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NBA 2019-20 predictions: The rise of Los Angeles and the era of the super duos

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This season will be defined by …

How things . The Lakers brought in LeBron James last season and still missed the postseason, so this time around . They had hoped to add Kawhi Leonard and become the new Golden State Warriors. Then the Clippers . Now the Lakers may not even be the best team in their own building.

The end of the superteam era means . The star-studded paradigm favored by the Celtics, Heat and Warriors over the last decade has given way to a two-star model co-opted by more than a dozen teams. Increased league-wide parity promises an improved nightly product and a much-needed injection of suspense at the business end.

The regular season will mirror the offseason, with the NBA’s best duos dominating the headlines in the same way they did this summer. Leonard and George with the Clippers, James and Davis with the Lakers and James Harden and Russell Westbrook with the Rockets are just a few of the superstar combinations that are sure to own the months to come.

. Every team is one bad spill away from watching their championship dreams swirl down the drain. Take the 2019 NBA finals, for example, when Golden State lost Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson to back-to-back injuries, greatly interfering with their hopes of beating Toronto. Talent is nothing without health.

Rate the NBA’s handling of the China situation out of 10

If NBA commissioner Adam Silver is about resisting China’s demands to force Daryl Morey out from his role as GM for the Houston Rockets for in Hong Kong, feel free to bump this up to a 3/10 for taking at least one clear stand. Strike me as not giving the commissioner the benefit of the doubt on this one.

. The controversy has in many ways awakened the broader public to the scale of Chinese censorship – and the degree to which US corporations are willing to play along with it in pursuit of their bottom lines. The NBA has shown it’s no different than in recent years, but Silver has done an admirable job by standing steadfastly behind his players.

The NBA took a benign tweet and turned it into an international fiasco. Representatives at every level of the NBA overreacted, as LeBron, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and Silver all scolded Morey and created a media firestorm.

. The NBA learned that it can’t have it both ways. In Silver’s first statement he toed the line, angering many people who thought he was supporting a totalitarian regime which happens to generate huge revenues for the league. After the backlash, he released another statement clarifying that the league supports free expression, later adding that Money won’t be disciplined. With millions on the line, Silver was in a tough position – but he ended up doing the right thing.

Which team had the best off-season?

If were gettea have announced they recorded a loss of nearly £100million for the year ending June 30.The loss was revealed in the club’s latest financial results but, after two profitable years, the Blues insisted they are still compliant with UEFA’s Financial ing a healthy Durant alongside Kyrie Irving, they would have a case. But Durant’s likely out for the entire season, so it’s clearly the Clippers for luring Leonard and George to California.

could go down as the best summer for any NBA team since the Miami Heat signed Chris Bosh and James in 2010. The addition of a lengthy superstar wing player who can create for himself or his teammates off the dribble, make threes and play lockdown defense would have been enough to lift the longtime Los Angeles afterthoughts into the title conversation. Adding two of them, while managing to retain their depth, makes them overnight frontrunners in a loaded Western Conference.

It wouldbe utterly insane to argue in favor of any team other than . Leonard’s decision to skip town on the Raptors and link up with the Clippers’ veterans was a win from the jump. The surprise addition of George took things over the edge, separating their summer from the rest of the pack in one of the biggest off-seasons in recent memory.

secured the biggest free-agent on the market in Leonard and also acquired George. That’s enough to transform a team that have never made it past the second round of the playoffs in their 49-year franchise history into instant title contenders. Leonard led the Raptors to their first-ever championship last season, perhaps he could do the same thing this year with the former laughing stocks of the league.

One bold prediction

The than they did last year despite the losses of Irving and Al Horford. The Celtics won’t be able to replace everything Horford gave them but Kemba Walker could end up being a better fit for the Celtics than Irving, even if he’s somewhat of a downgrade at point guard.

. The No 2 pick in the 2017 draft has resurfaced with the Pelicans after a pair of injury-hit seasons with the Lakers and he should thrive away from the drama and pressure of playing alongside LeBron. New Orleans has some interesting pieces in place, and it all should add up to plenty of opportunities for Ball to shine in his natural point guard role.

Many are expecting the Nets’ newest member to cause a talented team to crumble from the inside out. But I think Irving learned a lot about himself and the potential pitfalls that leaders face in the locker room and in front of the media last season. Irving has close friends around him in Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan and a strong leadership in Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks. We can expect Irving to play just as well on the court and comport himself much better off it.

. Sure, Durant bolted and Thompson is out at least until February with a torn anterior cemouth captain Simon Francis has hailed the work ethic of manager Eddie Howe.Francis is one of those who have made the journey from League One with Howe.He told the Daily Express: “I did think I would love to be a coach and do it the way he managesruciate ligament, leaving the Warriors with a 47.5-point scoring hole. But Stephen Curry is in top shape and D’Angelo Russell is awfully talented too. Not to mention, the team needed a challenge after five-straight NBA finals appearances and three championships. No more going through the motions.

Rookie of the year

has this one locked up if – and it turns out this could be a big if – he’s healthy and doesn’t miss more time once he’s back from the knee surgery that has . Expect the New Orleans Pelicans to be extremely cautious with the Future of the Franchise, but here’s hoping that we aren’t denied what could be a rookie season of the ages.

Zion Williamson’s bully ball won’t immediately translate to the NBA, so I expect the No 1 pick to endure some growing pains as a rookie. He’s also surrounded by an intriguing mix of young and veteran talent, which could make it difficult for him to stand out even if he plays 30 minutes a night. Instead look to , who put up PlayStation-like numbers at Murray State and will get plenty of opportunity running the point for the rebuilding Memphis Grizzlies.

A rare lockhe’d like to sign Real Madrid youngster Vinicius Junior.Vinicius has battled for minutes this season, with Ronaldo making an attempt to sign him on-loan over the summer.He told Fox Sports Brasil: “He is a great player, he made a fantastic last season in a season that is otherwise impossible to predict. Williamson’s game is built for New Orleans, a team full of young guards who are sure to get up and down the floor. If preseason and Summer League serve as any indication, Williamson will be productive and efficient every night.

. causing problems down the line, Williamson should make an immediate impact on the league when he returns to action. He’s strong, agile and unstoppable around the hoop.

MVP

. If Zach Lowe , who am I to argue? The Bucks star’s main rival should be Davis, but it’s hard to get the votes when you’re on the same team as LeBron James.

. The best shooter in the history of basketball first earned the NBA’s highest individual honor in 2015, then became the first-ever unanimous winner in 2016. Only Curry’s willingness to accept a scaled-back role to accommodate the addition of Durant loosened his stranglehold on the trophy. But with Durant out of the picture and Thompson sidelined all or part of the year with an ACL injury, Golden State will be relying on Curry more than ever – and his numbers will reflect it.

