How Red Sox DH Hanley Ramirez called J.D. Martinez’s winning home run vs. Yankees

Hanley Ramirez was just happy J.D. Martinez took his advice.

As Martinez started toward the plate to lead off the top of the eighth inning in a 4-4 game, the Boston Red Sox designated hitter gave one last instruction.

I told him before he went up. ‘You better hit a homer right here,’ Ramirez said. And he did. That’s good. I told him to his face. We need a homer from him right here, and he went out and hit it.

G Larry Allen: Some would argue he’s the greatest guard of all time. He was almost certainly the strongest. Allen was an all-pro for six consecutive seasons (1996-2001), a record among Dallas offensive players.

QB Troy Aikman: The triggerman for the ’90s Cowboys and one of the most accurate passers the NFL has ever seen, Aikman wound up with three rings, a Super Bowl MVP and a Hall of Fame jacket.

Last year’s starting guards were Quinton Spain and Josh Kline. The Titans gave Kline a new four-year, $26.5 million deal this offseason. His starting job is clearly secure. Pamphile may have a chance to compete with Spain and fellow offseason acquisition Xavier Su’a-Filo for the starting left guard spot, though.

Hood is far from a lock to make the roster. While he is an experienced veteran who made 13 starts last season, he is not the kind of upper-echelon defender Washington cannot afford to part with. He had 25 tackles in 2017 with just half a sack. He was also part of a defensive front that allowed an NFL-worst 134.1 rushing yards per game.

If the Redskins decide to part with Hood, they can save roughly $1.6 million in cap space, as he has just $150,000 in dead money remaining on his contract. Hood will be vying with the likes of Matt Ioannidis and rookie fifth-round pick Tim Settle for a spot on the defensive-line depth chart. Younger talent could push him out.

However, Schneider may not be taking into account how Thomas feels about the team’s trade talks during the draft. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Seattle talked with the Cowboys about trading Thomas.

Giants schedule 2018: New York’s new regime gets chilly reception

The Giants’ 2018 schedule reinforces what New York fans already know heading into the season: New coach Pat Shurmur and his staff have a lot of work to do if the team plans to contend for a division title.

Yes, New York’s division rivals in Philadelphia, Dallas and Washington also have teams from the NFC South and AFC South on their schedules. But the Eagles, Cowboys and Redskins are not facing the transition the Giants are managing as they aim for a return to the playoffs.

Thibodeau spent much of the early part of the series publicly prodding Towns to play with more energy. He specifically mentioned the importance of running the floor on multiple occasions after Houston held Towns, who was often double-teamed in the post, to single-digit scoring totals in the first two games.

But it’s a lot easier said than done to outrun Capela, a gazelle in Nikes who doesn’t have to be reminded that he can impact the game simply by sprinting.

“I try to always have that pace,” said Capela, who has worked to build his endurance so he can play at maximum effort for 33 minutes, as he did during Game 5. “I feel like I have an impact on the offense whenever I sprint, whenever I put pace on our offense. By doing that, I feel like I really help my team. I really try to stay focused on that and keep that energy up.”

He was welcomed to the team by Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

Goedert is the first player selected by the Eagles in the 2018 draft as Philadelphia traded its first-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens, who selected quarterback Lamar Jackson, on Thursday.

The Eagles had a need at tight end after releasing Brent Celek in March and losing Trey Burton in free agency (signed with the Chicago Bears).

Goedert posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2016 and ’17 and had 13 touchdown catches in that time span.

“It’s going to add depth and competition to the position,” coach Doug Pederson said. “He’s a tremendous weapon we can utilize. It’s exciting to have a pick like this to add.”

Impressing scouts with his testing results at a pro day in Florida, it has been reported the ex-Rabbitoh met with the Eagles along with the Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Chargers in the lead-up to the draft.steelers_053

Billy McKinney out ‘at least a few weeks’ with shoulder injury

Only three games into the season, the New York Yankees are dealing with some troubling injury issues that were compounded Saturday by a pair of early exits.

