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Catch-22: Reds scramble to fill spot after injuries

The Reds are down to their fourth and fifth catchers after placing two more on the injured list Thursday.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Curt Casali went on the 10-day injured list with a right knee sprain that manager David Bell said could keep him out for as long as a month. Casali is expected to spend two weeks wearing a brace.6

Kyle Farmer was placed on the seven-day concussion list after taking two foul balls off his mask in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game against the Cubs in Chicago.

Gold Glove catcher Tucker Barnhart has been out since June 28 with a right oblique strain.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Juan Graterol was promoted from Triple-A Louisville and rushed to Chicago to start Wednesday’s day game. The Reds shored up the position on Thursday by signing Ryan Lavarnway, one day after he was released by Yankees.

Jadeveon Clowney playing on franchise tag is wrong step for Texans brass

the Houston Texans had two of the top pass-rushers in the NFL in J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. By not reaching a long-term extension by the franchise tag deadline on Monday, the Texans risk losing Clowney — the first overall pick in the 2014 draft — at the end of the season instead of building around the core talent they have right now.

The Texans placed the non-exclusive franchise tag, which is worth $15.967 million for the 2019 season, on Clowney in March and the outside linebacker/defensive end did not attend any of the Texans’ spring workouts, including the mandatory veterans minicamp.

While the Texans could of course still sign Clowney to a new contract after the 2019 season — or tag him for the second year in a row — they likely wouldn’t match what the pass-rusher would get on the open market.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping5

The Raiders learned last season that you can’t let a player of that caliber go when they traded outside linebacker Khalil Mack to the Bears for two first-round picks. Mack gave a huge boost to the Bears defense (12.5 sacks, 18 QB hits), while Oakland coach Jon Gruden said later in the season that his team was in need of a pass-rusher.

There are few teams that have a pair of defensive linemen like the Texans do with Watt and Clowney. Last season, Houston ranked 12th in total defense but third against the run. The 3.4 rushing yards allowed per attempt was an NFL low due to the performances of Watt and Clowney.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Last season, Clowney was named to his third straight Pro Bowl, and finished the regular season with 47 tackles, nine sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. According to NFL NextGen, the Texans’ defender had a Pass-Block Win Rate of 35% — second-best among qualifying defensive ends/linebackers. He also had 16 tackles for loss, which tied for ninth in the NFL last season, and now has 53 tackles for loss over the past three seasons, third in the league.

According to Pro Football Focus, Clowney had the best season of his career “by far” in 2018. His overall grade of 89.5 was tied for seventh best among edge defenders. He had 28 run stops on 283 run-defense snaps, the 10th-best run-stop percentage at his position.

While Clowney is not expected to report to training camp on July 24 with the rest of his teammates because he did not get a new contract, it’s unlikely his holdout will continue into the regular season, where he would miss out on game checks worth more than $1 million per game.

Cards place Molina on IL amid series of moves

The Cardinals placed catcher Yadier Molina on the injured list with a strained right thumb and activated infielder Matt Carpenter as part of a series of roster moves Thursday.

The Cardinals expect Molina back in action “within a three-week range,” manager Mike Shildt said Thursday.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

His move to the IL was retroactive to Monday. The nine-time All-Star, who missed 12 games in May and June with a similar injury, pinch hit on Saturday but hasn’t started a game since July 3.7

St. Louis will recall catcher Andrew Knizner from Triple-A Memphis before Friday’s game against Arizona to fill in for Molina. Knizner made his big league debut June 2, going 0-for-7 for St. Louis.

The Cardinals also brought up left-hander Chasen Shreve from Memphis, optioned left-hander Tyler Webb and outfielder Rangel Ravelo to Memphis, and transferred pitcher Jordan Hicks to the 60-day IL ahead of their series against Arizona beginning Friday night.

Carpenter has been sidelined since June 29 with a lower back strain.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Shreve appeared in 20 games for the Cardinals last season, and is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in 37 games for Memphis this season.

What can Patrick Mahomes do for an encore in 2019?

Patrick Mahomes may not throw 50 touchdown passes and for more than 5,000 yards in 2019, one year after he became the second quarterback in NFL history to accomplish both feats in the same season.

