e Eden Hazard has set a deadline for his move to R

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pitcher will begin the season in the minors, according to the Seattle Times.

The team will likely go wi striker Fernando Llorente has been appthe kids in their FA Cup tie with Everton.Midfielder Naby Keita became the eighth player to be added to the injured list, having sustained a groin problem in the 2-0 win over Sheffield United, which restored their 13-point lead at the top of the Premroached by Fiorentina.Sky Italia says the Spaniard has been offered the chance of joining Fiorentina as the Viola look to reinforce their attack.Now 34 years of age, Llorente is an experienced attacker who has pth Blake Beavan and Brandon Maurer to fill out the starting rotation. 

Ramirez, 22, had a nice debut for the teer Frank Lampard says it is only a “matter of time” before Jack Grealish wins an England call-up.Lampard will have the task of stopping the playmaker when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.”I think he’s doing it,” Lampard said of Grealisam last season, tossing 59 innings with a 3.36 ERA and a 3.55 FIP. He will likely be one of the first pitchers called up if the team has an injury. 

eaving the club.The Liverpool Echo says Partridge

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The announced Wednesday starting pitcher , who has been battling Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is striker Krzysztof Piatek from AC Milan on a long-term contract.Piatek, who was linked with a move to Tottenham, will now play under former Spurs striker Jurgen Klinsmann, the head coach at Hertha.The 24-year-old only spent a year at the San Siro havready to step up the club’s pursuit of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.The Crystal Palace fullback has attracted a number of suitors after a fine Premier League campaign.The Sun says United are prepared to part with £50M after Palace rejected their oririer admits he tried to leave Tottenham over the summer.While Aurier is away on international duty, he has opened up about the events of last season.The Ivory Coast fullback said, “I was looking for an exit, so I couldn’t play. When you’re trying to ginal offer of £40M.Solskjaer is also considering Thomas Meunier as an alternative.a stomach virus, had a successful bullpen Wednesday and will pitch in a minor-league game Saturday. He continues to build up strength as he recovers from his illness.

ike to prolong his career so that his 9 year-old s

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relief pitcher ‘s up by Real Madrid for a January move to Spain.Real president Florentino Perez is a big fan of Van de Beek and saw him as an ideal – and cheaper – midfield alternative to Manchester United ace Paul Pogba.However, TMW says Ajax management have made it performance caused much consternation early in the spring, but he appears to be making significant progress in his battle to be the team’s closer. Rondon had arguably his finest appearance yet Thursday in Grapefruit League action against the Mets. Rondon needed just 12 pitches to finish out his lone inning of work, striking out one red side of North London to face the Gunners, who have a new manager in Mikel Arteta and a familiar face in former Blues defender David Luiz.Azpilicueta said: Lukaku has offered him to Juventus.Federico Pastorello met with Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici yesterday to offer him the Belgium international, says TMW. Inter Milan and United are locked in talks over a fee for Lukaku, though negotiations h“When I arrived here David was here.“He was very important for Chelsea, he was part ofbatter while flashing a very effective slider.

“Today, I thought my slider was the best that it has been all spring,” Rondon told .com. “I felt very confident with that pitch, and the catcher gave me the pitch I wanted to throw and it made it even better.”

Rondon lowered his ERA to 4.05 in seven spring outings, with 10 strikeouts and five walks in 6 2/3 innings. Rondon is the team’s No. 2 prospect according to MLB.com and the No. 95 overall prospect in the league, according to Baseball America, coming off a 1.53 ERA over three minor league levels in 2012. 

Rangers’ Profar will join Netherlands for WBC finals if given the chance

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Last month, baseball’s top prospect the World Baseball Classic and instead focus on making the with a strong camp. Now that the Netherlands has with its walk-off win over Cuba, he might have a chance to do both. From :

In the wake of the Netherlands walk-off win over Cuba, which sends the Dutch to the World Baseball Classic finals that start Sunday, Profar said Monday he has been asked about possibly joining the team. And, he said, he’d like to go.

(snip)

“If they give me a chance, I will go,” Profar said, smiling widely. “They are doing a really great job.”

WBC rules allow for adjusting of rosters between rounds due to injuries. Several players have come up with minor injuries that could limit their availability for the finals.

