Andre Johnson's potential landing spots

AndreJohnson2
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that four teams have shown interest in trading for disgruntled Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson.

Juicy stuff, but we still view a swap as unlikely because of the weighty financials: A Johnson trade would leave Houston with $11.96 million in dead cap money.

The Texans have resisted Johnson's requests to be dealt, but that won't stop teams from picking up the phone.
Here's our guess on who might be zeroing in on Andre:

New England Patriots
Cap space is limited, but New England makes plenty of sense. With Tom Brady in the final stages of his career, wrangling a true No. 1 pass-catcher would fill a genuine roster need and give Johnson a chance at the Super Bowl. We doubt Houston would have interest in shopping the wideout to an AFC power, but coach Bill O'Brien's friendship with Bill Belichick might help.

Cleveland Browns
With Josh Gordon set to walk into the abyss, how could the Browns not be interested? Cleveland has a ton of cap room and a coordinator in Kyle Shanahan who worked beautifully with the pass-catcher in years past. The Browns (sans Gordon) currently field one of the NFL's least attractive gaggle of wideouts, but pairing Johnson with Johnny Manziel would turn this roster into a dark-horse contender in the AFC North.

Carolina Panthers
Houston would sooner shop Johnson to an NFC squad, and we imagine that Johnson would be willing to re-do his deal to ease Carolina's cap. This scenario would furnish Johnson with a bona fide franchise passer in Cam Newton while instantly solving the team's lack of proven playmakers at the position. Andre and rookie Kelvin Benjamin would form a fascinating duo.

Seattle Seahawks
Seattle has never been afraid to swing for the fences. General manager John Schneider has proven he can win without a dominant corps of receivers, but Johnson would furnish Russell Wilson with a game-changing presence in a passing scheme also set to unleash a healthy Percy Harvin.

New York Jets
The Jets still lack a true No. 1 receiver despite adding Eric Decker and rookie tight end Jace Amaro. Running back Chris Johnson begged Gang Green to make a play for Johnson, but such a move would require general manager John Idzik to break from his measured approach to team-building. In New York's favor: They have prairie lands of cap room.

Baltimore Ravens
The natural connection between Johnson and new Ravens coordinator Gary Kubiak makes Baltimore a logical landing spot. The team's passing attack was a snoozefest last season, but the combined powers of Torrey Smith, Steve Smith and Johnson would turn the Ravens into one of the AFC's more dynamic air attacks.

Kansas City Chiefs
Outside of the Browns, the Chiefs might have the deepest hole at wideout. Dwayne Bowe isn't the same player and Donnie Avery or Junior Hemingway would struggle to make plenty of rosters. The need is there, but the Chiefs don't strike us as the wheeling-and-dealing type.

Oakland Raiders
Oakland is a potential wild card team identified by Rapoport that could win Johnson's services. This would certainly please new Raider and Johnson's old quarterback Matt Schaub.


Bookmark and Share
(nlf.com)
Comments

Four teams interested in trading for Andre Johnson

AndreJohnson2
Before OTAs and minicamp, star wide receiver Andre Johnson told the Houston Texans he had heard enough from the new staff and coach Bill O'Brien to make him want to show up and join the team. He told them of his plans to be there for offseason workouts, despite missing the early portion of it. The question revolved around his $1 million bonus for attending workouts.

Before OTAs and minicamp, star wide receiver Andre Johnson told the Houston Texans he had heard enough from the new staff and coach Bill O'Brien to make him want to show up and join the team. He told them of his plans to be there for offseason workouts, despite missing the early portion of it. The question revolved around his $1 million bonus for attending workouts.

As he has expressed publicly, Johnson believes the team is rebuilding, and he has said he has doubts about if he wants to take part in another similar process, as he has several times in his career.

Johnson has also restructured his contract in each of the past three years at the team's behest, and he wants the same goodwill from the Texans regarding his $1 million roster bonus that he could earn Week 1 if he participates in offseason workouts and fulfills his contract.

The Texans declined to comment on the story, and Johnson's agent, Kennard McGuire, did not return a call for comment. Johnson told NFL Media on Wednesday that he didn't know if he'll be with the Texans on Week 1. Asked if he'd be at camp, Johnson said "hopefully" but he didn't know for sure.

Johnson is set to earn $10 million this year, not including his workout bonus. A source informed of Johnson's thinking says he would restructure his contract to help a potential new team get under the salary cap but a pay cut is not in the cards.

The Texans have resisted his request for a trade thus far, though four teams have expressed interest. Meanwhile, one veteran Texans player said while the team wants Johnson to play with them in 2014, they've also told him from a business sense, "Stick to your guns."

One possible option for the team to resolve this standoff (if they refuse to trade him) is to guarantee he's on the roster for 2015. That might bring Johnson back. They also could simply decide to pay him his $1 million bonus. Or, they could stand their ground and he'll play for no one in 2014.


Bookmark and Share
(nfl.com)
Comments

Calais Campbell: Cardinals still have a 'top defense'

CalaisCampbel
The Arizona Cardinals boasted the NFL's most underrated defense last season, finishing first in run defense and sixth in total yards allowed.

After watching Todd Bowles' troops lose Pro Bowl linebacker Daryl Washington on top of Karlos Dansby's exit and Tyrann Mathieu's uncertain status for the first month of the season, we have expressed doubt that the Cardinals' defense can repeat their 2013 success.

One of the biggest snubs from NFL Network's The Top 100 Players of 2014 remains unfazed about his team's prospects, however.

"We have Kevin Minter stepping up, who did great for us, but we're still talented all the way around," defensive end Calais Campbell told Trey Wingo of ESPN's NFL Live on Thursday. "The defensive line, DBs, keep the job easier. John Abraham, he had a good year last year. We'll still be a top defense. And offense got way better this year."

Campbell also touted coach Bruce Arians as a "genius" and proclaimed that the Cardinals could "really do some damage this year."

With Michael Floyd turning heads, Andre Ellington poised to "make the leap" and the offensive line overhauled, we fully expect Arians' offense to score more points in 2014.

Campbell's optimism notwithstanding, the flip side is that the defense is going to surrender more points.


Bookmark and Share
(nfl.com)
Comments

Why the Houston Texans won’t trade Andre Johnson

AndreJohnson2
Andre Johnson may not be content with his current situation, but don’t expect the Houston Texans to trade him, either.

