New York Giants originally scouted Jason Pierre-Paul through a strange accident

New York Giants, Jason Pierre, Paul

Jason Pierre-Paul might have won the Super Bowl with the Bucs this year, but much of his legacy is with the New York Giants. He played most of his career for the franchise and won the Super Bowl with the Giants in 2012, on the team that knocked off Tom Brady and the Patriots a second time. However, surprisingly, he almost didn’t make it onto the radar of the Giants.

According to a new interview from former scouting director Marc Ross, the Giants originally intended to scout Pierre-Paul’s college teammate George Selvie.

The Giants got lucky finding JPP

“He had went to junior college, a couple different junior colleges and went to South Florida, and at the time South Florida had a guy named George Selvie. He was an All-American and at the time had I believe 16.5 sacks, 22 tackles for a loss, he was the guy you were going into South Florida to see,” Ross explained on the Upon Further Review podcast.

Despite the big accomplishments with USF, Selvie wasn’t the player that jumped out when Ross was actually watching film.

“I’m watching tape and this number 90 just keeps jumping off the tape. I had to keep checking the chart. I’m supposed to be watching George Selvie, he was 95, but this 90 guy… I kept looking up and thinking ‘Damn, I must be looking at the wrong guy.’ But it was JPP.”

Ross would tell Jerry Reese about Pierre-Paul after he continued to improve through the season. Reese eventually acted on that info, and the Giants selected JPP with the 15th pick in the draft. He’d end up playing with the team from 2010 through 2018, making a name for himself as an iconic Giants pass rusher in the process.

The Giants have had a few different top pass rushers since Pierre-Paul ended up in Tampa. Most recently, Markus Golden in 2019 and Leonard Williams in 2020 took up the mantle. As for the next player who will lead the team in sacks, that’s still an unknown as of now. That could very well be Williams again – but the Giants have to bring him back, first.

As the organization has found out since trading JPP, it’s not so easy to keep a top pass rusher around long term.

Chris Kreider hat trick wasted as the New York Rangers fall to the Flyers

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

The New York Rangers valiantly rallied from a two-goal deficit but the comeback fell just short as the Blueshirts fell to the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. The Rangers were playing without some of their top players, missing such key pieces as
Artemi Panarin, Kaapo Kakko, K’Andre Miller, Filip Chytil, and Jacob Trouba. Miller was lost to the team when he was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. Earlier on Wednesday, the NHL postponed Thursday’s game between the Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights due to a player entering the COVID-19 protocols. However, the Rangers-Flyers game was allowed to proceed.

“We’d love to have all of our guys healthy and ready to go,” Rangers coach David Quinn said. “We’re no different than most teams in the league. We don’t have that luxury right now.”

Igor Shesterkin made 35 saves for the Blueshirts (6-8-3), which had won three in a row on the road. The Rangers were outshot in this game 39-27.

Chris Kreider nets a hat trick for the New York Rangers

Chris Kreider was the star of the night by scoring all three goals for the Rangers. It was his third career NHL hat trick and his first since Dec. 31, 2016, at Colorado. Kreider was also the first Ranger who registered a hat trick against the Flyers since Ryan Callahan on Feb. 11, 2012, at Philadelphia.

Two of Kreider’s goals were scored on the power-play. Kreider has now registered two power-play goals in a game for the fourth time in his NHL career and for the first time since Nov. 15, 2018, at the Islanders.

Claude Giroux had three assists in his return from a COVID-19 absence but the Flyers still played without Jakub Voracek, Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom, and Scott Laughton because of COVID protocols.

The Rangers return to action on Friday when they host the Boston Bruins. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 P.M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Giants should pray that Penei Sewell falls to them at eleven

The New York Giants drafted an offensive tackle with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Andrew Thomas had an up-and-down rookie season where he struggled, showed a lot of promise, and played through a foot injury. Going into year two, the Giants are expecting big things out of Thomas. Andrew underwent foot surgery this offseason and will be ready to go in 2021.

