Mets place Tomas Nido and Andres Gimenez on the injured list for “undisclosed” reasons

New York Mets, Andres Gimenez

Last week, on Thursday, the New York Mets announced that one player and one coach had tested positive for COVID-19. That resulted in four suspended games. The team will take the field again today, with a doubleheader against the Miami Marlins.

The identities of the player and coach who tested positive isn’t known, but today, the New York Mets placed infielder Andrés Giménez and catcher Tomas Nido on the 10-day injured list for undisclosed reasons, according to Rotoworld. Common sense leads us to believe that one of the two was the one who tested positive for the disease. The other one could be for precautionary reasons, although that would be speculation on our part.

It’s unclear when Gimenez and Nido will be ready to return to action, but they are looking at least 10 days on the shelf.

The New York Mets made some roster moves on Tuesday. Catcher Pat Mazeika has been called up to provide some depth behind the plate, and backstop Ali Sanchez has also been recalled from the alternate training site.

Sanchez will be the 29th man for today’s doubleheader against the Fish.

Mazeika will make his major league debut whenever he steps on the field. He is 26 years old and hit .245 with 16 home runs and a .738 OPS in 116 games at Double-A in 2019.

The Mets call up Lagares

In a separate transaction, the Mets also purchased the contract of one old friend. Juan Lagares will be joining the team from their alternate training site.

Lagares played most of his career with the Mets and returned this season on a minor league deal. His career slash line is rather uninspiring at .254/.297/.361, but he remains a rock solid defensive center fielder that can win a game with his glove.

The Mets are entering a crucial stage of their season, as they are set to play a total of nine games in six days. They will have three doubleheaders this week: one against the Marlins and two versus the Yankees on the weekend.

New York Jets: Injuries pile up in the receiving corps (Report)

The New York Jets’ revamped receiver group is taking a beating. There’s a timetable on Breshard Perriman, but none so for a first-year pair.

The NFL season is still weeks away from its start, but the New York Jets are already dealing with injuries, particularly with their developing wide receiver group.

Per a report from Ralph Vacchiano of SNY, head coach Adam Gase revealed that Breshard Perriman is dealing with a swollen knee. Perriman, a free agent newcomer, is one of the more experienced receivers on the New York depth chart after the departures of Robby Anderson and Demaryius Thomas.

While Gase did say that he expects Perriman back on Saturday, there’s no timetable for two rookies in the group. The wait for Denzel Mims (hamstring) continues, while undrafted standout Lawrence Cager hurt his knee during Tuesday’s camp proceedings in Florham Park. Cager, an undrafted free agent out of Georgia, has earned strong reviews at One Jets Drive. ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported that he made a strong catch while lined up against fellow rookie free agent Javelin Guidry.

Though there is hope in the case of Perriman to return by the weekend, the Jets receiving corps continues to look thin on experience and proven weaponry. Perriman and Mims were expected to be the top targets for quarterback Sam Darnold this season, but Mims has dealt with the hamstring issue for a majority of camp.

Veteran help through the free agency wire is not out of the question. After signing two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Hogan and working out former first-round pick Kevin White, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported that the Jets are set to bring another veteran catcher, Donte Moncrief, for a test run. Moncrief spent last season between Carolina and Pittsburgh.

In other injury news, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that defensive lineman Tarell Basham injured his ankle during Tuesday’s practice and will undergo a precautionary MRI. Basham is set to enter his third season in green and earned his first career interception last season.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Giants’ Coordinators Graham, Garrett Discuss Ivy League Connection

New York Giants, Austin Mack, Jason Garrett

When the New York Giants hired Joe Judge to be their head coach in January, many felt it was a risk. Judge was a longtime assistant in New England under Bill Belichick but had never been a head man anywhere in his 37 years on Earth.

That is why Judge and the Giants decided to stock the coaching ranks with veteran faces. They kept special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert but filled the other roles with familiar, accomplished faces from the outside.

The offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for the past decade. The Giants know him well and in turn, he knows them well. Garrett also played for Big Blue as a backup quarterback to Kerry Collins from 2000-2003.

Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham worked with Judge in New England and also had a stint with the Giants as their defensive line coach under Ben McAdoo a few years back. What many don’t know is that both men began their football journeys as players in the Ivy League. It is a bond that both men are building on.

Graham was a defensive lineman at Yale in the early 2000s. By admission, he wasn’t much of a player but knew of Garrett, the former Princeton QB, and his accomplishments. Ivy Leaguers stick together.

Garrett, 54, was a star at Princeton in the 1980s, going undrafted in 1989. His  15-year odyssey took him from New Orleans to the World League of American Football to the CFL before landing back in the NFL. Before his time with the Giants as a player, Garrett won two Super Bowl rings as Troy Aikman’s backup in Dallas.

As a coach, Garrett began his career as the Dolphins’ quarterback coach in the mid 2000s under Nick Saban in Miami. He soon moved onto Dallas where he became the offensive coordinator and then head coach. He told reporters on Tuesday about his respect for Graham.

“In regards to Patrick, just a great experience for me getting to know him. Obviously, I’ve known him from afar,” said Garrett. “Different people who have been around him have great respect for him. In the time we’ve been together, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and how smart of a football guy he is, the different experiences that he’s had, and the ability to work together. When you’re a coordinator, often times you have to work together with the other coordinator to help get the practice to function the way you want it to function and how you can compete against each other. But also work together to put your units in the best situation you can. He’s been a real joy to work with right now despite the fact that he’s a Yale guy.”

With the Giants, Garrett is on the same page with Graham, asking players to be more aware and disciplined. Graham is dressing fundamentals while Garrett said “tolerate” is not a word in a coaches’s vocabulary.

New York Mets: Brandon Nimmo has taken his offensive game to another level

If you are a New York Mets‘ fan, you are probably familiarized with the fact that Brandon Nimmo’s batting eye is among the best in the league. Many folks may think that’s an exaggeration, but it’s really not.

This year, he’s taking things to another level. In addition to sporting the fifth-best walk percentage in the bigs with 19.3%, the New York Mets’ outfielder has made strides in other aspects of his game that make him among the most valuable assets on the team.

Nimmo is currently sporting career-highs in walk percentage, isolated power (.227), slugging percentage (.489) and wRC+, with 158. Most notably, he trimmed his strikeout rate from 28.0% last season and 26.1% in his career to just 19.3% in 2020. That is impressive in our current environment, where pitchers are throwing harder and striking out more people than ever before.

In fact, he has managed to improve his contact skills. His 7.3 SwStrk% (swinging strike percentage) is the lowest in his career so far, and his 80.4 contact percentage is the second highest.

The Mets’ sparkplug

Of course, the sample size is still too little to take things for granted. For all we know, he couls regress at any moment. But he is a big reason why the New York Mets’ offense is regarded as one of the best in the league. He is the catalyst, the one element where all starts.

Nimmo’s .430 OBP is the tenth best in MLB, and look at some of the names that are in front of him: Paul Goldschmidt, DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon and Michael Conforto. That’s pretty good company.

Health has been on his side so far after some injuries last season and a heart scare in 2020. That alone has played a big part in Nimmo’s resurgence. But he has worked hard to improve in the batters’ box and so far, the results are encouraging.

Yankees to make one big change in Tuesday’s lineup

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve

A big change is coming to the New York Yankees lineup on Tuesday, and his name is Aaron Judge. The star slugger has missed the past few games with a grade-1 calf strain, picked up at Tropicana Field against a strong Tampa Bay team.

Judge “begged” manager Aaron Boone and the training staff to keep him on the active roster, citing his mobility and quick recovery from the injury. It seemed to be only a slight tweak, yet the strength and conditioning staff took every precaution when it came to their best player.

Judge is ready to make his return to the lineup, and it comes at a perfect time, with the Yankees are set to face off against the Atlanta Braves in a two-game series and then take on the Mets over the weekend.

This will give Judge plenty of time to get into the groove again and experience plenty of at-bats before the Yankees host the Rays once again on August 31.