Johnson told NFL Media he didn’t know if he would play for the Texans in 2014:

“I’ve had conversations with the organization. I haven’t been public about anything, so I just choose not to talk publicly about it. It’s in-house and that’s the way I choose to keep it. I’m not a big media guy, so I refuse to talk about it publicly. Training camp is a few weeks away, so we’ll see what happens.”

NFL Media: Will we see you in a Texans uniform next season?

“I don’t know. I can’t answer that question.”

Johnson has said he doesn’t want to be part of another rebuilding effort after Houston’s 2-14 season in 2013. He turns 33 years old Friday, and knows he doesn’t have much time left in the NFL. There have been whispers about a demand to be traded, but coach Bill O’Brien has said he would like to have Johnson with the team next season.

In an attempt to show how serious he was about the Texans improving before offering his commitment to them, Johnson has missed all offseason training so far, which forfeited a $1 million workout bonus.

The reality remains, however, that Johnson is still under contract — and one that pays him quite well. According to spotrac.com, Johnson is due $14.6 million in 2014.

But there’s another number that says everything you need to know about why Houston won’t trade Johnson: if the franchise ships Johnson elsewhere, it will result in almost $12 million in dead cap space. It’s a significant amount that makes it very difficult to conceive a feasible trade. Even if another team does make a compelling offer, it would then need to take on a huge lump of Johnson’s lucrative deal.

It’s simple: the Texans have all the leverage in this situation. The team has nothing to gain from letting Johnson go unless the package that is offered in a trade is so outrageously good that it would surpass the dead cap space and would be impossible to pass up. Don’t count on that happening.

That doesn’t mean that Johnson will absolutely play for the Texans next season. He still has the option of sitting out for the entire 2014 campaign. But let’s be real; there’s no chance he walks away from $14.6 million.

If Johnson fails to show up for training camp when the team reports July 25, fines will follow. That will be the next step in determining just how far apart the two sides are.

If Johnson is gaining anything from his absence from offseason workouts, it’s letting the franchise know that he wants to win. At this point, however, it just doesn’t make sense that he’ll be headed anywhere other than Houston.


Bookmark and Share
(usatoday.com)
Comments

Jimmy Graham not likely to appeal TE ruling

JimmyGrahamSaints
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham has until Monday to file an appeal of Steven Burbank's ruling last week that he is indeed a tight end for the purpose of a franchise tag salary.  The appeal would be to a three person panel in the NFL; however, that three person panel has to "accept" the case if Graham and his camp can prove erroneous facts in the first hearing, or a procedural error in his initial hearing.  

The panel is basically supposed to accept Burbank's ruling as fact unless it was clearly erroneous in it's finding of facts, incorrect application of the law, or abuse of discretion, according to the CBA. Simply put, if they think Steven Burbank's ruling wasn't based on the fact or "law," the three person panel can accept and overturn the ruling. In this case the law is the CBA.  

It doesn't appear Graham will file an appeal, at this point it would certainly interfere with Tuesday's deadline (July 15th) for getting a long term contract worked out with the Saints.  The more logical option for Graham is wait and see what the offer is like from the Saints.  

As I said a few days ago, I still feel really good about Graham and the Saints working out a long term contract on or before the July 15th.  


Bookmark and Share
(wwl.com)
Comments

Michael Irvin: "Cris Carter told my wife to leave me"

MichaelIrvin
Michael Irvin took great exception when Cris Carter offered some advice for the Cleveland Browns in their handling of Cleveland receiver Josh Gordon. After Carter suggested the Browns cut Gordon for his own sake, Irvin took to the Dan Le Batard Show to vent his frustrations with the remark.

“People start thinking that you have insight on the situation or the issue or the problem so when you come out and make those kinds of comments and you’re not in his sessions with his professional help, you don’t know what’s going on in those sessions, then you’re being irresponsible.”

But Irvin didn’t stop there. Clearly keyed by the situation, Irvin got personal and shared a story previously held from the public eye that fit the idea of Carter perhaps impressing his own experience on others a bit too much.

“He said to my wife — he said to my wife –you know, Michael would never come out of this problem until you leave him. Till you leave him. For years, I’ve held it. I’ve never shared that with anybody. I’ve never in my life shared that with anybody. I was so irked with Cris because he was out of line then. His a$s is out of line now. He is out. of. line.”

When asked if Irvin ever confronted Carter about the remarks, Irvin gave an emphatic answer. “Nope. Never confronted him with it because I know, just because he spoke it doesn’t make it reality and it wasn’t going to be my reality in that situation.”

The entire interview is one large, beautiful behemoth of quotable piece after another. Irvin later emphasized that he’s trying to come from a more informed stance on the issue, talking to doctors and specialists who deal with those suffering from addiction, much like the ailments which seem to afflict Gordon.

“It may not happen when the NFL wants it to happen — it’s NOT about the NFL and it may not happen when the Cleveland Browns fans want it to happen and it’s NOT about them either. It’s about that kid.”

Credit Irvin at the very least for maintaining a stance and taking the side of Gordon, on which few people are standing right now.


Bookmark and Share
(boxden.com)
Comments

Hawks expected to waive newly acquired John Salmons

JohnSalmonsRaptors
The Atlanta Hawks under the management of Danny Ferry has been much different than its previous front office leaders. The Hawks have been looking to adopt a more Spurs-like approach while creating the cap space necessary to add significant pieces. It's a change from throwing big money at players like Josh Smith and Joe Johnson while leaving zero flexibility to the roster options for this franchise.

According to Chris Vivlamore, the Hawks are expected to make another move to grab more space under the salary cap. A recent trade of Lou Williams and the draft rights to Lucas Nogueira to the Toronto Raptors for John Salmons gave the Hawks the chance to waive Salmons and create even more cap space because of his non-guaranteed money for the 2014-15 season.

Salmons was set to make $7 million in 2014-15 but only $1 million of that is guaranteed. This will take the Hawks down to roughly $19 million under the salary cap, making the potentially major players in the pursuit of a big time player under contract or looking for a nice contract in free agency. Salmons split time last season between the Kings and the Toronto Raptors while averaging 5.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 78 games. He played 22.1 minutes per game.


Bookmark and Share
(cbssports.com)
Comments

Gaby Sanchez denies PED use but won't comment on reported positive test in college

GabySanchezPirates
Information continues to drip out of the Biogenesis scandal and, Thursday afternoon, Gaby Sanchez of the Pittsburgh Pirates was answering questions about a reported link to Tony Bosch and performance-enhancing drugs.