New York still has high hopes for Andrew Thomas, despite a shaky rookie season. Andrew is seemingly the left tackle of the future for the Giants. With New York picking eleventh overall in 2021 it is unlikely that they draft another offensive lineman in the first round of the draft. But there is one offensive line prospect that the Giants should pick if he somehow falls to them.

If Penei Sewell somehow slips to the Giants at eleven overall, New York has to take him. Granted, this scenario is a longshot. Sewell is a premium talent at a premium position. But there have been some random mock drafts made where analysts see Sewell falling to the back end of the top-ten and sometimes even outside of the top-ten. The Giants drafted an offensive tackle in the first round last year, but they should not hesitate to double dip in 2021 if Penei Sewell is on the board.

Why the Giants should pray for the chance to draft Penei Sewell

The New York Giants’ offensive line was terrible in 2020. Second-year quarterback Daniel Jones was under constant pressure. The Giants’ offensive line was atrocious in pass-protection and about league-average in the running game.

The Giants’ pass-block win rate in 2020, according to ESPN, ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win-rate ranked 18th at 70%. Rookie Andrew Thomas struggled significantly in pass protection. He gave up a league-high 57 pressures and 10 sacks this season. But if there was a positive to draw, Thomas had the fifth-highest run block win rate in the NFL at 80%.

The Giants have something in Andrew Thomas. He will be a legit starting offensive tackle. But Andrew Thomas could not realistically be a reason for the Giants to shy away from drafting Penei Sewell. Thomas has a bright future, but Sewell has been compared to legendary offensive linemen like Orlando Pace.

Penei Sewell is an impressive 330 pound, 6 foot 5 inch offensive tackle with the ability to mirror edge rushers off the line of scrimmage. Sewell is only 20 years old and was dominating seniors as a 19-year-old in college. His 95.8 overall Pro Football Focus grade in 2019 was the highest grade PFF has ever given to a collegiate offensive tackle. Sewell is the player to fix the Giants’ pass-protection issues.

Sewell won his pass-blocking reps at a rate of 3.4 percentage points higher than the average college football player and surrendered pressure at a rate 2.8 percentage points lower. – Pro Football Focus

If Penei Sewell did somehow drop to the Giants’ pick, there would be no hesitation in selecting him. Of course, Sewell and Andrew Thomas play the same position. But that should not prevent the Giants from making Sewell their bookend left tackle of the future. Andrew Thomas struggled to protect the blindside in his rookie season and does have some collegiate experience playing right tackle.

Many analysts suggested he switch to right tackle in the NFL during his pre-draft process. If Penei Sewell were to join the Giants’ roster, Andrew Thomas would need to change course and bookend the other side of New York’s line. This would give the Giants a pair of young, talented offensive tackles to build their offensive line around for years to come.

Ex-Jets blocker Jonotthan Harrison headed to New York Giants

New York Jets

The New York Giants confirmed the signing of blocker Jonotthan Harrison who previously spent three seasons with the New York Jets.

Jonotthan Harrison is coming back to MetLife Stadium

The offensive lineman has inked a deal with the New York Giants, the team confirmed on Wednesday. His new contract is worth $2 million over a single season.

Harrison, set to turn 30 in August, previously spent three seasons as an occasional starter with the Giants’ MetLife Stadium co-tenants, the New York Jets (2017-19). He spent last season on the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad and made note of completing the de facto Empire State trifecta in a caption posted on Instagram.

“It’s official!! I’m completing the New York NFL trifecta! Year 8 coming at ya!” Harrison wrote. “Truly grateful and blessed for the opportunity. Notice the GIANT smile? Yeah I’m definitely stoked!!!!” [sic]

Harrison entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Florida in 2014, spending three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts before descending upon the metropolitan area. He partook in 40 games in green, mostly at center, making 19 starts, including 10 in 2019. His release was among the Jets’ final departures prior to the start of the season in September. Quarterback Sam Darnold sang Harrison’s praises upon learning of what he described as an unexpected release.

