series reviewing recent books on the women’s footb

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The  designated pitcher Travis Blackley and first baseman for assignment Friday, as they begin to trim down their roster heading into the regular season..

Barton has been unable to live up to his former billing as a top prospect at the majors, and struggled in the spring as well. He batted .206 with 11 walks and only two extra-base hits in 48 plate appearances.

Barton left the clubhouse without commenting to the iverpool captain Sami Hyypia says Steven Gerrard could handle the manager’s job.Gerrard is already being linked with the Liverpool job (for the post-Klopp era) after just rmer Barcelona captain Carles Puyol admits he twice had offers to join Real Madrid during his career.The Spaniard has claimed that Los Blancos unsuccessfully approached him twice, in 2001/02 and 2004/05.”Real Madrid appointed [Jose Antonio] Camacho aone season as Rangers manager. Does Hyypia believe Gerrard could cope with the media. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that if Barton clears waivers, he cannot refuse a minor-league assignment, since this is the first time he has been designae Ireland U21 star signed a new long-term contract with the club earlier this season.And Howe has been delighted with Kilkenny’s improvement in training.He told the Daily Echo: “It’s a massive moment for him because I think it’s further evidence thatted for assignment. 

n derby favourites.The Nerazzurri face their city

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pitcher , who is expected to begin the season on the disabled list, made an appearance in a minor-league game against Class A West Virginia Friday.  Hughes pitched Friday night.Villa collected their first Premier League points of the season as goals from Wesley and Anwar El Ghazi gave them victory over Everton.Smith said, “I am more pleased to get the first points in the Premier League. Our performances have b three innings as he allowed three runs on six hits, including a home run. He also struck out three and did not rsenal’s board do not see Freddie Ljungberg as a realistic prospect for the permanent manager’s position.The Daily Mail says Arsenal chiefs do not have Ljungberg on their list of potential Unai Emery replacements. Instead, Mikel Arteta, Patrick Vieirissue a walk. Hughes is just happy to be back on the mound as he continues to work his way back from a bulging disk in his upper back. 

“I feel great, which is goal ede is currently caretaker boss of the Gunners, a team he spent many years with as a player.And his former teammate Cole thinks he has what is takes to replace Unai Emery on a permanent basis.”Every club has to change. They’re in another transition pNo. 1,” Hughes told .com. “I got up to [57] pitches, so I was happy with that. I would have liked to go more than three innings, but it is what it is and hopefully the next one I’m a little bit better, a little bit cleaner out there.”

Didier Deschamps is full of praise for Barcelona

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The Indians optioned , , , and to Triple-A Columbus Monday. The team also reasLiverpool have made a Sardinians until 2022.Cagliari announced on Thursday: “Maran got stuck into his new role with enthusiasm, appreciated for his professional and human qualities.“With sincerity and dedication, he immediately put the team at the base of the technical move for Augsburg fullback Philipp Max.Sport says Liverpool are in talks with the agent of Max.The 25-year-old Augsburg ace plays at left-bacared Jose Mourinho’s arrival was “strange”.Tottenham’s form has been hit and miss under Mourinho this campaign, but Alderweireld says he and his team-mates are trying to “make the best of it”.Opening up on Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking and Mourinho’sk, where Liverpool are short of cover after allowing Alberto Moreno to leave on a free signed and to minor-league camp.

Carl Crawford suffers setback; opening day in question

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left fielder has been shut down for a week due to nerve irritation that stems from offseason Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, manager Don Mattingly told reporters on Friday (). And though it has been expected that Crawford would be the opening-day starter in left for the Dodgers, Mattingly told reporters that is now a question mark.

“I think it challenges opening day a little bit,” Mattingly said (), “[but] I don’t think it’s out of the question.”

And it’s not just opening day that is in question. At this point, it appears opening the season on the disabled list is possible, too.

“Opening day would be great,” Mattingly said (). “But if it’s 10 days into it, if it’s 15 days into it, if it’s 20 days into it, I want him to be healthy when he starts.”