A book except published in the Miami New Times says that Bosch's records show Sanchez in 2011 met  several times with Bosch, reputed to be a PED supplier to Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and other major leaguers. The excerpt also says Sanchez, a teammate of Braun's in college at the University of Miami, failed a drug test there in 2004.

Sanchez's name has come up before during the Biogenesis story, and Major League Baseball was aware of his failed test, but — as authors Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts point out — there apparently hasn't been enough information to punish Sanchez. So it seems unlikely that anything like a suspension would come from these revelations.







Further, the timeline Elfrink and Garcia-Roberts lay out might be off:

Bosch's records suggest he set up several meetings with the Marlins first baseman. By 2011, when it appears the first meeting occurred, Sanchez was struggling desperately and would be shipped back to the minors. One of Bosch's notations next to Sanchez's name is simple: "$$." Sanchez was never suspended over his ties to Biogenesis, and baseball sources say they were unable to conclusively determine whether he was a Bosch client.

Sanchez made the All-Star team in 2011, and though he did slump in the second half, it's unlikely he'd be worried — much less "desperate"  — about being demoted. However, his slump continued in 2012 and Sanchez was demoted to Class AAA that season. So maybe Bosch's records, which have been described as notoriously sloppy, are just hard to read.

This season, Sanchez is batting .241 with a .301 on-base percentage and a .440 slugging percentage with five home runs in 153 plate appearances as a platoon player for the Pirates. Given the pitcher-friendly dimensions of PNC Park, those numbers aren't that bad. In fact, his slugging percentage would be his personal best since his rookie season.

No matter, it's a little unfair that Sanchez has to respond to questions about drug tests in college 10 years ago, and all of Bosch's records are shady — but that hasn't stopped MLB from securing punishments for other players linked to Bosch. Braun got 65 games in 2013 and A-Rod is benched through this season.


Bookmark and Share
(sports.yahoo.com)
Comments

Ryan Braun Returns To Lineup

RyanBraun
NEWS UPDATE
Braun (back) is in the lineup for Thursday's series finale against the Phillies.

ROTOWIRE FANTASY ANALYSIS
Although Braun intimated Wednesday that he was having trouble even getting out of bed and walking, the training staff has given him the green light to return Thursday to face right-hander David Buchanan. Braun will slot into the fifth spot in the order, marking his first start in the five-hole since 2008, his second season in the majors.


Bookmark and Share
(rotowire.com)
Comments

Jimmy Gaines will need special teams to make roster

NFLU2009
Buffalo Bills LBs Jimmy Gaines, Darrin Kitchens and Nathan Williams likely will need to become core special teams players during the preseason if they have a shot to make the final roster.





Bookmark and Share
(kffl.com)
Comments

Jimmy Graham named in the top ten of NFL Network's Top 100 players list

JimmyGrahamSaints
The NFL Network's Top 100 players for 2014 wrapped up Wednesday night and when it was all said and done, the New Orleans Saints had two players in the top ten and three on the entire list.

Quarterback Drew Brees was ranked No. 11 in 2013, but climbed to No. 6 this year. Tight end Jimmy Graham took the No. 10 spot, the highest tight end on the list, and defensive end Cameron Jordan came in at No. 99.

Arizona Cardinals defensive back and Louisiana native Tyrann Mathieu said in the NFL Network feature, "Well, you know what the Saints are going to do, they stick to what they do best. But the trick is, can you stop them? Can you stop Drew when he puts that ball on the money?

"His accuracy is pinpoint," Mathieu said. 

Graham was surprisingly left off of last year's list, though, in 2012, Graham was No. 14. 

Last season Graham caught 86 passes for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Saints.

The list is determined by a league-wide vote of NFL players.


Bookmark and Share
(nfl.com)
Comments

Ravens' top plays: Ray Lewis bests George

RayLewisRavens3
This is one of three nominations for the most memorable play in team history. The Mile High Miracle and Jermaine Lewis' kickoff return in the Super Bowl were featured the previous two days. Please vote for your choice as the Ravens’ most memorable play.

Score: Ravens 24, Titans 10
Date: Jan. 7, 2001 Site: Adelphia Coliseum

Of all the big plays in Ray Lewis' decorated career, the most memorable one was when he collided with running back Eddie George in the 2000 playoffs. The result: Lewis returned an interception, off a pass intended for George, for the touchdown that sealed a 24-10 AFC divisional playoff win for the Ravens.

Down by a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Titans were trying to muster a scoring drive against the Ravens' record-setting defense and looked to George. Lewis was looking at George, too, and he got to the Titans' leading rusher in the left flat almost as soon as the pass did.

George bobbled the pass, and Lewis delivered the turnover by wrestling the ball away from him. Lewis then broke a leg tackle by George and ran 50 yards down the sideline for his first career touchdown. That score put the Ravens ahead 24-10 with under seven minutes left in the game.

"He's their offensive cornerstone and I'm our defensive cornerstone," Lewis said. "It was just a great war. We're great friends off the field, but when we're on the field, it's just two gladiators going after one another."

This was the signature play for a Ravens defense that had set the NFL record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season. The Ravens went on to beat the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Championship Game and the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

In both wins, the Ravens' defense didn't allow an offensive touchdown. Lewis, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year that season, would win Super Bowl Most Valuable Player.


Bookmark and Share
(espn.com)
Comments

Andre Johnson's TD catch No. 44 of 100 on list

AndreJohnson2
Not much went right for the Texans in 2013. But Andre Johnson still played at an extremely high level.

Johnson caught 109 passes for 1,407 yards and five touchdowns. His five touchdowns came in a two-game span in early November with Case Keenum under center. Johnson caught three touchdowns against the Colts and two against the Cardinals in back-to-back weeks.

But Johnson's last touchdown catch in the Arizona game was the most spectacular. With 4:34 left against the Cardinals, Johnson rose up to catch a ball that was tipped off the hands of corner Patrick Peterson. After he grabbed the ball, Johnson somehow got both feet in.

That great play is No. 44 on the NFL Network's countdown of the best 100 plays of 2013.

That touchdown pulled the Texans within three points but they ended up losing 27-24. In fact, that was just one loss in 14 straight. And that touchdown catch in Week 10 was Johnson's last of the season.

Johnson has been frustrated this offseason and didn't show up to any of the team's spring practices. The 32-year-old said his frustration stems from losing.