The Yankees are gaining back a hungry Judge:

“I felt like I could have been back out there after a couple of days,” Judge said on Sunday. “That’s why I was so adamant about not going on the IL to begin with. … I’m feeling great. I could run around, I could jump, I could swing a bat, I could throw. Everything that you need to do for a baseball game, I could do.”

“If you’re swinging the bat well, doubleheaders are the best thing to a ballplayer,” Judge said. “I feel good in the box. I’m ready to go. Anytime you’re coming off the injury, I know they’re going to want to slow-play it a little bit, maybe mix in a DH one of those days. But I already talked to Boonie and told him I’m ready to go. Hopefully I’ll be in right field every single game.”

Prior to Judge going down, he was hitting .290 with nine homers and 20 RBIs over 62 at-bats. He was having a stellar start to the abbreviated 2020 season, and this minor injury cost him a nice portion of momentum and disrupted his rhythm. Hopefully, he can pick up right where he left off and provide a much-needed boost to Yankee lineup that is suffering from the number of injuries having occurred.

The New York Mets should pursue starting pitching prior to the deadline

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets are about to enter a crucial portion of their season. After spending five days without playing due to a small COVID-19 bout (a player and a coach got infected) the team is about to take the field today with a doubleheader against the Marlins.

MLB decided that the New York Mets would play three doubleheaders this week: the one against the Marlins today and two versus the New York Yankees on the weekend, as a way to make up for the games they lost last week. As a result, the team will have nine scheduled games in a span of six days.

More than ever, the Mets are going to need a lot from their pitchers. There is a possibility that both Michael Wacha and David Peterson return from shoulder inflammation, but it is not a given. The landscape is a little murky after ace Jacob deGrom. Only Rick Porcello and Steven Matz are healthy as far as true starters is concerned. The injuries and other casualties (Marcus Stroman decided to opt out of the season) have diminished the Mets’ depth in the starting pitching department.

In addition, Matz has been painfully bad in the early going, with a 9.00 ERA in five starts. That resulted in him getting booted from the rotation. The Mets’ pitching depth, once lauded when Stroman was around and Noah Syndergaard was healthy, has taken so many hits in the form of injuries and ineffectiveness that manager Luis Rojas has had to assign Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo back to starting roles.

The Mets should take advantage of their offensive firepower

What the Mets do have is a fantastic core of offensive players. Robinson Cano is back to raking, Dominic Smith has blossomed into an everyday player and an extrabases machine, JD Davis is still around, Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto are having great seasons, and Pete Alonso can break out of his funk at any moment.

That’s why I think the Mets should pursue a trade for at least one starting pitcher. It’s true that the don’t have many chips available when it comes to prospects, but they would be smart to bring another hurler to take advantage of their wide-open contention window.

They have several interesting prospects for other teams, and even the young stars such as Francisco Alvarez, Andres Gimenez, Ronny Mauricio, and Matthew Allan should be available for the right player. They are not to be given away, but why not entertain the idea of bringing a top starter and using one or two of them as bait? If they want to hold on to their prospects, that’s fine and understandable, but there are young pieces in the major leagues that they could flip as they look for starting pitching.

Trevor Bauer could be available, Mike Clevinger, as well. The Angels are said to be listening on calls about the renewed Dylan Bundy. There could be some top arms in the market. If that’s the case, the New York Mets should at least entertain the idea of acquiring one and reinforcing a depleted rotation.

Adding a starter will also enable the Mets to return Lugo to the bullpen, where he has excelled.

After all, the Mets are just three games out of the first place in the National League East, and this year, more teams will qualify to the playoffs. Pairing deGrom with another good starter could go a long way in boosting the team’s chances of making noise in October.

New York Jets sign Monmouth alum, FCS rushing leader Pete Guerriero

New York Jets

Guerriero, the newest member of the New York Jets, was a two-sport athlete and earned nearly 4,000 rushing yards in Long Branch.

The New York Jets have announced the signing of running back Pete Guerriero to their active roster. In a corresponding move, the team released safety Anthony Cioffi.

Guerriero’s invitation to Jets camp in Florham Park continues his New Jersey football. The Monmouth alum hails from Lyndhurst and got his start at the local high school of the same name.