Just when the Yankees’ outfield could ill afford to lose another player to injury, it lost one.

The Yankees will place McKinney on the disabled list and bring up infielder Miguel Andujar to take his place.

The off-speed stuff was good, but the velocity stuff, when I hit on it, I got the right result and when I missed, it got hit hard, Tillman said.

Houston put together a fast start. George Springer and Alex Bregman began the first with consecutive doubles. Bregman advanced to third on a wild pitch before Jose Altuve, who was greeted with MVP chants on each trip to the plate, reached on a fielder’s choice that left Bregman out at home. Tillman walked Josh Reddick with two outs, but he retired Marwin Gonzalez to end the inning.

There is just a lot to love right now.

Charlie Morton pitched six scoreless innings Monday night, and the Astros unveiled their World Series banner before defeating the Baltimore Orioles 6-1 in their home opener.

He was exceptional, Hinch said. I know I keep using that word with our starting rotation but I thought he did a great job of making a few adjustments as he found the strike zone as the game got underway. That was pretty electrifying stuff again.

Morton (1-0) allowed three hits and fanned six in front of sellout crowd of 42,675, giving Houston’s rotation a 1.78 ERA and 36 strikeouts this season. The right-hander picked up where he left off after getting the final 12 outs in Game 7 against the Dodgers to help secure Houston’s first championship.

Morton said the atmosphere for the home opener was intense.


Report: Eagles, Giants have interest in Pat O’Donnell

The Eagles and Giants are showing interest in punter Pat O’Donnell, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

O’Donnell, a sixth-round pick of the Bears in 2014, had a career-high 87 punts in 2017. He netted 3,500 yards, averaging 47 yards per punt. O’Donnell also pinned 27 punts inside the 20.

“If [Bill Belichick] did listen to me, I would definitely shoot him a text message and tell him, ‘I don’t know if he heard the news, but Jason McCourty is a free agent.,’” Devin said last year. “He’ll listen to me sometimes about my opinion on the deep middle, but scouting ers, he stays away from me.”

That scouting report may not have been the reason the Patriots made Thursday’s move, but they’ve doubled down on McCourtys all the same.

A lot of guys have played 1 ?306 to be exact ?and of them have been stars and superstars.I should note I have seen it times since.Austin, who was drafted eighth overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, has failed to live up to expectations as explosive playmaker.It’s not happening.

Shepard is all of 22, but he has caught on fast.This is estimated by dividing each player’s -by- scoring by the average League scoring level at the time, and then multiplying it by the common, modern-day standard of 5 goals per game.With Beasley out, the Bucks more heavily on guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, and there could be some minutes available for Henson and Mirza Teletovic., 25, was the team’s fifth-round selection the 2013 NFL draft.Encarnacion turns 34 , and as good as he has been, tying his career high with 42 home runs this year, his OPS+ has slid each of the past two years, from 152 2014, to 148 2015, to 133 2016.

The most important thing is taking care of your body and pushing yourself to the limit so you can continue to grow not only as an athlete but as a player, Barkley said. Even though through all these visits I might be here and there, I find time to make sure to work out. . . .

Not find time. Demand time.

It’s apparent he’s done his work already, after running his 40-yard dash in 4.40 seconds, posting a 41-inch vertical leap and putting up 29 repetitions of the 225-pound bench press. That kind of explosive ability was evident in his game tape at Penn State, but last week’s performance just underscored the potential that’s there.49ers_212

Keith Kinkaid’s red-hot streak just got even better.

Kinkaid’s shutout was his first since April 4, 2017, and Saturday’s win marked his fourth straight victory. Over his last 11 games, he is 9-2-0 while allowing two or fewer goals eight times.

The Devils are now 3-0-0 on their season-long six-game road trip, with Kinkaid winning all three games.

Terms were not disclosed, but a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday that it is a five-year deal.

