Doug Pederson ‘not going to rush’ Carson Wentz back to field

Based on Kapler’s desire to use pitchers on matchups rather than innings, it would help if all his relievers had the philosophy the ninth was no different than the seventh.

But the manager admitted he didn’t know for sure if the last inning should be treated differently.

I have been grinding on that question for like two years, admitted Kapler. I don’t think there’s any clear-cut answer. I know there are a lot of people who think the ninth inning is a completely different animal and you can understand why. It feels like the highest pressure situation in the game.

I used to think there were some people who could play in a market like Philadelphia, New York or Chicago and others who couldn’t. I saw that anecdotally, but I don’t know how true it is. I think it’s a great one to ponder.

A source said Smith is looking Notre Dame-fast again and primed for a big year after just being happy to get in the field in 2017. He missed all of 2016 recovering from injuries to his anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee and overcoming damage to the peroneal nerve in his final game at Notre Dame.

If we like the matchup significantly more for another pitcher, but that’s been true all the way through, said Kapler before Saturday’s scheduled game with the New York Mets. We’ve actually had conversations with Hector and others, if you have the best matchups in the eighth or seventh, if that’s the perfect spot or pocket of the lineup, we might use you and that’s not new conceptually by any stretch and it’s not a results of last night’s game.

While Kapler has continued to say he wants to use his bullpen pieces at any time based on matchups, he has used Neris exclusively at the end of games.

Last year, Neris saved 26 games in his first extended run as a closer in 29 chances. One of his blown saves was giving up back-to-back-to-back homers with a three-run lead in a loss to Los Angeles in Dodger Stadium.

It was early in his audition to be the closer and it didn’t break him.

Although he’s not yet a threat from NBA 3, Fultz’s jumper is in far better shape than it was in October.

He’s still working through some rust and trying to find his natural release point, but Fultz has looked quite comfortable rising up from 15 feet despite what his percentages say (scoring only 0.538 points per possession on 26 pull-up jumpers). He set all of Philadelphia on fire with a crossover pull-up and hang-dribble jumper against the Denver Nuggets’ Mason Plumlee in his first game back, and he has had some nice moments in and around the paint since then, showing flashes of what made scouts fall in love with him at the college level.

“It’s funny that when I went to Mississippi State and said, ‘Hey, we’re here and we’re going to try to go win an SEC and national championship,’ everyone snickered at first,” Mullen said. “You say that here and everyone looks at their watch and says, ‘When?’ I don’t have to convince people that that’s going to be the goal. They already want that to happen and have it happen really fast.”

It’s the morning before Florida’s spring game, and Mullen is watching film on a large pull-down projector screen in his office inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. It’s the same office Meyer used to lord over, and Mullen jokes that not much has changed since he left.

Willis walked away from the game a little early, after “only” eight seasons and before he turned 30. That means his career will be remembered as wire-to-wire, sideline-to-sideline mastery.

He burst on the scene as a speedy tackling machine, going from jaw-dropping defensive player of the year to consistent Pro Bowler. There were several early defensive busts in the 2007 class, so credit the 49ers for avoiding those land mines and landing such a keeper right after the top 10.

Nine years ago this past January, Dan Mullen stood on the field at Dolphin Stadium near Miami and basked in the glow of the national championship for what felt like the blink of an eye. Florida had just beaten Oklahoma, and somewhere on stage his boss and then-head coach Urban Meyer lifted the Gators’ second title in three seasons. Players and coaches celebrated as confetti fell to their feet. A dynasty appeared to be in the works; only Mullen had a plane to catch.

Trevor Richards, former substitute teacher, brewery employee, strikes out 10, out-pitches Clayton Kershaw

Trevor Richards’ résumé lists previous employment as a substitute teacher and a brewery worker. Now he can add strikeout artist.

The Miami Marlins right-hander struck out a career-high 10 and out-pitched three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw in Miami’s 8-6 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It was great to have our full bench back. Freddie back out there with the guys,” DeRozan said. “Just a testament to what they did all year.”

Pascal Siakam had 11 points and eight rebounds and used his length to hound Wall, while VanVleet was a pest to Beal.

Jakob Poeltl and C.J. Miles each scored seven. It was VanVleet’s 3-pointer with center Marcin Gortat in his face that tied the game at 78, and Miles’ 3 with about 8 1/2 minutes remaining that gave Toronto its first lead of more than a single point, at 84-80.

“I’m still looking for that manual that says you can’t play that second unit. They’re too young. They’re too this. They’re too that,” Casey said. “They closed it out for us tonight.”