But the Kansas City Chiefs still believe whatever they get from Mahomes will be considerable. What they saw from him last season, his first as a starter, convinced them of that.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The Chiefs, hoping this season to reach the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years, overhauled their defense during the offseason. They hired a mostly new defensive coaching staff, led by coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, and installed a 4-3 base defense. They acquired as many as seven new defensive starters, most notably end Frank Clark and safety Tyrann Mathieu.

But it’s the offense, led by the league MVP in Mahomes, that will again have to lead the way if the Chiefs are going to win the championship. Can the third-year quarterback repeat last season’s gaudy numbers? It has never been done in back-to-back seasons. Plus, the Chiefs are without star running back Kareem Hunt, who they released late last season after video surfaced showing him shoving and kicking a woman. They also may be without top wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who is suspended as the NFL investigates his possible involvement in a child abuse case.7

Even without Hunt and possibly Hill, the Chiefs are expecting the product to be as good or better than it was last season, when they lost to the New England Patriots in overtime of the AFC Championship Game.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“We know that we are close and we have a pretty good team,” Veach said. “We aren’t trying to build for the future. We are trying to win now. We are going to stay aggressive.”

They’ll need growth from Mahomes, as good as he was last season, to get where they want to go. And he knows it.

“You have to improve yourself every single year,” Mahomes said. “… As I go into this season, I know that I need to even step it up even more, how I take care of body, nutrition, but even the prehab and the rehab and all the different stuff that you have to do in order to keep yourself at that top-notch level when the end of the season comes.”

Mahomes said he has started working on an offseason checklist to make himself better. He’s looking at his mistakes from last season and trying to improve his footwork, especially in the pocket.

“I feel like at times last year I would get, I don’t want to say lazy but basically lazy with how I was handling my feet in the pocket,” Mahomes said. “It would disrupt timing on throws, so keep working on those things so they can be more and more consistent as I go on.”

Cutoff men: Reds go with sleeveless jerseys

Sleeves were optional when the Cincinnati Reds donned vintage jerseys for their game Sunday against the Cleveland Indians.

The Reds were wearing the uniforms the team had used for one year only in 1956 — a look that featured a sleeveless, button-up shirt with the player’s number on one side of the front and the club’s “Mr. Redlegs” mascot on the other.wholesale nfl jerseys cheap

Most of the 1956 Reds wore red T-shirts under the jerseys to complete the look, but on Sunday several members of the 2019 team decided to follow the example of legendary slugger Ted Kluszewski and let their bare arms feel the breeze.6

Joey Votto, Derek Dietrich, Eugenio Suarez and most of the bullpen were among those to show off their guns, but the effect was perhaps most effective on the bulging biceps of Yasiel Puig.

When Kluszewski joined the Reds in the 1940s, he famously cut off the constricting sleeves on his jersey so they wouldn’t affect his swing. The change didn’t seem to help the Reds’ bats too much against the Indians on Sunday, however, as they lost 11-1.nfl jerseys cheap wholesale

The Reds are wearing throwback jerseys at 15 home games this season as part of the ballclub’s celebration of its 150th anniversary. Players will have another opportunity to ditch the sleeves when they wear the 1961 style on July 21.

Why the collapse of the Warriors feels so abrupt

Kevin Durant was never supposed to be on the Golden State Warriors. It was an accident: A one-time-only salary-cap spike left a 73-win team with enough space to add perhaps the world’s second-best player. The NBA had seen Big 3s before. It had never seen a Big 4 like this.

All four stars were still younger than 30 after they won their first title, obliterating the league across a 15-1 postseason. The Warriors looked poised to be the greatest dynasty since Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.

Only two years and one championship after that 2017 crown, that team is gone. Durant plays for the Brooklyn Nets, which is a thing you have to say out loud a few times before you believe it. He is recovering from a devastating injury; Klay Thompson is too. Andre Iguodala plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Maybe it is just this hard to sustain greatness. Maybe this is the shelf life of a championship team now. The grind — 100-plus games every season — is exhausting. The LeBron James-era Miami Heat lasted four seasons, until everyone seemed old, weary or ready to move on. Superstar contracts make it hard to build depth. Those contracts are short. Stars win titles, then seek other kinds of validation.