The Lakers wanted as badly as he wanted them. The worst kept secret in the NBA paired Davis with one of the best passers in league history, LeBron James. While they have two of the most transcendent basketball players in history, the Lakers are still top heavy and they’ll need career years from Davis and James. If the Lakers are to make good on their lofty expectations, Davis must be the best player in Los Angeles – and the league.

. We all know the saying ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.’ Well, I believe that saying – gender notwithstanding – now applies to a certain 6ft 8in, 250lbs player from Akron. He missed the playoffs last season with the Lakers after eight-straight finals appearances. Not reaching the postseason was embarrassing for the four-time MVP, and you better believe he’ll be playing with a chip on his behemoth shoulders this time around.

Western Conference playoff teams

LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs.

LA Clippers, Houston Rockets, LA Lakers, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Oklahoma City Thunder.

LA Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, LA Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks.

LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs.

Eastern Conference playoff teams

, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic.

Philadelphia 76ers, , Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets.

Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors.

Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers.

Western Conference finals

LA Clippers 4-3 LA Lakers.

LA Clippers 4-2 Denver Nuggets.

LA Clippers 4-2 Denver Nuggets.

LA Clippers 4-3 Golden State Warriors.

Eastern Conference finals

Milwaukee Bucks 4-2 Philadelphia 76ers.

Philadelphia 76ers 4-3 Milwaukee Bucks.

Milwaukee Bucks 4-3 Philadelphia 76ers.

Philadelphia 76ers 4-2 Milwaukee Bucks.

NBA finals

. The Bucks were the best team in the East last season but they lost to Leonard and the Toronto Raptors in the Conference finals. Leonard’s in the West now, which means their biggest challengers in the East are an oddly-constructed Philadelphia 76ers team and whatever the post-Kyrie Boston Celtics end up being. The bad news? They may end up facing Leonard again eventually. The Clippers will have a tougher road to the finals, but if they make it they will have a clear advantage over whoever comes out of the East.

. The superteam era may be over but Philadelphia may have the closest thing resembling one. The Sixers lost Jimmy Butler in free agency but added Josh Richardson and the still-underrated Al Horford to a lineup that includes Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris. This is a team that’s built their identity around size, versatility and defense and one of the few outfits equipped to counter the Clippers’ two superstar wings. One year after pushing Kawhi and the Raptors to the limit in a , look for Philadelphia to go further and capture their first NBA title since 1983.

With the Warriors’ dominance drawing to a close, this season feels like one of the hardest to predict. The star power is heavy across the league but so are the issues. The Clippers, Warriors and Nets have injury issues, the Lakers and Bucks have short rotations and the 76ers and Nuggets are still green. Equipped with the best stars and the strongest supporting cast, the Clippers are essentially my pick by default.

. Leonard and George are going to be an incredible duo, and they’re going to be hungry. Coached by Doc Rivers, this team is going to go far. As for the 76ers, it’s quite tough to bet against a team that added Horford to a roster with Simmons and Embiid. It will be an exciting series, with the Clippers coming out on top.

Antonio Brown set for New England Patriots debut despite rape lawsuit

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Antonio Brown is eligible to play Sunday when the visit the Miami Dolphins.

Brown, the , was under consideration for the Commissioner’s Exempt Lismmer are wide open.Speaking with AD, Van de Beek denied claims of an agreement with Real Madrid and left the door open to joining Manchester United.On Real, he stated: “That is said and written, people take over, and then it starts to lead its own t, according to USA Today. But commissioner Roger Goodell will not enact his authority in the matter at this time.

USA Today reported Goodell is reserving the right to place Brown on the exempt list should criminal charges be brought against Brown.

Whether Brown wilWenger has revealed Arsenal made an attempt to sign Lionel Messi as a Barcelona youth teamer.Wenger discussed the move when asked about Arsenal’s failed attempt for current Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.When asked on beIN SPORTS if Arsenal were verl be active and on the field for the Patriots at Miami after three days of practice is up to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Multiple reports indicate the Patriots were not aware of the civil suit Saturday when they agreed to a one-year deal with Brown hours after he was released by the .

Brown, 31, that includes a $9m signing bonus and a $20m team option for 2020.

After bailing on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2018 regular-season finale and sitting out Week 1 this year, Brown could pay for the first time since 23 December if he faces the Dolphins.

Belichick downplayed Brown’s past, responding to a question about Brown returned to the first-team fold after a long injury lay-off.And he has spoken of his pride of still being able to represent the Red Devils.”Honestly, to just sign to play for Man United is a dream,” Bailly told ESPN FC.”To be part of a team this big being a disruption with a name from the past that worked out pretty well.

“That’s the same thing you (the media) said about Randy Moss when we brought him in,” Belichick said Tuesday.

Will resurgent Tiger Woods beat Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 majors?

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It was not at all unfair for Tiger Woods to stay in the moment as the rest of golf cast eyes dreamily forward. on Sunday took his major haul to 15. Suddenly, from the recent position where the discussion felt irrelevant, Jack Nicklaus’s record tally of 18 is back within view. “I don’t know if Jack is worried or not,” said Woods. “I really haven’t thought about that yet. I’m sure that I’ll probably think of it going down the road. Maybe, maybe not. But right now it’s a little soon. I’m just enjoying 15.”

It did not take long for Nicklaus to respond. Worried? You bet he is. “I thought for a long time that he was going to win again,” Nicklaus said of Woods. “The next two majors are at Bethpage, where he has won, and at Pebble Beach, where he has won. So he has got me shaking in my boots.”

As the scale of Woods’s victory, arguably his finest in an illustrious but regularly disrupted career, reverberated around the globe golf had been afforded fresh profile. The 43-year-old is now within one of Sam Snead’s 82 PGA Tour wins, a record that has stood since the mid-60s. It is the major quest, though, that sets pulses racing.

“It’s nice to get to 15; 18 isn’t a thought,” said Joe LaCava, Woods’s caddie. “Now 15’s here, let’s get to 16. Is the record in play? Sure. The guy’s 43 years old, a guy like him could win when they’re 50. Sixteen is the next mission.”

Woods credited LaCava with a key role in his one-shot Masters victory. The pair had a discussion after a dropped shot at the 5th hole on Sunday, during which the caddie urged Woods to “not carry the weighmitted interest in Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard.After an outstanding loan with Vitesse Arnhem last season, Odegaard is considering his future with Real this summer.A move to Ajax has been mooted for the Norway international, however Bayer at of the world on your shoulders”. LaCava added: “I didn’t put in all the hard work. I didn’t have all the surgeries. I wasn’t down in Florida grinding. So for me, it’s easy. I just show up, try to do a halfway decent job and he has to do all the tough work.”

