MLB rumors: Nationals’ Bryce Harper spills on free agency, season-long slump

Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has a career batting average of.279. He hit.330 in 2015, when he was named National League MVP. He hit.319 last season. Which makes this season’s problems at the plate so stunning.

Harper is hitting just.213 this season, including.148 in the month of June.

Not exactly the kind of production Harper is hoping for before heading into free agency after the 2018 season.

Clayton Richard (L), 36 percent, San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants: Because so few pitchers work into the sixth, the ability to consistently do so is often overlooked, especially in points leagues in which innings are scored. Richard has tossed at least six frames in his past eight outings, working at least seven stanzas in six of those starts. The Giants are an average squad versus lefties, so expect another long effort from Richard.

Chris Stratton (R), 21 percent, San Francisco Giants vs. San Diego Padres: Stratton isn’t missing many bats, but he isn’t allowing homers either. This could be a game for Stratton’s punchouts to jump back up, facing a Padres club with the lowest weighted on-base average and highest strikeout rate facing righties in all of baseball.

Shane Bieber (R), 5 percent, Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers: The Tigers aren’t as poor as the Padres versus right-handers, but they’re close. Bieber is battling Adam Plutko for a rotation spot when Carlos Carrasco returns. He’s off to a good start, fanning 13 with two walks in 11 1/3 frames.

Ryne Stanek gets the ball to open the festivities for the Rays as they entertain the Yankees. Southpaw Ryan Yarbrough is slated to follow. Even in pitcher-friendly Tropicana Park, Yarbrough is a risk facing the league’s most prolific lineup with a lefty on the hill.

I feel it right now, Tanaka said through Yankees Japanese interpreter Shingo Horie. It’s pretty tight,

Before Tanaka talked to reporters, Yankees manager Aaron Boone expressed hope in his post-game interview that the No. 2 starter’s injury was just a cramp and that a re-evaluation on Saturday would provide optimism that he’d make his next scheduled start Thursday at Yankee Stadium against the Tampa Bay Rays.

NFL rumors: Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston suspended? Will he play Eagles in Week 2?

The Eagles will open the season by facing the Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan. Beyond that, they’ll match-up with Colts’ Andrew Luck in Week 3, Titans’ Marcus Mariota in Week 4 and Vikings’ Kirk Cousins in Week 5.

They might be getting a break in Week 2 when they go up against the Buccaneers and… Ryan Fitzpatrick?

He went from a guy that frankly kind of barely made the team out of spring training, Boone said. He was sent down pretty early. And since he’s come back, he’s just earned more and more opportunities. He’s earned bigger opportunities.

The more guys we can have in the mix in those high-leverage spots, the more we can kind of protect each other. Man, just another terrific performance. I’m just so proud at what he continues to do.

There is some hope for a running game that will get Chris Carson back from injury and will look for rookie first-round pick Rashaad Penny to play a major role, but Carson played in just four games as a rookie, and the jury is obviously still out on Penny. 

For the Seahawks to get back to the playoffs in 2018, Wilson will probably have to do even more of the heavy lifting. 

Sam Bradford will be trying to hold off rookie Josh Rosen for as long as possible in Arizona, but a lack of depth and questions regarding the top guns within his supporting cast might not help Bradford’s cause. 

The Cardinals lost two of their four most productive 2017 wide receivers when John Brown and Jaron Brown walked in free agency, leaving them with just JJ Nelson (who has somehow caught just 46 percent of the passes thrown his way in his three NFL seasons), Chad Williams (three catches as a rookie third-round pick in 2017) and rookie second-round pick Christian Kirk as the primary complements to Larry Fitzgerald. 

Fitzgerald has aged well and is coming off another Pro Bowl season, but Father Time has limited him to just 10.1 yards per catch the last two seasons. A decline is probably imminent as he approaches his 35th birthday.

Police: Kellen Winslow II targeted older women for kidnapping, rape

Police say former NFL player Kellen Winslow II spent months targeting older women for crimes, including two women he kidnapped and raped.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Winslow, who has been arrested and is currently in jail, kidnapped and raped two women in May. One was 54 years old and one was 59. Winslow is also accused of burglary with intent to rape a 71-year-old woman and burglary with intent to rape an 86-year-old woman, both in June.