Bookmark and Share
(csnhouston.com)
Comments

Cavs pursuing James Jones as they chase LeBron

JamesJonesHeat
The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly looking at signing Miami Heat free agent swingman James Jones and Memphis Grizzlies free agent swingman Mike Miller.




Hmmm! This is the same James Jones who LeBron James wanted to play more in the playoffs, isn't it? Fancy that. Oh, and this is the same Mike Miller who the Heat amnestied last summer, which James reportedly wasn't thrilled about? The same one James reportedly contacted last week about joining him if he left Miami? What a coincidence.

And the Cavs are reportedly going after Ray Allen, too? OK, sure.

It's funny to see Cleveland chasing the sharpshooters James played with in Miami, but it's hard to really knock them for it. The superstar knows the value of having reliable marksmen spacing the floor, and if the Cavs think getting guys he's comfortable with could help recruit him, why not? This is the best player in the world, and the Cleveland organization might as well try everything it can if it believes it has a real chance.


Bookmark and Share
(cbssports.com)
Comments

Leonard Hankerson's Redskins future up in the air

LeonardHankersonSkins
In the aftermath of the 2011 NFL Draft, Leonard Hankerson claimed he was better than every wide receiver selected before him -- including A.J. Green and Julio Jones.

Now Hankerson's Washington Redskins future is up in the air.

Coming off reconstructive knee surgery, Hankerson had yet to receive medical clearance by the end of offseason practices in late June. He's a candidate to open training camp on the physically unable to perform list, per The Washington Post.Having displaced Josh Morgan as the starter opposite Pierre Garcon early last season, Hankerson was on pace for career-highs across the board when he tore his ACL and LCL in November.

Now that the Redskins have added DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts and impressive rookie Ryan Grant, Hankerson will be no higher than fourth or fifth on the depth chart if he recaptures pre-injury form. More likely, he will open the season on the PUP list while the organization tries to figure out his role in Jay Gruden's offense.

Hankerson will never come close to matching the careers of Green and Jones, two of the NFL's premier wideouts. At this point, it's fair to question whether he will ever start another game in the NFL.


Bookmark and Share
(nfl.com)
Comments

Frank Gore's carries to decrease a bit

FrankGore2
San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore should see around 220 carries this season, according to ESPN.com's Bill Williamson. Gore carried the ball 276 times last year.

Fantasy Tip: Young backs Carlos Hyde and Marcus Lattimore will begin to cut into Gore's workload this season, but the bulk of the carries will go Gore's way if he is healthy. Consider him a low-end RB2.


Bookmark and Share
(kffl.com)
Comments

Ryan Braun Expected To Return Before The Break

RyanBraun
NEWS UPDATE
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Tuesday that Braun (back) should be able to play again on the team's current homestand, Andrew Gruman of FOX Sports Wisconsin reports.

ROTOWIRE FANTASY ANALYSIS
Another flareup with Braun's back spasms resulted in his removal from Monday's game, and Roenicke decided it was best to leave him on the bench and give Logan Schafer the start in right Tuesday. Fortunately, it sounds like Braun's setback is relatively minor, as he's expected to play again before the All-Star break, though Roenicke did not say whether he'd be back before the end of the Phillies series.


Bookmark and Share
(rotowire.com)
Comments

Kendal Thompkins Making Impression With Predators

NFLU2009
When Kendal Thompkins did not get a call after attending a Kansas City Chiefs rookie minicamp last year, he began preparing for his next opportunity.

One like his brother, Kenbrell, received with the New England Patriots last year.

"When I started playing football, that's when my life completely changed for me," said Kendal, a first-year wide receiver with the Orlando Predators.

The path to Orlando wasn't easy. Thompkins faced multiple roadblocks growing up in Liberty City, one of the roughest neighborhoods in Miami, but he always kept playing football.

"His commitment to excellence is unmatched," Predators coach Rob Keefe said. "He puts in so much time to studying the game."

Thompkins, 24, has loved football for as long as he can remember, ever since he and Kenbrell shared a room with beds covered in football-themed sheet sets and curtains to match.

The brothers, the youngest of five boys with a little sister, were two years apart and the only ones with a passion for the sport.

"We'd sleep with the football, man," said Kenbrell, whom Thompkins calls every day for advice. "We always had the video games and Madden."

Their mother, Gloria Thompkins, used to yell when they tossed a ball around the house. At the time, the single mom could not imagine her sons playing pro football while she worked two jobs at fast-food restaurants. Or when Kenbrell was arrested seven times, some of them related to drugs, before his 19thbirthday.

And especially when she was huddled on the floor with six children, hoping bullets didn't fly through the house during a drive-by shooting.

"Every day, one thing we had to tell each other was, 'I love you, and it's going to get better,''' Gloria said.

"Every corner you turn, there's always something trying to tell you what you can't do and who you aren't. You have to have that fight in you to keep pushing."

Kendal did. He stayed out of trouble but couldn't play for Miami Northwestern's football team for two years because his GPA was too low. Hours studying with tutors and attending summer school allowed Thompkins to raise his grades and take the field for the Bulls his junior year.

"I had to work so hard to play that football kept me out of a lot of things," he said. "I didn't have time to be out running the streets."

The Hurricanes offered Thompkins a scholarship after his senior season. He finished his UM career with 14 receptions for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

"Seeing him get that scholarship, that set me up and put me in the position I am today," said Kenbrell, who took a year off after high school before heading to junior college and then Cincinnati. "I was confused.

"I had a lot of loose screws at the time and didn't understand my purpose in life. He motivated me to put my cleats back on."

It's a good thing because Kenbrell's time with the Patriots has pushed Thompkins to keep striving for the NFL. Keefe said Thompkins (5-10, 180 pounds), who caught three passes for 23 yards and a touchdown Sunday in a victory against the Jacksonville Sharks, is dynamic, quick and explosive.

"Watching my brother and seeing him do it made me want to do it that much more," Thompkins said. "We make each other better."


Bookmark and Share
(orlandosentinel.com)
Comments

Drew Brees: Jimmy Graham revolutionized TE position

JimmyGrahamSaints
An arbitrator recently deemed Jimmy Graham a tight end for franchise tag purposes. However, in New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees' view, how Graham is designated doesn't encapsulate how he's changed the way the position is played.

"It doesn't really matter," Brees told CanalStreetChronicles.com last week about Graham being a tight end. "At the end of the day, Jimmy Graham has revolutionized the position. He's a guy who is so talented at so many things you know and obviously he's a big part of our offense and I hope that they're able to reach a long-term agreement here sooner than later."