Pugh, 27, was the Giants’ top lineman when on the field the past few seasons, playing well despite a relative lack of talent elsewhere on the line.

A former first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in 2011, Clayborn is coming off the most-productive season of his career, recording a personal-best 9.5 sacks for the Atlanta Falcons.

Clayborn joins a Patriots team that had no player record as many as seven sacks last season.

He fills a major hole as a situational pass rusher for the team.

This comes on the heels of New England losing Dion Lewis, Nate Solder, Malcolm Butler and Danny Amendola in free agency earlier in the week.

Even worse, Burton told Jon Marks and Ike Reese of 94 WIP he was disappointed the Eagles didn’t make him an offer.

Limited cap space or not, the Eagles need to rectify this or Carson Wentz could have some problems next year. It’s probably better to try a proven NFL talent like Eric Ebron than hope a rookie can come in and immediately help keep the Eagles in contention.

Thanks to cap trouble, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost O-lineman Chris Hubbard, cut safeties Robert Golden and Mike Mitchell, and released cornerback William Gay.

With a big chunk of salary going to Le’Veon Bell, the Steelers don’t have a ton of wiggle room on the open market despite the apparent new need in the defensive secondary.

In other words, Tyrann Mathieu was a pipe dream.patriots_121

Why J.P. Crawford highlights a bright Phillies future

J.P. Crawford may sound like the name of an expensive lawyer in a high-stakes legal thriller, but he’s not.

It’s is actually the name of one of the most highly touted prospects in baseball, a shortstop for the Phillies who entered 2018 as a consensus top-40 prospect. He, along with a host of young, elite prospects, could be the key that opens the door to contention for the Phillies sooner rather than later.

Here’s how Crawford could help turn the Phillies around in 2018.

Between the presences of J.D. Martinez and Mitch Moreland, it’s also fair to wonder just how much playing time Ramirez is actually going to get this year. Martinez figures to get the lion’s share of the plate appearances the DH slot has to offer because he’s ridiculously good at hitting baseballs. That means Ramirez is going to have to substantially out-hit the steady-handed Moreland to wrest away the first base job. It should be doable, but it’s also far from a given.

Let’s assume that Ramirez is able to be the everyday first baseman and gets a full season’s worth of plate appearances. We’re not too worried about his ability to crank dingers, as he’s still got the power to hit 30 bombs if he stays healthy. It’s the steals that are the issue.

New Yankees manager Aaron Boone’s assessment of the young second baseman: “I don’t know if (he’s) rusty as (he) is such a special player on both sides of the ball that I think he probably — for a couple games there — maybe wanted to do a little bit too much offensively. But our reminder to him is, ‘We know what you’re capable of, be who you are, just go do that. Don’t be in a hurry to do things.’”

At Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2017, Torres hit a combined .287/.383/.480 with seven homers and 34 RBIs.

There is another factor weighing in Torres starting the season in the minors. If he spends at least two weeks there to start the 2018 season, then the Yankees gain an extra year of team control over a player considered a consensus top 10 prospect in all of baseball.

Meantime, according to the Daily News, Boone has been extremely impressed with Tyler Wade, 23, who could come away with the opening day job at second base.

“He continues to be an absolute spark when he plays,” Boone said of Wade.

Veteran Danny Espinosa and utility man Ronald Torreyes also are in the mix at second.seahawks_009_df1b74befafd8823-180x180

The Bucks lost a chance at clinching the season series with the Wizards who hold the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Washington improved to 2 1/2 games ahead of the sixth-place Bucks. The road team won both games of the series.

“We want to be a great team,” Beal said. “We are not there yet, but we want to be a great team.”

The Wizards led by as much as 21 in the first half and completely outplayed the Bucks. The second half was another story as Milwaukee found some playoff intensity. Washington let the lead slip to one five times in the fourth, but then made the stops and baskets for the win.