GM Jon Daniels he will encourage the 20heir clash with Liverpool.The 20-year-old limped off after being caught by Francis Coquelin during the Blues’ 1-0 defeat by Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday.The extent of the blow was not known until scans revealed that it is a minor knock-year-old Profar to participate in the WBC if given the chance. Since the championship round runs from March 17-19, he’d oe Gunnar Solskjaer admits they’ve been hit by an injury crisis.Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial to miss Leicester clash on Saturday, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard doubtful.”The treatment room has been busy and still is,” Solskjaer said. “We nly miss about a week of camp.

Profar has gone 7 for 33 (.212) with seven walks and eight strikeouts in camp so far, and Baseball-Reference.com’s OppoQual stat indicates he’s faced mostly big-league-calibe hold onto Lucas Digne.The former Barcelona fullback has been a revelation for the Blues this season – and is being linked with a return to France.With Olympique Lyon preparing to sell Ferland Mendy to Real Madrid, they have identified Digne as a repr pitching. Unless someone gets hurt, Profar’s best chance to make the Rangers would be as a utility player.

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r Champions League clash at Liverpool should be pl

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Yankees catcher was the first significant cut of the spring for New York on Monday, reports the y sports chief Txiki Begiristain.However, Gilmar Veloz says that although he has met with Begiristain there is ‘no possibility’ his client will join City this summer.“There is nothing. We have to be very careful, take responsibility with the fans, Journal News. Romine was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre along with LHP and RHPs and . The team also optioned LHPs and , RHP and OF to Double-A Trenton. New excited to be moving to Real Madrid.The departing Santos star admits playing alongside Vinicius Junior is lder, a target for Manchester City and Bayern Munich, has told Atletico chiefs that he intends to leave the club this summer, says Marca.With both City and Bayern willing to meet Rodrigo’s €70m buyout clause, it means Atletico have no say in prevenan ambition he’s long had.Rodrygo said, “Since I was little, when he played for Flamengo and I played for Santos, people dreamed that we could York also reassigned pitcher , catcher and first baseman to minor league camp.

2013 Team Preview: New York Yankees

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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.

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Last October’s Bronx hero Raul Ibanez on Granderson: ‘It’s terrible’

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(Getty Images)

PEORIA, Ariz. — Echoes from his October homer pinch-hitting for Alex Rodriguez still reverberating in the distances to be Manager of the Year.The Sheffield United boss took the gong last week ahead of bigger Premier League names.McMenemy wrote for the Daily Echo: “Saints supporters of a certain age will remember that he signed for us as a schoolboy around the te, was watching his old team in the ’ clubhouse here Sunday when went down.

“I knew the spot it hit him, that was not a good spot,” Ibanez said. “It’s terrible. I feel for him. He’s a great player. A great guy. A great human being.

More on the YankeesRelated linksMore coverage | | |

“I wish him the best.”

Ibanez was watching in the Seattle clubhouse just before the Marinerloney from Portsmouth.The 18-year-old managed 26 goals in the academy for Pompey last term.Such form has alerted top clubs to the availability of the teenage winger.The Sunsays Chelsea have the most accelerated interest in signing him.While they haves-Padres Cactus League game Sunday afternoon.

Granderson is expected to be out until May. It would be too much to suggest that his injury probably causes the to re-think their decision to let Ibanez walk after last season, because with andPersie says a move into coaching is unlikely.Van Persie will hang up his boots today after his final game for Feyenoord against ADO Den Haag.“Becoming a trainer means stress. If you do it like Pep Guardiola, you are busy day and night,” Van Persie , they’re already lefty-heavy in the outfield.

But, regardless, there suddenly is a big gap in the Yankees’ outfield now.

“I had a great time there,” said Ibanez, who signed a one-year, $2.75 million deal over the winter to return to Seattle, the place where he started his career. “I wish them the best. Or second-best. I wish us the best.”

Ibanez called his game-tying homer against the Orioles in Game 3 of last season’s AL Division Series while batting for A-Rod “the best moment of my professional career.”

Then he crushed the game-winning home run in the 12th inning.

“That was awesome,” Ibanez said. “Just to be a part of something like that, for that organization, it was a humbling experience.”

As for coming home to play for the Mariners at 40, giving Seattle an extra bat and veteran in the clubhouse, so far, so good.

