New York Yankees announce 58-man “summer camp” roster

On Sunday, the New York Yankees announced their 58-man “summer camp” preseason training roster. This roster will be practicing at Yankee Stadium until the season begins. Once the season begins, the team can only carry 30 players. The roster is as follows:

Catchers:

Kyle Higashioka, #66

Chris Iannetta, #22

Erik Kratz, #38

Max McDowell, #78

Gary Sanchez, #24

Josh Thole, #30

Infielders:

Matt Duffy, #18

Thairo Estrada, #71

Mike Ford, #72

Kyle Holder, #76

DJ LeMahieu, #26

Gleyber Torres, #25

Gio Urshela, #29

Luke Voit, #59

Infielders/Outfielders:

Miguel Andujar, #41

Rosell Herrera, #12

Tyler Wade, #14

Outfielders:

Estevan Florial, #90

Clint Frazier, #77

Brett Gardner, #11

Zach Granite, #74

Aaron Hicks, #31

Aaron Judge, #99

Giancarlo Stanton, #27

Mike Tauchman, #39

Pitchers

Albert Abreu, #84

Domingo Acevedo, #95

Daniel Alvarez, #97

Luis Avilan, #70

Zach Britton, #53

Luis Cessa, #85

Aroldis Chapman, #54

Gerrit Cole, #45

Deivi Garcia, #83

Luis Gil, #81

Chad Green, #57

David Hale, #75

JA Happ, #33

Ben Heller, #61

Jonathan Holder, #56

Tommy Kahnle, #48

Michael King, #73

Brooks Kriske, #82

Jonathan Loaisiga, #43

Tyler Lyons, #58

Luis Medina, #80

Jordan Montgomery, #47

Nick Nelson, #79

Dan Otero, #36

Adam Ottavino, #0

James Paxton, #65

Adonis Rosa, #96

Clarke Schmidt, #86

Masahiro Tanaka, #19

Nick Tropeano, #35

Alexander Vizcaino, #87

Miguel Yajure, #89

Tony Zych, #62

The team can have up to 60 players on their summer roster, although the team is choosing to have just 58. The players are expected to report to Yankee Stadium by Wednesday. The season opener will be on July 23rd against the Washington Nationals. Teams can schedule a few scrimmages prior to the season opener.

Like the regular spring training roster, many of the players on the summer roster are not expected to make it onto the Major League club. But, with Minor League baseball expected to be canceled, it’s important for young players to show the big-league coaches what they are made of.

After a long wait, baseball is finally back this week!

NASCAR: Denny Hamlin ties Jeff Gordon with sixth victory at Pocono Raceway

After a runner-up finish on Saturday, Denny Hamlin reversed his fortunes to win the second part of a NASCAR Cup Series weekend doubleheader.

It was auto racing deja vu all over again at Sunday’s Pocono 350. The second half of a NASCAR Cup Series weekend doubleheader, the first of its kind, featured the same top pair of finishers. Denny Hamlin, however, was glad to see the order reversed this time around.

Hamlin and his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team denied Kevin Harvick the opportunity of a weekend sweep, taking home the 350-mile event as dusk descended on Pocono Raceway. He would earn his series-best fourth win of 2020 and his sixth victory on the track known as “The Tricky Triangle”. Hamlin previously finished behind Harvick at a 325-mile event on Saturday afternoon at the Long Pond, Pennsylvania landmark.

Sunday’s win ties Hamlin with NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon for the most wins at the 2.5-mile track.

Pocono played host to Hamlin’s first win during his rookie season in 2006. Hamlin’s Sunday drive was his 41st Cup Series victory, breaking a tie with Gordon’s fellow Charlotte inductee Mark Martin.

Shrewd pit strategy allowed Hamlin to earn the fateful win. Sunday’s race was paused after six laps due to inclement weather, pushing the latter portions to the twilight hours. Due to the lack of lights at Pocono, drivers were forced to race both each other and the setting sun.

Hamlin took the lead from Harvick when the latter pitted to top off on fuel on lap 105 of 140. Rather than immediately follow Harvick, Hamlin and crew chief Chris Gabehart opted to run 15 extra laps to build a sizable advantage on the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Hamlin was able to get service and emerge ahead of Harvick when he pitted with 20 laps remaining. He ran only behind his JGR teammate Martin Truex Jr. for six laps before the latter brought his own Toyota to pit road. Hamlin was thus able to coast to a victory won by over a three-second margin.