“For the last 2.5 years, for lack of a better term, he’s been kind of like an older brother to me, showing me the ropes. It’s been fun, man, watching him come to work every day. He works harder than anyone I know,” Darnold said in a report from ESPN’s Rich Cimini. “Jon is an incredible human being, a great leader, and a great friend.”

Harrison becomes the third center on the Giants’ active roster, joining Nick Gates and Spencer Pulley. The second-year man Gates started all 16 games last season and both he and Pulley are under contract for next season.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

MLB History: What’s in a name? How several teams were named

The New York Yankees were not always the Yankees. Several teams that we recognize now were not always called what we have become accustomed to. From a historical perspective, how some of the teams were named can be interesting. In the early days of baseball, teams were normally named by the owner, although some names didn’t stick and they became known by their media names. Many modern club names were selected after running naming contests. Here’s just a look at some of the baseball clubs and how their names came about.

The New York Yankees:

The New York Yankees were not always the New York Yankees. Believe it or not, in 1901, they were known as the Baltimore Orioles. The team was sold and moved to New York City, so they had to rename the team, but what they would rename it wouldn’t stick. In 1903 the team was renamed the New York Highlanders, mostly because they played on a hill in a park located in the Washington Heights section of Manhatten. But at the same time, they were also called the “Americans” and the “Yankees.”

The Highlander name didn’t stick, and they were officially called the New York Yankees in 1913. They are normally referred to as the Yankees or Yanks. They are also known as the “Bronx Bombers.” The Yankees since 1923 have played at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. They opened a brand new state fo the art stadium in 2009.

The New York Mets:

The New York Mets are one of the first expansion teams; it was founded in 1962 to replace the departing National League teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants. Those two teams had easy name changes, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, named after the cities they moved to. But the Mets weren’t always the Mets. When they started out they were named the Metropolitan Baseball Club Inc. Well, the baseball writers weren’t going to put up with that name and started to call them the Mets in their stories. Shortly thereafter, the team officially changed their name to the New York Mets. The Mets play at Citi Field in the borough of Queens.

UPI reported that many suggested names for the team were coming in from across baseball in the early days before the name change. The most popular was the “New York Empires,” but others considered were the Dinosaurs, the Boroughs, and, believe it or not, the “Big City Boys.” I think we are all happy they stuck with the Mets.

The Cleveland Indians:

The Cleveland Indians are an interesting team to include in this article as they are in the process of changing their name. In an era of political correctness, many feel the name Indians is demeaning to the American Indians. The club has been named the Indians for 100 years. The new name will be announced soon, and the new nickname will debut at the start of the 2022 season. No one has clue what that name will be.

Although they have carried the Indian moniker for 100 years, they were not always called the Cleveland Indians. After becoming a charter member of the American League, they played games as the Cleveland Blues (1901), Cleveland Bronchos (1902), and Cleveland Naps (1903-14). The Naps were named in honor of Hall of Fame player (and sometimes player-manager) Nap Lajoie. In 1915 the name was changed to the Indians. Far from being demeaning to American Indians, it was named in honor of the first American Indian baseball player Louis Sockalexis.

The Philadelphia Phillies:

The Philadelphia Phillies, although in place for over one hundred years, its a pretty mixed-up story. The Phillies became the Phillies after playing in Worcester, Massachusetts, and moving to Philadelphia. In the early days (1883-1889), they were called the Philadelphia Quakers (referring to a denomination living in the area). The Western League that became today’s American League wanted a team in Philadelphia. They created a team and called it the Philadelphia Athletics. Phillies former catcher Connie Mack bought a 25% ownership in the new team. That team later became the Kansas City Athletics and finally the Oakland Athletics.