Crawford, 31, hit .282/.306/.479 with 10 doubles, two triples, three homers, 19 RBI, 23 runs and five steals in 31 games last yime with Besiktas.Karius moved to Istanbul on a two-year loan deal last summer, following his 2018 Champions League Final nightmare and the Reds’ big-money purchase of Alisson.”This season, through my agent, two clubs in the UK, three clubs from Germear. He has been a major disappointment since signing a gigantic contract with the Red Sox before the 2011 season. Before that, he was a four-time All-Star and finished seventh in AL MVP voting in 2010.

Also of note here is that the Dodgers — after spending all that money in the past eight months — have a bit of a void when it comes to outfield depth. Theye their home form.Chelsea seek a first Premier League win at Stamford Bridge since early December when Burnley visit SW6 on Saturday afternoon.”We’re striving to get into the top four and I think that will be a big achievement if we can do it but if could play in left, otherwise it’s , who hit .232/.276/.293 last season.

Also: Crawford is owed $107.7 million in the remaining five years on his contract.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and . Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: , a Frenchman is attracting the interest of Manuel Pellegrini as he looks to build a team that can qualify for Europe next season.According to Gazzetta dello Sport, the Hammers want to sign the central midfielder for roughly €4 to €5million.The 30-ynd .

s their official gaming and betting partner, repor

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Rangers outfielder waat this stage, but as far as endorsements go, Frank Lampard couldn’t have hoped for better. Getting Callum Hudson-Odoi’s signature on a new Chelsea contract is as good as it gets…The money mentioned is mad. Cr Jurgen Klopp needs to buy a new striker.Aldridge feels the current attack could use some extra variety.He wrote for the Irish Independent: “Jurgen Klopp should look to strengthen a couple of key positions in his Liverpool squad this summer and the fazy. But it’s also inflated. As a base s scratched from Wednesday’s spring lineup against the White Sox with tightness in his left hamstring. azard scored both goals when Maurizio Sarri’s Blues won 2-1 at Vicarage Road on Boxing Day.”I prefer to speak about the whole team. We play against Chelsea – not only Hazard,” said Gracia at his pre-match press conference, according to watfordfc.com.He is considered day to day. “It’s nothing bad. I just need a day,” he said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre has resigned

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For the second straight season, will serve as the Indians’ starting pitcher for opening day when Cleveland travels to Toronto on April 2. Masterson, who finished 11-15 with a 4.93 ERA in 34 starts last season, made his Cactus Leaga fee for Denis Suarez.Sport says they have agreed a €15m deal which will see Denis leave the Camp Nou this month.Denis had various offers on the table but limited his options by opting to stay in LaLiga. After failing to agree personal terms with ue debut Monday and fired two pethe appeal against their transfer ban was successful.Now Lampard will spend the next few weeks workiped his son joining Manchester UnitedThe Juventus striker is on the verge of joining Everton.”I did stop his transfer at the time, his mother wanted to send him to Manchester [United],” Biorou Jean Kean told Omnisport.”I said no because I wanted him ng with director Marina Granovskaia and owner Roman Abramovich to settle on who they should be going for.He said: “I have ideas of players in my minrfect innings against Oakland. The right-hander fanned one batter as he focused on keeping the ball low in the strike zone.

2013 Team Preview: New York Yankees

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| NYY: | | |

With owner Hal Steinbrenner shooting to get the club’s payroll south of the $189 million luxury tax threshold by 2014, the showed relative restraint this past offseason. Relative is the key word here because they still spent more than $60 million on free agents, though they did limit themselves to oter United.United have added Williams, 19, to their Europa League B list along with fellow teenagers Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, James Garner and Mason Greenwood.Left-back Williams did not train with the United first-team squad during their open sessine-year contracts to retain future flexibility. was the only player to receive a multi-year contract. The Yankees have several prominent players coming off injury and perpetual age questions, so they appear more vulnerable than they have been at any point in the last 10 years.

1. Ichiro Suzuki, RF 2. , SS 3. , 2B 4. , 1B 5. , LF 6. , 3B 7. , DH 8. , CF 9. , C

1. 2. 3. Andy Pettitte 4. 5.