Harvick continues to lead the Cup Series points by a 52-point margin over runner-up Ryan Blaney as the circuit enters the second half of the regular season. He and Hamlin (who sits in fifth, 75 points behind) have combined to win 7 of the 15 races the 2020 season has had to offer thus far.

Another Gibbs entrant, the No. 20 Toyota of Erik Jones, finished a season-best third, while Chase Elliott and Harvick’s Stewart-Haas teammate Aric Almirola rounded out the top five.

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to action next Sunday for a new Independence Day weekend tradition. For the first time, Indianapolis Motor Speedway finds itself in the coveted slot to host the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard Powered by Florida Georgia Line (4 p.m. ET, NBC).

Race Notes

  • Kyle Busch, winner of three prior Pocono events, saw his day end on a crash toward the end of the second, 55-lap stage after he and Blaney made contact while trying to avoid the slower of Garrett Smithley. Busch was visibly displeased in an interview with Fox Sports’ Jamie Little, declaring “I know what happened but it doesn’t make any sense to talk about it. It will just come across in a bad way.” The defending series champion, Busch sits 11th in the current standings but has yet to earn a Cup victory this season.

 

  • Two drivers who impressed with strong runs on Saturday saw their Sunday end early in separate wrecks. Michael McDowell finished dead-last in 40th and rookie Christopher Bell finished only a spot ahead of him after respective crashes on laps 16 and 40. Bell was coming off his career-best fourth-place finish and came home third after the first stage. McDowell had finished eighth on Saturday, his first top-ten finish at a track other than Daytona or Talladega since November 2016.

 

  • In addition to hosting the first Cup Series doubleheader (two races at the same locale on the same weekend), Pocono also hosted the first NASCAR tripleheader, in which each of the organization’s three national series raced on the same day at the same track. Brandon Jones took home his first Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win in the morning (winning a 150-mile event from Saturday) postponed due to weather) while Chase Briscoe held off Ross Chastain to win his fourth Xfinity Series races of the season.

 

  • Brad Keselowski won the second stage of the race after Kurt Busch took home the first, 30-lap segment. They respectively finished 11th and 13th.

For full results, click here

For full standings, click here

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New England Patriots Sign QB Cam Newton

The New England Patriots have signed former NFL MVP quarterback Cam Newton, per Adam Schefter. Newton and the Patriots agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden deal worth up to $7.5 million. According to Ian Rapoport, this deal “has been in the works.”

Cam Newton is 31 years old and ready for a new beginning. The former first-overall draft pick spent the last nine years as a member of the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers released Newton in March after he missed the majority of the 2019 NFL season with a shoulder injury.

Cam Newton acknowledged the news on his Instagram Story Sunday night:

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For the New England Patriots, this signing is a huge victory. If Cam Newton returns to form in 2020, the Patriots could once again make the playoffs, despite the departure of all-time great quarterback Tom Brady this offseason. Cam Newton was playing at a high level prior to his injury in 2018. If the former Panthers quarterback is fully healthy in 2020, Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels will look to continue their dominance over the AFC East.

However, Cam Newton might not be a long-term solution for the Patriots at quarterback. If Newton plays well in 2020 and leaves New England in the 2021 free agency period, the Patriots could get back a compensatory 2022 third-round pick. This is even more crucial now that the Patriots’ 2021 third-round pick has been stripped away as punishment for the team’s videotape violation. But at only 31 years old, there is always a chance Cam Newton earns a second, long-term contract with the team next offseason.

 

Brooklyn Nets sign Justin Anderson

Brooklyn Nets, Justin Anderson

Wilson Chandler’s one-way ticket to Walt Disney World has been transferred. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Brooklyn Nets have signed Justin Anderson.

This move comes on the heels of Chandler, who appeared in 35 games this season, telling the Nets that he won’t be present when the 2019-20 NBA regular season resumes in late-July. Chandler was averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Anderson appeared in three games for the Nets this season, playing on a 10-day contract. Across those games he averaged 5.7 minutes per contest. Anderson also played for the team’s G-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets.

