New York Rangers Win Behind Mika Zibanejad’s Hat Trick

For the second game in a row against the Philadelphia Flyers, Mika Zibanejad scored a natural hat to lead the New York Rangers to an 8-3 victory. The Rangers had jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second period before hanging on for the win. The Rangers have recorded eight goals in a road game for the first time since Mar. 18, 2014, at Ottawa.

The Flyers got a goal from Claude Giroux in the second period. This ended, to coin a basketball phrase, a 15-0 run of goals the Rangers had scored against Philadelphia in the last two games. Per the NHL Public Relations, the 15 consecutive Ranger goals against the Flyers were tied for the third-most against one opponent in franchise history. The top two were 17 consecutive against the New York Islanders in 1972-73 and the California Golden Seals in 1974-75.

Adam Fox had five points and five assists in the contest while Ryan Strome added four points with a goal and three assists. Pavel Buchnevich has two goals in the win. Two of the team’s younger players, Filip Chytil and K’Andre Miller also added goals.

Igor Shesterkin returned to action after missing the last 11 games due to a groin injury. He saves 41 shots in the game.

Carter Hart started in net for the Flyers. He was pulled after giving up five goals on the first 11 Rangers shots.

Recently, the New York Ranger’s offensive outburst has lead to many records and streaks.

Thanks to the fine people at the NHL Public Relations and NYR Stats&Info, the New York Rangers have had many accomplishments in recent games, including this one.

The list starts with Zibanejad. With his second consecutive six-point game, Zibanejad has become the first player in NHL history to record 6+ points in consecutive games played against one opponent within a regular season. Also, he is the second Ranger who has posted two different six-point games in franchise history (along with Anders Hedberg) and the first to do so in the same season.

A modest Zibanejad talked about his recent hot-streak in his post-game Zoom conference. “The puck seems to be going in right now. It’s nice to be able to contribute offensively for this team, especially since the first part of the season. Obviously, it is a great feeling when you win and you can contribute.”

For Fox, he tied single-game Rangers franchise records for defensemen with five assists and five points in tonight’s game. The other defenseman with five was Brian Leetch,  who did that on April 18, 1995, against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Between Zibanejad and Fox, the Rangers have had a forward and a defenseman each tally five points in the same game for the first time in franchise history. The last time the New York Rangers had two players record five or more points in the same game was when Mark Messier and Adam Graves did that in November of 1992 at Pittsburgh.

Finally, Zibanejad, Strome, and Fox have each recorded four or more points tonight. Prior to tonight’s game, the last time the Rangers had three players tally four or more points in the same game was Dec. 28, 2005, at the New York Islanders.

The teams will square off again Saturday afternoon. It will be interesting to see how the game starts as the Flyers were clearly frustrated by the second straight big loss to the Blueshirts. There were a handful of physical altercations within the last couple of minutes of the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees Recap: Michael King implodes in Yankee loss 25 run game to the Phillies

New York Yankees, Michael King

The New York Yankees were at Clearwater, Florida, tonight against Joe Girardi’s Philadephia Phillies. Starting for the Yankees was Michael King, and for the Phillies was Matt Moore. It was a warm night for a ballgame, even for Florida at this time of year. It was humid with a game-time temperature of 86 degrees. It was sunny to start the game with only light breezes. Tonight Yankees fans got a look at what most likely will be the Opening Day lineup at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees lost the game as starter Michael King absolutely imploded in Yankee’s 13-12 loss.

DJ LeMahieu was the first to face Matt Moore. He singled on a line drive. Aaron Judge next up was rewarded getting a monster home run, his first of spring training, driving in two runs for the Yankees. Up next was Aaron HIcks, who immediately doubled. Giancarlo Stanton flew out. Luke Voit struck out swinging, and Gleyber Torres walked. Gio Urshela struck out, but the Yankees picked up two runs in the inning. Yankees 2 Phillies 0.

At the bottom, the Yankees sent Mickael King out onto the mound for his third start of the spring. Ex-Yankee McCutchen made first when hit by a pitch. JT Realmuto doubled, moving McCutchin to third. King walked Bryce Harper to load the bases with Phillies with no outs. Rhys Hoskins was hit by another pitch driving in a run. Bohm ground out, but another run scored. Didi Gregorius homered, driving in three runs. Still, with only one out Trevor Lane replaced him; however, Segura doubled. Herrera struck out, and Quinn flew out to finally end an inning with a whole game of scoring. Phillies 5 Yankee 2.

