Sinker, slider, strikeout: Cardinals’ rookie Jordan Hicks adjusts to life in majors and in bullpen

ST. LOUIS — On May 20, Jordan Hicks threw a baseball 105 mph.

He did that twice, actually. One of those pitches was a ball, with movement so wicked that catcher Francisco Pena had little chance of catching the rapidly moving sinker. The other one was fouled off by Odubel Herrera, making it the fastest strike in recorded baseball history.

We’ll come back to that. In the hours and days after the 21-year-old Hicks wowed baseball with that overwhelming display of radar love, a bit of criticism sprung up. Hicks walked too many hitters. He wasn’t striking out many. He was, essentially, a one-pitch guy.

I mean, you saw today, Hicks said. I didn’t go out there and try to overthrow or anything. I just tried to throw strikes and command the zone. I knew that’s what people were going to think if I tried to go out there and do it again. I’m just gonna go throw strikes.

Hicks isn’t just making the transition from the minors to the majors. The Cardinals have moved him to the bullpen for now, and control of that slider proved elusive in the new role.

Normally I’m a starter and I have more reps to kind of find it early in a season, but now it’s one inning at a time trying to find it, trying to find it in long-toss, but now I finally feel that spin, and I feel a lot more comfortable with it, Hicks said. I was comfortable throwing it before, but it wasn’t for strikes. But now I feel really good about it.

That’s obvious.

It was quite a display for a player who had just two home runs prior to this run. Both came against the White Sox in 2017, including a drive against Shields (2-9) at Guaranteed Rate Field in his first major league game.

We all know he’s got that in him, Melvin said. It’s just about getting him some consistent at-bats. When he’s swinging the bat well, he’s definitely capable of doing that.

Sean Manaea (7-6) went seven innings, allowing one run and five hits. The 26-year-old left-hander struck out seven without a walk in winning his second straight start.

Shields has dropped back-to-back outings after beating Cleveland for his first victory since opening day. The right-hander gave up eight runs — two earned — and five hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Athletics: The Athletics activated LF Matt Joyce (strained lower back) from the 10-day disabled list and optioned OF Jake Smolinski to Triple-A Nashville. Joyce started the second game after being held out of the opener. … 3B Matt Chapman (bruised right thumb) received a cortisone injection Tuesday. Manager Bob Melvin said the earliest he will be activated is Monday, when the Athletics open a four-game series at Detroit. … Melvin also expects LHP Ryan Buchter (strained left shoulder) to be activated during the Detroit series. … LHP Brett Anderson (strained left shoulder) is scheduled to throw about four innings and 60 pitches in a rehab outing for Triple-A Nashville on Saturday.

Bills rookie QB Josh Allen shocks newlyweds by crashing wedding photo shoot

Bills quarterback Josh Allen didn’t get married over the weekend, but he was involved in a wedding photo shoot after he decided to crash one that was taking place at New Era Stadium on Saturday. Apparently, Allen noticed a wedding party outside the stadium and decided he wanted to get in on the pictures, and let’s just say, he was welcomed with open arms by a wedding party that included bridesmaids in Bills underwear, groomsmen in Bills socks and some guy wearing a creepy Bills mask that he probably wasn’t allowed to wear at the wedding. Here’s a look at the wedding party posing with Allen, who was also joined by Bills rookie Harrison Phillips.

Really, he says, it was hard for me to say that. … (Luck) just picked it up and threw it and that was it. It really wasn’t a workout, so that was how I justified it in my mind.

If Reich can lie to the media once, he can lie again. The next time he says something that doesn’t sound plausible, well, it’ll be fair to wonder: How did you justify this one? Just saying: Consider yourself warned. Because Reich just warned you.

The Raiders recently reported the team has spent $172.4 million, 19 percent of its commitment, on the stadium project. Another $43.6 million, or 22 percent of the total commitment, has been paid by the NFL’s G-4 loan program, and $30.6 million, or 4 percent, of the public’s $750 million contribution has been spent to date.

Do you know what this level of commitment means?

It goes beyond having the Raiders in Vegas. This means the NFL is going to have a Super Bowl in Vegas as soon as it can.

That’s how it works: Build a new stadium, and the Super Bowl follows.

The next Super Bowls are Atlanta in 2019, Miami in 2020, Tampa in 2021, Los Angeles in 2022, Glendale in 2023 and New Orleans in 2024.

I’d bet anything Vegas gets the Super Bowl in 2025.

If you want to understand how quickly the gambling universe is changing after the Supreme Court made it possible for states to legalize it, look at what happened in Delaware on Tuesday.

The governor of the state placed a bet.