Across 16 games, 14 of which he started, Anderson averaged 20.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 47.8 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Anderson spent time with the Nets, Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers and Atlanta Hawks. He was selected by the Mavericks with the 21st pick in the 2015 NBA Draft out of Virginia. The forward is averaging 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game for his career.

The Nets recently waived guard Theo Pinson. He appeared in 51 games for the Nets over the last two seasons after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Brooklyn subsequently signed guard Tyler Johnson. Johnson previously appeared in 31 games for the Phoenix Suns this season, averaging 5.7 points per game.

The Nets (30-34) are the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference, eight and a half games behind the sixth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers, a half-game ahead of the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic and six games ahead of the ninth-seeded Washington Wizards.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving aren’t expected to make the trip to Florida. Durant, recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, recently said on the “Dawg Talk” podcast that he wouldn’t play if he were healthy.

“I feel, me right now, I probably wouldn’t have played because the unknown going into that situation looks crazy right now, seeing so many new cases. It’s just so unpredictable. It’s easy for me to say right now because I’m injured, but I probably wouldn’t have went down there [to Orlando].”

New York Yankees sign infielder Matt Duffy

New York Yankees, Matt duffy

The New York Yankees added depth to their infield with the signing of 29-year-old veteran Matt Duffy off the free-agent market. Matt Duffy is the 2015 NL ROY runner up and had a good 2015 with a 4.4 fWAR in 149 games but was unable to continue the success due to his injuries.

Duffy is regarded as a solid defensive 3rd baseman with a career 9 DRS and a 5.5 UZR/150 and a 11.9 UZR. He offensively has been exactly average, with a 101 wRC+, however in his last full season we saw him with a .361 OBP and 107 wRC+ and a 2.5 fWAR in games.

His best attributes seem to be his ability to draw walks with an 8.4% walk rate in 2018 and a 11.2% walk rate in 2019 and his defense at the hot corner, but the big thing I want to note is his 33.3% opposite field percentage as a righty means that he can benefit greatly from Yankee stadium.

I believe that Duffy with 20 games played could have a .370 OBP and a .425 SLG and good defensive numbers, proving to be an asset for the Yankees.

Do you like this signing or will Duffy miss the 30-man roster cut? I think he can make it and he can get some playing time, but who knows!

 

New York Giants: Will 2020 Be Oshane Ximines’s Breakout Season?

New York Giants, Oshane Ximines

The New York Giants invested many assets this offseason in their defense. The team drafted a safety, cornerback, and multiple linebackers in the 2020 NFL Draft. In free agency, New York’s two splash signings were defenders too; cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Blake Martinez.

The Giants will enter 2020 with a brand new secondary and a brand new linebacker corps. One position, however, that the team did not invest a lot into is arguably their biggest weakness: the pass-rushers. New York signed only one edge rusher in free agency, Kyler Fackrell. Other than Fackrell, the team’s edge rushers are unchanged. Oshane Ximines, Lorenzo Carter, and, likely, Markus Golden will be the team’s pass-rushers.

Last season, Markus Golden was a pleasant surprise. The veteran totaled 10 sacks in his first season with the team. On the flip side, Lorenzo Carter was a bit of a disappointment in 2019. After a solid rookie season in which Carter totaled 4 sacks in 441 snaps, Lorenzo followed it up with only 4.5 sacks in 723 snaps in 2019. Lorenzo Carter did not develop in his sophomore season the way fans expected him to. But what about Oshane Ximines?

Oshane Ximines was the Giants’ third-round pick out of Old Dominion in 2019. He too had a solid rookie season. But heading into his sophomore season, will Ximines breakout or disappoint?

Oshane Ximines Stats and Highlights

Statistically, the rookie seasons of Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter are very comparable. Both players started 2 games, totaled 4.5 sacks, and were efficient tacklers. Each player recorded 0 missed tackles in their rookie seasons. However, Carter also attempted far more tackles than Ximenes. Ximines totaled only 25 combined tackles in 2019, while Carter recorded 43 in 2018.