Clint Frazier struck out at the top of the second, Kyle Higashioka flew out, and DJ LeMahieu, the “hitting machine,” singled. Aaron Judge, who homered in the first, grounded out sharply to second to end the Yankee half. Michael King still in for the second, McCutchen singles off King. A pitch hit JT Realmuto as King had absolutely no command hitting 3 Phillies in just two innings. Harper singled, loading the bases again. Hoskins walked in another Phillies run. Bohm struck out for the first out of the inning. Gregorius lined out, and Segura singled, driving in Realmuto as the Phillies had their way with King. Herrera struck out mercifully, allowing King to leave the mound. Phillies 7 Yankees 2 after two innings.

At the top of the third, Aaron Hicks struck out, and Giancarlo Stanton being much more patient at the plate this season, walked. Luke Voit singled, moving Stanton to scoring position. Torres homered, driving in three runs eating away at the Phillies lead. Gio Urshela flew out. Clint Frazier struck out to end the half, but the Yankee Picked up another three turns. At the bottom, surprisingly, Michael King was still on the mound after giving up seven runs. Welcome to spring training. Quinn struck out swinging, McCutchen flew out, and Realmuto grounded out for a quick inning for King.

Kyle Higashioka led off for the New York Yankees in the fourth against Matt Moore in his fourth inning of work. Higgy struck out. LeMahieu lined out, and Aaron Judge walked. Aaron Hicks made the last out of the inning. At the bottom, Michael King was replaced by Jonathan Loaisiga. Hoskings struck out, Hoskins ground out, and Ronald Torreyes struck out for the final out of the inning. Loaisiga has been the best Yankee reliever this spring. The fourth inning was the first inning with no scoring by either team.

For the fifth, Stanton led off flew out to Bryce Harper. Luke Voit walked after a wild pitch Viot advanced to second. Gleyber Torres walked, producing Yankees on the corners. Torres stole second, Urshela struck out, but Voit scored on a wild pitch. Frazier, with one-on and two outs, walked, getting Yankees on the corners again. That drove Alverado out of the game. Higgy against ex-Yankee David Hale ground out into a force out ending the half, but the Yankees did pick up a run. Gregorius against Loaisiga he ground out as did Segura. Herrera popped out to Luke Voit, ending the inning. Phillies 7 Yankees 6.

LeMahieu led off the sixth by walking. Aaron Judge was called out on strikes. Aaron Hicks walked for two on. Stanton struck out, and Luke Voit flew out for the final out, leaving the Yankees scoreless in the inning. Quinn flew out to center, McCutchen ground out, and Realmuto singles and Realmuto doubled, driving in a run. Hoskins flew out to end the inning, but the Phillies picked up another run. Phillies 8 Yankees 6.

Gleyber Torres was called out on strikes, Urshela popped out, and Frazier flew out for a 1-2 -3 inning for pitcher Neris. With Luis Garcia on the mound, Torreyes ground out, Williams lined out, and Philly Luis Garcia ground out to end the quick seventh inning.

At the top of the eighth, Kellin Deglan ground out for the Yankees. Duran ground out, and Floria stuck out. At the bottom Tyler Lyons too over for the New York Yankees. Rojas singled on a line drive. He then stole second. Jankowski struck out. Betancourt walked, given Phillie’s men on the corner. Vierling singled, driving in another run. O’Hoppe homered, driving in two more Phillies runs. Ex-Yankee Torreyes struck out for the third out. Phillies 12 Yankees 6.

With the last licks on the line at the top of the ninth,  Chris Gittens homers to right field. Austin Wells ground out softly. Milone walked, Peraza walked for two on and no outs. Alvarez singled for two on, Milone scored. Amburgey struck out, and Deglan singles Peraza scored. Duran doubled, scoring two. Estevan Florial singles driving in two more runs. Chris Gittens struck out, ending the half with a 12-12 tie. Nestor Cortes Jr. came out for the Yankee at the bottom, hoping to hold the Phillies down. Williams singled. Garcia was out on a sac punt. Rojas singled, scoring William from first for the Phillies win in a 25 run game.

Note: Bringing back a pitcher after being pulled can only happen in spring training and is done to give the pitcher more work. However, in the game, Michael King removed himself from any chance at taken the fifth anchor spot in the Yankees rotation. The New York Yankees’ hitting surely gave the Yankees a chance to win this game but couldn’t quite get there in 9 innings. The Phillies won the game 13-12.