Closer: Mariano Rivera Righties: , , , Lefties: ,

C , IF , UTIL , OF

The Yankees dealt with a number of injuries last season, specifically losing Gardner (elbow) for most of the year and (hand) for most of the second half. While those two were on the shelf, manager Joe Girardi inserted former Athletic Eric Chavez into the lineup — first at DH with Raul Ibanez taking over in left for Gardner, then at third base for A-Rod. The 35-year-old responded by producing a 138 OPS+ with 16 homers in 313 plate appearances, by far his most productive season in about a half-decade. It’s unclear if Chavez can repeat that performance — or avoid the DL again — but the Yankees won’t get a chance to find out since he took a one-year deal with the Diamondbacks and moved closer to home. That leaves a big hole on New York’s bench while A-Rod recovers.

You might have heard Granderson followed up his breakthrough 2011 campaign with a down year last year — down, as if it was simply the result of natural fluctuation. But what if the reason was more scientific than that — biological, even? He’ll be 32 before opening day, so he’s no spring chicken. Not only did he strike out a career-high 195 times last year, but his swing-and-miss rate was by far his highest in six years. Even on pitches in the strike zone, which could indicate his bat is slowing down and explain why his numbers took a nasty turn in the second half. Of course, he might have just been slManchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists he’s happy where he is.Guardiola has been linked with Juventus after it was confirmed Max Allegri is leaving at the end of the season.But he said: “I’m not going to Juventus or to Italy. I have two more years here.”I’m not going to move, I’m satisfied here, I’m not going anywhere.”Next season I will be manager of Manchester City.”umping. He did keep homering during that stretch, after all. Still, at the point you’d have to draft Granderson, you’re better off taking a shot on young’uns like Jason Heyward and Adam Jones. If you wanted a .220-hitting, 40-homer type, which is what Granderson is at risk of becoming, you’d target Adam Dunn 15 rounds later.. — Scott White []

The Yankees are a relatively balanced team with no standout strength. But since I have to pick one, I’m going to go with the pitching staff as a whole. The rotation is led by two workhorses — Sabathia (124 ERA+ in 2012) and Kuroda (126 ERA+) — who will be joined by a full season of the always-reliable Pettitte (146 ERA+ during his comeback). In the bullpen are super-high strikeout setup men Robertson (12.0 K/9 in 2012), Logan (11.1 K/9) and Chamberlain (9.6 K/9) in front of Rivera, simply the greatest reliever in the history of the universe. That’s a strong rotation front three and a dynamite bullpen back four.

The team’s overall age gets all the attention, but the bigger issue is injury. Rivera (knee), Jeter (ankle) and Sabathia (elbow) are all coming off surgery while new additions Youkilis and Hafner have a propensity to get hurt. Gardner (elbow), Teixeira (calf), Robertson (oblique), Pettitte (.Although the signings of Gabriel Martinelli, Dani Ceballos (loan), William Saliba, Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney and David Luiz cost well in excess of £100m, much of that outlay will be paid by way of instalments over the course of their contracts.Mleg) and Chamberlain (ankle, elbow) all spent time on the DL last summer, plus A-Rod’s latest hip injury will keep him on the shelf until at least the All-Star break. Ichiro and Cano are two of the most durable players in the game — both are among the — but nearly every other important player on the roster has some kind of injury concern. There is no easier way to sink a season than having to overuse the DL.

I also think it’s worth noting that defense on the left side of the infield could be a major issue. Youkilis is not the third base defender that he once was, and Jeter was never all that great at shortstop (despite all the Gold Gloves). Add in the ankle injury, and he could be even less mobile that usual. Ground-ball pitchers like Pettitte (56.3 percent in 2012), Kuroda (52.3 percent) and Sabathia (48.2 percent) could run into trouble with balls sneaking through the left side of the infield for base hits.

As I said before, the Yankees are a balanced club capable of winning a pitching duel or a wild, back-and-forth affair. The lineup features power (Cano, Teixeira, Granderson), speed (Ichiro, Gardner), and on-base skills (Youkilis, Hafner) while the pitching staff is heavy on strikeout pitchers who limit walks. The best-case scenario calls for a fifth consecutive 95+ win season and another division title thanks to all the star talent and veteran experience.

The worst-case scenario is basically everything that has been written about the Yankees over the last seven or eight years: their old age finally catches up to them, and the Evil Empire crumbles. The last remnants of the late-1990s dynasty fade away while all the, ahem, veteran players brought in this offseason are unable to hold up their end of the bargain. Injuries ransack the roster and, in the ultra-competitive AL East, it leads to not only missing the postseason but also a fourth- or even last-place finish.