In three years with the FCS program in Monmouth, also the alma mater of new Jets teammate Chris Hogan, Guerriero earned 3,974 rushing yards (second-best in school history) and 39 total touchdowns. He saved the best for last, earning 1,995 rushing yards (leading Football Championship Subdivision) and 18 scores on the ground in his redshirt junior campaign last season. His tenure was capped off a trio of 200-yard rushing performances over his final four games representing Long Branch. The efforts allowed Monmouth to clinch the first outright conference title in program history, winning the Big South Conference with a 10-2 record (including a perfect 7-0 mark in Big South play).

Guerriero also guided the Hawks to their first FCS playoff win, tallying 228 rushing yards and three scores in a 44-27 win over Holy Cross last November. The Hawks eventually fell to the future finalists from James Madison, but they still ended the year ranked 13th in the final FCS Coaches’ poll.

The running back’s efforts were rewarded with a third-place finish in the voting for the Walter Payton Award, the FCS equivalent of the Heisman Trophy (previous winners include Steve McNair, Brian Westbrook, Tony Romo, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Cooper Kupp). Guerriero also ran track in Long Branch, winning the 100m and 200m at the MAAC Championships in his true freshman year of 2016.

Should he make the team, Guerriero would be the first Monmouth alum to play for the Jets in the regular season since Neal Sterling. The receiver was originally a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars as a seventh-round pick (2015) and earned 12 receptions over two seasons in green.

Cioffi, a Rutgers alum, finds himself released by the Jets for the second time in a ten-day span. A four-year starter in Piscataway, Cioffi spent the past two years with the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks. The safety gained a slight bit of notoriety earlier in camp, as he was revealed to be the first Jet to wear No. 33 after the departure of franchise face Jamal Adams.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

The Islanders have learned to win this postseason where it matters most

New York Islanders

When Barry Trotz became head coach of the New York Islanders two years ago, he made one thing clear.

His team was going to be the best at closing out games.

Last night, the Isles showed once again that Trotz’s statement wasn’t just smoke.

In another dominant third period, the Islanders defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0 in game one of their second-round matchup.

Up 1-0 going into the final frame, the Islanders exploded again offensively for three goals and didn’t allow the Flyers’ offense any chance to get back into the game.

This wasn’t the first time in the tournament we’ve seen the Isles put on a third period clinic in the tournament. Truly, their strong final frames have become a trademark now this postseason.

“The one thing we really do well is park it,” the Isles head coach said after their game two victory last week over Washington.

It was in that contest where the Islanders just sucked the life out of the Capitals, including a two-minute stretch where they hemmed the Caps in with a relentless forecheck. A couple of nights later, in the closeout game five, they put the hammer down again, not allowing the Caps a shot in the final 12 minutes of the third period.

But those two games have been just the tip of the iceberg.

Through 11 games, the Islanders have scored 14 goals in third periods. They’ve allowed only four. Yes, four. They’ve also outscored their opponent 10-1 in the third since the start of the Caps series—all the while allowing under 30 shots a game nine times in these playoffs, including last night.

They’ve also been opportunistic.

J.G. Pageau’s and Anders Lee’s goals last night came off great forechecking and forcing turnovers. Cal Clutterbuck’s goal last round in game two, along with the team’s markers from game one, all were a result of the right plays being made at the right time.

That’s a formula that translates to winning, and it’s exactly why the Isles are in the position they are now — three wins away from their first Eastern Conference Final in 27 years.

“We’re a team from top to bottom,” said Andy Greene, who got the game-winning goal early in the first when he blasted a shot by Carter Hart. “We need every single guy out there every night, every game, and when we do that, we’re a very good team…It’s just not about one guy.”

Greene is 100 percent on the mark. The Isles need everyone to pull the rope for them to be successful. They’ve done it now all postseason.

But it’s been in the third period alone where we’ve seen this team take a ginormous foot forward.

These playoffs so far have shown us the Islanders have learned to win where it matters most.

So, yeah, Trotz was right. They have become the best team at closing out games.

