Monthly Archives: August 2016

marlins giancarlo stanton rehabbing injury

NEW YORK — Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton was examined by a specialist on Monday, and later in the day he did some light running and agility drills before his team took batting practice at Citi Field.

We knew when Sanchez was coming up that he had a strong throwing arm; after all, just about every scouting report mentioned it. MLBPipeline.com, for example, noted that he had “two standout tools: huge raw power and an exceptionally strong arm.” Now that we’ve had a few weeks of Sanchez in the big leagues and in front of the Statcast? tracking cameras, we can confirm that, and then some.
Consider this: Through Sunday, we’ve tracked 1,128 individual catcher throws to second base on steal attempts. Despite starting only 15 games at catcher (he’s been the designated hitter a few times so far), Sanchez is tied for the third-strongest throw by anyone this year — as well as owning three of the top seven, and five of the top 10.

That’s impressive company, or at least it ought to be. Remember, Bethancourt’s arm is so well-respected that in addition to his catching duties, the Padres have used him both as a pitcher and a corner outfielder this year. Put another way, the 10 throws listed there make up less than the top one percent of the best throws by all catchers this year, and Sanchez alone has half of them in just a few weeks of play. Unsurprisingly, of the 70 catchers with at least five attempts to stop stolen bases at second, Sanchez’s average arm strength of 87.4 mph is the best, topping Bethancourt’s 86.5 mph and Drew Butera’s 84.9 mph.

So far, Sanchez has thrown out six of the nine baserunners who have attempted to steal against him; for comparison, Colorado’s Nick Hundley has also thrown out six, but of 53. In an obviously small sample size, that 67 percent success rate is the best of the 82 catchers with at least five total stolen-base attempts against, at all bases.

Interestingly enough, that strong arm helps to mask a roughly average or ever-so-slightly below exchange time, which is to say that part of what makes a catcher successful is how quickly he can get the throw out of his hands after he receives the pitch. Going back to that same list of 70 catchers with five attempts at second base, Sanchez’s exchange time of .78 seconds is tied for 54th, slightly below the Major League average this year of .74 seconds. (The best is David Ross, at .64 seconds, and it progresses up in fractions until you get to Devin Mesoraco, who was rarely healthy this year and had a mark of .86 seconds.)

Gregg Popovich will lead the team he was left off of four decades ago

SAN ANTONIO — You crave the recipe of his secret sauce. You believe you’ve identified some of its special ingredients: draft foreign players, shoot corner 3s, emphasize defense, share the ball, victimize trembling sideline reporters.

You’d like to believe you’ve captured the essence of the bearded coach stomping along the sideline — a blend of Midas, Yoda and occasionally a teeth-baring pit bull.

“It was always sad, but these were business decisions by guys that owned the team,” Walton said. “Don’t ever hold that against the fans or the players. These are business decisions out of their hands.”

Walton, 63, still calls San Diego home and says there’s no place he would rather live.

“San Diego is the greatest place in the history of the world, and there’s nothing that could happen in my life that would lead me to leave San Diego,” he said. “I wish the NBA were still here, but that’s just something I’m going to have to live with.”

James as executive producer means many things (more publicity, for sure) and it also gives all the businesses featured on the show a bit of that championship glow. When he returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 after four years with the Miami Heat, some experts predicted James would be worth $500 million to Cleveland’s economy. While that number has proven to be more pipe dream than reality, James’s presence in Cleveland has tangibly boosted business in the ‘Land, and some businesses closer to the Quicken Loans Arena have reported a 200 percent increase in sales since James’ return.

Cleveland needed that help — and needs more. Earlier this year, a study focused on the most distressed communities in the country (from 2009 to 2013) was released and Cleveland came in as the second most distressed city in the United States. Only Camden, New Jersey, topped Cleveland, placing the now NBA championship city “ahead” of others such as Flint, Michigan, and Gary, Indiana.

The premise of James’ new show is all about helping to jump-start Cleveland’s economy: Four local businesses will get $200,000 each from investors to create a pop-up store in Cleveland’s Gordon Square Arts District. The area, which the local press says isn’t just about gentrification, is a “nationally recognized model of how the arts can catalyze economic development and job creation.” Hundreds of Cleveland business owners originally pitched the show’s investors about creating pop-ups. That list was cut down to 25, and then to eight. The four investors each select two businesses to work with before eliminating one at the end of the show, giving viewers a final four.

Chargers’ Mike McCoy prepared to start regular season without Joey Bosa

SAN DIEGO — With the team reaching Day 25 since rookies had to report and first-round pick Joey Bosa still unsigned, the San Diego Chargers are preparing for the regular season as if the Ohio State product will not be available for the season opener on the road against the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs.

“I just love his energy,” McCoy said of Philon. “He comes to practice every day. He works hard. He loves to play the game.”