New York Giants: The Athletic changes mock draft pick to Alabama CB

New York Giants, Patrick Surtain

The New York Giants have already addressed both the wide receiver position and bolstering the tight end spot in free agency, and because of that, we’re seeing mock drafts shift away from previous ideas. It was though the Giants would have playmakers as their top need going into the draft, but it’s less clear now which direction they intend to go after signing Kenny Golladay. Or if the Giants will even stay at number eleven at all.

The Athletic, at least, does see them not trading the pick. Their new beat writer mock draft has the Giants remaining at eleven and taking a player on the opposite side of the ball from their new offensive additions.

Giants will take a promising Alabama cornerback?

The player linked with the Giants in this mock draft is Patrick Surtain II, one of the top cornerbacks coming out this year. Surtain, interestingly enough, played his college ball at Alabama – it’s a system that Joe Judge has been a part of himself before, and based on what other players have said, Judge has already brought plenty of Crimson Tide energy to the Giants.

Surtain could be the next player to further the connection if the Giants choose to target improving the secondary and finding their elusive second cornerback to play next to James Bradberry. This is what The Athletic had to say about their prediction.

Signing Kenny Golladay makes it a lot easier to stomach all of the top receiving options being off the board. Though the Giants agreed to a deal with former first-round cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, the first round is about finding a player for the next 10 years, not just the upcoming season. James Bradberry only has two years left on his contract. Teams can never have enough cornerbacks, especially one with the pedigree of Surtain, who could become a Pro Bowler like his father. It was tempting to take Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater, but Surtain’s upside was too much to pass up.

The Giants could have a majorly improved secondary in 2021 if they go this route due to bringing back their major playmakers but also adding Adoree’ Jackson, giving them more depth at their thinnest spot – the second and third cornerback positions.

However, that could also be an argument against the Giants drafting a corner here. We might just see the Giants address another area and stick with Bradberry and Jackson for this season. It remains to be seen still. But with free agency adding a lot to the offense already, a defensive pick is starting to look likely.

New York Giants keeping an eye on Penn State’s standout draft prospects

Micah Parsons, new york giants

The 2021 NFL Draft is just around the corner. The draft will take place in about a month and teams are doing their due diligence on prospects. The New York Giants were one of the teams represented today, doing their due diligence, at Penn State’s Pro Day. Pro Days are ever more important this year with no official NFL Scouting Combine.

There are two key Penn State prospects that the Giants could target early in the 2021 NFL Draft. Linebacker Micah Parsons and edge rusher Jayson Oweh are both athletic freaks on the defensive side of the ball that could fill positions of need for the Giants next month.

Micah Parsons and Jayson Oweh dominate Pro Day

What is in the water at Penn State? It seems like every year one of college’s top football programs, Penn State, turns out freakish, superhuman athletes. This year, those two athletes are Micah Parsons and Jayson Oweh, two defenders that dominated at their Pro Day today.

Micah Parsons is one of the top prospects in the 2021 draft class. He was once considered to be a top-ten lock, but some off-the-field allegations have pushed him down draft boards. But Parsons’s insane measurables at his Pro Day might have shot him back up those same draft boards.

Parsons came in at 6 feet, 3 inches, 246 pounds. He has ideal size to play linebacker at the next level. But his game-changing 4.39s 40-yard-dash speed caught everyone’s attention today. Parsons also had a 39.5″ vertical leap and a 134″ broad jump. Micah Parsons is a specimin.

But so is his teammate, Jayson Oweh. The Penn State edge rusher ran an even faster 40-yard-dash than Parsons. The 6 foot, 5 inch, 257 pound pass-rusher looked like a mini cooper during his 40-yard-dash, clocking in at 4.36s. Oweh put up vertical leap and broad jump numbers identical to Micah Parsons’s.

Of course, everyone is advised to take these Pro Day 40 times with a grain of salt. But one thing to take note of is the Giants’ front-row viewing of these Pro Day performances.

Joe Judge at the Penn State Pro Day

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge was in attendance, “front and center,” at Penn State’s Pro Day today. The Giants are reportedly interested in a few Penn State prospects, such as Oweh, Parsons, and tight end Pat Freiermuth. But Judge’s interest in Micah Parsons has been discussed heavily after he got an “up-close” look at Parsons’s workout today.

The New York Giants have not drafted a linebacker in round one of the draft since 1984 (Carl Banks). Will 2021 be the year the Giants finally take a linebacker in the first round? With Micah Parsons drawing significant interest from the Giants’ brass, it very well could be.