Back to the Phillies, after fans and owners alike became disenchanted with the Quaker’s name, the team was renamed the Phillies in 1890. The origin of the name is unclear; some say it was just the shortening of the name Philadelphia others think it refers to a female horse. But the Phillies might not have ended up the Phillies as a contest was held to rename the team. One leading suggestion was the Philadelphia Blue Jays. 1910, owner Horace Fogel decided that the new name should be the Philadelphia Live Wires, but the name never stuck.

The Arizona Diamondbacks:

Being in Arizona and with a name like Diamondbacks, it obvious to anyone that knows the area it refers to the snakes that roam the surroundings. But wait, it’s not quite that simple. When the expansion team was awarded to Arizona, the name was already in place in1995. There was a name-the-team contest, and the owners got to choose from the five finalists.

The finalists included the Arizona Pheonix, Coyotes, Rattlers, and Scorpions, with the last one being the presumptive favorite. The reason being that the logo looked really cool. But the top finalist was The Arizona Pheonix; the owner didn’t like that as it sounds more like a newspaper than a ball team. In the end, the owner couldn’t go with the Scorpion name either because those nasty insects freaked him out. So the name was left as the Diamondbacks. Here’s the catcher; the name doesn’t refer to the snake at all; it’s named after the baseball diamond.

The San Diego Padres:

There was another name-the-team contest, this time to re-name the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League when they moved to San Diego in 1938. When they joined the National League as an expansion team in 1968, there was no sense in changing the San Diego Padres’ successful branding.

In the naming contest, popular votes referred to the Don Juans, Tars, Aviators, Sandies, Gaels, and random animals like Tunas and Gorillas. In the end, they decided to stay with the Padres. The team’s name Padres is Spanish for “fathers,” refers to the Spanish Franciscan friars who founded San Diego in 1769. But in 1974, the team almost became the Washington Stars, referring to the old name Hollywood Stars. The team was in the throws of being purchased and moved to Washington D.C., but lawsuits made that impossible. Mac Donald’s billionaire Ray Croc bought the team and saved baseball for San Diego fans.

The Houston Astros:

Before the Houston Astros were the Astros in 1962, they were called the Colt 45’s. This is another expansion team that had a naming contest. There were over 12,000 entries. There were seven judges, three from newspaper editors and four from the Houston Sports Association. Besides the Colt 45’s they could have chosen Rebels, Russlers (strange spelling), Madmen, Meanies, and Boasters. There even a suggestion that they are called the “Swindlers,” wouldn’t that have been appropriate for the 2017 team that was proven to cheat.
In the end, the judges chose the Houston Colts. But that name wouldn’t last even though it was quite catchy. However, after the 1963 season, the Colt Manufacturing Co. of Hartford, Connecticut, that manufactured the Colt 45 pistol, started to inquire about licensing fees; then-owner Roy Hofheinz changed the name to Astros on his own. But before he did that, he was committed to using the full “Houston Astronauts,” but that didn’t stick, and settled out as the shortened Astros.

The Miami Marlins:

The Marlins has a naming contest, but in the end, the then-owner Wayne Huizenga picked the name when he hated the winner of the contest. That name was the Florida Manatees, which would have been perfect, but Huizenga chose the name Marlins instead. The Marlins name is appropriate as well; it’s a fish, it’s regional, and unique. Some of the other finalists were the Beachers, Maniacs, Magnets, and ReneGlades, referring to the nearby Everglades National Park.

From 1993 the Marlins played ball in Miami Gardens, 20 miles north of Miami, Florida but in 2012, the team moved to the newly built Marlins Park on a plot of land just blocks from downtown Miami, that was previously the location of the Orange Bowl. Marlins Park is owned by Miami-Dade county. When they moved into the new park in 2012, to do so, they had to change their name from the Florida Marlins to the Miami Marlins according to the deal.