It’s noon now, and he’s got producers across the hall waiting to meet with him. I think they put our guests at ease and [make] people feel comfortable getting weird, Fallon says. Cate came up with the hamburgers thing — I didn’t ask her to do that!

The U.S. Senior Open Championship take place June 28-July 1 at The Broadmoor-East Course in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Suh, 31, saw his sack total trickle down to 4.5 in Miami last season after registering 8.5 in his last year with Detroit (2014). Phillips will put him in an ideal position to be more productive as Suh plays directly off the attention Donald receives.

The Rams ranked No. 4 in the NFL with 48 sacks last season, with Donald (11) and Brockers (4.5) producing nearly a third of them. Another 15.5 sacks from linebackers Robert Quinn, Connor Barwin and Alec Ogletree are gone, so with LA now lacking a dominant edge-rusher, Suh must rediscover some of his pop with Phillips’ help.

Bridgewater cried the November day last season when he got to put on the uniform again and run through the tunnel again and hear the cheers again and stand on the sideline with his Vikings teammates again. Everyone who has gotten to know him as a sweet, caring Mama’s boy will be rooting for him to author one of the great inspirational comeback stories any sport can muster.

Vikings to induct late Dennis Green into Ring of Honor

Dennis Green’s legacy will live on in Minnesota.

The Vikings on Monday announced the late coach will be posthumously inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.

Yeah, you get past that, then everybody, I think to be successful defensively in this league — I think to be successful, period, in this league — you gotta be fast, smart and physical. Your football IQ’s gotta grow each day, and you don’t need to be a genius, but you need to be able to think on your feet, and you need to be able to understand that things change fast, and within seconds an offensive formation or personnel grouping can change, and you have to cycle in your head some of the things that you need to expect that might happen before they happen.

Joint practices have been a frequent part of the Saints’ summer work in recent years. In addition to working out with the Chargers last year, New Orleans also practiced with the Texans and they’ve shared practice time with the Patriots in the recent past as well.

The Chargers also practiced with the Rams last summer and tempers flared between the two L.A. teams during those sessions.

Simply Google: ‘How many Philadelphia Eagles knelt during the national anthem last season?’ and you will find the answer is zero, Jenkins said in a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. A similar Google search will show you how many great things the players on this team are doing and continue to do on a daily basis.

Instead the decision was made to lie, and paint the picture that these players are anti-America, anti-flag and anti-military.

The Tuesday fireworks followed Trump’s statement Monday night that, because not all the players would come to the White House over the anthem flap, none of them would be welcome.

The Yankees couldn’t have asked more from Loaisiga, who became the 15th player from Nicaragua to reach the majors.

They had low expectations for him going into the game.

Hopefully he can have his butterflies in check and still attack the strike zone and if he does that, general manager Brian Cashman said, he’ll give us a chance to give our offense a chance.

Loaisiga did way more.

Before the at-bat, Sanchez had been mired in a terrible slump, with just four hits in 58 at-bats (.068 batting average).

It started with Judge’s single and was followed by a Gregorius single. The throw from right field skipped past the third baseman. Judge was safe at third and Gregorius moved to second, setting up Eovaldi to intentionally walk Giancarlo Stanton.

The Yankees’ five runs were the most they scored in a game since a 7-2 win June 6 in Toronto.

Darnold and Allen, who were drafted No. 3 and No. 7 overall, are close friends after spending the pre-draft process training together in California with Jordan Palmer.

Neither Darnold nor Allen is expected to be the season-opening starter, but both are considered the future of their respective franchises… on the football field.

I’m really bad, Darnold joked when reporters asked about his golf game. Just started (playing) this last year, really. Even not being good at golf, it’s still fun to go out there and play with my friends. It’s fun to socialize, hang out, and also play a sport and be competitive. Kind of the best of both worlds.

Even with all the stars on the course, the rookie quarterbacks attracted attention and stopped to pose for photos or quick chats with fans.

I love football, so there’s nothing that’s going to replace that, Allen said. But golf, it’s a second.