After a productive 2014 season, Palepoi missed all of the 2015 season after suffering a fractured foot during training camp. The Utah product said he dropped 35 pounds, and at 6-foot-1, he will play at 280 pounds this season.

“Philon has been doing a good job stepping in,” Palepoi said. “And just the depth that we have on the defensive line is the big contribution this year. We feel like we’re deep at every single position, so I think we’re in good hands right now.”

Palepoi said that even though he’s lighter than his college weight, he has maintained enough strength and explosion to take the constant pounding as an interior defensive lineman.

“He’s very quick,” McCoy said of Palepoi. “He’s coming off the ball. He’s lighter. He’s worked extremely hard. Give him a lot of credit: That was tough injury last year early on, and what he went through and how hard he worked. But he’s been the same way. He hasn’t skipped a beat.”

Bennett has been kicked out of practice by Carroll twice this summer for fighting. And the organization has not given into his requests for a new contract. But the relationship between Bennett and his coach appears to be as strong as ever.

“I was talking to my wife, and we were watching Hard Knocks, and when Jeff Fisher came in at halftime, I told my wife, I said, ‘Pete Carroll would be totally different in that moment,’ ” Bennett said. “That moment right there, he would have came in a lot more different, a lot more motivating, but in a different type of way. And that’s what makes Pete Carroll different from any other coach. He understands the moment, and there’s times when you can go too hard on a team and they can change the whole momentum.

“But he knows exactly how to use his philosophies to the best of his abilities, and I think that’s what makes him such a great coach. I don’t think his message has changed at all. It’s always been the same: Compete. Compete, no complaining and do the best you can every day.”

Bennett has played three seasons for Carroll, who is now the oldest coach in the NFL. Bennett has started 35 games and piled up 25.5 sacks. Last year, he made the Pro Bowl and was one of four players with at least 10 sacks and 19 tackles for loss.

He said it didn’t take him long to buy into what Carroll was preaching back in 2013, because Carroll had been so successful in college.

Jalen Ramsey: ‘I wish they would have come at me on the first play’

HOUSTON — Quarterback Brock Osweiler appeared to have much better control of the Texans’ offense in Saturday’s 16-9 victory over the Saints.

Osweiler, who signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Texans in March, led the Texans down the field in the first quarter and went 4-for-4 for 51 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Will Fuller.

His worst throw of the game was a pass intended for Fuller, and that was intercepted by Saints cornerback P.J. Williams. Even so, the game was a step in the right direction for Osweiler.

Outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney looked explosive in his return, especially when he beat Saints tackle Andrus Peat to sack Drew Brees for a loss of 14 yards. Head coach Bill O’Brien gave him extended snaps in the game to make up for the reps he missed while out for a week with a sore left knee.

QB depth chart: Osweiler got more of a chance to show his knowledge of the offense against the Saints than he did in the preseason opener. He finished 12-for-19 for 124 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The touchdown pass to Fuller in the first quarter was a nice spiral to the right corner of the end zone. On the interception, it looked like he didn’t give Fuller enough room to catch the pass in the corner of the end zone. The interception was Osweiler’s last attempt, and he was replaced by Tom Savage after fives series. Savage looked OK, and his longest drive was seven plays that resulted in a field goal. He finished 7-for-12 for 75 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. Backup quarterback Brandon Weeden took over with just under 10 minutes left in the game and had a nice 15-yard pass to receiver Keith Mumphery in his first series and an 18-yard throw to receiver Josh Lenz.

Maybe that dude could start: Defensive end Christian Covington, who started in place of the injured J.J. Watt, impressed for the second straight week. Covington had a sack and two tackles for a loss on Saturday. The second-year player missed time earlier in training camp because of a concussion, but he has looked good in practice and the first two games since he has been back.

What’s happening: The final practice open to the public (with a valid ticket) begins at 1:50 p.m. This is the first of four practices before the Jets face the New York Giants.

What’s hot: One of the many storylines from Friday night’s game was the DNP for rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Coach Todd Bowles had said “the plan” was to get Hackenberg a few snaps, but he decided to play only three quarterbacks. “Coach’s decision,” Bowles said after the game, explaining why the second-round pick was kept in mothballs for another week. Pressed, Bowles reiterated, “Coach’s decision.”

It’s an interesting dynamic. I’m sure general manager Mike Maccagnan would like to see the potential quarterback of the future in action, but his coach’s job is to evaluate players for the present. The Jets will be closer to a regular-season mode as they prepare for the Giants, meaning another week of watching and learning for the rookie. Hackenberg probably won’t play until the preseason finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Naturally, we’ll be monitoring the division of practice reps between Geno Smith and Bryce Petty, whose emergence has added intrigue to the backup-QB situation.