The Tampa Bay Rays:

The Tampa Bay Rays are another team that was not always known by that name. Then-owner Vince Naimoli wanted the Stingrays, but a team in Hawaii owned the rights to it, and he didn’t want to pay them to change it, so a naming contest ensued in 1995. The four top choices were the Manta Rays, Devil Rays, Barracudas, and the Pelicans. Naimoli picked the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  However, there was much backlash as the name ruffled Christians saying that Satan doesn’t need any free advertising.

Regardless of the name’s unpopularity, it remained the baseball team’s name until after the 2007 season when Stuart Sternberg purchased the team.  Sternberg thought the name was too long, and shortening it to the Rays which would solve that and satisfy those who hated using the word Devil. On a side note, many that don’t live in the area think that the team is located in Tampa; it isn’t; they play at Tropicana Field, a domed stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Toronto Blue Jays:

The Toronto Blue Jays were an expansion team in 1977. They have carried the Blue Jays name since there were founded. Its name was determined by vote. It was chosen through a name-the-team contest, with a panel of 14 people, including 10 members of the Toronto media, voting on the final choice. Regardless of the submissions, you had to believe that Blue would be in the name somehow. The Labatt Brewing Company originally owned the club. (Labatt Blue).

Some of the submissions were unbelievable, and some just the names of 46 other species of birds. Other votes were for animals; still other were off the wall. Can you imagine the “Boozers,” “Beerbellies,” or even the “Dingbats?” I don’t think I would want to be routing for the Dingbats. When all the dust settled, they were named the Blue Jays.

But one of the highest vote getters was the Toronto Owls. This writer thinks they missed the boat naming the team the Blue Jays, one of most obnoxious birds known to man that constantly squawks and steals other birds eggs. The Owl on the other hand is much more majestic, smart and dangerous. Several other teams have interesting names too but not as interesting as these.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Follow him on Twitter @parleewilliam

 

Yankees’ Domingo German: ‘I’ve made mistakes I’m not proud of and for that I apologize’

New York Yankees, Domingo German

New York Yankees’ starting pitcher Domingo German, who reportedly addressed his teammates during a meeting this week to apologize for the domestic violence incident that cost him an 81-game suspensión between 2019 and 2020, talked to reporters on Wednesday.

German, who the Yankees hope is their fifth starter to start the 2021 season, opened his press conference by reading a statement.

“I’ve made mistakes I’m not proud of and for that I apologize,” he said. The pitcher thanked Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone and general manager Brian Cashman for being “patient” with him. He also stated he needs to “show them through my actions” that he is actually committed to being a better man and teammate.

In September 2019, during a gala, German slapped his girlfriend. But it didn’t end there.

Lindsey Adler recently reported that German was intoxicated that night, “and became physically violent toward his girlfriend until she hid in a locked room. The victim is said to have contacted the wife of another Yankees player, and the couple drove to Germán’s home late at night. The victim remained with the teammate’s wife, while the player attempted to calm down Germán, who is said to have been angry and belligerent.”

The Yankees and his girlfriend are giving German another chance

As of now, the Yankees will apparently keep the pitcher on their roster as several hurlers fight for the fifth starter spot. German is one of them, alongside Deivi Garcia, Michael King, Asher Wojciechowski, and Jhoulys Chacin.

German is also known for his peculiar Instagram posts. About his cryptic “everything is over” Instagram post, he said that was a message to his girlfriend/partner, “essentially saying that his suspension was complete and 2021 would be a new beginning” according to MLB.com Yankees’ beat writer Bryan Hoch. It means that he and his girlfriend are still together.

About the comments that Zack Britton recently made, German said that “he has a right to do that. I understood where he was coming from. Good thing is I had the opportunity to talk to him…he gave me really good advice on how I can improve.”

Only time will tell if German will actually learn from his mistakes, but it appears that the Yankees are going to give him another chance.

Islanders’ continued success on home ice shouldn’t come as a surprise

As the Islanders embark on their next nine games, they will have the advantage of playing eight of them on home ice. This is the perfect opportunity to distance themselves from the pack in the MassMutual East Division.