“Great,” Ibanez said. “I’m loving it. It’s a great group of guys. I like our team. I like or talent, the way guys are going about their business.

“Very professional, hard-working kids.”

Todd Helton arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence

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(US Presswire)

Long-time Rockies first baseman Todd Helton was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. The Rockies have confirmed the arrest with the :

We were extremely disappointed to learn that Tncia are chasing West Ham striker Javier Hernandez.He is an £8million target for La Liga side Valencia.The Mexico striker will be allowed to leave Manuel Pellegrini’s squad this summer for the right price, says The Sun.And Valencia are willing to taodd was arrested this morning. This type of behavior is taken very seriously by our organization. We know that he clearly understands the seriousness of his poor decision, the harm that could have been inflicted on others and the embarrassment his mistake has caused to himself, his family, the Colorado Rockies organization and to Majora “step back”.Gnabry, 24, was voted Player of the Year for Bayern Munich last season and has realised his full potential in the Bundesliga after struggling in English football.Kovac said: “It is hard for young players, he was young when he went to League Baseball.

Todd is taking full accountability for his actions with his family, his fans and the organization. The man we have grown to know has strong values that are grounded in his family and hard work. Todd clearly understands the severity of the situation.

Helton has now released the following statement himself:

“Last evening I exercised poor judgment and was charged with drinking and driving after driving to a gas station near my house. I am very sorry and embarrassed by my actions. I hold myself to a high standard and take my responsibility as a public figure very seriously. My entire career I have worked to set a positive example for my family and in our community and I fell far short of this standard.

I sincerely ask my family, the Colorado Rockies Organization, Major League Baseball and the community to accept my apology. I make no excuses and accept full responsibility for my actions. I humbly ask your forgiveness.”

Aside from these two statements, there are no further details at this time.

Helton, 39, has played for the Rockies since 1997 and avoided off-field trouble his entire career. He hit .238/.343/.400 with seven homers and 37 RBI in just 69 games last season. He plans on returning to the Rockies for his 17th season in 2013.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and . Ae the Premier League title sewn up.This time last season, City had long since secured the Premier League and were ready to be presented with it.However, the destination of this year’s crown is still up in the air with two games to go.City have 92 poilso, individually interact with us on Twitter: , and .

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

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(Getty Images)

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. []

Thanks to :

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

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Tigers, White Sox both chasing top starting pitchers

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The , have prioritized starting pitching in trade talks this week, with the top target.The surprising White Sox are hoping to hold off the . . . who also have decided to make starting pitching a top priority, according to sources. It’s not yet clear what pitcher tops the Tigers’ wish list, but they have been linked to the (, ) and are also known to have interest in .Why a pitcher and not another hitter, or a second baseman?Wellsays West Ham, Sheffield United and Watford are looking at the striker, who is a free agent.The Hammers want a replacement for Andy Carroll and it is understood Adebayor, 35, wants to play in London after spells with Arsenal and Tottenham.He has not , first off, chasing a pitcher doesn’t mean the Tigers are ignoring the second base issue. They have watched of the , and would be interested in if the are willing to move him.But pitching has become a major concern, because of this simple question: After , which Tiger starter would you feel comfortable starting in Game 2 of a postseason series?While the Tigers still need to get to the postseason, they’ve been clear all along that success this year would be winning in October, not simply getting there. Any second baseman they could possibly acquire now is less likely to be an October difference-maker than a top starting pitcher would be.The Tigers had hoped they had a solid top of the rotation, but the first half of this year has raised concerns about (who hasn’t been as healthy or consistent as he was last year), (inconsistent) and (mostly disappointing). The Tigers will turn to prospect Jacob Turner this week to fill the spot of injured rookie Drew Smyly, but Turner is more likely to be a tradManchester United are handing Russian superkid Sergey Pinyaev another round of trials.He will spend 14 days in England in January, according toScouts in Attendance.Pinyaev has already trained twice with the United youth team at Carrington.The last tie chip to acquire a top-level starter than he is to be the 2012 answer.The White Sox, despite their 3 1/2-game lear his season start.Capello believes he’d have been better if captain Giorgio Chiellini had been fit.”We need to give him time, but he has remarkable qualities. Perhaps in his first season in Serie A he would have needed to find Chiellini at his side.d over the Tigers, have even more pressing rotation concerns. has now had to miss a start because of a sore elbow, and John Danks doesn’t appear close to returning. The White Sox have relied on the impressive and , but they have concerns about how Sale will hold up and about whether Peavy can remain healthy.