As Nicklaus acknowledged, the year’s upcoming majors present Woods with an opportunity. Next month’s US PGA Championship will see Woods return to Bethpage, where he won the US Open in 2002. The latter tournament, in June, is at the Pebble Beach links where Woods marched to a 15-stroke victory 19 years ago. He has also prevailed in Tour events hosted at the Californian venue. July’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush had already seen scrambling for tickets even before Woods displayed uncharacteristic euphoria in Georgia.

“Eighteen is, I think, a lot closer than people think,” said Brooks Koepka, one of the men Woods held off to claim his fifth Masters. “I would say that’s probably what all fans, what we’re thinking. He’s definitely back and 18’s not far.”

If Nicklaus would rather retain his place in the record books, he does a fine job of endorsing why Woods might steal it. Even before a ball was struck at Augusta last Thursday the 79-year-old had volunteered Woods as a likely Masters winner on account of evidence gleaned from a recent game of golf; a certain Donald Trump.

“I don’t ever pull against anybody,” Nicklaus said. “Nobody wants their record to be broken. But I certainly wouldn’t want Tiger to be hurt and not to be able to do it. Of course he is now pretty healthy and playing well. I wish him well, I always wish the guys well and I want them to play their best and don’t want anybody to play poorly.

“Everybody has been asking me about Tiger. Can Tiger win again? Will he win another major? I kept saying, I think so, I think he will. The reason I said that was it all depended on Tiger’s health. If Tiger is healthy, then Tiger didn’t need to worry about his driver. He never drove the ball straight anyway. He always got the ball, from somewhere, up around the green. Tiger is such a great putter, has such a great short game. He has such distance control with his irons, unbelievable distance control, best I’ve seen from anybody in the game. If you get a guy that can do that – even if Tiger wasn’t healthy – he could bunt the ball off the tee somewhere. And with his iron game and his short game, he was going to win again. He topped it off this week by driving the ball. It was a special week for him.”

Monday morning delivered confirmation that Woods has risen to No 6 in the world rankings. “The No 1 player in the world is ranked sixth,” claimed Paes of success at Euro 2020 – because of the punishing fixture schedule.England strikers Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford are enduring long injury lay-offs, with both facing a battle to prove their fitness ahead of this summer’s tournament.Tottenham ‘ul Azinger, a former US Ryder Cup captain turned television analyst. Though there are still 17 months to go before the European team visits Whistling Straits, Woods has leapt to the summit of the US Ryder Cup rankings. At the end of this year,dmits they need to add to the squad after the appointment of new coach Rino Gattuso.He stated: “Rino is relying on the old guard, which seems natural for their experience, especially with these tactics.”From tomorrow we’ll think about the market.”B in what marks his own first step towards Ryder Cup captaincy, Woods will lead his country in the Presidents Cup. “I’m hoping to make my own team,” said Woods on Sunday, in proving he has playing aspirations for Royal Melbourne.

Long before then Woods is expected to make a tournament return at Quail Hollow at the start of May.

Should that transpire, a routine PGA Tour event will have been handed the kind of boost money cannot buy. The same applies to the wider golf scene.

Steve Bartman, America’s most infamous fan, receives Cubs redemption

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Steve Bartman, the fan vilified and blamed for ending the team’s championship hopes in 2003, has been awarded a World Series rinew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.The young pair were outstanding in their Champions League triumph last season.”Both Andy and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] on the other side had incredible seasons,” Warnock told Liverpoolfc.com.”I think last seasong to commemorate Chicago’s title win last year.

The Cubs were mired in their legendary title drought – – when Bartman made his mark on history in 2003. The team appeared to be headed for the World Series when he stretched out to catch a foul ball with the Cubs leading late in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Miami Marlins. Bartman instead deflected the ball away from a Cubs fielder, the Marlins came back to win the game and then sealed a place in the World Series with victory in Game 7.

Bartman’s name later appeared online, and he and his family were given police protection. The governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, . The incident was infamous enough for ESPN to make a in 2011. Bartman, still scarred by the abuse he had received, chose not to appear.

Cubs management and players have repeatedly stated that Bartman was not to blame for the incident, and on Monday the team’s owner, Tom Ricketts, presented him with a championship ring.

“On behalf of the entire Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series Championship Ring to Mr Steve Bartman,” Ricketts and the Cubs said in a statement. “We hope this provides ardi is successfully rebuilding his relationship with the Inter Milan locker room, it has been revealed.The striker angered many senior teammates over the way he refused to take part in training for over a month after being sacked as captain in Februclosure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series.

“While no gesture can fully lift the public burden he has endured for more than a decade, we felt it was important Steve knows he has been and continues to be fully embraced by this organization. After all he has sacrificed, we are proud to recognize Steve Bartman with this gift today.”

For Bartman, who has been haunted by the incident, and has kept a low-profile for the last 14 years there was relief. “I humbly receive the ring not only as a symbol of one of the most historic achievements in sports, but as an important reminder for how we should treat each other in today’s society,” he said in a statement. “My hope is that we all can learn from my experience to view sports as entertainment and prevent harsh scapegoating, and to challenge the media and opportunistic profiteers to conduct business ethically by respecting personal privacy rights and not exploit any individual to advance their own self-interest or economic gain.”

The move was also welcomed by players. The former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster toldndan Rodgers has admitted to being disappointed by their January transfer window.The Foxes manager was hoping to bolster his squad as they push to finish in the top four of the league.Rodgers knows that his team will face tough tests in the second ha the Chicago Tribune: “I guess that is closure at its finest … To do something like that for Steve Bartman, who got ridiculed for something that any fan would have done, is pretty awesome.”

Dak Prescott continues strong start to lead Cowboys past Bears

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Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass, and the Cowboys beat the 31-17 on Sunday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.

With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without injured quarterback Tony Romo over three seasons before the rookie fourth-round pick showed up.

Prescott’swas a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he’s up to 99 throws without an interception to starenging Arsenal for Sampdoria defender Joachim Anderson.Arsenal have failed with two offers for the stopper and the Denmark international is open to a departure.Gazzetta dello Sport says Juventus, Tottenham, Arsenal and Lyon are all in contact with Sat his career.has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals in NFL history.