The friendly confines of Nassau Coliseum have been good to the Isles thus far this season. A 5-0-1 home record has them as one of the best in the NHL, even though they’ve played less home games than a majority of other teams. They’ve been excellent despite there being no fans in the building; that is soon to change with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s ruling earlier this month about allowing 10% capacity. When those fans are allowed back in the Old Barn, the Isles should get another boost.

But as we’ve seen for a long time now — fans or no fans — the team continues to have success in their home surroundings.

“Everybody likes to be at home,” forwards Brock Nelson said earlier this week. “A little different environment, one you’re more familiar with. Especially with the way the [COVID-19] rules and regulations are this year.”

“You’re not going to have your best every single night, but you find ways to pull through and we have to take advantage of our time at home most importantly,” said Matt Martin postgame on Monday.
Next up for the Isles at home is the Boston Bruins, who are coming off their pasting of the Flyers at Lake Tahoe on Sunday. It should be another tough challenge, but the Islanders have beaten Boston both times they’ve hosted them on Coliseum ice this year. That in itself has been one of the most surprising things that has happened this season after how long the B’s have dominated when the two teams meet.
What’s not surprising is the Islanders continuing their trend of winning on home ice.
They have done it for a long time now and in a very impressive way.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Islanders trading for J.G. Pageau from the Senators. Pageau has been a fan-favorite from the moment he arrived, and his recent hot streak only continues to push the narrative that he was worth every penny g.m. Lou Lamoriello paid for him, which ended up being a first and second-round pick.
This from Barry Trotz: “Pager is a really good mentor for anybody in this league because he plays the right way. He’s a pro. He works with other guys. Those little things say a lot about the player and a person. He’s the ultimate pro.”

BREAKING: UFC books Valentina Shevchenko – Jessica Andrade

The UFC has finalized the next title fight in the women’s flyweight division. The flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) will be defending her title against the former UFC strawweight champion, Jessica Andrade (21-8).

The matchup will take place at UFC 261 on April 24th. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report the news. Shevchenko will be looking to defend her flyweight title for the fifth time on April 24th.

There is no doubting that Shevchenko is one of the best fighters in all of the UFC. Since making her debut with the promotion, the only fighter to get the better of Shevchenko was Amanda Nunes, who of course is considered to be the best of all time.

Worth noting that both of the losses against Nunes took place at 135 pounds. Shevchenko is much more natural and at her best at 125 pounds. Since the UFC created the flyweight division, Shevchenko has been in complete control.

Her dominance has gotten to the point where fans are amazed when she loses a round. Not a fight, but merely a round. Take her last fight at UFC 255 as the perfect example. In that fight, Shevchenko took on the tough, Jennifer Maia.

Maia was able to use her strength and grappling to clearly win the second round. That round made everyone stand back, but Shevchenko would go on to win four of the five rounds. She is truly something special and she has an exciting fight on her hands in a couple of months.

Third UFC weight class for Andrade

The UFC career of Jessica Andrade has been an interesting one. When she made her debut with the promotion back in 2013, there was only the bantamweight division. With that, Andrade was forced to fight at 135 pounds if she wanted to fight for the UFC.

Because she’s so talented, she was able to hold her own despite being much smaller. Then, the promotion created the strawweight division at 115 pounds. Andrade carries a lot of muscle, but she was able to cut down to that weight where she would be on a more even playing field.

The highlight of her strawweight career came at UFC 237 when she became the strawweight champion. However, she would go on to lose the title in her first defense. After losing a rematch to Rose Namajunas back on Fight Island, Andrade decided to try out her third weight class.

125 pounds is much more natural for Andrade. She doesn’t have to deplete herself due to an extreme weight cut and she maintains her speed that she had at strawweight. That makes her very dangerous to other flyweights.