“Our guys took their punch, and we fought back,” head coach Scott Brooks said. “We didn’t give in. We just kept fighting and battling.”

Mavericks: Smith scored 15 points in the first half on 6-of-9 shooting. … Barnes scored 13 in the first half, going 6 for 12 from the floor. … Forward Nerlens Noel played 15 minutes in his second game back from thumb surgery.

Bulls: Hoiberg said he planned to give Portis just his second start of the season in the Bulls’ next game, on Monday against Boston. … C Robin Lopez was inactive for a fifth straight game. … Forward Jarell Eddie, who was signed to a 10-day contract, was assigned to the G League Windy City Bulls on Friday.

The Pacers began the night fifth in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.

John Collins had 16 points for the Hawks, who ended their four-game losing streak.

Taurean Prince had 15 points, all in the first half, and Dedmon also scored 15.

Atlanta led 55-50 at halftime before outscoring the Pacers 30-15 in the third quarter to extend the lead to 85-65. The Hawks scored the first 10 points of the second half.

Lance Stephenson, who had 18 points, and Sabonis made back-to-back 3-pointers to start the Pacers’ comeback.

The game marked the sixth time in NBA history where two teams entered a game on double-digit losing streaks, according to STATS LLC. The Vancouver Grizzlies were the last winning team in such a situation, snapping a 13-game losing streak, 88-77, on Jan. 20, 1998 against the Denver Nuggets, who entered that game on a 20-game slide.

Eric Hosmer ready for leadership role with Padres, will wear No. 30 to honor Yordano Ventura

We’re not looking for Eric to come in here and be Knute Rockne and deliver speeches from day one, general manager A.J. Preller said. It’s the things he shows daily: the passion for the game, the love for the game, the competitiveness, the intellect, the curious mind, wanting to get better. Those are the things that kept coming back from guys who played with him or against him. That’s why we were so convicted that he was the guy for us at this time.

In 2017, scores were slightly down with Eric Gordon beating a field that included Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry, and previous champion Thompson with a score of 25 in the first round, 20 in the second and 21 in an overtime win.

Hodges still holds two records — most made shots (21) in a round and most consecutive shots made (19). Those records may have staying power beyond the new format.

Here’s the thinking behind all five spots on the floor, and why an NBA player might choose it over another spot.

You see these guys bouncing around and playing, you want to participate and be playing with your teammates, said Murphy, who was the only position player not to participate in team drills Tuesday, one day before the Nats’ first official full-squad workout. But I think it’s the understanding of when they loose me, when the training staff lets me go and it’s time to play, you only want to come off the DL once. I don’t want to start playing games and then have to stop. So that’s kind of the mindset we’re taking right now.

The Diamondbacks say they’ll use the spring to decide between Archie Bradley, Brad Boxberger and Yoshihisa Hirano. Bradley has the best skills, but he also has proved effective in the ever-popular multiple-inning role. With the humidor, Boxberger’s control and gopheritis might not be as much of a problem while Hirano’s low strikeout rate won’t matter as much. It’s still anyone’s guess, but those expecting Bradley to be the closer should be less confident.

With nine or 10 desert games, the other teams in the NL West will be affected. Keeping in mind a strong offense will still score runs in pitchers’ parks, it appears only Coors Field will be off-limits for streaming. This makes the back-end starters on the Dodgers, Rockies, Padres and Giants more palatable, especially in leagues with daily moves. On the flip side, lower-end hitters from these clubs are less attractive, since there’ll be many road trips with all neutral or pitchers’ parks.royals_010

Belichick has enjoyed six seasons without turnover for his top two assistants, adding up to more Super Bowl rings since 2012.

When the Eagles and Patriots take the field for Super Bowl 52, it will mark the sixth “rematch” in Super Bowl history. But other than New England still having the same starting quarterback and head coach, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, everything is completely different from Super Bowl 39.

The run for the Pats with McDaniels and Patricia is longer than that of Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, who won three rings in four years together.