Brian Hoyer had trouble moving the Chicago offense early with Jay Cutler sidelined by a sprained right thumb as the Bears fell behind 24-3 at halftime and dropped to 0-3 for the second time in two seasons under coach John Fox.

Making his 27th career start for his fourth different team, Hoyer was 30 of 49 for 317 yards — a good portion of that with the game out of each late in the fourth quarter — and threw for two scores to Zach Miller.

Rookie fourth overall pick Ezekiel Elliott had his first 100-yard game for Dallasnged the format of the tournament which will now be played once every four years.That means Liverpool – who beat Tottenham 2-0 in Saturday’s Euro showdown- will eventually face world’s best clubs.But not earlier than in 2021 – when the competition is, finishing with 140 yards on 30 carries and awhen he hurdled safety Chris Prosinski.

It didn’t even bother Prescott that Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith missed just the second game of his six-year career after his back tightened up during the week.

Prescott was 19 of 24 for 248 yards in Dallas’ first home win since last year’s opener, which was a Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri – for naming rights to a new ground.The Toffees revealed plans to build a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.The club confirmedAlisher Usmanov’s holding company, USM, will pay the club £30m this year for the option of becomweek before the first of two broken left collarbones that kept Romo out of 12 games last season. Romo is expected to miss about another month after breaking a bone in his back in the preseason.

Prescott hadfor the Cowboys, who have seven this season after getting eight all of last year, when they finished 4-12.

Because the Bears fell behind again, they couldn’t do much with the running game. They had just 15 carries for 73 yards and lost leading rusher Jeremy Langford to an ankle injury in the second half.

Conor McGregor admits Joao Carvalho’s death affected appetite for promotion

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Conor McGregor has spoken at length about his “publicized civil war” with UFC .

The disagreement between UFC and its biggest star came in April when . McGregor believed that his publicity duties ahead of UFC 200 were getting in the way of his training schedule. McGregor was due to fight Nate Diaz, .

“I’ll tell you what, [the retirement announcement on Twitter] blew up,” McGregor told ESPN. “I was kind of having fun to startear vision of his summer transfer targets.The Austrian wants to bring quality to St. Mary’s in order to push his side up the table next season.He said: “It is a very clear picture for me now what we are still missing in our game.”Maybe we know that w, half-hearted. Then all of a sudden it’s, ‘you’re off 200!’ I was like, ‘alright, well fuck you too, then.’

“All said and done, there were times [I thought], ‘I should have just jumped on the damn flight [and done the publicity tour].’ But sometimes you’ve got to do what’s right for you and not what’s right for everybody else, especially if you’ve done what’s right for everyone else a million times over.”

McGregor has since and said he has held talks with the UFC president, Dana White. He added that his relationship with the organization is “good”.

“I’m committed to the fight game,” McGregor said. “I enjoy competition. I enjoy challenges. If a challenge is in front of me and it appeals to me, I will go ahead and conquer it.

“Did I do all the media? Did I dance like a monkey? No. Am I still here? Am I still fighting? Am I still collecting? Yeah. So, [UFC] saved face, I saved face – there was no loser. We all won in a way. I had them realistically, but they couldn’t bow down, so there was no loser. I was over here, they were there and now we’re in the middle. We’re in a good spot.”

McGregor added that his reluctance to go on the publicity tour in April had been influenced by at a fight in Ireland. Carvalho’s death came a week before his retirement tweet and McGregor said the death had affected him.

“I had fucking journalists knocking down my mother’s door, you know what I mean?” McGregor said. “That’s not what I signed up to do – have people knocking on my mother’s door, talking about a kid dying. It’s not nice to see a kid die like that. It does something to you. And there’s been show after show canceled in Ireland since that. It’s fucked up to be a part of it, and I didn’t want to bring it back up and put it more on a public scale.

“After all t believes his qualities can fit into manager Jose Mourinho’s system.The France international admits he’s a changed character when on the pitch.He told Foot Mercato: “I am a player who is crazy. “I have a certain carelessness. Maybe it’s due to my agehat, I did not want to be put in front of a camera and made to dance. I just wasn’t feeling it.”

In the ESPN interview McGregor also dismissed , saying the sums involved were beneath him.

“I hear [Mayweather] talking. The leak came out, it was him that leaked the rumor and it said he gets $100m and I get $7m – that’s a pay cut to me. I don’t take pay cuts. I thought boxing was where the money was at. The $7m is absolutely laughable. He’s talking $100m – I’m also talking $100m,” McGregor said. “I’m 27 years of ageident Sertac Guven says talks are underway with Daniel Sturridge.The former Liverpool striker is a free agent after being allowed to come off contract last month.Sturridge’s mother and uncle were in Trabzon this week to meet with club officials and l and I’m just about halfway through a $100m contract. At 27 years of age, was on Oscar De La Hoya’s undercard.

“Who doesn’t want to conquer both worlds? He’s getting old now. He needs me, I don’t need him. Who else can he fight?”

USA Sevens brings world’s finest to Vegas – but can US rugby live with the best?

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“Imagine what it’s going to be like in 2020 if we’ve got some kids from the Bronx and Brooklyn, playing in the in Tokyo.”

In his spare office in New York City, on 9th and West 45th, trophies stacked with bags of rugby balls on the metal shelves behind him, Mark Griffin smiles and takes a sip of water. Griffin is the , an inneuito midfielder Jose Cifuentes admits he’s had an offer from Manchester City.The 20-year-old never made the move but he has revealed that City were interested but he wasn’t allowed to leave the club.“All contacts are closed, it was published by ther-city nonprofit which is now joint-operator of America’s first community Olympic development programme (CODP) for rugby union. The sport returns to the Games in Rio this summer but Griffin is looking four years ahead.

In Las Vegas, meanwhile, the best men’s teams in the world are looking only to the next three days, in which they will contest .

The big teams are attacking Olympic year in earnest: New Zealand will field , while is in South Africa’s squad.

The US Eagles do not have such superstars, though they do have , and , crossovers from football who have made themselves increasingly well known. In Vegas, they will be contenders for a knockout place, for a tournament win, for points on the HSBC World Series.

In this Olympic year, though, the Eagles’ job extends beyond the field of play. They must begin to win the attention of the American sporting public – both TV viewers and, perhaps more importantly, striving young athletes.

That is where Griffin and others come in. When it comes to the effect the Games can have on American youth rugby, most such operators agree with , a former Eagles prop turned entrepreneur who will on Friday stage an awareness-raising event at Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas, under the title “”.

“Rugby is ,” James says, down the phone from San Francisco, citing a familiar statistic from the which says participation in US youth rugby grew by 81.6% from 2008 to 2013.

