren’t a bad way to start his MLB home run tally and signal what might be in store. White Sox rookie Eloy Jimenez was known throughout his time in the minor leagues for his prodigious power even as he was carving out a spot high on prospect leaderboards with his all-around batting production.Since starting the season with Chicago, however, that long-ball potential hadn’t translated to MLB success. In his first 46 plate appearances, he notched just one extra-base hit. On Friday, Jimenez broke through with a 425-foot home run to center field against Yankees relief pitcher Jonathan Holder, the first long ball of his career. He went deep again later in the game, also to center, against Chad Green. He became the first visiting player to hit his first career MLB home runs in the same game at Yankee Stadium  since Manny Ramírez in 1993.ELOY JIMENEZ.First career home run comes at Yankee Stadium.pic.twitter.com/VcRNzAoDyA— Sporting News MLB (@SN Studio_mlb) April 13, 2019Eloy x 2.pic.twitter.com/n1OdQcKLhA— Sporting News MLB (@SN Studio_mlb) April 13, 2019MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNlast_img read more