We fully expect Graham to get the largest tight end contract in NFL history. Other tight ends jumpstarted the evolution of the position -- Shannon Sharpe, Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates are recent examples -- and Graham is a byproduct of the current pass-heavy league. However, Graham's production and recent arbitration have certainly altered how we differentiate and discuss pass-catching tight ends.

Brees said he is "anxious and hopeful" Graham and the Saints will agree to a long-term deal prior to the July 15th deadline. NFL Media's Albert Breer noted last week that the Saints anticipate an agreement with Graham "right before" the clock strikes midnight.

"I was in somewhat of a similar position two years ago, so I get it. I understand how this goes, but he knows that all of his teammates are behind him and hoping that he's able to get what he deserves and then rejoin the team as quickly as possible," Brees said.


Bookmark and Share
(nfl.com)
Comments

Ray Lewis featured on Oprah Winfrey Network show searching for water in Africa

RayLewisRavens2
Ray Lewis was always viewed as something of a messianic figure here in Baltimore.

Tonight, we can watch him try to expand his influence to the African nation of Tanzania, where he and a group of NFL stars were filmed for the Oprah Winfrey Network show “Operation Change” working with a group trying to find water for the Maasai tribe.

The episode features Lewis, Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Minnesota Vikings receiver Greg Jennings, and former Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris working with the aid group WorldServe to try and find a sustainable water source in the area.

Lewis, now with ESPN, isn’t featured much in the trailer, but if the Oprah Winfrey Network is your thing and you need a dose of Ray Lewis in your life, feel free to let me know how the episode turns out.


Bookmark and Share
(baltimoresun.com)
Comments

Saints disagree with reason behind Jimmy Graham ruling, website reports

JimmyGrahamSaints
Yes, the Saints like the decision from arbitrator Stephen Burbank that tight end Jimmy Graham is a tight end for franchise-tag purposes.  But the Saints aren’t thrilled with the way Burbank reached his conclusion.

Per a source with knowledge of the team’s position, the Saints disagree with the notion that the question of tight end vs. receiver boils down to whether the player lines up most of the time within four yards of an offensive tackle.  As the Saints see it, a tight end is a tight end no matter where he lines up or how often he lines up there.

The Saints see three key factors for determining tight end status: (1) the player’s size; (2) the player’s position group for practice and meeting purposes; and (3) the manner in which the opponent defends him in man coverage.

The shifting of tight ends to the slot between the tackle and receiver and/or wide of the widest receiver has nothing to do with making the tight end into a wide receiver.  Moving the tight end has one primary goal:  To aid the offense’s assessment before the snap as to whether the defense has lined up in man or zone.

Because most teams defend tight ends when in man coverage with a linebacker or a safety, the use of a linebacker or a safety to cover a tight end when he’s in the slot or split wide means that the defense is showing man-to-man coverage before the snap.  If the tight end lines up in the slot or wide and a cornerback lines up on him, the defense is conveying a zone look.

While exceptions exists (for example, the Patriots used cornerback Aqib Talib to cover Graham and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez in 2013), receivers are never covered by a linebacker.  So if the Saints come out of the huddle and Graham splits wide on one side and he’s covered by a linebacker or a safety and not the corner that would be assigned to that side of the field in zone, the coverage is man-to-man.

In other words, the Saints believe a tight end is still a tight end even when he’s not lined up tight to the end of the line because of the way he’s defended.  Which means that, in theory, Graham could split wide on every snap and remain a tight end.

The question could become a bit more complicated if Graham lines up as a wide receiver so often that teams began to defend him like a receiver.  For now, though, the various looks-like-a-duck factors conclusively point to Graham being a tight end.

It’s possible, if not likely, that Burbank agreed with the concept, but that he felt compelled (as judges and arbitrators often do) to come up with a formula or to otherwise justify the decision quantitatively.  Per the source, the four-yard-split concept appeared in the NFL’s pre-hearing brief, and it didn’t get much play during the two-day hearing.  However, since the parties stipulated (that’s a fancy lawyer term for “agreed&rdquoWinking to the various percentages of times that Graham lined up tight to the tackle and within four yards of the tackle and beyond four yards of the tackle, it was easy for Burbank to add up the snaps and fashion a standard.

Which makes the decision seem a lot more arbitrary, and which could make it a little more vulnerable to reversal, if/when Graham appeals the decision.


Bookmark and Share
(profootballtalk.com)
Comments

Peter O’Brien records his third multi-homer game

PeterObrienCanes
The Thunder offense broke out for 10 hits in a 10-3 win over the Reading Fightin’ Phils in front of 4,519 at First Energy Stadium Monday.

O’Brien recorded his third multi-homer game with a pair of solo home runs. His third-inning shot off Hoby Milner (5-5) gave the Thunder a 4-2 advantage. O’Brien added his 27th home run of the season in the seventh.

O’Brien scored the first of his four runs when he scored on Jose Toussen’s two-run double in the second inning. Ali Castillo later drove in Toussen with a base hit, the first of two run-scoring singles for Castillo.

The offense provided by O’Brien (2-for-3, four runs, two RBIs) and Toussen (2-for-3, three RBIs) was plenty for Bryan Mitchell (2-5). Mitchell went a season-high 6⅔ innings and allowed just two runs on five hits and three walks. The right-hander struck out five.


Bookmark and Share
(nj.com)
Comments

Yonder Alonso May Shift Rehab To Arizona

YonderAlonsoPadres
NEWS UPDATE
Alonso (wrist) may shift his rehab to the Padres' minor league facility in Arizona this week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

ROTOWIRE FANTASY ANALYSIS
Alonso is expected to start hitting in the near future, but no time line for his return to the majors has emerged since he landed on the disabled list on June 19. His absence has allowed Jake Goebbert and Tommy Medica to split time at first base.


Bookmark and Share
(rotowire.com)
Comments

Ryan Braun expects to return soon from back spasms

RyanBraun
Cincinnati — While he missed the Milwaukee Brewers' series finale with the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park, Ryan Braun seemed fairly confident that the lower back spasms he's been suffering won't be a lingering issue.

"I'm OK," he said before the game. "Sore, but as back spasms typically go, just get treatment as much as I can today, hope that it gets better and do the things I can to get back as soon as possible."

The issue cropped up during batting practice before Saturday's game, and he wound up playing just one inning — striking out swinging in the top of the first — before giving way to Logan Schafer.