Polls indicate Americans split on NFL national anthem policy

Polls indicate Americans split on NFL national anthem policy More Two national polls indicate the controversy over the National Football League national anthem policy isn’t going away any time soon because the public is divided on the issue. A Yahoo Sports/YouGov poll was more favorable of the NFL’s new policy, which will penalize players who do not stand for the national anthem next season.
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Garoppolo is sure to endure stumbles and slumps along the path to stardom. Is it fair Elvis Andrus Womens Jersey that he’s already one of the sport’s highest-paid players after just seven starts? Perhaps not. But the preponderance of data at our disposal suggests the 49ers had no realistic alternative to breaking the bank for the key to their era of new hope, a golden boy deemed untouchable in Patriots trade talks just a year ago.

Keenum, who signed a two-year, $36 million deal during free agency, is paid as a starter. And he has conducted himself as such while the Broncos transition to a new scheme under offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.

Case is working hard, Musgrave said Thursday, via the Broncos’ official website. It’s a new system for him; it’s a new system for everybody. Case is getting exclusively all the reps with the ones. We’re not splitting them like you would if you didn’t have an established starter, so he’s getting more concentrated work, and it’s paying dividends.

Musgrave’s praise of Keenum is noteworthy when considering what the Broncos endured in 2017 without an established starter.
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Guenther’s defenses in Cincinnati have been some of the best in the league during his time as coordinator there.

Paul Guenther’s defense, it’s very aggressive, new middle linebacker Derrick Johnson said.

So many different looks. The onus is really on the linebackers to learn a lot of stuff. That’s good for myself because I know a lot. It’s putting a lot of pressure on me to learn it quickly.

Oakland is also hoping to get a boost with healthy seasons from last year’s top two picks, cornerback Gareon Conley and safety Obi Melifonwu, who were limited to 127 defensive snaps as rookies because of injuries.

The OTA system is voluntary. It’s a voluntary program, Belichick said. We have players that are in various stages of participation. So everybody does what they can, the best they can, to get ready to go. Whatever they can do.

Tensions have been high in New England, especially between Belichick and his players. The Patriots have also faced some criticism after a couple of players around the league bashed the Patriot Way and said the culture lacks fun.

But as long as the team keeps winning championships and performing at an elite level, Belichick will continue to block out the noise.

There is one photo of Namath fitted by a furrier in 1968 and another wearing a white fur coat on the Shea Stadium sidelines on Nov. 14, 1971. For old time’s sake, Namath showed up in a coat made of coyote with Norwegian fox trim for the Super Bowl XLVIII coin toss.

If Colts quarterback John Unitas personified the old-school NFL with his black high tops, along came the irreverent, irrepressible Joe Willie Whiteshoes, who wrapped white tape around his black shoes when the cleats began to wear out.

After initially denying reports, Mychal Kendricks apparently will sign with Browns

Mychal Kendricks apparently does have a deal with the Browns. Multiple reports say Kendricks will sign a one-year contract worth as much as $3.5 million.
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Kendricks denied reports of a deal with the Browns earlier Sunday.

At a time when the NFLPA is contemplating which case(s) to go ahead with as it relates to the league’s decision to unilaterally eliminate a right to protest that the league previously had given to the players and confirmed on multiple occasions, maybe the first battle will come within the confines of Beckham’s existing lawsuit.

Being up there in New Orleans just for that short period of time, and just seeing him, man, I’m talking about clockwork, Peterson said. You see this guy out on the field two hours before practice and he’s going through his fundamentals. He’s in the weight room. He’s lifting. He’s cut up. The funny Bobby Clarke Jersey thing is once we did our conditioning test, that’s probably the first time I ever lost a conditioning test.

It helps explain why Brees keeps going strong at 39, with far less fanfare or discussion than the media devotes to an avocado ice cream-eating 40-year-old quarterback who is only 17 months older than Brees. However long Tom Brady lasts in the NFL, don’t rule out the possibility of Brees playing until an even older age.

Immediately afterward, the couple, who will be known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will parade by carriage through the streets of Windsor town, where as many as 100,000 Brits and foreign visitors will be wearing outrageous hats and waving Union Jacks and the Stars and Stripes to celebrate the ultimate in special relationships: Harry’s royal marriage to a California girl.
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Racing luck is not always on the side of the fastest horse but that sure as hell is the way to bet. — Good advice for $2 bettors
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France has a left back in the making in Benjamin Mendy.

When France won the World Cup in 1998, it was formidably effective down the left flank. Playmaker Zinedine Zidane would wait for left back Bixente Lizarazu to push up and they would swap passes with devastating speed.
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Quick, powerful and skillful, the 23-year-old Mendy excelled for Monaco when it won the French league and reached the Champions League semifinals in 2017. It earned him a move to Manchester City, where a serious knee injury curtailed his progress. He recovered to play in City’s last few games of the season.

The attack-minded Mendy is also quick enough to track back when a move breaks down.