The Giants also have a clear-cut need on the edge of their defense. Jayson Oweh is an intriguing prospect for New York to consider. He had 0 sacks in 2020 and was not productive on the stat sheet. But Oweh is a freak athlete that could make for an exciting, high-ceiling prospect that Patrick Graham could groom into an elite edge rusher.

The beauty of the Giants’ 2021 offseason is that they have left every option open going into the 2021 NFL Draft. New York addressed its biggest needs: cornerback and wide receiver. Now, they can get creative in the NFL Draft. The Giants could still add an offensive playmaker. But they could also take a chance on one of Penn State’s potentially game-changing defenders in round one. The Giants’ options are limitless.

Report: Drummond’s buyout market centers around Lakers, Knicks

New York Knicks, Andre Drummond

The New York Knicks approached the NBA trade deadline with restraint, much as they did in the free agency.

They only did a minor trade involving Austin Rivers, who has fallen out of the rotation, and end-of-the-bench player Ignas Brazdeikis.

With their $15 million cap space still intact, the Knicks could still improve their roster via the buyout market.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report doubled down on an earlier report of The Ringer’s Kevin O’ Connor that the Knicks are a serious landing spot for Andre Drummond.

The Cleveland Cavaliers found no taker for Drummond, a former two-time All-star and a four-time rebounding leader, at the trade deadline.

The Lakers could offer less money but a chance to win a ring as Anthony Davis’ backup in the postseason.

More money to offer

The Knicks can lure Drummond with a multi-year deal and a more significant role in an ascending team that has a chance to break a seven-year playoff drought.

The Knicks can use their cap space to offer Drummond a pro-rated four-year, $64-million deal, according to The Athletic’s front office insider and former Memphis Grizzlies executive John Hollinger.

Ian Begley of SNY reported earlier that the Knicks are divided when it comes to going after Drummond but added a prominent voice that wants to add him.

Connecticut connections

Drummond is a Mount Vernon native but considers Middletown, Connecticut, as his home, which is only a 15-minute drive from New Britain, Connecticut, where Tom Thibodeau hails.

Thibodeau coached Drummond in the 2014 FIBA World Cup as an assistant coach of the Team USA that won the gold. In the same year, Drummond fired Rob Pelinka as his agent. Pelinka is now the Lakers’ general manager.

Drummond also played for Thibodeau’s good friend, Jim Calhoun, in college. Thibodeau used to visit Calhoun’s practices in the Northeast. Drummond considers his UConn coach as one of his best friends.

It is unclear, though, if Thibodeau is that prominent voice that Begley refers to in his report.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Report: Knicks still eyeing Lonzo Ball trade; Mitchell Robinson draws interest from teams

New York Knicks, Lonzo Ball

After dealing away Austin Rivers and Ignas Brazdeikis, the New York Knicks appear to have still some moves to make as the NBA trade deadline reaches its 11th hour.

Ian Begley of SNY reports that the Knicks remains active in discussion with the New Orleans for a potential trade involving Lonzo Ball.

ESPN’s Andrew Lopez just reported that Ball pulled himself out early in today’s practice.

Ball is set to become a restricted free agent in the offseason. Trading for Ball now means the Knicks will have the right to match any offer he can get from the other teams.

Mitchell Robinson, who was impressive in his second game back from hand surgery, is also garnering some interest. Begley reports that teams have reached out to the Knicks about trading for Robinson.

It is unclear if Robinson is on the table for a Ball deal.

The Knicks have been linked to Cleveland Cavaliers’ center Andre Drummond for quite some time now. If Robinson is flipped for Ball, then a Drummond deal via trade or buyout market makes more sense for the Knicks.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

The New York Yankees “Golden Boy” Dr. Bobby Brown has passed away at 96

The New York Yankees have lost another great. This morning Dr. Bobby Brown the Yankees “Golden Boy’ passed away at the age of 96. Up until the coronavirus, Bobby Brown was a fixture at every Old Timer’s Day celebration. He won four championships with a batting average of .439 across 17 World Series games in his time with the Yankees. Yankee owner and general partner Hal Steinbrenner had the to say upon learning of his passing:

“Few people who have worn the pinstripes have lived such an accomplished, fulfilled, and wide-ranging life as Dr. Brown, who was beloved by our organization for his warmth, kindness and character, He represented the pinstripes with elegance throughout his playing career and in subsequent decades as a frequent, welcome guest at Old Timers’ Day. We also hold the utmost respect for the myriad of other accomplishments in his life — from service to our country, his stewardship of the American League and his longtime career as a cardiologist. The Yankees extend their deepest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones as we reflect on his incredible life.”