"I don't know if it was one specific swing in BP, but I felt it during BP and thought that I'd do what I could to play through it," Braun said. "And it just wasn't mobile enough for me to be able to really move around."

"All I can do is get multiple rounds of treatment today and see where we're at throughout the course of the day and tomorrow."

Braun doesn't have much experience with back spasms, but they're not something that typically lingers.

"It shouldn't, knock on wood," he said. "We should hopefully knock them out, and it's something that should go away."

Braun has also dealt with a nerve issue in his right thumb as well as a right oblique strain that forced him out for 14 games.

The timing of Braun's absence isn't great from a couple of perspectives.

Not only do the Brewers want to continue to play well with the first half of the season coming to a close, but Braun has been looking better at the plate. He's currently hitting .288 with 11 home runs and 49 runs batted in.

Knowing early on that Braun wouldn't be ready to go allowed manager Ron Roenicke put together a lineup that featured Jean Segura hitting second with Schafer down in the eighth spot. On Saturday, he was forced to bat Schafer in Braun's second spot, giving him two straight left-handed hitters with Scooter Gennett leading off.

"I didn't like yesterday," Roenicke said. "I talked to him before the game, and I told him, 'I don't want you in there if I'm having to take you out of there.'

"Because you set up a lineup for certain personnel, and when a guy comes out of a lineup or you think he has a good chance of coming out of a lineup, now I've got two left-handers back-to-back, which now allows them to bring in their two left-handers if it works out in the game, to get your two lefties.

"That's not an ideal way to do it."


Bookmark and Share
(jsonline.com)
Comments

Peter O'Brien selected to Eastern League All-Star Game

PeterObrienCanes
The Eastern League Monday selected four players from the Trenton Thunder to represent the team at the EL All-Star game.

Left-hander Matt Tracy, outfielder Ben Gamel, outfielder/first baseman/catcher Peter O’Brien and catcher Gary Sanchez have been selected to play in the showcase game which is set for Wednesday, July 16 at Peoples Natural Gas Field in Altoona, Pa.

O’Brien and Tracy were chosen via fan voting. At least one position player, and one pitcher, from each team were selected by fans through online and stadium balloting. The remaining selections were made through voting by league media, managers and officials.

O’Brien ranks third in all of Minor League Baseball with 25 home runs. In 53 games with the Thunder, he has hit 15 home runs, which is tied for fourth in the league, and driven in 39 runs; tied for second on the team. The second-round pick in 2012 played the first 30 games of his season with Single-A Tampa where he hit 10 home runs.


Bookmark and Share
(nj.com)
Comments

Vince Wilfork Ranked 8th Best Patriot

VinceWilforkPatriots2
Vince Wilfork checks in at No. 8.

Analysis: It’s tough to know what to expect from Vince Wilfork in 2014.

Though it is likely he was nursing some type of ailment early on last season, it’s impossible to ignore that the 32-year-old defensive tackle wasn’t playing at his typical level before going down with an Achilles injury in late September.

Now, moving forward, it is impossible to ignore Wilfork’s age and injury. Will he return to being one of the league’s most imposing defensive tackles now that he’s all patched up? Or will he be slow to return to form? Those are questions that cannot yet be answered.

For his part, Wilfork looked good during spring practices and was further along than expected. But, to be fair, it’s one thing to look good when contact is limited. It’s something completely different when someone like Logan Mankins is pushing back with full force.

Still, even with those questions, Wilfork remains one of the most important players on the roster moving forward. There is some depth at defensive tackle, with Tommy Kelly, Dominique Easley, Sealver Siliga and Chris Jones filling out the depth chart. But both Kelly and Easley are coming back from ACL injuries, and Siliga and Jones are better served as rotation players.

For the New England defense to perform as hoped, it will need Wilfork manning the middle of the defensive line.


Bookmark and Share
(masslive.com)
Comments

Darryl Sharpton Ranks As 23rd Best Redskin

DarrylSharpton
23.  Darryl Sharpton – inside linebacker

Age 26, 5-11, 235 pounds

Analysis: Darryl Sharpton has started 19 games at inside linebacker over his four seasons with the Houston Texans.  With his most extensive action coming last season where he tallied 87 tackles on the year.  This experience will give him an edge when it comes to competing for a starting spot with the Redskins.  But even if he doesn’t start, Sharpton should give a huge boost to the Redskins coverage on special teams.


Bookmark and Share
(riggosrag.com)
Comments

Despite ruling, ground still set for new Jimmy Graham contract

JimmyGrahamSaints
Heading into the holiday weekend, the Saints find themselves at odds with a player in terms of his worth, re-evaluating how to lock down a critical component to their offense for the long haul.

If the Jimmy Graham negotiations sound familiar, they should. This exact same thing happened two years ago with Drew Brees.

Nearly to the day, even. On July 3, 2012, an arbitrator ruled on Brees franchise-tag status, deciding New Orleans had just one more opportunity to tag Brees (the Chargers hit him in 2005 after his rookie deal was up).

10 days later, on the eve of the deadline to negotiate a new deal with players who were given the franchise tag, New Orleans and Brees hammered out a five-year, $100 million deal.

Despite a different arbitration result -- the Saints won out over Graham this time around -- the offseason script should still produce a similar ending. So what would a deal look like?

The key is both sides now know where to start negotiating.

Jimmy Graham is a tight end. His Twitter account and the legal system tell us so. He'll be a tight end next year too, when the Saints would have the option of franchising him a second time at 120 percent of this year's tag cost.

Therefore $15,477,000 is the baseline for guaranteed money owed to Graham when the Saints are talking a new deal. (A particularly substantial difference from the $27,086,400 Graham would be "owed" under a pair of wide receiver franchise tags.)

If you're talking new deal with Graham you've got to assume he's going to be paid as the top tight end in the NFL. Rob Gronkowski's currently the highest-paid tight end, at $9 million a year. Gronk's deal is missing substantial guaranteed money, however.

So why not bump up Graham's contract to $20 million guaranteed over a the course of a five-year deal and give him $45.5 million over the life of the contract?
It would give Graham the highest APY of any tight end ($9.1 million), the highest guaranteed (by far, $20 million) of any tight end in the NFL and also the highest guarantee per year ($4 million) of any tight end in the NFL.

For the Saints, it's not a really substantial reach: they're on the hook for more than $15 million if they want Graham around for two more years anyway. It keeps them from hitting the double-digit cost per year while keeping Brees top weapon around for as long as the quarterback can play (and through Graham's prime plus a year or so).