The Patriots still have their share of mighty mites, but they’ve come a long way since David Givens, Deion Branch and Troy Brown were Brady’s primary targets. Givens, at 6-0, 212 pounds, wore No. 87 in Super Bowl 39 after leading the team with only 56 catches for 874 yards in the regular season.

Now it’s 6-6, 265-pound Rob Gronkowski wearing a slightly bigger version of that uniform and doing a lot more damage. Gronk finished the season with his favorite team-high number of catches, 69, and also led the team with 1,084 receiving yards and 8 receiving TDs.

Gronk didn’t play in Super Bowl 51, so he has some making up to do. It was Branch, not Givens, who ended up winning game MVP in Super Bowl 39, catching 11 balls for 133 yards. Gronk will be one of the best non-Brady MVP bets for Super Bowl 52.

The most expensive tickets are very close to the field and typically include some sort of pregame/postgame hospitality and maybe even an on-field experience.

The most common, and usually cheapest, place to buy Super Bowl tickets is on reseller websites like StubHub, SeatGeek and Vivid Seats. Fans can also head to NFL Ticket Exchange, the official reseller of the NFL, however those prices tend to be higher than those listed on other ticket re-selling sites. That said, its most expensive Super Bowl ticket package, as of Jan. 23, was “only” $40,000, which is a steal compared to the top-end prices at other resellers.

Which raises the question: Why would Brady retire when he clearly still can perform at an all-time level and shows few if any signs of regression?

The answer: A man who’s abnormally healthy after having played 18 NFL seasons would be wise to maintain said abnormal health; health that, in a sport like football and in a league like the NFL, is as guaranteed as about half of the two-year contract Brady recently signed with the Patriots.bills_045

The Jets shopped the talented but troubled Richardson before last season’s trading deadline.

The first-round pick the Jets reportedly were seeking for Richardson is out of the question because of a subpar 2016 season and his well-documented off-field issues. The swap for third-round picks in the Timmy Jernigan trade probably helps define trade compensation for Richardson. Moving Richardson would wipe his $8.069 million fifth-year option salary from the Jets’ books.

There is more upside with Brissett because he is younger and more mobile than Tolzien. But Brissett has been with the Colts only since Sept. 2, when he was acquired in a trade with New England.

“Players don’t see their bills or keep track of their payments. They’re in the dark about taxes. They lose touch with their own money,” the authors write.

“You think of sharks in the ’hood, you think of gang bangers and drug dealers. You haven’t seen nothing ’til you step into some of these white-collar criminals,” said Scott, to which investment manager Ed Butowsky adds in the book, “I know many people who have had money wired out of their accounts to private equity accounts or into other accounts without their knowledge.”

The losses incurred by some players are staggering. Sapp made “$82,185,056 during his NFL career. He ended up with $826.04 in his bank account,” and filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Former linebacker Keith McCants signed a $7.6 million contract in 1990 but tells the authors that he “bought a yacht, a mansion and a couple of cars. That ain’t a million dollars. That’s several million. I pretty much gave it away.”

Signing a 27-year-old kicker — who’s never played in a regular season game — less than 24 hours before your regular opener isn’t something that usually works out for you, but it definitely worked out for the Raiders on Sunday.

It will be the third career start for Lynch, the Broncos’ first-round draft pick in 2016. He injured his right shoulder Aug. 26 in a preseason game against the Packers and hasn’t played since. In each of the last two preseasons, Lynch was beaten out for the starting job by Siemian.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, who’s been searching for answers, used the word “mojo” a number of times when speaking to reporters earlier this week.

“Last year, we always pulled out the close games, and this year, we know we can do it and everything just hasn’t added up yet,’’ Raiders fullback and lineman Jon Feliciano told reporters this week, according to ESPN. “There’s something missing. That’s what [Del Rio] has been talking about, bringing that mojo back, that intangible that we had last year. We’ve got to bring it back this year.”bills_023