As has been the case the last few years, the Yankees are likely to see some veterans outperform expectations while others get hurt and don’t contribute. They’ve become masters at finding gold with veteran reclamation projects in recent seasons, as guys like Chavez, Ibanez, Bartolo Colon, Luis Ayala, Marcus Thames and others essentially came out of nowhere to contribute. They’re bound to find another one or two surprises like that in 2013, which will help them remain in the thick of the AL East and playoff races. If they don’t qualify for the postseason for only the second time in the last 19 years, it won’t be because they went down without a fight.

That said, it’s not all that clear if the Yankees are a playoff-caliber team for the first time in a long time. They’ve been doubted year after year and continue to prove everyone wrong, but there are some major cracks in the dam exacerbated by ownership’s demand to lower payroll. Steinbrenner is reportedly “” by the negative reaction to the payroll slashing — seriously, what did he expect? — and could scrap the whole thing. That would mean major upgrades at the trade deadline if necessary. Everyone will pick against the Yankees because they are baseball’s villain and it’s the trendy thing to do, but they have their work cut out for them this year because the lineup isn’t as deep or as strong as it has been. The Bronx Bombers are still very good, but very good might not be enough in 2013.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and . Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: , and .

admits the Roma midfielder is facing six months o

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Durineal Madrid president Florentino Perez insists James Rodriguez has a big future with the club.The Colombian playmaker went on a two-year loan to Bayern Munich and after potential moves to Atletico Madrid and Napoli failed to materialise, Zinedine Zidag a chat on ESPN.com, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said he isn’t opposed to having starting pitcher prospect vie for a spot in the bullpen. “I’m not opposed to having somebody work out of the bullpen, especially to get big league experience,” Mozeliak said. “You can see some value having a young pitcher out of the bullpen. Shelby’s goal will ould be back by December after “perfect” surgery to his knee problem.Sane was the subject of intense transfer speculation in the summer after Bayern Munich made him their top target as he staing Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane to Manchester United during his time in charge.AS says he was thwarted in his ambition by Zinedine Zidane, who persuaded the Frenchman to stay at Real Madrid.The Portuguese had identified United’s back line as lled on signing a new contract.But an injury early in thetry to make the big leagues in whatever role he can. We certainly won’t tell him he can’t do that if it’s available to him.”

ut a defeat.The Reds are now 32 games unbeaten in

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The Yankees and pitcheroy Daniel James admits that Ryan Giggs influenced his move to the club.United secured the signature of James from Swansea this week, as the tension.Following the news that Tim Krul signed a new contract, the Norwich Evening Newets came off the bench for their 3-1 defeat by Levante. But he insists they shouldn’t dwell on the loss.Busquets said, “There’s little explanation you can give, other than that it was a very even game where we did the difficult thing, which was goings suggests that Vrancic could be next.The 30-year-old was a key player for the team as they earned promotion, scoring 10 goals and managing seven assists in the Ch21-year-old dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on his contract.Other clubs were interested in James, but it ap avoided arbitration on Wednesday by agreeing to a one-year, $7.15 million contract. Hughes went 16-13 with a 4.23 ERA in 32 starts last season.

ut his international future.England, Nigeria and C

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The Rangers met with free-agent catchf executive.It has been reported that Manchester United are looking for a director of football to take some of the responsibility off executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and their former goalkeeper Van der Sar was linked to the role.”Besides my familer on Tuesday, according to multiple sources. Pierzynski batted .278 with a career-high 27 home runs and 77 RBI for the Whell Mauro Icardi to Juventus this summer.Icardi is on-loan at PSG this season from Inter Milan and can sign permanently thanks to a €70m option.French media soe Laurentiis and his family has raked in huge dividends from the club’s past year.Calcio e Finanza has released figures for the earnings of board members over the last financial year in Serie A – with Napoli topping the table.The board chaired by De urces say PSG would be willing to sign the Argentina international outright and sell him ite Sox last season.

Jim Thome says he’s not retired

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(Getty Images)

Apparently 612 home runs aren’t enough for — the 42-year old slugger wants to play in 2013.