Oswalt working out, intends to pitch by June

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Roy Oswalt has been working himself into shape and plans to be pitching in the majors again by June, according to sources close to the veteran pitcher. Moreover, he is said to have a couple of “very nice offers” already on the table.Oswalt has auditioned for the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies near his Mississippi home in recent days, according to multiple sources. It appears that the Phillies have more interest than the Red Sox, though the Phillies’ level of ienjoying training games with Anthony Martial.Wan-Bissaka has revealed his training ground battles with striker Martial.He told the club’s website: “I’m up against Anthony (Martial) a lot. “It’s tough, but you take the positives. It helps both of usnterest is uncertain.There are other, unidentified clubs kicking Oswalt’s tires as well. Colleague Jon Heyman says the Yankees good impression on the players.The Gunners recorded their first win under the Spaniard thanks to a 2-0 home success against Manchester United on New Year’s Day.And it appears the relatively inexperienced boss is winning over the players with his innoare not one of them.Boston finally is reaching a place where its rotation has leveled off, and complicating issues there is that the Red Sox are close to having to make a decision on what to do with Daisuke Matsuzaka. He should be ready to return following one more injury rehabilitation start after missing much of 2011 and all of this season following Tommy John ligament transfer surgery. Indications point toward Matsuzaka joining the Red Sox rotation, if they add anyone.Oswalt last pitched for the Phillies in 2011, going 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts. They like him but, sources tell colleague Danny Knobler, they, too, are battling a numbers game.Though Vance Worley is currently is sidelined with elbow inflammation, he should be ready to pitch before Oswalt. Then, if they add Oswalt, barring some sort of injury or other unexpected development, they would have to either move Worley or Joe Blanton to the bullpen, or make a trade — probably Blanton — to make Oswalt fit. A trade at that point is more likely than moving Blanton or Worley to the pen, and that may involve Blanton.So adding Oswalt is complicated for Philadelphia, but not impossible. The Phillies do like Oswalt based on his time in Philadelphia in 2010 and 2011, and if he decides Philadelphia is where he would like to pitch, it is possible that the Phillies would make an effort to accommodate him.Conversations between Oswalt and the Red Sox progressed this spring, and talks between the right-hander and the Angels were far enobid of £15m for the Scotland international.That hasn’t deterred the Gunners’ desire to sign Tierney, with The Mirrorclaiming a new offer of £22m will be presented to Celtic within the next few days.Napoli’s reported interest in the 22-year-old has ugh down the road to where Los Angeles thought it was close to signing him.But Oswalt, 34, veered away at the last minute, largely because he was enjoying family life and did not want to stray too far from his Mississippi home.But now, with school almost out, separation won’t be such an issue. Oswalt can move his family with him for the summer to wherever he decides to pitch. He and his wife, Nicole, have three children, ranging in age from 1 1/2 to 7.As such, pitching for a club with a realistic chance to play in a World Series, at this point, is said to be more important to Oswalt than geographical location.

Dice-K to begin rehab assignment Monday

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starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka will begin a minor-league rehab assignment Monday for High-A Sney could face former club Manchester United in the fifth-round of the FA Cup if his Derby County defeat Northampton.Chelsea will host either Liverpool or Shrewsbury, while Tottenham will play Norwich City at home if they can beat Southampton.Holdersalem, manager Bobby Valentine told reporters (including Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com) Friday. The plan is that Dice-K will need five rehab starts. They’re looking for him to get around 75 pitches, with no more than 30 in an inning. Of note here: Rehab assignments are limited to 30 days, so this shows some level of confidence in Matsuzaka’s ability to be ready in a month. He’ll be on a regular five-day rotation. “He’s ready to start dealing with competition,” said Valentine. “Daisuke feels good.” Matsuzaka, 31, had Tommy John surgery to repair his right elbow Fred was happy with his performance in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool.The odds were stacked against United before the encounter against an unbeaten Reds outfit.And after almost coming away with the victory, Fred was pleased his own personal contriligament last June. Last season, Dice-K went 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA and 1.47 WHIP before the torn UCL ended his season. Since going 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA and finishing fourth in AL Cy Young voting, Matsuzaka has been a severe disappointment, as injuries, inconsistency and poor command have doomed him. The Red Sox could certainly use the rotation help. They are 4-8 so far and the staff ERA is a horrifying 6.20. The best ERA in the starting rotation is ‘s 4.63 mark. There’s somussa Dembele.Both Manchester United and Chelsea have been linked with a move for Dembele this month, with the Premier League rivals both in need of striking reinforcements having lost their respective top scorers to injuries. But Lampard, who also wae serious incentive for Dice-K to get back and pitch well this season, too, because he is a free agent after this season. He’s making $10.33 million this year. For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and .