It is interesting to note that X-Man recorded 18 less combined tackles in 45% of defensive snaps that Carter did in 40% of defensive snaps. Another interesting thing to note is Ximines’s lack of quarterback pressures. He recorded only 12 pressures in 28 blitz attempts, compared to Carter’s 19 pressures in 32 blitz attempts as a rookie in 2018.

Oshane’s 42% pressure rate is solid, but not nearly as impressive as Lorenzo Carter’s pressure rate of 59% as a rookie. However, Carter suffered a fall from grace in 2019, recording only 23 pressures on 78 blitz attempts, a pressure rate of 29%. He also had a missed tackle rate of 15.1%, indicating further a clear regression in his performance during his second season.

Lorenzo Carter took a step backward in year two. That doesn’t mean that Oshane Ximines will regress too, but, upon analyzing his statistics, it does not appear highly likely that Ximines will have a breakout season in 2020. A larger role could lead to increased productivity, but that is what Giants fans thought heading into Lorenzo Carter’s second season. It might be best for fans to temper expectations heading into Oshane Ximines’s second NFL season.

New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole will be facing traumatic memories on Opening Day

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

The New York Yankees will open the 2020 regular season against the Washington Nationals, and new star pitcher and Gerrit Cole will be the first man up in the rotation to get things kicked off. However, Opening Day could flashback some recent memories that don’t do Cole any favors, specifically from the 2019 World Series.

Cole pitched in two games during the final series of the 2019 campaign, going 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA and six runs allowed. He pitched a total of 14 innings, averaging 7.0 per game and helping Houston to a decent but inevitably disappointing result.

Over the course of the entire postseason run, he went 4-1, allowing 5 earned runs, 4 homers, and striking out 47 batters over 36.2 innings. He was stellar across-the-board, and the Yankees will enjoy the fruits of his tremendous abilities. However, Opening Day will be difficult to stomach against a talented Nationals team that is coming off a World Series victory.

The New York Yankees have the talent to dominate:

Nonetheless, the Bombers have an incredibly talented team as well, with a stacked batting order that consists of multiple premier sluggers. Hopefully, Aaron Judge is prepared to return after spring training 2.0, as reports have indicated that he is already hitting off the tee and will begin live batting in the coming weeks. The Yankees are already on schedule to return both Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton, and Aaron Hicks. The team would’ve started the 2020 campaign with their entire outfield on injured reserve for the most part, which would have posed a few significant problems.

The shortening of the 2020 season gave them plenty of time to heal and recover, which benefited the team as a whole. This will be Cole’s first game in pinstripes, minus the fourth game starts during spring ball this year.

In limited action, he posted a 7.00 ERA with 10 hits, 7 earned runs, and 13 strikeouts over 9.0 innings. Most of this occurred during a thrashing against the Detroit Tigers, where he allowed 4 homeruns in the span of 2.0 innings. The bright news is, this outing was undoubtedly an anomaly, and we should be excited and optimistic for Cole going into the 2020 season.

New York Giants: Dexter Lawrence is gearing up for a dominant 2020

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

The New York Giants might be sitting on a gold-mine with Dexter Lawrence:

The New York Giants are heading into 2020 with multiple players that deserve praise, one of them being stud interior defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence. Lawrence started off his career efficiently, playing in all 16 games, tallying 2.5 sacks, 38 combine tackles, three tackles for loss, and nine quarterback hits.

Lawrence is a 6-foot-4, 342-pound man, filling the interior defense and stopping the run at a high-level. Last season, he did miss five tackles, which accounted for 11.6% of his attempted tackles. That number needs to be decreased, but overall, as a rookie, he was fantastic and proved valuable as the 17th overall pick in 2019.

There are a few extremely impressive traits regarding Lawrence, one of them being a deadly bull-rush. While his pass rash moves may be limited and numbered, his elite move is running full speed and carrying his 364-pound body through offensive lineman.

His athleticism and ability to drive his feet and extend his arms leave guards begging for forgiveness. The former Clemson stand out has extremely strong arms, which he uses to job and stab at the shoulder of guards, pushing them off balance and using his power to manipulate their feet/hips. Once you can get an offensive lineman’s weight going backward, it becomes easy to push them right into their own quarterback. His disruption and ability to draw double teams opens up opportunities for success at the outside linebacker position and blitzing safeties.