“I’m not retired,” Thome . “If someone wants me captain.33-year-old Koscielny looks set to leave the Gunners after refusing to join the club on a preseason tour in the US.And Monreal insists he would be proud to accept the role.”Two captains left last season, if I have to be one of the captains Ito play, I”d consider it for sure. I feel good. If I didn’t feel goodverton striker Cenk Tosun.Turkish media sources say Eintracht Frankfurt are in talks to sign Tosun this month.The Turkey international is viewed by the Bundesliga outfit as a replacement for Sebastien Haller, now with West Ham.Tosun, 28, is a former , I wouldn’t even consider it. But I feel good. I’d like to play.”

Thome saire Jim Ratcliffe admits buying a Premier League could happen in the future – though he has distanced himself from a move for Chelsea.Ratcliffe already owns Lausanne in Switzerland and was linked with Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea earlier this year.“tarted the 2012 season with the Phillies and made 71 plate appearances, hitting five home runs in 30 games. He started four games at first base and nine as a DH during interleague play.  The Phillies traded him to Baltimore on June 30. He played in 28 games during the regular season with the Orioles, including 26 starts at DH, with three home runs. Overall he hit .252/.344/.442 with eight homers and 25 RBI.

Thome said he’d be better as a DH, but wouldn’t rule out signing with a National League team.

“At this stage, am I an everyday player? No,” Thome . “But I think I can still play. The best thing for me is being a designated hitter somewhere. But if an NL team calls, sure I’d consider it. I still feel like I can give a team a veteran presence and get a big hit off the bench.”

Thome’s home run total is the seventh-best in history, 18 shy of Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth on the list.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and .

Who’s got the edge? Reds or Giants?

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(Getty Images)

: | |

The and have met seven times this season, with three of those games decided by a single run. The NLDS shouldn’t be any different, as the two teams start in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park with two impressive rotations and two offenses that can be streaky. By all accounts, the games in this series should be low-scoring, well-pitched and tight. Of course, baseball rarely goes as it’s supposed to go, so it could end up being a slugfest.

The Reds were the first team to clinch a division — and went into the last day of the season with a chance at claiming the best record in the game. Meanwhile, the Giants were able to hold off a charge from division rival and claim their second division crown in the past two years. While both teams won their division two years ago, the Reds were swept in the first round of the playoffs, while the Giants went on to win the World Series. There are some changes from this year’s Giants to the one that topped the two years ago, but there are plenty of holdovers and that experience could be important.

With the series beginning Saturday at AT&T Park in San Francisco, let’s take a look at how these two teams match up:

vs.

This is not the runaway you think it is. Posey is the likely MVP and deserves every single vote he gets. He’s definitely the better player, and the Giants have the edge here — but even if Hanigan isn’t the big-name drawing card, don’t sleep on his contributions to the Reds. Posey and Hanigan play the same position but play different roles with their team. Posey is asked not just to catch but also to serve as the catalyst for the team’s offense. Hanigan is the catalyst for the team’s pitching and defense. He’s one of the best handlers of a pitching staff in the game, and his 48.5 percent caught-stealing percentage was tops in the majors. While Posey threw out the most baserunners in baseball (38), he also allowed 87 stolen bases (and we will note here that pitchers are a huge portion of caught-stealing percentage) to the 44 successful swipes against Hanigan (with 32 caught stealing). Posey gets the edge because of the bat, but Hanigan’s defense keeps it from being a runaway.

/ vs.

Brandon Belt has had a fine season, hitting .275/.360/.421, but he’s hit only seven home runs. The team has also used Buster Posey, and Aubrey Huff at first base and even experimented with Belt in left field recently. The Reds, of course, have former MVP Joey Votto. If Votto hadn’t missed more than a month with a knee injury, he’d likely be in the MVP discussion. But he did, and since he’s returned, he’s hitting .316/.505/.421, but hasn’t hit a home run in 105 plate appearances. A Votto with diminished power is still a dangerous hitter even if the ball stays in the park.

vs.

Since arriving in San Francisco, Scutaro has solved the Giants’ second base problem, putting up an impressive .362/.385/.473 line and providing stability at a position San Francisco hasn’t had in years. Phillips, on the other hand, is one of the game’s premier players at his position. Last season he won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger at the position. His offensive numbers are down a little this season, but his defense is as good as ever. The only thing that doesn’t make this a runaway is recent performance. While Scutaro has been hot, Phillips hit just .209/.269/.326 over the previous 28 days. He was supposed to help bring stability to the Reds’ troublesome leadoff spot, but he’s just continued the role of a leadoff hitter who can’t get on base, as Cincinnati leadoff men have just a .208/.254/.327 line this season.

vs.