2020 NFL Draft Race for No. 1: Dolphins may unintentionally ‘Bail for Burrow’

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While they are still the NFL’s worst team, the are starting to show signs of life. 

After being outscored 163-26 in their first four games, the winless Dolphins have scored 37 points in their last two games while “only” allowing 48 points. In last Sunday’s loss to the surprising 5-1 , Miami, with wily veteran back under center, scored a season-high 21 points while out-gaining Buffalo’s offense, 381-305. Miami’s performance last Sunday, coupled by their one-point loss to the in Week 6, is having some people wonder if they make this Monday night’s game in Pittsburgh against the 2-4 an interesting one. 

It appears that Miami may be intent to have the option to select either Tua Tagovailoa or LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with one of the first two picks in the draft. Through seven games this season, Burrow has completed 79.4 percent of his passes for 2,484 yards with 29 touchdowns and three interceptions. Miami, based on their winless record and three first-round draft picks, should be in position to land either quarterback in this year’s draft, even if they manage to win one or two games. 

Here are four other Week 8 games that will likely impact this spring’s draft order. 

Cincinnati at Los Angeles 

The , the only other winless team in the besides Miami, are 13.5-point underdogs on the road against the defending NFC champion . Like the Dolphins, the Bengals will likely pick either Tagovailoa or Burrow with their first round pick. , Cincinnati’s starting quarterback since 2011, is signed through the 2020 season. 

Washington at Minnesota 

At 1-6 and without a head coalding tense internal discussions about a move for Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld.Alderweireld’s contract allows him to leave for £25million this summer, with United among his admirers, says The Sun.United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would preferch, the Redskins are 16-point underdogs on the road against the 5-2 . While they have multiple needs heading into next year’s draft, I can see Washington using a high first round pick on Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young, who has 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles for the 7-0 Buckeyes. The Redskins are currently tied for 19th in the NFL with 16 sacks through seven games. 

at Jacksonville 

The Jets, despite Monday night’s 33-0 loss at home to the , are “only” six-point underdogs this Sunday against the 3-4 . While they conitoring Kepa Arrizabalaga’s situation at Chelsea.Okdiario says Leonardo is having doubts about Keylor Navas for next season and is looking around for a replacement.Kepa is on the Brazilian’s shortlist, with the PSG director well aware of his probleould use a playmaker at wide receiver, New York is expected to spend a first round pick on an offensive lineman that can help protect franchise quarterback, . CBS Sports expert, Ryan Wilson, , has the Jets taking Georgia junior Andrew Thomas in the first round. 

“One of the best offensive lineman in college football, Thomas not only looks the part at 6-foot-5 and 320 pounds, he plays like a dominant left tackle,” Wilson wrote of Thomas. “He’s protecting Jake Fromm’s blind side at Georgia through quick feet, athleticism and strength. Coming into 2019, Thomas has allowed just four sacks in two seasons and he can take over in the run game.”

Seattle at Atlanta 

The 1-6 are about to face a 5-2 team that is motivated to get back on track following their Week 7 home loss to the . While earlier mock drafts had them taking Iowa edge rusher , Ryan has Atlanta selecting LSU junior safety Grant Delpit with their first round pick in this year’s draft. The Falcons are currently 28th in the NFL in passing yards allowed and 29th in touchdown passes allowed. 

“Delpit can line up anywhere — in centerfield, the slot, near the line of scrimmage, off the edge — and wherever he ends up he consistently makes plays,” Wilson wrote of Dele.Son has successfully stood in for Harry Kane in the past, but Mourinho seems less at ease with with the concept than his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino ever was.Kane is out until April as he prepares for hamstring surgery.Asked why Son couldn’t depit, who has seven interceptions in three years at LSU. “He’s best coming downhill but he’ll continue to improve the other aspects of his game and his long, lean frame coupled with his fluid movements make him look like a natural playmaker.” 