The major deficiency Lawrence will have to refine year to is the mental aspect of his game. Sometimes he can be late coming off blocks and diagnosing plays as they happen, but that is all part of experience and earning more live reps.

Matt Lombardo of NJ.com spoke with an anonymous general manager about the best players on defense for the Giants, and what she stated dexter Lawrence ranked among them.

“It has to be Dexter Lawrence or James Bradberry at this point. Lawrence is a legitimate run-stuffer up the middle, and Bradberry is a dominant cornerback with good size and ball-skills,” the GM said.

There’s plenty of optimism to go around, but Lawrence has drawn the attention of managers and coaches around the NFL. If he can take the next step in 2020, the Giants will be sitting on a gold-mine.

NASCAR: Two Underrated Drivers Had A Big Saturday

NASCAR, Christopher Bell

Yesterday featured the opener to a big weekend of NASCAR. Starting at 9:30 am est the Trucks roll-off, then the Xfinity series goes off after them, and then the finale of the weekend is the second cup race. The first day was a big one for two underrated drivers.

Christopher Bell Finished 4th

Bell has been a highly touted rookie. Coming off a master class in the Xfinity Series last year, Bell was handed a ride and expected to fare well. Although Tyler Reddick has stolen a lot of headlines, Christopher Bell has had some speed. Piloting the 95 machine, Bell was fast at Pocono and parlayed that into a top 5 finish. Bell took over the Leavine Family racing ride from Matt DiBenedetto in order to gain cup experience before likely jumping up to a ride at JGR. His speed yesterday will make him one to watch later today. At the very least though, his success Saturday is a strong building point for the long haul.

Michael McDowell Finished 8th

Whereas Bell is a rookie with high potential, McDowell is the underdog for a team with lesser equipment. At 35 years old, McDowell is likely in the back 9 of his career starting at 18. It’s always entertaining when he has success though. McDowell is a guy people like to see succeed because he’s counted out often. Today was a good day for the 34 team and they took advantage of good pit strategy and a fast car in order to get to the front of the field. It was a good race for the Front Row team and hopefully, they can continue to replicate that success.

It’s always encouraging to see two underdogs succeed and hopefully, they continue to have success. For Bell, success could nail a top tier ride for 2021. For McDowell, success could change his career trajectory. 

NASCAR: Can Kyle Busch steal a win on Sunday?

Kyle Busch, Nascar

Kyle Busch has shocked a lot of people in the past few weeks. Not because of success but because of lack thereof. Busch is coming off a championship season and is experiencing a bit of a slump.

Although Busch is a savvy vet, who is believed to be capable of taking any machine to the front of the pack, Busch has admittedly though, had trouble transitioning to the new normal in racing. He’s been quoted as saying things have been challenging for the 18 team to make adjustments without practice. He also said it’s been difficult for him and crew chief Adam Stevens to get on the same page with the car with short times to adjust. So, with the setup of this weekend, he could break his winless streak tomorrow.

Saturday Was Practice for Busch

Saturday offered an opportunity for Busch after falling behind the pack. When it seemed like Busch didn’t have a chance to win, it seemed more like he was running practice laps to qualify for Sunday. Despite that, he still finished 5th and had speed all day. Just like he’s had speed all season. By running laps on Saturday, he enters Sunday with the same car and a chance to make modifications overnight if need be. He talked about the similarities in a media release quoted on Yahoo Sports as Busch stated,

“‘The first race, there’s only going to be the Truck Series rubber, it’s only 60 laps, so there’s just going to be a little rubber down. Then, we’re going to put a lot of rubber down with our race. Then you’ll have the Xfinity race the next day, and then you’ll have our (second) race. Over the course of all those miles, I think the main similarities between the two days is going to be just that – they’re a day apart rather than a month apart. There’s a difference between the Pocono racetrack when it’s a month apart, but when it’s day one to day two, there are going to be big differences in day one to day two, so you have to take a lot of different things into account.’”

The quick transition is something better suited for a veteran. Busch and the team gained some experience on the track and can gain experience from the races before him. If Busch and Stevens can modify the car to play off the success they had today, the 18 team could be en route for a big day.