But more specifically, according to the Miami New Times, other police officers could not back up a controversial officer’s claim that Anderson shoved him last May at a music festival.

The officer involved in the incident was Capt. Javier Ortiz, who has a checkered past, with allegations of excessive force and perjury, involving his written police reports.

Alexei Kovalev Youth Jersey According to a close-out memo from the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office, prosecutors have dropped felony charges against Anderson of resisting arrest with violence. The prosecutors say they had no case because the other cops on the scene couldn’t back up Ortiz’s story that Anderson had shoved him first.

Youth Dale Hawerchuk Jersey According to the state attorney’s office, multiple other cops [who] were present when the alleged shoving occurred all testified that they didn’t see it didn’t happen. None of the other officers present claim to have witnessed the alleged push, reads a statement.

That includes Sixers center (and noted soccer fan) Joel Embiid.

In fact, Embiid is such a big soccer fan that he is helping FOX Sports promote its coverage of the FIFA World Cup.

Check out the video at the top of this story, in which Embiid is joined by David Beckham, Alex Morgan, Evander Holyfield Jamaal Williams Jersey and Deadpool (aka Ryan Reynolds) to pump up FOX’s coverage.

All of that would certainly qualify as insufficient evidence to proceed with a charge.

Nine months after his May arrest in Miami, Anderson was arrested in January in Broward County (Fla.).

But last month, Anderson had felony charges against him dropped in connection with that arrest, during which he allegedly fled from a cop at 105 mph and then threatened to sexually assault the arresting officer’s wife.

Second killing may be linked to former Packers LB Carlos Gray’s death, police say

A man found shot to death Tuesday near Birmingham, Ala., possibly was killed in retaliation for former Packers linebacker Carlos Gray’s shooting death Monday, authorities told area media (via The Associated Press).
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Darryl Thomas, 21, appears to have been shot in retribution and his body dumped along a road, sheriff’s officials said.

At least one of the suspects in Thomas’ death is believed to have been a close friend of Gray.

No one has been charged in either death.

Elite Alex McGough Jersey Gray, 25, was found wounded and unresponsive Monday night in his Pinson, Ala., home, according to police (via

Gray’s girlfriend had seen him alive when she left the home an hour earlier.

Durability also is a critical factor. Rosen has good size at 6-4, 220 pounds, but there are questions about his ability to stay healthy after missing the last half of his sophomore season with a shoulder injury that required surgery. He then missed two games last season due to a pair of concussions.

The traits that will go down as Roethlisberger’s signature strengths on the field 鈥?his competitiveness and his confidence 鈥?are also sources of weakness. He can overcome bad games knowing he’s capable of anything with his physical talents, but that confidence can translate to the kind of jerkiness that can be detrimental to a team. For example, the tension between Roethlisberger and Todd Haley contributed to the Steelers’ offensive coordinator change this offseason. The QB also never had the greatest relationship with wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who was traded to the Raiders.

The Steelers did think about helping Roethlisberger when they hired his beloved quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner as coordinator to replace Haley. They thought about Roethlisberger again when they drafted wide receiver James Washington in the second round to replace Bryant. Pittsburgh is pushing the right buttons on Roethlisberger without having to reprogram him. The Rudolph selection simply is a sneaky way of motivating Big Ben out of his comfort zone.

If Pittsburgh’s overall offseason goal was making Roethlisberger realize the team’s window to win another Super Bowl with him is shrinking fast, consider it accomplished. The Steelers are expecting Roethlisberger to respond with another spike in his play, and his swagger suggests he will deliver. Even if that production comes out of arrogance, it’s good for the team’s bottom Cedric Ogbuehi Authentic Jersey line.

Pittsburgh’s only real QB competition in 2018 will be between Jones, Dobbs and Rudolph for the backup role. Even so, the team could not have found a better carrot to dangle in front of its veteran starter.

Rangers hire Boston University’s David Quinn as coach

The New York Rangers hired Boston University’s David Quinn as their new head coach Wednesday, the second college coach hired by an NHL team this month and third in the past four years.
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Quinn replaces Alain Vigneault, who was fired hours after the Rangers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010. An introductory news conference was scheduled for Thursday.

The retooling Rangers are the latest team to dip into the college ranks for a coach after the Philadelphia Flyers hired Dave Hakstol from North Dakota in 2015 and the Dallas Stars hired Jim Montgomery from the University of Denver in early May. Before Hakstol, it had been 28 years since a coach made the jump from the NCAA to the NHL.

So what did Marchessault do? He scored twice and had eight shots on goal in a 3-1 road win that spurred the four-game winning streak to close out the Jets. It’s fun to watch Marchessault flourish, as a guy who used to drive a Hyundai to NHL training camps and now has a ridiculously cool Lamborghini dropped at his home on game days to drive to the arena. Really, the entire top line — William Karlsson, Marchessault and Reilly Smith — has been terrific these playoffs, combining for 15 points, seven goals (half of the Golden Knights’ goals in the series against Winnipeg).