Additionally, it pays Graham, basically, like a top-10 wide receiver. He's one of the top 15 players in the game, if you're willing to believe Pete Prisco's rankings ... or Pat Kirwan's, where he's a top-10 player overall.

Per OverTheCap.com, Graham's (hypothetical) $9.1 million a year would rank ninth overall for wide receivers, just behind Andre Johnson and just ahead of Greg Jennings and Victor Cruz.

Factor in the large guaranteed sum for his services and it's hard to imagine Graham turning down such a deal, even if it doesn't hit the $12 million per year a franchise-tagged wideout would get.

Get Graham there and you're plugging him in, contractually-speaking, as a top-10 paid wide receiver in the NFL per OverTheCap.com, somewhere in the range of Greg Jennings, Andre Johnson and Victor Cruz.

There are concerns. The two sides are reportedly at "ground zero" with negotiations. Graham and the Saints don't have long to negotiate -- July 13 is the deadline to reach a new deal with a player who was given the franchise tag.

But history and a logical middle ground for contract negotiations make it a good bet Graham ends up inking a deal before things can get ugly.


Bookmark and Share
(cbssports.com)
Comments

Devin Hester's top returns: No. 1

DevinHesterBears2
We conclude our series on new Atlanta Falcons return specialist Devin Hester and his top 5 returns, as he ranked them. Hester set an NFL record with 18 kick-return scores in eight seasons with the Chicago Bears and is tied with Deion Sanders for the NFL record with 19 career returns for scores (including a return of a missed field goal).

Here is the return Hester ranked the best of them all:

The scenario: The Bears trailed the Cardinals 20-0 at halftime during Hester's rookie season and were still down 23-10 with just under six minutes left in regulation. After cornerback Charles Tillman scored the Bears' second defensive touchdown off a fumble recovery, the stage was set for Hester's late-game heroics. He fielded a Scott Player punt with 3:17 remaining, followed a block up the middle, swerved by a pair of defenders, then made a quick cut to elude Player en route to an 83-yard touchdown. Thanks to Hester and a missed 41-yard field goal by Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers, the Bears escaped with a 24-23 win to move to 6-0 despite not scoring an offensive touchdown. The dramatic ending set off an unforgettable post-game rant by Cardinals coach Dennis Green, who claimed, "The Bears are who we thought they were ... and we let them off the hook."

Hester's take: "The top one was Arizona. It just brought back memories of the Louisville game I had at Miami where it was a prime-time game. We played Louisville that Thursday night, and we played Arizona on (Monday) night. Same situation: We're down late in the game and then we take a punt return to the house that changed the whole momentum and won the game."

Blocker's perspective: "For me personally, it was special and electric because I was playing against my brother and my whole family was at the game. We knew we were going to get it done on special teams. Coach (Dave) Toub said all week we were going to score, but we thought we could score every game. Toub pulled us all over on the sideline and he's like, 'We're going to score. This is our chance. This is the return we're running.' He told me, 'If you can block it, block it. And the return is going to go away from you.' That means I would get to be in the wall to escort Devin in. So I knew I was going to hold up my guy. We're talking fourth quarter, end of the game: They kicked our [butt] the first half and all of a sudden, our defense starting kicking their [butts]. And it's not often that you have a special teams unit that can change a ballgame. We had one of those teams. Toub made the call, and it was a green return. We had yellow and green -- which meant a right return. So I tried to block the punt, and I barely missed it. So I got up off the ground and told myself to hustle so I could set this wall. So I picked off a guy. Then I picked off another guy. Devin's still running and all of a sudden, I'm playing basketball out there setting screens. I'm out there doing iron crosses and Devin's wiggling all the way to the end zone. We just erupted. There was nothing like that feeling, being a special teams guy. I was like playing for the '85 Bears and playing on defense. It was probably the best special teams unit to ever exist in NFL history. That was us those two years with Devin Hester. That was definitely us." Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, who provided the key block on Hester's most memorable return.


Bookmark and Share
(espn.com)
Comments

Will Frank Gore Top 200 Carries?

FrankGore2
Right now, I’d probably guess Gore would get about 220 carries. The 49ers are paying him $6.4 million, so they think he can still help, even though he is 31 and is entering the final year of his contract. Rookie Carlos Hyde and Marcus Lattimore, if he can stay healthy, will take carries. But Gore is still Gore. He will have a role. Gore had 276 carries last season, which was the third-most in his nine-season career. He is a trusted resource for the 49ers. Don’t expect to see a dramatic carry decrease.


Bookmark and Share
(espn.com)
Comments

Happy ending to come from Jimmy Graham contract dispute

JimmyGrahamSaints
So, it's official. Jimmy Graham has been a tight end, just like his social media profile and the New Orleans Saints roster said he was. Of course he was.
Didn't Graham briefly hold a record for tight ends? Deep down, or maybe even not so deep down, Jimmy and his agent knew the ruling would confirm his status as a tight end in the National Football League.

Without speaking to anyone directly involved in the situation, I would be willing to bet lunch at Mother's that Graham will be in camp and under contract on time. It makes sense for him and for the Saints.

Who knows how Graham would do outside of Sean Payton's play calling and Drew Brees' passing brilliance. Graham does well in and because of the Saints' offensive schemes. Not only is he one of Drew's favorite targets, but he is also like family to Number 9. Brees has mentored the former hoopster, making the duo a force with which to be reckoned. The Brees-to-Graham connection, in my mind, will be at full force this season.

Now, what has Graham gained by filing his grievance? He has made the league take a look at position-based pay a whole new way. Should a receiver really be paid more than a tight end, simply because of where he lines up before the snap? It's something league management and the NFLPA will be dealing with sooner rather than later.

So, how will the Saints and Graham work it out? Saints GM Mickey Loomis is as smart as they come and works overtime to keep his franchise a friendly place to play. It's no secret that free agents like Curtis Lofton sought out a position with the Black and Gold because of the way players are treated in New Orleans. Loomis will, no doubt, show Jimmy the love and respect he deserves.

My guess would be that in addition to a base salary that will make Graham the highest paid tight end in the league, Loomis will offer performance-based bonuses. Expect a contract that pays dividends to Graham if he meets or exceeds usual tight end thresholds. If Graham catches as many passes as a top NFL receiver, he'd have the ability to earn something close to elite receiver dollars. It's a win-win for everyone, especially the Who Dat faithful.