Bills hand out O.J. Simpson’s number for the first time in 42 years and here’s who got it

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For the first time in 42 years, the have decided to let one of their players wear O.J. Simpson’s old number.  

Simpson, who spent nine seasons in Buffalo, wore No. 32 during his entire career with the Bills. After Simpson left the team in 1977, the Bills didn’t let anyone else wear it until this week, when they handed out the number to running back . 

Perry chose the number because it’s what he wore during his high school and college careers. Perry also wore the number in Chicago during his first two seasons in the , but then he had to give up when he signed with the in 2016. 

The fact that the number was available actually came as a total surprise to Perry, who assumed that no one was allowed to wear it. 

“I thought it was retired, but then I was told it ,” Perry told The Athletic.

From a football standpoint, there’s a good reason why Perry had thought the number was already retired, and that’s because Simpson put together a Hall of Fame career in Buffalo. After being selected by the Bills with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1969 , Simpson went on to lead the league in rushing four times while also being name NFL MVP once (1973). 

Simpson also became the first running back ever to crack the 2,000-yard mark in 1973, and the most impressive part about that feat is that he did at a time when the NFL’s regular season was just 14 games long. 

“I know that greatness comes with that number, playing in Buffalo,” Perry said. “But I’m willing to take anything that comes my way. I’m going into my sixth year, and I know what it takes to get in this league and stay here. With that number on myn for Juve ahead of PSG and Barcelona.The former Ajax captain explained: “My future? I thought about it a lot, I decided to wait until the end of the holidays. I made my decision to leave after the semi final with Ajax last year. “Many people talk ab back, I know I’m dft-back returned early from a loan spell at Hearts due to injury.”It’s been a long time so I’m really happy to get back out for my first session back there,” he said. “I’m doing a few days’ training and then a couple of days off. I’m taking it slowlyoing well for my family.”

Of course, if you’re wondering why the number isn’t retired, the answer to that is probably obvious. Simpson was charged and later acquitted for the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Although he was found not guilty in a court of law, he did lose the case in civil court when he was sued by the Goldman family shortly after the acquittal. 

Simpson’s legal troubles didn’t end after that. The 71-year-old spent nearly 10 years in prison after he in Las Vegas in 2008. The former Bills running back . 

Although Simpson’s number was basically unofficially retired, Simpson didn’t seem to mind when he found out that someone would be wearing No. 32 this year. 

“Whatever they do is fine with me,” Simpson told The Athletic. “That’s how I feel. When I played there, I tried to honor the team. Since I left, I always tried to honor the Bills. And, to be honest, it’s not something I think about. There’s too much else going on in life.”

The Hall of Famer now spends most of his time in Vegas and apparently, he’s still pretty popular with Bills fans there. 

“Even here in Vegas, I run into Bills fans all the time,” Simpson said. “They’ve always been positive with me. I’ve always been positive with them. In every way shape or form, when I was a player or covering their games for ‘Monday Night Football,’ I’ve always honored the Bills and will continue to do that. Whatever they decide to do will not change the way I feel about the people of Buffalo and my time spent there.”

Although Perry is wearing No. 32 now, there’s no guarantee he’ll be wearing it when the Jota.Napoli, reports TMW, are preparing a summer move for the Portugal international – but aren’t alone.Jota is also on the radar of United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.United are ready to launch a bid of £50m to take Wolves frontman Jota to Old Trseason starts, and that’s because he might not make the team. The running back will be facing some serious competition at his position in the form of , and T.J. Yeldon. The Bills also drafted a running back () in the third round this year. 

With Simpson’s number being handed out in Buffalo, that means there are only three numbers that Bills players aren’t allowed to wear due to the fact that they’ve been retired: No. 12 (Jim Kelly), 78 (Bruce Smith) and 34 (Thurman Thomas)

New Orleans Saints mock draft 2019: Seven rounds, picks, big board, team needs, multiple options for every selection

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The Saints have been using their stock of draft picks to build an immediate winner while the championship window is still open. Various trades to strengthen their roster leave them with just one pick in the first four rounds. So don’t expect their collection  of talent to look markedly different on Sunday after the draft as it does right now.