She made her flyweight debut against top contender, Katlyn Chookagian. With a combination of body shots, Andrade was able to get the first round stoppage to earn a shot at the UFC’s flyweight queen. This is going to be one helluva fight and I’m excited to watch.

Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso is taking some grounders at third base

The New York Mets’ position players reported to the team spring training camp this week, as they continue to prepare for what will be an exciting 2021 season. The organization invested a lot of money and resources to put the best possible roster on the field, and it now looks like one of the favorites to make some noise deep in October.

The Mets brought several starting pitching reinforcements, most notably Carlos Carrasco (in the same trade that netted the club star shortstop Francisco Lindor) Taijuan Walker, Marcus Stroman, Jordan Yamamoto, Joey Lucchesi and Jerad Eickhoff.

They also welcomed two impact relievers in Trevor May and Aaron Loup; plus Lindor, outfielders Albert Almora and Kevin Pillar, and infielder Jonathan Villar. Catcher James McCann was also brought to be the starter at the position.

However, the Mets didn’t bring any third basemen, or haven’t to this point. JD Davis is a liability out there in field, but carries monster offensive upside and that’s why acting general manager Zack Scott said this week that they are comfortable with him at the top of the depth chart.

The Mets are very flexible

However, that doesn’t mean the Mets aren’t willing to get creative. Davis will play some, but Jeff McNeil can also defend the hot corner and could potentially do it some nights when Villar plays second.

And, additionally, the Mets are trying slugging first baseman Pete Alonso at third base. Yes! You read that right.

According to New York Daily News’ writer Deesha Thosar, Alonso was seen taking some grounders in the hot corner.

It’s not uncommon for teams to try different things in the early stages of spring training, so the fact that Alonso is taking some reps there should be taken with a grain of salt and could mean nothing later down the road.

However, it’s still a noteworthy development. If Alonso can be a passable third baseman, that could open up more playing time avenues for the Mets’ fellow slugging first baseman, Dom Smith, who broke out last year with a .316/.377/.616 line and 10 home runs in 50 games.

Only time will tell if this is going to be more than just a spring training experiment.

Yankees star will prioritize “smart” style over “playing hard” to be healthier

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees have had to endure long stretches of play without their top two offensive stars in the last couple of seasons. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge have suffered injury after injury and haven’t been able to play a full slate of games.

But Judge vows to prioritize smart play over going all in, with the intention of making sure he is out there helping the Yankees more often than not.

Judge reported to the Yankees’ spring training site this week with high hopes over a new season, one in which the Bombers will seek their 28th World Series ring.

“Getting kicked out in the [American League] Division Series is not what our goal is,” Judge said on Tuesday, per MLB.com. “It’s not what we intended. … It starts in the regular season, keeping guys on the field, playing hard and winning our division. I think if we can do that and take care of business there, it sets us up for the postseason where anything can happen.”

The Yankees want to preserve Judge’s health

After dealing with lung and rib issues prior to the start of last season, the Yankees’ slugger lost some time due to a right calf strain that he later aggravated.

Judge has played in 242 of a possible 384 regular-season games since the beginning of the 2018 season. He has missed time with multiple issues, including oblique strains, the mentioned punctuated lung/cracked rib, and the calf strains, among others.

“Over the years, you learn to work a little smarter, not harder,” Judge said. “If I get a better first read, a better first step, that might help me not to have to crash into a wall. With my big body, 275 [pounds] diving over 162 games, it does a lot of wear and tear. It comes back to just playing a little bit smarter.”

The Yankees got Judge to reduce heavy lifting and doing yoga and other exercises.

“Last year I thought I was coming in healthy, but I played a whole [2019] postseason and worked out all offseason with a broken rib and a punctured lung,” Judge said. “I’m excited to come in feeling great. Being 6’7” and 275 [pounds] is a little different than 5-foot-6 Brett Gardner and 150 pounds. We’ve got to do things a little bit different.”