And because of it, everyone should be on notice.

New York Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman is making quiet moves behind the scenes

New York Yankees, Yankees, Brian Cashman

The art of stealth is something that New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has perfected. Working quietly behind the scenes to evaluate potential trade pieces and free agents is something that Cashman has done well over the past few seasons.

His latest success was a Gerrit Cole, who signed to a nine-year, $324 million deal. If the money wasn’t enough, Cashman managed to call upon every piece to persuade him to the Bronx. From Andy Pettitte to the wine he shared with his wife in Florence on their anniversary, everything in between was utilized to grab arguably the league’s best pitcher.

The New York Yankees still can’t put the starting rotation together:

Nonetheless, the Yankees are still struggling with starting pitching and have a bevy of injuries in the bullpen. With Tommy Kahnle undergoing Tommy John surgery and Zack Britton on the injured list with a hamstring pull, Cashman is working to supplement the losses and hopefully bring in some talented players.

Recent reports have indicated that the Yankees are in contact with the Seattle Mariners for Taijuan Walker. The strong right-handed pitcher has enjoyed an adequate start to the 2020 season. He is 2-2 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.074 WHIP. He is currently striking out just about nine batters per nine innings.

Finding a reliable starter who can be slotted into the rotation is a necessity. With J.A. Happ struggling with his consistency and Paxton lacking his usual velocity, the Yankees desperately need more arms to utilize if they wish to make a World Series appearance in 2020. Things are falling apart at the seams with injuries to the star players. Currently, there without DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton. That only scratches the surface of injured starters.

If the Yankees can manage to bring in a solid player, it will likely cost them a pretty penny. Whether it be outfielders Miguel Andujar or Clint Frazier, giving away starting talent is never an ideal scenario. Both of them are probably waiting by their phones to hear of a potential trade. The better of the two recently, Frazier, is hitting .333 with two homers and eight RBIs. His defense has also taken a massive step forward, despite a small sample size. Ultimately, Andujar is losing this race and could be a trade piece at the deadline, a reality that most Yankee fans didn’t want to live out.

In addition, the Yankees have also been in touch with the Cleveland Indians. Whether it be regarding Mike Clevinger or Cincinnati Reds’ Trevor Bauer, both are stellar pitchers and would be significant additions to the rotation. However, it would cost them ample capital, and with Bauer on a one-year contract, it might not be worth the cost.

Should the New York Giants claim MWC’s all-time sack leader?

Curtis Weaver, New York Giants

Injuries are unfortunately a significant part of the NFL, as Miami Dolphins pass rusher Curtis Weaver recently experienced. As a fifth-round rookie out of Boise State, Weaver was waived after suffering a severe injury. This opens up the opportunity for teams like the New York Giants to transition him directly to their injured reserve.

Weaver is a high upside talent, considering he’s the MWC’s all-time sack leader. Teams are unfortunately disallowed from placing drafted-rookies on the injured reserve, and only if they clear the waiver wire are they able to do so. The Giants, who desperately need help rushing the passer, could add Weaver in hopes of finding hidden production 2021.

Who are the New York Giants currently working with?

Currently, the Giants are set to rely on players like Markis Golden, Kyler Fackrell, Lorenzo Carter, and Oshane Ximines. The only proven player is Golden, who posted double-digit sacks last year. Fackrell, who recorded 10.5 sacks in 2018, is a high motor athlete who can work his way to the quarterback. However, he was replaced by Zadarius and Preston Smith in 2019, suggesting that he is not the elite pass rusher some fans seem to think he is.

Nonetheless, the Giants took a new approach during the 2020 NFL draft. With four, seventh-round picks available, general manager Dave Gettleman and new head coach Joe Judge spent every single one. This suggests that they value late-round players and don’t want to pass on potentially striking gold on a talent. While the probability is low, Weaver is a fifth-round pick that was highly touted for his upside.

Ultimately, it couldn’t hurt to add Weaver in the hopes of him producing an impact in 2021. With Fackrell and Golden both on one-year contracts, the pass rush group will likely look different next year. Having some familiar faces and players to build off of is a necessity