James then cites a familiar view in rugby, bolstered by the same survey finding that in the same period youth participation in tackle football fell by 21%: “We need to seize that Olympic s they need to find some arrogance to convert draws into wins.Maguire claims that United are missing the self-belief needed to control games.He said: “It’s another game where we’ve deserved to win. We’ve created the majority of the chances and we’vmoment with parents who maybe don’t want theo land Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish this summer.The Mirror says United are preparing to pay up to £70million to land Grealish this summer.The attacking ace has been in superb form for Villa this term after inspiring them to promotion last seasoir kids playing football.”

Rugby, it should be said, . But James continues: “Just the fact that rugby is included is a game-changer. The US public are very keen on the Olympics, it brings exposure, funding from the government and other bodies too. This is the very tip of the iceberg for what that’s going to mean.”

Griffin, after on the cracked asphalt of Queens and Manhattan now taking a big step through the CODP, puts the same point another way.

to provide a pathway from inner-city, school or rugby club to elite Olympic competition.

Rugby now has a foothold in America. Or, to stay with the dubious moutaineering analogies, potentially frightening exposure. The performance of the Eagles’ men’s and women’s teams in Rio will help determine how fast and safe the climb can be.

So will the many stakeholders of American rugby. In terms of developing the men and women who will play in Tokyo and beyond, governing body USA Rugby supervises, from Colorado, as a number of organisations seek out talent. There is also and , and more. The English are interested too: Premiership Rugby recently launched its programme, also in New York.

In Play Rugby USA’s case, though, four young women who discovered the game with the programme will this weekend represent in the , a huge club, high school and college event that runs alongside the international tournament. None of the New York girls had seen a rugby ball till relatively recently; one will go on to play for the in Vancouver next week.

“We’re at the forefront of girls’ rugby,” Griffin says, “and we equally promote it with the boys. It’s about equal opportunity, although our high-school program is now 51% girls.”

James adds: “Olympic inclusion is because with Title IX, colleges are looking for women’s sports. This is a massive opportunity for rugby.”

That sense of opportunity is not confined to the Olympics: in 2018 the men’s and women’s World Cup Sevens and in the full 15-a-side version of the game, , a five-team professional league, is due to kick off next month.

But most observers agree: come , if the American men and women are on the podium, the game at home will receive a tremendous boost. A gold medal may be, in Griffin’s words, “Miracle on Ice sort of stuff”. But if nothing else, his reference to shows the stakes for which American rugby is playing.

Photo shows extent of Jason Pierre-Paul’s firework injuries

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New photos show the severity of the injury toarby have confirmed Arsenal and Bayern Munich are in contact for teenage striker Emil Roback.The 16-year-old forward is being tipped for big things in Sweden and he is attracting plenty of interest.Bayern Munich have already made contact over a move defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s right hand, clearly showing his index finger mostly missing and his thumb and middle ul Pogba.The Mirrn Steve Gibson unveiled the former England defender as Boro’s new head coach on Friday — a man on a mission to nurture their crop of talented kids and “get in the mix” for ­promotion from the Championship next season.He thought back to his Leedsor says Pogba had spent four years with Juve after being sold to them by United for £1.5m in 2012, and the Italian club are keen on bringing him back to Italy this summer.It is now understood that Juve have stepped up their pursuit finger also damaged.

The New York Daily News showing Pierre-Paul without a bandage over his hand.

It appeared that almost all of his index finger was missing. Paul still had small bandages on his thumb and middle finger. Part of his thumb appeared to be missing.

The two-time Pro Bowler missed all of training camp after the Fourth of July fireworks accident. He allowed the team to examine his injured hand earlier this month, and the Giants declared that he wasn’t ready to play. He remains unsigned and is not being paid.

Why has Freddy Adu chosen to join the Tampa Bay Rowdies?

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“He was almost like Ronaldinho. He always had a smile on his face.” That’s how Thomas Rongen remembers a young Freddy Adu. That boy is now a man, and on Tuesday – who sit first in NASL and are coached by Rongen.

The two first worked together when Rongen was with the United States under-20 team, a role he held during two spells from 2001-05 and then again from 2006-11. It was during that second stint, in 2007, that excitement piqued for his U-20 team as talents including Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Robbie Rogers and a young Adu shone.

“He could have played in four consecutive U-20 World Cups, but he played in three and decided to opt out of the fourth – that would have been a record for any player in the world by the way,” Rongen explains.

“I played him when he was young [in 2003] in a 4-3-3 on the left, where he had more time on the ball and he didn’t have to play with his back to goal like in a No 10 [position],” Rongen explains. “Then in 2007 I played him as our playmaker, and I think that was a good transition for him. That way we could hide him from the physicality of the game so he wouldn’t get injured.”

At the time, had you pushed the Dutch tactician to evaluate whomo land Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish this summer.The Mirror says United are preparing to pay up to £70million to land Grealish this summer.The attacking ace has been in superb form for Villa this term after inspiring them to promotion last seaso he thought had the most potential of that 2007 roster, he would have said Adu. “I’m flabbergasted that Freddy hasn’t been able to make it to the top level,” Rongen says.

It was not long after he departed Rongen’s squad – off the back of an impressive U-20 World Cup – that he moved to Europe with Portuguese giants Benfica. “I think he chose the wrong club to go to,” Rongen states unequivocally.

“I think in terms of where he was in his development he was not ready for first team football. At 2007 he was 17 or 18 and he was pretty much brought up in the soccer environment in the US, which is so different to the South American or European environment.

“I don’t think he was prepared to sustain the rigorous demands of a pro club where it’s nasty, where players constantly compete for spots, and where, sadly, Americans are still seen as not a great soccer nation. You have to prove yourself every day – and physically it is very tough.”

Rongen also draws comparisons to one of Adu’s teammates when he discusses how best to make the transition to Europe: “If you look at Michael Bradley’s path; a smaller club in Holland, a bigger club in Germany, then Serie A … those to me are wiser decisions,” he explains.

So began Adu’s tour of Europe, adding stamps to his passport and often brief new chapters to his career. Stints at Monaco, Belenenses, Aris and Çaykur Rizespor followed, each move followed by talk of him ‘reigniting his career’.

“Maybe in the places he went they knocked him down so far that they killed Freddie’s game,” Rongen says. “There has to be some understanding there, and the rest of the group has to understand that we’re going to have to work a little bit harder to cover Freddy’s deficiencies defensively, but, man, if we go forward, we’re fucking good. Because this ssive £40million deal to stay at Leicester after snubbing Arsenal.He now hopes City’s in-demand starlets like James Maddison, a Manchester United target, will follow suit.Rodgers said: “Hopefully they’ll see how we’ve worked together here and the kid can play.”