The home team had won each of the first five games, but the Raptors were finally able to break that road hex. The East’s No. 1 seed will face LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers or the Indiana Pacers next. The Pacers forced a Game 7 on Sunday by avoiding elimination with a 121-87 victory over the Cavs on Friday night.

Asked whether he has a preference for the upcoming opponent, DeRozan answered with one word: “No.”

This marks the Raptors’ third consecutive trip to the second round of the playoffs; they last failed to get that far in 2015, when they were swept in the opening round by the Wizards.

Ducharme, 45, has built an impressive resume in junior hockey and may be seen as a potential future replacement for Canadiens head coach Claude Julien.

Ducharme coached 10 years in the QMJHL with Halifax and Drummondville. In 2013, he took a Mooseheads team that included future Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon and Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin to a Memorial Cup title, as well as winning the QMJHL coach of the year award. He moved to Drummondville in 2016 to be closer to his family.

Ducharme coached Canada twice at the world juniors, winning silver in 2017 and gold in 2018.dolphins_095

The top testers at The Opening N.J. Regional?

The Lions converted just 27 percent of third- and fourth-down running plays where they needed two or fewer yards last season, the worst rate in the NFL. Blount, on the other hand, has successfully converted those situations at a 54-percent clip the past two years.

But Blount will turn 32 this season, and despite averaging 4.4 yards per carry for the Eagles last season, carried the ball fewer than 11 times per game. Plus, he’s operating on a one-year contract, which Quinn acknowledged is a factor when evaluating draft decisions.

Quinn also acknowledged the ability to find quality backs late in the draft, or among the pool of undrafted free agents, referencing former New England Patriot BenJarvus Green-Ellis as an example. He ran for 1,008 yards and 13 touchdowns in for the Patriots in 2010.

“I think you can get them in all shapes and sizes,” Quinn said. “You can get them early, mid, late. I think it’s really, you know, my job and my staff’s to kind of just get the best guy at the right time and whenever that is. If it is this year, then great.”

“At one point, I did want to go far. And at another point, I did want to stay close. So it was kind of mixed emotions,” he said. “But something good about me going to Rutgers is that if anything ever happened to my mom — because you know I love my mom, everybody loves their mom. If anything ever happened back at home, I’ll be there to snap two fingers and fix it. If I was all the way across the West Coast, I couldn’t just drive there, I couldn’t just get on a plane and come over and see how my mom is.”

The talent level coming out of South Jersey is on the rise, evidenced by the number of FBS offers extended to that half of the state over recent years. Although North Jersey football has dominated the landscape, the number of strong programs splitting the talent has allowed for more parity throughout the entire state.

The Camden cornerback is an example of that, becoming a Power 5 offeree in February, while attending Rutgers’ first junior day of 2018. steelers_109

The Giants are going to have to wait a little while to see one of their new free-agent signings in regular-season action.

The NFL suspended defensive end Josh Mauro on Friday for the first four games of the 2018 season after violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Mauro just signed a one-year, $880,000 deal with the Giants this week.

Mauro can participate in all offseason and preseason activity, but then must leave the team until Week 5. The Giants were aware of the possible suspension before signing him.

I had 100 percent faith he was gonna be absolutely great at this. I saw it for years. I saw it in production meetings. I saw it at dinner tables. … He had a way of telling a story, an enthusiasm, that if you’re able to get that guy that I saw away from the field, that would be magic on the air. I had, four years ago, a round of golf with my good friend, Al Michaels. We’re playing on the eighth hole, I can still see it. Al said, “What active player right now will one day make a great NFL analyst? I have a guy.” I said, “Well I have a guy, too.” He says, “You first.” I said, “No you first.” This goes back and forth. I finally said: “OK, Tony Romo.” He goes, “That’s my guy!”

“I’m really hopeful that Robby will put this kind of thing behind him and that he will be the kind of person — forget about his playing, he’s an incredible football player, but that he will be the kind of person all-around that will make people proud to wear a No. 11 jersey,” he said.

Johnson said he wants Anderson to be on the team, but would not stand in the way if the coaches wanted to get rid of him.

Donahue, a 2017 draft pick, was arrested last month after causing an accident by driving the wrong way in the Lincoln Tunnel while intoxicated.

“Young men are sometimes young men,” Johnson said. “They make silly mistakes. I’m hopeful that we can be part of helping them become better people.”

Johnson said he was “absolutely” disappointed not to land quarterback Kirk Cousins in free agency, but liked how the Jets rebounded by signing Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater and trading up to No. 3 in the draft to potentially take a quarterback.