Durant spent part of the summer after that first championship working with Steve Nash, a Warriors consultant. Nash was struck by Durant’s despondency.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap6

“He didn’t have a great summer,” Nash told me last year. “He was searching for what it all meant. He thought a championship would change everything and found out it doesn’t. He was not fulfilled.”

The Warriors enjoyed having Durant, and he enjoyed playing in Golden State. Still: They never found a permanent comfort zone together. Teammates and coaches looked for hopeful signs. When Durant and Stephen Curry sipped wine together for hours after a team dinner in Denver during Durant’s first preseason with Golden State, coaches smiled. The two stars were getting to know each other, getting over the awkward stage.

But Durant would withdraw. He grew so quiet during the middle of the 2017-18 season that coach Steve Kerr summoned him to lunch in Portland before the All-Star break. “I don’t want to lose you,” Durant remembered Kerr telling him.cheap nfl jerseys from china nike

“He had been drifting a bit,” Kerr told ESPN after the 2018 NBA Finals. “He’s vulnerable. I felt the need to reconnect.”

There was a natural tension — “stylistic tension, not personal tension,” Kerr said then — between Durant’s approach and the Warriors’ beautiful game, even if Durant had the savvy and skill to meld them. That tension came to a head during the 2018 Western Conference finals, when the Houston Rockets’ switching defense jammed Golden State’s motion and coaxed the Warriors into more one-on-one play. Durant slumped. Critics howled. The Warriors almost lost.

But they didn’t lose. On the flight back from Houston after Game 7, Durant sat next to Bob Myers, Golden State’s president of basketball operations, and declared, “I have never felt more a part of the team,” Myers recalled last year.

Cauley-Stein to sign with Warriors, source says

Free-agent center Willie Cauley-Stein will sign with the Golden State Warriors, a league source told ESPN’s Zach Lowe, confirming multiple reports.

The deal is worth slightly above the minimum salary, a league source told Lowe.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

The 7-foot Cauley-Stein had played all four of his seasons in Sacramento since the Kings took him sixth overall in the 2015 draft.

The Kings extended a qualifying offer to Cauley-Stein, making him a restricted free agent, but later rescinded it in order to agree to terms with point guard Cory Joseph when free agency opened.4

Cauley-Stein’s agent, Roger Montgomery of Roc Nation Sports, had told the Sacramento Bee on June 22 that they preferred the Kings not even give Cauley-Stein the qualifying offer so he could instead become an unrestricted free agent.

“We haven’t felt that he’s been able to get what has been necessary for him to be able to lead the franchise the way he wants to,” Montgomery told the Bee. “We are very, very thankful for the opportunity that was presented to him, but we just think it’s not working. It’s not going to work. It’s just time for a fresh start. We need a fresh start and maybe the Kings do, too.”

Cauley-Stein excelled at running the floor for a Kings team that likes to play at pace, giving them an athletic center who could take some of the focus away from defenses, pass the ball and finish at the rim.

But consistency has been a trouble spot for the former Kentucky star. Take this past season as an example. Cauley-Stein started it by averaging 17.4 points in October. But his numbers dipped after that, including two months (February, April) in which he didn’t even average double figures in scoring.cheap youth nfl jerseys

Cauley-Stein, 25, holds a career average of 10.1 points on 53.4% shooting to go with 6.4 rebounds and 0.8 blocks.

Rypien enters not guilty plea on domestic charge

Former Super Bowl hero Mark Rypien pleaded not guilty on Monday to a charge of domestic violence against his wife.

Rypien was taken to the Spokane County Jail on Sunday afternoon after his arrest near a bank on the north side of the city. A witness who saw the couple called police and said Rypien’s wife alleged he had struck her. Danielle Rypien was evaluated and did not need medical treatment, police said.

Rypien, 56, was released without bail; his next court appearance was scheduled for July 31. Prosecutors initially asked for a no-contact order between Rypien and his wife at the brief hearing, but she argued against that.