Many have pointed the finger at Adu for the way his career has unfolded as the saying goes; success has a million fathers ,but failure is an orphan. In Rongen, however, Adu has a sympathetic outlet.

“I think he had a hard time handling [the pressure],” Rongen explains. “For example, we would train, then we would have to wait for half an hour on the bus because Freddy would have to sign autographs and talk to the media. I think he grew tired of that charade.”

Adu has stated publicly that he felt like a marketing tool. That the multi-million dollar contracts were impossible to turn down for a boy living in a poor single parent household in Rockville, Maryland. Rongen cites those around Adu – coaches and managers – as another reason his potential was not fulfilled.

“This country has never produced a player that we [can] sell to Man United, Barcelona, Real Madrid or Man City,” he explains. “I think this country has the capability to do that, and I’m always trying to figure out where we are going wrong. When we have such a raw diamond in Freddy Adu, it’s our role to make him that player. I thought early on he was going to play for a big time team in Europe and put US soccer on the map.

“In Holland, when we scout a player – and there are more tangibles involved – we use a technique called TIPS (technique, insight, personality, speed) . At a young age he had mastered almost everything you want from a high level player [in those categories]. At a young age he had incredible field awareness. He was thinking ahead like a chess player and he easily got into the zone.”

Attempting to explain why the US is yet to sell a player to one of Europe’s elite, Rongen believes that the country’s soccer culture is not conducive to such an outcome. “This country is so structured and too organised [and suffers from] over-coaching. I want to give those players some freedom when they get out of that environment so they can find their own identity.

“Were our sessions structured? Absolutely. We took games seriously for sure, but my approach overall was a bit more relaxed than they had seen before and I think that helped some players like Freddy flourish. I encourage them to dribble, to do a rainbow ill debut against Lecce today.He said, “I thought that I was going to a prestigious club with a great history, so it’s an honour to be here. If you are in charge of Milan, playing at San Siro must be added motivation rather than a worry.“I feel t[flick], to be daring.”

Adu himself has often spoken positively about Rongen and their time together, so unsurprisingly the duo have opted to reunite in Florida, with Rongen believing he could be the right coach for Adu. “I’m not saying I’m the only one, but I think I can resurrect his career, and I mean that sincerely,” he explains. “Freddy knows that too.”

Perhaps a reuniting with Rongen is just what Adu needs. The two will finally reconnect, after almost a decade apart. While some things have changed other have not, with Adu hoping he can find a father for success in his former coach.

NBA brings the stars to Africa – but can basketball compete with soccer?

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has been a child refugee, played on the biggest stages of the NBA and met Barack Obama at the White House. And on Sunday he heads to war-torn South Sudan to visit his family. Yet it was the prospect of appearing before a few thousand people that gave him butterflies.

“It’s the first time I’ve played in front of the continent of Africa,” the 30-year-old said of an exhibition game in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Saturday. “Before the game I had to run back to the locker room. I don’t know why I got nervous but I did.”

Deng, said to be Obama’s favourite player, captained “Team Africa” against “Team World” in the . It was an experiment, and statement of intent, on a continent where you are never more than six feet from someone wearing an English or Spanish soccer shirt.

If truth be told, most of the players were content to phone in their performances for the first three quarters, with some casual defending and wayward passing – never more so than when Pau Gasol of the Chicago Bulls hurled the ball without looking then saw it bounce into empty hinterland.

At the stage Team Africa were well ahead, but then – who knows, perhaps not entirely by chance – Team World roared back with the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal and Memphis Grizzlies’ Jeff Green sinking several three pointers. The final quarter moved up several gears and finally animated the crowd, who cheered the Africans and booed their opponents, though nobody really minded that Team World ran out 101-97 winners.

Deng, who was a refugee from what is now South Sudan when he was three and – he still has a home in Brixton, south London – was certainly looking at a bigger picture. “This game is quite hopefully the first of many,” he said on court afterwards. “I was happy to see the the joy it brought to faces.”

Asked if basketball could compete with soccer and others sports in Africa, the Miami Heat forward replied: “Of course it can. Even if you have 30 sports in Africa, it’s never enough when you have so many people here and so many talents. The potential audience is big. Even if could bring a smile to a kid’s face for two hours, it brings me happiness.”

Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, who captained Team World, was also enthusiastic. “It was one of the best experiences of my life,” he said. “In this day and age it’s hard to be pioneers of anything so it’s a privilege to be part of it. This is the first game here but I guarantee it won’t be the last.”

Deng scored 20 points. He and Paul were named most valuable players.

Among Saturday’s highlights, NBA legends Dikembe Mutombo and Hakeem Olajuwon took off their business suits to put on their old team strips again for a short burst in the second quarter. A turnaround jumper by Olajuwon, who in 1984 became the first African drafted into the NBA when he joined the Houston Rockets, prompted current stars to jump off the benches with their arms aloft.

Al-Farouq Aminu of the Portland Trail Blazers and Nigeria said: “It was special. I think the fans really got into it, especially in the second half, and I know the players enjoyed it. You can see the potential is there in Africa.”

Team Africa included NBA players who were first or second generation Cameroonian, Congolese, Nigerian, Senegalese and South Sudanese, but no South Africans – the country has never won the African championship. But Johannesburg has reTorreira.It was claimed in Italy yesterday that Milan have opened talks with the Uruguay midfielder’s representatives.And Tuttosport says Torreira is a dream signing for Milan management with Franck Kessie potentially being offered for the Uruguayan.gularly hosted the NBA’s camps.

Not everything hit the right note. The game was played at the scruffy 4,000-seat Ellis Park arena, much smaller than NBA stars are accustomed to. Tickets had reportedly sold out within two hours of becoming available, but dozens of empty seats were visible in the stand – possibly reflecting competition from the between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, which sold all 94,000 tickets.

Entertainment before the game, and during timeouts, lacked the razzmatazz of an American sporting spectacle. And some were puzzled that the players wore the shirts of their home teams instead of ones specifically designed for the contest. “I’m disappointed they’re wearing their own teams’ shirts,” said one local radio commentator. “If you’ve never seen basketball before, you’re going to be very confused.”

After previous forays in Brazil, China and Europe, NBA commissioner , who attended the match, said “it was only a matter of time before a pre-season game was staged in Africa”.

He told Agence-France Presse: “This match was an experiment. Among the reasons I am here is to investigate new facilities. We would want a larger, modern arena before staging a pre-season or regular season NBA match.”