Few living New York Yankee fans know much about Bobby Brown, but you should. He was quite a guy, to put it mildly. He only played eight years for the Yankees and wasn’t their top player due to the megastars he played with, so he tends to get overlooked. Many of us see him as that old man at the Old Timers Day Game each year but know little about him.

Robert William Brown was born in 1924 in Seattle, Washington. There are few parallels in baseball that equal Bobby Brown. For the Yankees, he held down the hot corner for eight years. When you play for the Yankees, you don’t have a lot of free time, but Bobby, during his time with the Yankees, also studied to become a successful Cardiologist. He was an intelligent guy and knew he needed a job to fall back upon when his baseball days were over. Back then, players weren’t set up for life, with the big contracts given today. Bobby served in the military in 1953 in the Korean War before returning to the Yankees.

His baseball years

The “Golden boy” of the Yankees was an excellent defender at third base. Many that recall his play say he was as good as Graig Nettles. He wasn’t a home run hitter, but he was a lifetime .279 hitter with 22 home runs in his career. He would have had better stats, but he only played in half of the games, as he shared the third base with Billy Johnson. It was common during the period for managers to platoon players. He played with the likes of Billy Martin, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, and Joe DiMaggio. Bobby and DiMaggio went to the same high school together.

Brown had a bases-loaded triple in Game 4 and a two-run triple in the championship-clinching Game 5 of the 1949 World Series. He tripled again in the final game of the 1950 World Series. All and all, he was a champion in four World Series while batting .439 in seventeen games.  In three of his eight Yankee years, he had a batting average of over .300. I can think of many present-day Yankees that would love to have that batting average.  At third base, he had a .948 fielding percentage and in the outfield a 1.000 fielding percentage.

A famous apocryphal story that has made the rounds for years in baseball circles concerns the time when Brown’s road roommate was star New York Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, who had little formal education. The two were reading in their hotel room one night, Berra, a comic book, and Brown, his copy of Boyd’s Pathology. Berra came to the end of his comic, tossed it aside, and asked Brown, “So, how is yours turning out?” Brown was a brilliant guy, having attended Stanford, UCLA, and Tulane, where he received his medical degree.

Life After Baseball

After Bobby Brown left baseball, he opened his Cardiology practice in Forth Worth, Texas. He took a leave from heart surgery in 1974 to become President of the Texas Rangers for a year before returning to his practice. At the age of 60, he retired from medicine and became President of the American League, a position he held until he was 70. Since then, he has been a regular at Yankee Old Timer’s Day celebrations. This amazing Yankee will be 96 this year. He is the last New York Yankee survivor of the 1947 and 1949 World Champion Series.

Now you know a bit more about Dr. Bobby Brown. We have lost so many of the Yankee greats in recent years, like Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Mel Stottlemyre, Don Larsen, Oscar Gamble, Bob Turley, and now we have lost Dr. Bobby Brown, the Yankees “Golden Boy.” For this sportswriter, it is a sad day as another childhood hero has passed.

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

 

UFC: Josh Emmett has dealt with setbacks, but hopeful for late 2021 return

One of the more exciting contenders in the UFC‘s featherweight division is Josh Emmett (16-2). Emmett is arguably the biggest power puncher in the division and all of his fights have fans on the edge of their seats.

Last June, Emmett took on Shane Burgos. The fight was being hyped up and both men delivered on the highest level. It was an absolute war and Emmett ended up coming close to getting the finish in the third round.

Ultimately, the judges unanimously gave the fight to Emmett. It was the third straight UFC victory for Emmett and he was 5-1 in his last six inside the octagon. With the win, Emmett jumped into the top six at featherweight.

However, Emmett didn’t come through the fight unscathed. Emmett completely tore his knee early on in the fight. He continued to fight through the pain which is remarkable considering the way he performed.

With that injury, Emmett has been out of commission since that fight. Emmett told MMA Fighting that he had reconstructive surgery and was undergoing physical therapy at the UFC‘s PI after the fight.

He was recovering and was hoping for a summer return. However, his pain started getting worse and it was discovered that he needed another procedure. Now, he’s still not clear to train and a UFC summer return is not in the cards.

UFC’s plans for Emmett

Emmett told MMA Fighting that he still wants to return late in 2021. When he returns, he wants to take on someone in the UFC’s top five which makes sense given his ranking and current winning streak.