Other guys may have taken advantage of the more scorable setup, but Reed ultimately didn’t – or at least not enough. He finished 2-under for the day and 4-over for the tournament, putting him solo fourth.

49ers waive Trovon Reed

The 49ers waived defensive back Trovon Reed on Monday, according to the league’s transactions.

Reed, 27, spent time on the Seahawks’ and 49ers’ practice squads last season. San Francisco signed him to a futures contract in January.

The Auburn product signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent in August 2015. He also had stints with the Chargers and Dolphins.

Now, that casino would be barred only from accepting bets on NBA games.

Tom Pohlman, the Golden Nugget’s general manager, said we are grateful to lawmakers for listening to our concerns, but we hope to persuade the lawmakers over time that the total NBA ban is unnecessary and should be limited simply to the Houston Rockets.

There’s a lot of luck involved, and these horses can be pretty fragile, so there’s a lot of disappointment in this sport, Mara said. But when you get to this stage right now, it makes up for it all.

Prior to this year, the best finish any of Mara’s horses has posted in a Triple Crown was a fourth in the Belmont. But this year he has something special on his hands. He’ll also have plenty of company, as Giants coach Pat Shurmur will be with him and will give the riders up call before the race.

When you add a guy like that, it just trickles down throughout the whole room of guys just their study habits, Carr said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. You see Jordy off to the side when another group is in, if you just look over there, he is probably just telling somebody something about a route or a technique or a coverage. He’s very smart. He can read coverage like a quarterback.

The Raiders are betting that Nelson’s smarts and the change of scenery will help him bounce back from a disappointing 2017 season with the Packers. If that happens and his presence helps spark a rebound for Amari Cooper as well, the move will go down as a major positive for the Raiders.

Walk-on QB Tom Flacco leaving Rutgers as graduate transfer

Quarterback Tom Flacco will leave Rutgers and head to Towson as a graduate transfer, two individuals with knowledge of his move told NJ Advance Media.

Flacco, a walk-on, graduated in May with a degree in labor and employment relations. He has two years of eligibility remaining and will be able to play immediately for the FCS program outside Baltimore.

A journeyman who no sooner signed with the Arizona Cardinals before they drafted his successor in Josh Rosen. Given what’s Josh Weinfuss saw at OTAs, that plan of succession may be proceeding faster than anyone (especially Bradford) thought it would: So far, the scouting report on Rosen has been dead-on.

The Brooklyn-based organization provides meals, gifts and academic support to children in need.

It is a cause close to the heart of Hernandez, who lived in a relative’s storage shed for two years after his family lost their home due to financial difficulties.

The Las Vegas native gave up football for a brief time to work construction and let his high school grades slip to the point where his NCAA academic qualification became a recruiting obstacle.

It’s a big deal to me, just that I’m able to help out in any way possible, Hernandez said. My main motivation is I know what it’s like. I know a lot of these people and kids get a lot of joy out of this. Even if it’s just a couple hours to spare, it goes with them forever. I’m glad to be here.

And he will be glad to be on the field Thursday when the Giants hold their 10th and final voluntary organized team activity leading into next week’s mandatory minicamp.

Saints’ top pick, Marcus Davenport, to undergo thumb surgery

cowboys_068The New Orleans Saints’ top draft pick, defensive end Marcus Davenport, will have thumb surgery after this week’s three-day minicamp, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Dianna Russini. But the source described it as no big deal and said Davenport is expected to be fine by the start of training camp in late July.

The news was first reported by the New Orleans Advocate.

Man, he’s big and he’s long. He’s a tremendous worker … He’s coming along really well, Saints coach Sean Payton said recently when asked for his early impressions of the rookie. There’s a strength element you feel — and obviously we’re not in pads, but you saw it when he played (in college). And now it’s really working on his pass rush, working on his pass-rush plan and developing the three different pitches he needs to be effective when it’s not just playing the run. But obviously he, like the rest of that rookie class, has got a lot being installed. But he’s handling it well. It’s been really encouraging.

I also believe that based on my production over the last 8 years that I’ve earned the right to have this taken care of as soon as possible, Thomas wrote. I want to have certainty in regards to the upcoming years of my career.