“We moved very quickly to Plan B and it’s almost a shame to call it Plan B because it’s shaping up to be something pretty magnificent,” Johnson said. “I’m pretty excited about it and we did so swiftly. It doesn’t hurt at all that we now have an awful lot of money that we were thinking we might be sending out the door to one player now back with us and we can spread that out over a lot of other players over the next few years.”jets_035

There’s good news and bad news for the Seattle Seahawks in 2018.

The good news is that the Seahawks still have one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in Russell Wilson. The bad news is that Wilson may not be enough to stop a slide that started last year, when the team missed the postseason for the first time since 2011.

Seattle’s offensive line is a hot mess, and the run game is inconsistent (at best). That puts the pressure to move the ball squarely on Wilson’s shoulders.

New York answered with four two-out runs in the third. Stanton walked and scored on Didi Gregorius’ double. Neil Walker had an RBI single and Drury followed with a drive to left, his first.

Really good at-bats in that inning, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. They held us down after that.

Yankees right-hander Sonny Gray allowed one run and seven hits in four-plus innings. He walked three and struck out eight, including four straight during one stretch.

It was a grind for Sonny today, Boone said.

Valera was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Cardinals in 2010.

Mieses hit .247 in 411 career minor league games over five years with the Dodgers organization.

Sunday’s deal fully restores the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.

So, who are our likely culprits Which teams are lurking, waiting to make that move up the board to muck up the mocks The Jets had the decency to make their move early, jumping up from No. 6 to No. 3 a couple of weeks ago by sending three second-round picks to the Colts, but all that did was make things more volatile. If you want a quarterback, it’s clearer than ever that you’re going to need to be prepared to trade up.

This is the most obvious choice. The Bills already moved up from No. 21 to No. 12 in a deal that sent left tackle Cordy Glenn to Cincinnati, and they still hold the No. 22 overall pick. Having two first-rounders gives Buffalo a unique ability to maneuver in the first round, and having unproven options AJ McCarron and Nathan Peterman on the roster gives the team motivation.patriots_032

Rams make it right with Robert Woods

The Rams kept wide receiver Robert Woods from hitting an incentive in Week 17 last season, but they made it up to him this week.

According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Rams restructured Woods’ contract this week to add back $200,019 he didn’t earn last season.

But right-hander John O’Reilly got out of the frame without further damage, and then managed to keep Penn State at bay while Rutgers struggled to score runs, before the run support finally came.

Sitton, a guard who ed the last two years with the Bears and ed with the Packers before that, has agreed to a two-year contract with the Dolphins.

The 31-year-old Sitton went to Miami last night and got a deal done this morning. Although the Bears decided to move on, Sitton has said that he still thinks he’s in his prime.

Makes plays down the field.Right-hander Michael Pineda gets the call after lasting just four innings his most recent start.2002: Rucker transferred to from Colorado State the fall of 2002 as a redshirt freshman linebacker and had to sit out the 2002 because of NCAA transfer rules.that game his footwork and pocket mobility were calm and smooth, perhaps to the point of flawless.with his 2 home. ..had the lowest run support among Cards hurlers at 4 runs game. ..his 1 walks per 9 IP ranked 6th N.L.

For winners located the state of Michigan a 6% sales tax be charged.And why are these grade-schoolers involved such a vaguely gangster-y act?Cozart went through a bit of a slump May, but has rebounded nicely through the first week of June.Offensive coordinator Lashlee has watched the battles involving and offensive lineman Avery against Lawson, the defensive end who also play the new stand-up position.Therefore, they turned to their former first round draft pick, Green.

For a team that has continually fallen short of their lofty goals, is Plan B.But his role was to replace Smith at a cheaper rate and with a little more physicality, and he’s done that.It’s not a level playing field, but we deal with it because we our jobs and are grateful to have them.Matte finish has kind of become popular cars and now I guess it’s popular with helmets.

The signing bonus is $4 million, and he’ll earn a guaranteed base salary of $900,000 in 2018.

He has a $3 million roster bonus due on the third day of the 2019 league year, along with a $1.9 million salary. Of that amount, $1.1 million is guaranteed for injury at signing. It becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2019 league year.

The incentive package pays $1 million is he takes 60 percent of the snaps this year, and another $1 million if he takes 75 percent of the snaps. If McCarron takes 75 percent of the snaps, his base for 2019 also escalates by $2.5 million.49ers_070

Kevin Durant: Clint Capela talking trash because of his ‘easy’ role with Rockets

Following Saturday’s 116-108 win over the Warriors, the Rockets’ Clint Capela claimed his team has surpassed the Warriors after beating them twice this season.

“We’re confident because we know if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to beat them … We are better than them,” Capela told

Naturally Capela’s comments didn’t sit well with the Warriors, who sit 3 1/2 games ahead of the Rockets in the Western Conference standings. Kevin Durant, who said after Saturday’s game that the Rockets’ win didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, responded to Capela’s claims Monday.