Crawford has a smidge more experience, but other than that, they’re similar players. Both are very good defensive players, which is why they’re the starters. Crawford has put up a .248/.304/.349 line, while Cozart is hitting .246/.288/.399, but does have 15 home runs (nine of those at homer-friendly Great American Ball Park).

Pablo Sandoval vs.

The last time the Giants were in the playoffs, Sandoval was living in Bruce Bochy’s doghouse, having gained weight and lost production. Bochy is apparently losing a little patience with Sandoval now, but at least he’s producing. His four home runs in the last month were as many as he hit in any other month this season, and he’s hitting .283/.342/.447 with 12 home runs. At 37, Rolen is still better defensively than Sandoval ever hoped to be, but he’s had some struggles at the plate in what could end up being the final season of a remarkable career. After bouncing back in July and August when Votto was out, Rolen has struggled in the last month, hitting .222/.259/.370 since the start of September.

/Xavier Nady/Belt vs. /

The Giants, by a mixture of a suspension and their own choosing, will be without one of the game’s most productive players in Melky Cabrera, replacing him with a mixture of Blanco and Nady. Nady has played 19 games with the Giants after starting the season with the . Overall he’s hitting just .184/.253/.316, but is hitting .240 in a Giants uniform. Blanco has been forced into plenty of action this season for the Giants, and no doubt they’d like more production than the .244/.333/.344 line he’s put up. Belt could play some in left during the series. On the other hand, Ludwick has overcome a slow start to make a case for comeback player of the year. The 33-year-old has clubbed 28 home runs and put up a .275/.346/.531 line.

vs. /Heisey

Pagan is hitting .288/.338/.440 and led the majors with 15 triples. He’s been all the Giants could have hoped for when San Francisco sent two players to the in return for the 31-year-old. Stubbs, meanwhile, has been a disaster at the plate, hitting just .213/.277/.333 with 14 home runs legend Peter Schmeichel has blasted critics of David De Gea.The Spanish goalkeeper has endured a miserable run of form in the past four to six weeks.However, Schmeichel wants everyone to remember De Gea’s quality in the past few seasons when they de. In his fourth big-league season, he’s yet to put together his exceptional speed and good power with a consistent approach at the plate. His range in center field is what has kept him in the lineup and what will, at least, in the first two games of the series, which will be played at spacious AT&T Park. Heisey (.265/.315/.401) could also play in center or left, depending on matchups.

vs.

Pence hasn’t lived up to hopes, hitting just .219/.287/.384 for the Giants. Bruce is one of the game’s streakiest players and has the ability to carry a team offensively unlike any other player on the Reds roster (which is saying something considering Votto is his teammate). It all depends on which Bruce shows up — the April (.296/.337/.617, 7 HR) or August (.290/.349/.600, 7 HR) Bruce, or the May (.229/.296/.469, 4 HR) or September (.233/.295/.485, 6 HR) version of Bruce. 

, , Tim Linececum, vs. Johnny Cueto, , ,

The Giants are better at the top with Cain and Bumgarner, but the Reds are deeper. That depth is less important in a best-of-five series, but it’s still impressive that the team’s No. 4 starter is coming off a no-hitter and has a 2.84 ERA and .207 batting average over his last 10 starts. Cain didn’t give up a run in three starts in the postseason two years ago, while Bumgarner was 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in three starts and a relief appearance. Lincecum had appeared to turn a corner recently but struggled in his last two starts.

Not Brian Wilson vs. and company

Both teams lost their closer early in the season, but both have to be happy with their replacements. In and , the Giants have two pitchers who can close. The Reds have three — Chapman, and . Both bullpens are deep and effective, but the Reds’ 2.65 ERA from their bullpen was the best in baseball. Chapman gave the Reds reason to worry, not just before his shutdown, but in his first few appearances after the shutdown. But in his last appearance, the average of his 16 pitches was again above 100 mph.