Thomas told ESPN at the Pro Bowl in January that he may hold out if he doesn’t get a new deal before the season, and he also skipped the Seahawks’ voluntary OTAs last month. He would be subject to fines if he were to skip minicamp, though teams can decide to not impose them.

I hope my teammates understand where I’m coming from, Thomas wrote. I believe this is the right thing to do.

Seahawks GM John Schneider told reporters before the draft that he was told by Thomas’ representatives that Thomas was not planning on holding out.

This year, the maximum fine amounts for missing minicamp are $14,070 for the first day, $28,150 for the second day and $42,215 for the third day, for a total of $84,435. The Seahawks’ three-day minicamp starts Tuesday.

Report: Oliver Luck getting $20 million guaranteed from the XFL

cowboys_069It’s not the $40 million per year that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell makes, but new XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck will be able to buy steak whenever he wants.

According to SportsBusiness Journal (via Rachel Bachman of the Wall Street Journal), Luck will receive $20 million guaranteed over multiple years as the leader of Vince McMahon’s resurrected football venture. The number could end up going north of $30 million, if the league succeeds.

The number of years in multiple is key, for a couple of reasons. First, it reveals the average salary; $20 million over three years obviously has much more annual value than $20 million over five years. Second, it may shed light on the number of years that are funded by McMahon for the second attempt to make the XFL a first-class operation.

Regardless of how it turns out, Luck will be getting real money to turn the XFL into a real football league. If similar money is available for players, the tug of war between the AAF and the XFL could get interesting.

Coming from Pick 147 to being cut and spending a whole year on the practice squad, then next switching positions and playing something I’ve never played before to securing at least $3 million this year for my family, Allen said. I don’t think there is anyone around that doesn’t think I can/shouldn’t make more, but I’m grateful.

Allen was a fifth-rounder in 2014, but was cut as a rookie and spent the season on the practice squad, which is why he was a restricted free agent rather than on the last year of his rookie deal. They could still sign him to a longer-term deal before the start of the regular season.

Second, Mendenhall suggested that four of five players who succeed in the NFL are destined to leave the game broken, in multiple ways.

The lucky ones that make it to their second contract — that means there is some sustainability — when they leave the NFL, they are all of the following — this is 78 percent, almost 80 percent, Mendenhall said. They are divorced, bankrupt, a substance abuser and disabled, all four. That’s almost 80 percent of the lucky ones that make it to their second contract.

So 80 percent of all players who earn a second contract in the NFL, according to Mendenhall, leave the game divorced and bankrupt and a substance abuser and disabled. Not one of the four. All of the four.

Cowboys’ 1978 halfback pass opens NFL’s Super Bowl trick-play TD video

Cowboys’ 1978 halfback pass opens NFL’s Super Bowl trick-play TD video More Want even more evidence the NFL is a league that is hesitant to try things out of the norm? On the biggest stage with everything on the line, trick plays that break conventional wisdom rarely go down. Coaches often exist in a perpetual state of second-guess fear.

And yet there was Cleveland with a chance to steal Game 1 on Thursday night, thanks to Smith’s rebound four feet from the rim and a shot at a game-winning putback in the final seconds.

You’ve seen the replay of what Smith did instead by now: He dribbled the clock out like a fool. Golden State won the game in overtime. America collectively shook its head.

Just how badly did Smith screw up? Let’s put it in context with other championship-round gaffes, starting at least severe and careening to most cringe-worthy.

His voice trails off. He gazes down at the court. At one end, the 14-year-old (Javen) launches jumpers. At the other, Jazz is now throwing his Royals hat at the rim.

No, it never got to the point of plotting his own death. Suicidal thoughtsremained only that. Thoughts. But do not think for a second he’s in the end zone celebrating.

As the three kids begin to pinball back up the bleachers, I suggest to Lewis that he got to the other side. He cuts in. 

It’s not over, he says. I have to keep moving.

I have always been an upstanding citizen and handled the situation the best way I know how, Williams said. I apologize if I should have handled it a little bit differently.

The 28-year-old Williams was expected to miss all the offseason workouts after breaking his right foot in January and having surgery. The Cowboys released cowboys_070 in a cost-cutting move while signing two free agents and drafting two more receivers.