Now, if both sides could come up with a bonus plan that improves Graham's run blocking, it very well could be a Black and Gold Super Bowl in early February.


Bookmark and Share
(sportsnola.com)
Comments

NBA Summer League proCanes

TreyMcKinneyCanes
Orlando Summer League: 
Trey McKinney Jones – Miami Heat
DeQuan Jones – Indiana Pacers

Las Vegas Summer League:
Rion Brown – Charlotte Hornets
Kenny Kadji – Milwaukee Bucks
Shane Larkin – New York Knicks
DeQuan Jones – New Orleans Pelicans
Trey McKinney Jones – Miami Heat
Durand Scott – San Antonio Spurs


Bookmark and Share
Comments

James Jones honored by Adrienna Sotomayor's Dream Chasers Benefit

JamesJonesHeat
Today Miami Heat star James Jones embraces local Florida student Adrienna Sotomayor's as she presents Dream Chasers Benefit. "Over the years, I have encountered many young people in our community. Often times, young people are seeking someone just to help guide and encourage them to believe in themselves. Adrienna Sotomayor has volunteered with the James Jones camp for over three years as a camp counselor. I was honored she choose us as one of the organizations she wanted to raise funds for and give back to for her Silver Knight Project - Dreams Chasers Benefit." James Jones.

"Enjoy a fun filled Dream Chasers evening with breathtaking acts performed by the youth of Miami- Dade County. The Dream Chasers Benefit is my Miami Herald Silver Knight project. Performing Arts is essential in our community. It's our goal to prove that through vocal, instrumental, dance, spoken word pieces, and much more. The Dream Chasers Benefit is raising funds for Voice of Love Training & Development, Inc. and The James Jones Legacy Foundation. Tickets are only $6.00 and will be sold at the door. Children 5 and under enter in free! Don't forget to bring extra cash for food purchases and awesome raffle prizes! Raffle tickets start at just $1 with more options to purchase chances for the bigger raffle prizes. Thanks to all the Dream Chasers Benefit Sponsors for offering many chances to win amazing gift cards and prizes." Adrienna Sotomayor.

The Dream Chasers headline talents are local gifted performers who are dedicated to share the arts with our community. Miami Heat star James Jones donated two very cool raffle items, but you will need to secure tickets now to see what they are! James will surprise the Dream Chasers audience not only with his attendance, but will speak directly to them on stage. A recording of James' voice on someone's cell phone message is offered as a VIP raffle prize. Mr. Jones is also donating a pair of autographed gym shoes. This is one South Florida fundraising event not to be missed. If you are a Miami Heat fan come out with the entire family.

As you know the Silver Knight Awards program are designed to recognize outstanding students who have maintained good grades. They must unselfishly apply their special knowledge or talents to contribute significant service to their schools and communities. I love the performing arts, I'm a Glee member, proud to sing at my church, and everywhere I am invited to perform. That is why I choose to direct, produce, perform and present the Dream Chasers Benefit. Adrienna Sotomayor Director and Creator for Dream Chasers Benefit.

Adrienna Sotomayor represent her school's Music Department, and is also going for the music category for Silver Knights nominee for Mater Academy's class of 2015. Special thanks to Adrienna Sotomayor's Silver Knight adviser, Ms. Maria Montero and her Principal Ms. Judith Marty. For more information please visit Dream Chasers Benefit. Mater Academy Charter Middle/High is located at 7901 NW 103rd Street Hialeah Gardens, Florida 33016.

Congratulation to Adrienna Sotomayor and her Silver Knight sponsors which include: Mater Academy High School, Miami Heat/American Airlines Arena, Miami Heat’s #22 James Jones, Starbucks Hialeah Gardens, Menchies Miami Lakes, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Outback Steakhouse Miami Lakes, Wal-mart Hialeah Gardens & Armstrong Creative Services, Blacc Boutique & Beauty Schools of America who have graciously agreed to provide make-up & hair styles for all of the Dream Chasers performers. "It's youth leaders like Adrienna Sotomayor who are making this world a better place, giving back to our society through her passion for the arts." Broadway Global.


Bookmark and Share
(examiner.com)
Comments

Yasmani Grandal hits seventh home run against Giants

YasmaniGrandalPadres
Yasmani Grandal hit his seventh home run of the season in Sunday's loss to the Giants.

Grandal hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning off former closer Sergio Romo, pulling the Padres to within two runs. The homer was his first since June 12. The catcher has been an offensive disappointment this season, batting just .206/.296/.377 with 19 RBI in 64 games.


Bookmark and Share
(rotoworld.com)
Comments

Yonder Alonso making progress in comeback

YonderAlonsoPadres
SAN DIEGO -- Two of the Padres' starting infielders are creeping closer to returning to the lineup.

Second baseman Jedd Gyorko, who's been on the disabled list since June 6 with plantar fasciitis, will likely resume hitting in the cage this weekend, according to manager Bud Black.

"Some soft toss, some tee work," Black said. "Probably no on-field activity for a couple days after, but he's getting closer."

Next week, first baseman Yonder Alonso will swing a bat for the first time since succumbing to right wrist tendinitis and heading to the DL on June 19. He won't return to the lineup until after the All-Star break and won't travel with the team when it finishes off the first half with trips to Colorado and Los Angeles next week.

"He'll work here and get treatment with our guys who stay back," Black said before Friday's series opener with the Giants at Petco Park. "But he's feeling better."

Tommy Medica and Jake Goebbert have shared time at first base in Alonso's absence. Since Alonso was placed on the DL, Medica has reached base in 11 of 12 games while Goebbert is batting .357 in 14 at-bats, albeit with no extra-base hits.


Bookmark and Share
(rotoworld.com)
Comments

Ryan Braun exits with back spasms

RyanBraun
CINCINNATI -- Brewers right fielder Ryan Braun left Saturday's 1-0 win against the Cincinnati Reds with spasms in his lower back.

Braun struck out swinging in the first and played right field in the bottom half of the inning. He was replaced in the field by Logan Schafer for the second inning.

Braun has been one of the Brewers' most consistent hitters lately. He had an eight-game hitting streak snapped during a 4-2 loss on Friday night. Braun is batting .289 with 11 homers and a team-high 49 RBIs.

Braun missed 14 games in May because of a strained right oblique. He's started 68 games, including one as a designated hitter.

The NL Central leaders are an NL-best 52-36.


Bookmark and Share
(espn.com)
Comments