The Reds have four different players (Votto, Phillips, Arroyo, Rolen) who have won Gold Gloves the last two years, plus another three who could have arguments (Bruce, Hanigan, Stubbs) and one who may win one in the future (Cozart). The Giants aren’t a bad defensive team, but the Reds are a very good defensive team.

The homefield advantage isn’t a huge advantage this season with the first two games being played at the home field of the lower-seeded team, in this case, the Giants. The Reds have benefitted from big home runs all season, while the Giants are last in the majors with 103, in part because they play at AT&T Park, where it is tougher to Tottenham’s £600million stadium debt puts them at a major disadvantage against Arsenal and the rest of their title rivals on the Premier League grid.But he refused to liken his club’s situation to the one today’s opponents faced just over a decade hit homers. With the first two games of the series at AT&T Park, plus Cain and Bumgarner on the mound, the Giants could take a commanding lead, much like the did two years ago, dismissing the Reds in three games. A two-game lead could be a death knell to Cincinnati again. With the Reds struggling to score runs of late, a good pitching staff and a pitcher-friendly environment for the first two games, the Giants get it done inRB Leipzig have made a second offer for Everton winger Ademola Lookman.The German club’s initial bid was worth £13m.The Daily Mail says they have now returned with a £22.5m offer for the English winger.21-year-old Lookman enjoyed a fruitful loan spell with Leipzig in 2017/18. four games.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and .

Report: Mike Napoli could return to Rangers on Thursday

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catcher will catch Tuesday and Wednesday night with Double-A Frisco, to .com’s T.R. Sullivan, and the Rangers could then activate Napoli from the disabled list if he suffersLiverpool’s win over West Ham United on Monday.The Reds came from 2toms consistent with coronavirus.Toffees staff are also in isolation as a “precautionary measure” following medical advice, with the club’s Finch Farm training ground, it’s Goodison Park stadium and its headquarters at the Royal Liver Building in Liv-1 down to win 3-2 to maintain their unbeaten record in the Premier League.Klopp told Sky Sports: “I liked a lot how we started. We scored a wonderful first goal. But then we weren’t no setbacks.

Napoli’s last action with the Rangers came on Aug. 10. has filled in at catcher in Napoli’s absence.

Napoli has hit .223/.343/.429 with 17 home runs in 359 plate apperances this season. His current .771 OPS widfielder Carlos Rodriguez is interesting Manchester United.United scouts were spotted talking to Monterrey chiefs at a recent game, saysLos Pleyers.And it’s believed United are looking to sign Rodriguez to boost their numbers in the centre of the paould be the lowest of his career in a single season.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow .

The Lineup: Ben Zobrist goes deep late, Astros get to Aroldis Chapman

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The bounced back from their Thursday loss to retake the lead in the AL East with a victory over . In the NL Central, Ryan Braun’s 13th-inning homer gave Milwaukee a win in St. Louis. Meanwhile out west, the took the first game against the in an NL West showdown — and that’s not it, so let’s get to it …

Zobrist’s two-run homer in the 10th gave a 3-1 victory over the and the team’s 20th victory in its last 30 games. The Rays struck out 16 times in the game, but Zobrist and both homered to score all three of Tampa Bay’s runs.

He didn’t even start, but ‘s replacement sure finished. Dominguez hit a three-run homer off to give a 5-3 victory over the Reds. It was Chapman’s first blown save in 28 chances. His last blown save was against the on June 24. He has five blown saves this season. The first two hits off Chapman were bloops, but Dominguez came through with a blast. The four hits recorded by the Astros were twice as many as Chapman had allowed in any outing this season.

Castro’s fifth-inning single was his second hit of the night and 500th of his career. He became only the 28th player in history to record 500 hits before turning 23. He finished 3 for 5 with four RBI. 

It’s never good when you have three more errors than hits. Pittsburgh committed seven errors in its 12-2 loss to the Cubs while managing only four hits. The Pirates managed only one hit off starter in his six innings of work and added three of their four hits (and both runs) in the eighth inning. Meanwhile, outfielder Starling Marte committed two errors, as did second baseman . Also adding errors were catcher , first baseman and shortstop . Pittsburgh has lost 11 of its last 16, and all of a sudden a .500 finish doesn’t seem as certain as it once did. The Pirates fell to 72-65.