In a joint statement from Mark and Danielle Rypien released Monday night, the couple said: “In response to Mark being arrested for domestic violence, we want you to know that he did not commit any crime. … Occurrences like this one are often chaotic scenes which are not conducive to revealing full clarity about what actually transpires.

“In Washington State, officers are mandated by law to make an arrest in a possible domestic violence case even where there is very little proof that a crime occurred. We will continue to cooperate with authorities to ensure that the truth of Mark’s innocence comes out. … We are confident that a complete investigation will result in the dismissal of all charges.”

Rypien announced last year he believes he has Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, caused by repeated concussions while playing in the NFL. But the statement said that suspected CTE did not play any part in the incident.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

“Mark suffers from what we suspect is CTE and that does leave us with some challenging situations to navigate with the assistance of a team of fantastic professionals,” the statement said. “This, however, was not one such situation and we are confident that in the coming weeks, clarity about this unfortunate situation will be provided.”5

Rypien was a lead plaintiff among 4,500 former players who won a settlement related to CTE in 2013. He has said that in the past he has attempted suicide and suffers from persistent depression and anxiety.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“I’ve been down the darkest path,” he said last year. “I’ve made some horrible, horrible mistakes.”

Rypien was the most valuable player of Super Bowl XXVI after the 1991 season, as the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills.

In a lengthy interview with The Spokesman-Review newspaper last year, Rypien acknowledged that he was also involved in a domestic violence incident with his wife in 2017.

“I got angry and I threw her on the bed a couple of times,” Rypien said. He and his wife blamed a medication change for his behavior.

A high school quarterback in Spokane who went on to star at nearby Washington State University, Rypien was drafted by the Redskins in 1986. He played in four games during his last season in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, in 2001, although he did not play between 1998 and 2000.

Numerous NFL players have reported a wide variety of problems related to CTE, including homelessness, erratic behavior, suicide and other early deaths.

Source: Zaha prefers Arsenal move over Man Utd

A source has told ESPN FC that Arsenal have submitted a £40 million bid plus add-ons but Palace value Zaha at £70m.

The source added that Zaha would favour a summer move to his boyhood club Arsenal than a return to United because he wants to remain in London for family reasons.

Zaha endured a difficult spell at Old Trafford during the 2013-14 campaign before returning to Crystal Palace where he signed a new five-year contract last year.cheap nfl nike jerseys china6

United have already completed business with Palace this summer after signing full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka on a five-year deal.

Sources have told ESPN FC that United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is targeting Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes and Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff as he looks to bolster his midfield options.nfl nike jersey cheap

Zaha is currently on international duty with the Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations where he scored in the 4-1 victory over Namibia on Monday.

Sources: Man United table £70m Maguire offer

Manchester United have made a £70 million bid for Leicester defender Harry Maguire, sources have told ESPN FC.

United are battling rivals Manchester City for the defender and have made a second offer after seeing an initial bid of around £40m rejected.

Maguire is open to leaving Leicester but favours a move to City because they can offer Champions League football.

He has not ruled out a transfer to United, who will play in the Europa League next season, if they can agree terms.

United’s bid is still short of Leicester’s valuation of more than £80m, and is likely to be rejected, but believe it might be enough to kill City’s interest and prevent a bidding war. United could be willing to offer a player plus cash to sweeten the deal but that is not yet on the table.cheap nfl nike jerseys china4

Leicester are under no pressure to sell after Maguire signed a contract extension in September but are aware the 26-year-old is keen on a move to a top six side.

Maguire was also targeted by United last summer after a successful World Cup with England but, despite Jose Mourinho urging a move, the club were put off by Leicester’s price tag.

Should he arrive, it would raise questions about the futures of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s other centre-backs — Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and youngster Axel Tuanzebe.nfl nike jersey cheap

Meanwhile, sources have told ESPN FC that Newcastle are braced for an opening offer from United for midfielder Sean Longstaff this week.

The 21-year-old is on Solskjaer’s wanted list and is likely to cost around £25m.

Solskjaer has already added two new players to his squad this summer after the arrivals of Dan James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka for a combined fee of £65m.