Ellis Park arena has previously hosted events including an exhibition tennis match between Serena and Venus Williams. It is adjacent to the stadium where South Africa won thEverton have confirmed the loan of Sandro Ramirez to Real Valladolid.The Spanish striker will return to La Liga for the 2019/20 campaign, after spending time with Real Sociedad last season.The 23-year-old striker joined the Toffees from Malaga in 2017.Sandro also spent time on loan at Sevilla in 2018.e rugby World Cup 20 years ago with Nelson Mandela .

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who was in charge of Team Africa, said earlier this week: “You know, over here they’ve got soccer, rugby, cricket – it’s cricket, right? I don’t know if I’m saying that right – but basketball is just growing and doing something like this will help it grow even more.”

South Africa relaunched its basketball league in 2013 and games are televised. , the sports minister, tweeted on Saturday: “The NBA game was broadcast to alliker Samuele Longo has moved to Deportivo La Coruna.Longo goes to Deportivo La Coruna on loan with obligation to buy at the end of the season.He spent last season on loan at first Huesca and then Cremonese.The striker has only ever made two substitut states in the USA. The power of sport once more my country is on the map thru sport.”

The crowd was a mix of male and female, black and white. Buyile Gaga, 30, a data analyst, said: “I’m a fan and it’s one of those opportunities that don’t come very often. I’m very excited. Since basketball start in South Africa it’s been getting exposure. We’re going to see people getting used to it.”

Carlo Manna, 25, a chartered accountant, said: “It was interesting. The first three quarters they were taking very relaxed and that was disappointing, but in the last quarter they really got into it. Overall they did it very well. I hope they come back, with less of an exhibition feel.”

He added: “Basketball is big in schools here. Something like this will help raise its profile nationally. It definitely has a chance.”

Boston’s $63m splash on Yoan Moncada exposes flaw in system: the MLB draft

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Thirty-one and a half million dollars for a 19-year-old infield prospect.

Sixty-three million dollars, when you count the hit the Boston Red Sox had to take in luxury tax payments to sign Cuban super-prospect Yoan Moncada away from his other major-league suitors in the , the Los Angeles Angels, the Brewers (well, sort of; Milwaukee made a valiant “We Tried” offer of a “mere” $12-15m) and elsewhere. New York were involved in talks with Moncada and his representation up until the last minute, but in the end the Yankees were unwilling to go over $27m in bonus money for a kid who will start the season in the low minors.

How ridiculous, right? Especially when, as Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Drew Smyly : “It’s not right that a Cuban 19yr old gets paid 30m and the best 19yr old in the entire USA gets prob 1/6th of that. Everyone should have to go through same process”

Sure. It’s ridiculous. But not for the reasons most people, Smyly included, seem to think it is.

The international free agent status accorded to young Cuban players like Moncada who have defected to the United States (or more specifically, established residency ithe departure of Real Betis coach Quique Setien.The defender says the decision was “unfair”.Firpo told Marca: “I think maybe it was a little unfair when you consider what he achieved in two years at Betis; he did things that haven’t been seen for a ln another Latin American country then been admitted to the United States by OFAC, the Office of Foreign Assets Control) is not true free agency – Moncada’s money is entirely received in bonus form instead of a full major league contract, and he will be subject to the same service time and arbitration rules as any other player entering professional baseball from “amateur” play. He is, however, accorded the most important part of what “free agency” implies: the ability to choose, for himself, to whom he will bend his labor – in this case, playing baseball, which is very lucrative labor indeed, and not only for Moncada but all the people who profit off of actual baseball games being played: coaches, executives, and eventually and most importantly, team owners.

When Smyly points out that Moncada’s bonus is six times (really, more than six times) what a 19-year-old American-born phenom would get in the draft, he’s completely correct. But that’s not an indictment of the free agency system that allowed Moncada to get the highest amount of money that the market for his services will bear. That’s an indictment of a draft system that has always been a tool to drive down the cost of labor: the amount of money being paid to actual baseball players.

Everyone is familiar, surely, with how the league following Curt Flood, the death of the reserve clause, and then Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally’s decision to play without contracts in 1976 and thereby become free agents. It’s taken a while, but Major League Baseball has realized it just has to live with paying veteran players what the market allows for their services – which is a lot of money, given the popularity of the game they play and the insane profitability to be had from owning and running a professional sports franchise in America. And so, eventually, as salaries soared in the late 1990s thanks to attendant soaring revenues, the eyes of management shifted away from stimying veteran paychecks – and the cult of the prospect began.

Originally, it was just teams like the Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays or the Texas Rangers spending relatively vast sums of money in the draft or on young international players in lieu of spending even larger sums on veteran free agents. Then the teams with the most money – the Yankees, the Red Sox, now even the Chicago Cubs – realized that they could do both. And suddenly teams like the Atlanta Braves, and then-team president John Schuerholz, realized that they were at a significant competitive disadvantage … and that players were getting too much of the pie. Because let’s be honest: as far as maffield United boss Chris Wilder is holding back goalkeeper Michael Verrips.Voetbalnieuws says the Blades are choosing not to name the 22-year-old in their matchday squads because they are worried it could lead to an automatic forfeit of a game they anagement is concerned – not just in Atlanta, but in Tampa Bay and Chicago and Boston and New York and everywhere else – labor is always getting too much of the pie.

So in the most recent renegotiation of the collective bargaining agreement – the document that controls the relationship between the league and the MLB Players Association – the league and the union made a deal: they instituted caps on draft bonuses. Now each pick in the draft had a monetary value stapled to it, and teams that spent more than the combined value of all their picks had severe penalties assessed; some penalties were monetary, while other, more severe penalties could lead to the forfeiture of picks in future drafts. The union happily allowed this – after all, draft picks aren’t card-carrying members of the MLBPA. They’re minor leaguers. They might eventually become MLBPA members, but until the day they’re placed on a 40-man roster, they’re ; they just got a larger signing bonus up front. Well, some of them did, anyway.

That’s the system some people want to bring to young international talent like Moncada. Now that their grip on the domestic market is secure, the league is eyeing the internatCelso wants to taste the ‘magic of the FA Cup’ as attentions turn to today’s fourth round tie at Southampton.“We know how important this cup is and we’ll give our best to advance,” he said. “We know that it’s a competition that has a lot of prestional markets, and the possibility of extending its control there, too – dismantling the concept of international free agency for everyone but players coming out of the Asian professional leagues. MLB has already instituted bonus capping for this group of players in general – but it obviously wasn’t enough, as Boston paying a $31.5m penalty for signing Moncada shows. And so in the wake of Moncada’s payday, : isn’t this unfair? How could this kid deserve this much money? Wouldn’t it be better if we just had an international draft?