That said, who should the UFC pair Josh Emmett up with? There are rumors circulating that the promotion might be interested in booking Chan Sung Jung (16-6) against Dan Ige (15-3).

Whoever were to win that fight would be ranked in the top five. Given the potential winner’s standing in the division, I think it would be the perfect opponent for Emmett’s UFC return. Now, we don’t know if that fight is getting booked for sure, but either one of those guys are great options for Josh Emmett.

Knicks trade Rivers, Brazdeikis in 3-way deal with Thunder, 76ers

New York Knicks, Austin Rivers

Austin Rivers knew his days with the New York Knicks were already numbered upon Derrick Rose’s arrival.

As expected, the Knicks traded Rivers to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of a three-way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, as first reported by ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

Rivers first hinted about a trade for him last month he fell out of Tom Thibodeau’s rotation.

“They had told me after the game [Feb. 7 versus the Heat] that they were bringing Derrick in,” Rivers said. “I had already kind of heard stuff even before the season started that he was going to be coming here. My whole thing is, control what I can control. When they had told me he was coming, I said ‘OK,’ and obviously, there’s been stuff about me being moved to other places. With all this kind of up in the air right now, my thing is, as long as I’m a Knick, just to be professional. I don’t know what can happen today or tomorrow or next week or the week after that. Every day that I’m here I’m always going to be all in.”

The Knicks got Terrance Ferguson, a former Thunder first-round pick in 2017, in return. New York also sent Ignas Brazdeikis to Philadelphia and picked up Vincent Poirier and two future second-round picks.

Drummond to the Knicks?

Meanwhile, Kevin O’ Connor of The Ringer reported that the Knicks are a serious landing spot for Andre Drummond on Wednesday night. The Cleveland Cavaliers are still trying to find a trade for Drummond, a former two-time All-star and a four-time rebounding leader.

The Knicks only need $13.7 million in salary to trade for Drummond.

But a better scenario for the Knicks is if Drummond is bought out, they can lure him a multi-year deal which he will likely prefer than what contenders Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers can offer.

In this scenario, the Knicks can offer Drummond a pro-rated four-year, $64-million deal, according to The Athletic’s front office insider and former Memphis Grizzlies executive John Hollinger.

Drummond is a Mount Vernon native but considers Middletown, Connecticut, as his home, which is only a 15-minute drive from New Britain, Connecticut, where Tom Thibodeau hails.

Thibodeau coached Drummond in the 2014 FIBA World Cup as an assistant coach of the Team USA that won the gold.

Drummond also played for Thibodeau’s good friend, Jim Calhoun, in college. Thibodeau used to visit Calhoun’s practices in the Northeast. Drummond considers his UConn coach as one of his best friends.

The Knicks can also pivot to another asset accumulation move as a third team to use their $15 million cap space.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Mets choose their fifth starter to start the season

Just a few hours after implying they would wait until closer the start of the regular season to officially name a fifth starter, the New York Mets reversed course and all but appointed left-hander Joey Lucchesi as the last member of the rotation for the start of the campaign.

The press asked the Mets’ manager Luis Rojas to compare the two pitchers vying for the last spot, Jordan Yamamoto and Lucchesi, this week, and the skipper had said that “it’s tough still right now for us to make that decision,” explaining that they would wait to just before Opening Day to make it public.

However, on Wednesday, the New York Mets optioned Yamamoto and fringe candidate Corey Oswalt to Triple-A Syracuse after the 3-0 loss to the Cardinals. In the process, they effectively penciled Lucchesi in as their fifth starter, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.

The Mets have their five pitchers for the rotation

The Mets do know, however, that injuries can strike at any time and the equation could potentially change again. However, for now, that appears to be the plan, as the team is set to enter the season with Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker, David Peterson and Lucchesi as their starting pitchers.

“I like how he (Lucchesi) controlled the running game [Monday]. He was changing speeds well. His fastball’s got the zip, something he didn’t have last year. … The pitch-type repertoire from Yamamoto is deeper. He’s got a lot of pitches on the menu — different than Lucchesi, who’s got only like three pitches. So they’re two different pitchers. Both strike-throwers. Both control the running game well. I think Lucchesi’s got more experience starting games,” Rojas said this week about the duo.

The former Marlins pitcher has a 1.08 ERA in Grapefruit League play, whereas Lucchesi, who came to the Mets in a three-team trade with the Padres and Pirates, has a 3.24 mark.