After retiring nine of the first 10 batters that he faced, he got into trouble in the fourth. First, he hit and walked to set up ‘s three-run homer. added a two-run homer in the inning. He then gave up another home run in the fifth, a two-run shot by .

Hendriks started his 16th career game in the big leagues on Friday and is still looking for his first win. The Australian allowed four runs on eight hits, walking three and striking out two in five innings. He didn’t figure in the decision, but he’s still searching for that first W. Only four pitchers have begun their careers with more starts without picking up a win — Bill Caudill (20 from 1979-81), Mike Mohler (20 from 1993-97), Craig Anderson (17 from 1962-64) and (17 from 2007-07).

right-hander hasn’t allowed an earned run in s they can finish in the European places.The Blues have been in impressive form since Carlo Ancelotti succeeded Marco Silva in December, with only Liverpool picking up more points in the Premier League since the Italian’s arrival. “We’re looking tohis last 37 1/3 innings going into Saturday’s game against the . Medlen has two complete games in his past four starts, and his team has won each of the last 18 games he has started.

The Yankees hope can guarantee at least a split in their series in Baltimore and a division lead when they leave town. The Yankees send their ace to the mound in the third game of the series against the upstart Orioles. Sabathia is 1-1 with a 2.53 ERA in three starts since coming off the disabled list. Former Diamondback is making his third start for Baltimore. After a disastrous debut with the Orioles, he rebounded, throwing 6 1/3 shutout innings in his second start with his new team, a victory over the last week.

sends to the mound against and the . The last time that Verlander faced the Angels, he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning last July. That game is better remembered for the feud between and Carlos Guillen.

With MLB squeezing in another wild card this season, there’seration has confirmed an approach for the national team’s general co-ordinator Edu.Various reports have claimed the 40-year-old has an accepted an offer from former club Arsenal to become their new technical director.However, Edu will wait until afte a potential nightmare situation if a tie-breaker game is needed. .

. Two of the top three — and — are currently opard will not get drawn into mind games by Jose Mourinho.That is the view held by club legend Pat Nevin.Mourinho, who is a Chelsea legend in his own right, and Lampard’s old manager, is now in charge at Tottenham.The two teams are set to face off in n big league rosters.

Since was traded from the Mariners to the Yankees, his former team is 25-17 while his new team is 20-23, .

Was Candy Cummings the first pitcher to throw a curveball, or was he just the best publicist? Cummings wrote in 1908.

 Jim Rooker recalls his walk from to Pittsburgh in 1989. []

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And another video, this one is a gorgeous time lapse of Great American Ball Park in ():

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Michael Pineda arrested for DUI in Florida

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Injured Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda has been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Tampa, Fla. early Monday morning, . From the report:

Pineda, 23, “had a fixed gaze and his eyes were bloodsdhoven fullback Angelino.De Telegraaf says City will sign their former left-back soon.Angelino has left PSV and will not be returning as he finalises a move back to City.PSV signed Angelino last summer for €5.5m and now face losing the young Spaniahot, watery and glassy,” a Tampa police officer wrote after pulling the 23-year-old hurler over at 2:35 a.m. on North Dale Mabry Highway.”I could smell a distinct odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath, and his speech was slurred,” the cop wrote about Pineda.

The Post also notes that Pineda’s blood-alcohol level was .128 and .125 in two separate tests. Pineda was released on a $500 bond around noon Monday.

Pineda is out for the entire 2012 season as he’s rehabbing from shoulder surgery. He came over to the Yankees in a trade on January 23 with Jose Campos in exchange for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi.

Last season, for Seattle, the 6-foot-7 Pineda was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP offload Olivier Giroud this month, with Inter Milan chasing the Frenchman. An according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, if Giroud moves to link up with Antonio Conte again, Chelsea may bid for Piatek.Milan are reportedly demanding £25m for the forward,and 173 strikeouts in 1g to Okdiario’s chief pundit Eduardo Inda, when speaking on El Chiringuito.With United demanding €180m to sell Pogba, Inda says the Frenchman has made it clear he wants to see the transfer happen.”Pogba has told his relatives that he will do everyt71 innings pitched. He rode a hot start (6-2, 2.16 in his first nine starts) to an All-Star Game trip, but faded down the stretch a bit. Still, he’s only 23 years old and has tons of promise.

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