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni made the point once again about Paul being healthy: There’s nothing wrong at all.

We’re not going to win without him, D’Antoni said. So if he’s Prince Amukamara”>Authentic”>Prince Amukamara Jersey got to limp and drag his leg to the finish line, so be it. And he’s ready to do that.
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That deafening, bright yellow sellout crowd was imposing once again.

His quick wit and willingness to contribute — wherever, however — has made him a hit with his new linemates.

He plays the game the right way, Vegas alternate captain Deryk Engelland said. First guy on every puck, he creates havoc down low on their D-men, he finishes every check, he creates room for his linemates, he’s going to go to the dirty areas to get the job done. To get that first goal in what, three and a half months? In the conference finals as the game winner? I couldn’t be happier for him.

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The Houston Rockets were the best team in the NBA in the regular season.

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They played like it Wednesday night, using a balanced scoring attack to rout the Golden State Warriors 127-105 and even the Western Conference finals at one game apiece.
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James Harden and Eric Gordon each scored 27 points on a night Houston had five players score 16 points or more.

We can beat anybody, anywhere at any time playing the way we play, coach Mike D’Antoni said.

The Rockets didn’t trail after the first quarter and led by double digits for most of the night. They head to Oakland, California for Game 3 on Sunday night feeling much better after rebounding from a deflating 119-106 loss in the series opener.

Durant made a basket after that, but Houston scored the next eight points to extend the lead to 119-91 with about five minutes left.

The Warriors got frustrated in that stretch, with Durant getting a technical for shoving Harden in the back and Draymond Green pushing Ariza out of bounds seconds later. It was then that Kerr sent all of his starters to the bench for good.

He’s worked really hard. He’s been through a lot physically. He’s had to endure a lot of rehabs. We probably saw him at his best his first year over here. It’s been a tough road for him since then, Molitor said. I thanked him for the effort that he’s given me and the times he’s taken the ball, and I hope something happens in a positive fashion for him moving forward.

In a corresponding move, the Twins announced Tuesday that they’d recalled outfielder Ryan LaMarre Authentic Quintin Demps Jersey from Triple-A Rochester.

Since the move to the bullpen, Molitor has not found many comfortable opportunities to use the 31-year-old. Eight of Minnesota’s past 10 games have been decided by one or two runs.
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Evan Gattis (R), 51 percent, Houston Astros vs. San Francisco Giants (LHP Andrew Suarez): Gattis hasn’t had a very good season, but he might be starting to turn it around. He has a 1.042 OPS over the past two weeks with three of his four homers on the season. San Francisco’s Suarez has shown a severe platoon split with a 513-point difference favoring righties (1.007 OPS). This is a great opportunity for Gattis to stay hot and start paying off on his relatively lofty draft status.

Why the Devils shouldn’t trade Keith Kinkaid

The team then made the聽playoffs each of the next two seasons, and the Maple Leafs set franchise records for wins and points in 2017-18.
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I was criticized eight years ago that this was just a Hail Mary pass eight years ago, said Ray Lesniak, the former state senator behind this fight, and now everybody is saying, ‘Of course!’聽

Lesniak is the one who deserves to take the biggest bow on Monday. Yes, Gov. Phil Murphy’s name was on the case, and yes, it was his predecessor, Chris Christie, who聽signed the state’s first law legalizing sports betting six years ago after voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state constitution to allow it.聽

But it was Lesniak who saw the hypocrisy and the opportunity. It was him who kept pushing despite one legal setback after another knowing that, someday, the Supreme Court would have a say on this.聽

Game Youth Sean Davis Jersey A former member of the U.S. National Taekwondo team, he has worked as a consultant for 10 other NFL teams, most recently the Cleveland Browns in 2016. In joining New England, he will be reunited with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who gave Kim his first job in the NFL with the Browns in 1992.

New England is looking to rejuvenate a pass rush that tied for seventh in the NFL with 42 sacks but still proved to be a sore spot in critical junctures, including a Super Bowl loss to the Eagles in which the defense never took down Nick Foles.

The Patriots signed former Atlanta Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn this offseason and traded for defensive tackle Danny Shelton, whom Kim worked with on the Browns in 2016. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower (torn pectoral) and defensive end Derek Rivers (torn anterior cruciate ligament) are also returning from season-ending injuries.

Some of the legislation 鈥?like one proposal in Pennsylvania聽鈥?requires a one-time license fee of up to $10 million, along with a tax of as much as 34% on gross receipts, something AGA Wade Davis Authentic Jersey senior vice president of public affairs Sara Slane told USA TODAY Sports could be a non-starter for potential operators.聽
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