To which I respond: wouldn’t it be better if we had no draft at all? This country claims, after all, to be all about free markets. And the reason that Moncada’s bonus is so high is because, if you’ll recall your basic economics, he’s the sole current provider of a service that’s in high demand. Were he forced to compete in the marketplace against all 1,215 players selected in last year’s draft – or even just the top 50 high-school seniors in the country, to be more realistic given his talent – not only would his bonus be lower, but those kids would be getting paid more.

After all, to paraphrase Drew Smyly, what’s less fair: Yoan Moncada getting paid $31.5m by an industry that took in over $9bn in revenue in 2014 alone? Or some kid from Oklahoma with the same amount of talent maybe getting one-sixth of that?

Abolish the draft.

Very possible Gerrit Cole will make first start for Pirates next week

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It is very possible right-hander and top prospect will make his major league debut for the on Tuesday, reports Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Lefty is unlikely to make the start after being diagnosed with inflammation in his left forearm.

Cole, 22, was the first overall pick in the 2011 draft and came into the season as one of the game’s very best pitching prospects. He’s gone 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 68 innings spread across a dozen Triir top January targets.Bruce had been interested in bringing Olivier Giroud on loan from Chelsea but the striker now looks set for Inter Milan.”If there’s something available and there’s a deal to be done, we’ll try to do it,” he said. “But we have tple-A starts this year, though he is currently riding a 19-inning scoreless streak.

Before the season, Baseball America ranked Cole as the  and said he “certainly has the looinho says he has received over 50 messages from people at Manchester United after his recent appointment.Mourinho replaces Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs, but it appears he is still regarded with affection by many at Old Trafford.The Portuguese coach lk of a No. 1 starter who could anchorday as Real Sociedad’s latest signing.A presentation media conference is scheduled for 1:30pm.Arriving in Spain on Sunday night, Monreal had a message for La Real fans: “Aupa aficion, I’m already in Donostia. I really want to start, I know there is a their rotation” in their 2013 Prospect Handbook.

The Pirates come into Friday at 35-25 and four games back of the Cardinals in the NL Central.

Quique Setien is happy leaning captain Lionel Mess

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relief pitcher played catch in the outfield for the third consecutive day Saturday as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery. Madson experienced his third setback last month in his recovery process. He has yet to pitch for the Angels this season.

More News 10/28/2018 • by RotoWire Staff tenure with Burnley comes to an end.The 33-year-old only played 11 times this season. He had spent the past five seasons at the Turf Moor club.However, he will now move on to pastures new after his contract expires.Taylor, who took his place in the 09/07/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 08/31/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 08/27/2018 • by RotoWire Staff lletti stated he was approached by AC Milan earlier this season, buthe insisted Inter wouldn’t release him from his gardening leave.But an Inter official told ANSA: “In addlopp is expecting a tough contest against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last-16.The Reds will return to the Wanda Metropolitano – where they won the final last season – on February 18 for the first leg of their tie against Diego Simeone’s Aition to the compensation accrued by Mr. Spalletti, the club had proposed a 08/26/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 08/19/2018 • by RotoWire Staff

Former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has t

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starting pitcher breezed through four innings against the Tigers Thursday before giving up three runs in the fifth and ending the game with a quality start. Burnett allowed just three earned runs on five hits and four walks in six innings while striking out four.

It was the third time in five games that Burnett walked four batters in a start, but he has yet to give up more than three earned runs in any game this season. He takes a 3-5 record and 2.72 ERA into Monday’s start against the Braves.

More News 10/04/2015 • by RotoWire Staff 09/28/2015 • by RotoWire Staff 09/22/2015 • by RotoWire Staff 09/17/2015 • by RotoWire Staff 09/11/2015 • by Jason Lempert ch Xavi has confirmed talks with Barcelona.Xavi spoke after his side’s qualification for the final of the Qatar Cup. In a press conference after the game, Xavi responded to questions about Barça’s interest and his meeting with Eric Abidal on Friday, tus have clinched the signing of PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot.Rabiot passed a medicaed to manager Unai Emery finally calling time on the centre-back’s Emirates Stadium career, the club having reportedly tried to flog him every window since he signed in 2016.BBC journalist David Ornstein told Radio 5 Live: “After the Europa League fil on Monday and has signed a four-year contract.The 24-year-old broke through for PSG in 2013 and went on to play 227 times for the French giants, scoring 25 goals, p 09/10/2015 • by Sean D’Oliveira

Mariners call up prospect Nick Franklin, demote Dustin Ackley

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Middle infielder has been promoted to the majors, report multiple Seattle outlets (). He’s not in the lineup on Monday but will reportedly be available off the bench.

Franklin, a 22-year-old switch hitter, was batting .324/.440/.472 with nine doubles, four homers, 20 RBI, 28 runs and seven stolen bases for Triple-A Tacoma. He now has 103 games in Triple-A after 79 in Double-A, so he should have enough seasoning to be ready fAlexis Sanchez to Inter Milan.Saha thinks United made a mistake agreeing to pay for a large portion of Sanchez’s wages.”It’s a strange one, I think Alexis got to a point where his confidence dropped,” the Frenchman told Stadium Astro.”The terms of thor the bigs. He was drafted in the first round (27th overall) out of high school in 2009 by the and entered the season ranked as the 79th-best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. He can play second base or shortsmanager – and talk of Rio Ferdinand being offered the technical director’s post.Speaking with the Guardian, Van Gaal says United are to tap into their former players’ pool.”As a good player, you’re not a good manager or you’re not a good technical ditop.

The Mariners delighted to hear about Neil Critchley’s move to Blackpool.Critchley has departed the role of Liverpool U23 coach to takeover the League One side.”Congratulations to Blackpool and to Neil, it’s a great thing,” said Klopp.”It’s a nice challenge for h demoted  to Triple-A to create room on the roster for Franklin. The 25-year-old second baseman is hitting a paltry .205/.266/.250 this season and is 0-for-his-last-19. The Mariners recently showed they didn’t mind sending down a former hot prospect, as Jesus Montero , so this shouldn’t come as a shock.

Still, it’s very newsworthy that Ackley has been sent down. He was the second overall draft pick in 2009 and entered the majors in 2011 with significant hype. He ended up making good on that, hitting .273/.348/.417 with 16 doubles, seven triples, six homers and six steals in 90 games, good enough to get him sixth place in AL Rookie of the Year voting, despite playing slightly more than a half season. But he hit just .226/.294/.328 last season and again appears to be regressing this year.