“They should feel confident,” Durant told reporters of the Rockets after practice. “Obviously we’re confident. We feel as though we’re the best team in the league. We can beat anyone as well.”

There are great offensive performances, and then there’s what Maxime Comtois did in his past three games for the Tigres: 12 points on five goals and seven assists. He’s has 47 points in 21 games since Jan. 11 and recently signed his entry-level contract with the Anaheim Ducks (he was drafted No. 50 overall in 2017).

The Montreal Canadiens draftee (No. 25 overall, 2017) scored this incredible goal in the 4-on-4 and then again in overtime to give his team a huge win at North Dakota. He added a third goal of the weekend in a 2-2 tie. St. Cloud State is the top-ranked team in the nation.

The Cavs, who have dropped nine of their last 12 games, tied a franchise record for most points allowed in regulation as they put on a poor defensive performance during Saturday’s loss.

“I’ve never in my basketball life gave up 148 points, not even probably playing video games,” James said. “They got everything that they wanted. Inside, outside — they had it moving. … It’s just a really bad, really bad loss on our part.”

Despite talks of coach Tyronn Lue being in the hot seat, James took responsibility for the team’s slump and emphasized the importance of perseverance going forward.


Posse? First time I heard the word was on Westerns, when the sheriff formed a posse to chase down the stagecoach bandits.

Next? Heard it frequently, but not exclusively, from African-Americans as slang for their buddies, their “crew.” As if Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James don’t know that.

Then the expression mostly dried up, until last week when Phil Jackson was found to have used it as per James & Co.

Didn’t strike me as ill-intended, certainly not racist, but rather as a reach for a hip expression that a few years back had the hipness drained from it.

Smith likes what he has seen of his protégé, but pointed out the challenges he’ll face having not played in a game since preseason.

“On the mental side, he’s obviously watching and mentally observing and [taking] mental reps and things like that,” Smith said. “But throughout the week, limited [practice] reps. So he hasn’t been in live bullets since camp. [Regular-season] practices aren’t like that. So in that sense, it’s been a while.’’

In the scouting world, the importance of fit within a scheme is rarely discussed, but it is critical to the evaluation. Astute coaches and scouts understand that it’s not just about assessing a prospect’s talent, but understanding how to feature the player in a way that highlights his strengths and minimizes his weaknesses.

It made for a hectic weekend, but things seemed to go relatively smoothly. Coaches had more players available for the final round of preseason games and those bottom-of-the-roster players had one final chance to impress. It’s doubtful that changed much, if anything, about the composition of the season-opening rosters, but this new roster-cutting formula seems likely to be retained going forward.

Jets and McCown… The Jets’ handling of McCown during the preseason was a bit baffling. McCown played in only two of the four preseason games and attempted a total of 12 passes. This is with a new team, remember. So he’s had very little work under game-like conditions to familiarize himself with his new offense and teammates, and now the regular season arrives. At least expectations are about as low as possible.

The league could lose two of its biggest stars this offseason if Peyton Manning and Calvin Johnson call it quits.

Good luck with that. It won’t be nearly as easily done as said.

Some within the NFL are eager to move on from the sport’s very public feud with President Trump and return the focus to football this weekend.

Dave Gettleman, New York Giants: The Giants hired the former Carolina Panthers general manager during the final week of the regular season to take over for the fired Jerry Reese. Gettleman, 66, shares deep roots with the Giants, having spent 15 years in New York as a personnel executive from 1998 to 2012. From there, the accomplished talent evaluator was hired as general manager of the Panthers, serving four seasons in Carolina and helping to guide the team to a Super Bowl in 2015.

Brian Gutekunst, Green Bay Packers: The Packers promoted Gutekunst, their former director of player personnel, to the position of GM. Gutekunst is replacing the long time GM Ted Thompson. Earlier this month, Green Bay announced that Thompson was transitioning to the role as senior advisor to football operations.

The Steelers decided not to be on their sideline for the anthem last Sunday in Chicago, only to have offensive tackle and former Army Ranger Alejandro Villaneuva photographed at the front of a tunnel leading to the field, standing alone with his right hand over his heart. The Steelers tried to explain that their decision was not politically motivated. But do they really believe that their approach — two days after Trump used crass language in a speech at a campaign rally in Alabama to urge owners to fire any NFL player who protests by refusing to stand for the anthem — could be separated from politics?

Trump shows no inclination to let this go anytime soon. As he left the White House on Wednesday afternoon for a trip to Indianapolis to talk about tax reform, he stopped on the way to Marine One to answer questions from reporters, including on the NFL.