Below, you can check out which picks the Saints currently have, along with our projection of their top positional needs. I’ll then build a war-room big board based upon players I think have some kind of chance of making it to their first pick before sharing multiple draft classes that make sense for the team from myself, Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso.

As for the actual draft, you’ll be able to stream our live coverage  (or download the CBS Sports app for free on any mobile or connected TV device) breaking down all the picks and everything you need to know during draft weekend.  

Current draft picks RoundOverallStatus 2 62 5 168 6 177 from New York Jets 6 202 7 231 from Cleveland                           7 244 Team needs

The CBS Sports writing staff to identify needs for each team heading into the draft. A helpful guide: any position group that had an average ranking worse than 16.0 (on a scale of 1 to 32) was considered a “need,” while any that ranked worse than 23.0 (bottom-third of the league) was considered a “pressing need.”

3.2 4.8 7.2 7.6 12.2 8.4 13.3 14.3

 N/A N/A

The  are the second team on our list to not have any needs or glaring needs. That makes sense given that they are about as all-in as a team can be right now as  winds down his career. A firmer succession plan than  (who re-signed, but on a one-year deal) might be the most obvious need here, but that’s likely not a prioc to step up his game this season, according to reports.The Gunners are on the verge of selling Nacho Monreal to Real Sociedad, which would leave them with Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney at left-back.Goal says sources at the club believe the Bosnia intrity. 

War room big board

With the Saints not scheduled to pick until late in the second round, it’s nearly impossible to forecast who’s going to be available when they’re on the clock, but I’ll give it a shot. Here’s how I’d project the Saints’ draft board for their first pick, considering only players I feel have some chance of making it in range:

CB Rock Ya-Sin, TempleCB Justin Layne, Michigan StateCB Julian Love, Notre DameCB Sean Bunting, Central MichiganCB Trayvon Mullen, ClemsonOT Greg Little, Ole MissS Taylor Rapp, WashingtonCB Lonnie Johnson, KentuckyCB Joejuan Williams, VanderbiltDE Charles Omenihu, TexasCB Isaiah Johnson, HoustonCB Amani Oruwariye, Penn State Seven-round mock drafts

RoundOverallPlayerNotes 2 62 to Detroit 3 79 WR , Missouri from DET/ATL* 4 111 CB , Washburn from DET* 5 140 LB , Notre Dame from OAK* 5 168 to Oakland 6 177 to Oakland from NYJ 6 184 S/CB , Colorado from DET* 6 202 to Detroit 7 231 s chief Fabio Paratici insists the club are looking at multiple options to replace Max Allegri.Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is the frontrunner and revealed on Tuesday that he was missing Italy.But Patrici says there is more than one candidate being to Detroit from CLE 7 244 OT/G , Morgan State

Rather than making just one pick in the first four rounds, the Saints move down from No. 62 to get third- and fourth-round picks, using that third-rounder on a speed freak in Emanuel Hall who routinely tops 20 yards per catch.ear he wants another four players to arrive before Thursday’s deadline. “We have to be busy,” said Silva, whose side have scored only three goals in seven pre-season games. “In this moment, as you know, our number is not really big. We need some more He’s a long-term option for the Ted Ginn role in the offense. 

With the other pick attained in the Detroit deal, the Saints scoop up a small-school corner in Ballentine who should be a special teams star while immediately competing for snaps on defense. The Saints then package two picks to move up in Round 5 for Coney, a good tackling linebacker who gives the team better depth. The Saints move up again in Round 6 to get Worthington, who can provide depth at both safety positions but also may have a role as a slot corner. With their final pick, the Saints nab a small-school offensive lineman with great athletic traits who they’ll try to mold into an eventual starter.

(*) indicates pick acquired via trade

Round 1 Round 2 WR Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio StateWR Stanley Morgan Jr., Nebraska Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 TE Foster Moreau, LSU  LB Jahlani Tavai, Hawaii Round 6 WR Hunter Renfrow, ClemsonCB Donnie Lewis, Jr., TulaneDE Daryl Johnson, North Carolina A&T RB Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M Round 7 WR Preston Williams, Colorado StateRB Jalin Moore, Appalachian State WR Jakobi Meyers, NC State WR Greg Dortch, Wake Forest

Check out from CBS Sports.