Yankees could have their best reliever back by next week

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

As of Wednesday morning, the New York Yankees are still out of the playoffs. They are half a game behind the Toronto Blue Jays for the second Wild Card spot and two games behind the Red Sox for the first berth.

And while the Yankees have certainly suffered the injury bug all season long, they have been slowly recovering soldiers for the battle. Starters Corey Kluber and Clarke Schmidt recently came back after long-term absences, while Luis Severino made his first appearance since 2019 on Tuesday.

Pitcher Domingo German will return this week, too. The Yankees, however, need their best and most reliable reliever if they are going to mount a serious charge at one of the two Wild Card spots.

Jonathan Loaisiga, who went down with a rotator cuff injury on September 3, took a step forward by stretching his throwing program to 120 feet on Tuesday. The Yankees are now confident he will be able to return next week.

The Yankees could really use Loaisiga

The next step would be throwing a bullpen session, which could come on Friday.

“I’m very encouraged,” Boone said to NJ Advance Media before the Yankees-Texas Rangers’ game at Yankee Stadium. “I watched most of his catch play (Tuesday) and I thought he looked really good. It doesn’t look like he’s favoring anything. There’s life on it without a lot of effort. It’s just catch play at 120 feet, but the first thing I noticed when I saw him throwing was, ‘Wow, that looks free and easy’, which is encouraging to see.”

Loaisiga has carried the Yankees’ bullpen throughout the whole season, with a 9-4 record and a 2.25 ERA in 54 outings.

After he throws his bullpen on Friday, the Yankees will evaluate the next steps for him. He could throw another bullpen or face hitters in a sim game.

“We’ll see,” Boone said. “That’s something that we’ll kind of watch as we go. Obviously, the trainers will have a big role in that in deciding how many of those he needs, how sharp they are, how he’s recovering from those. Because he wasn’t down very long, he probably in theory shouldn’t need too much (rehabbing), but hopefully he passes those and we do get him back before the regular season ends.”

UFC books Matt Brown – Bryan Barberena

Two of the most entertaining welterweights in the UFC have a date. MMA DNA was the first to report yesterday that the UFC has finalized a welterweight contest between “The Immortal” Matt Brown (23-18) and Bryan Barberena (15-8).

The matchup will take place at a UFC event on December 4th. Despite being one of the more entertaining fighters to watch, the road has been a bit bumpy for Bryan Barberena over the last few years.

Barberena made his UFC debut back in 2014 when he shocked everyone by stopping Joe Ellenberger in the third round of their fight. However, it was his fight with Sage Northcutt that made him well-known.

Northcutt had all the hype in the world and Barberena completely shut it down submitting Northcutt in the second round. However, since that win, Barberena has gone 4-5 in his last nine UFC fights.

Granted three of those losses came against Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, and Vicente Luque. He’s been in there with some of the very best in the world so he’s tested and he will be ready for this fight with Matt Brown.

Another UFC round for Matt Brown

For 40 year old Matt Brown, the train keeps on moving inside the octagon. Brown will be making the walk for the 29th time in his UFC career. We were all first introduced to Matt Brown back in 2008 when he was on the Ultimate Fighter.

Entering the UFC, Brown was just 7-6 as a profession. However, once he was with the biggest promotion in the world, his career really took off. While he had some bumps in the road, Brown always fought to entertain the fans and in 2012, he went on the run of his career.

Starting with a win over Chris Cope, Brown went on a stretch that saw him win seven straight fights. Those wins put him at 18-11 and in a title eliminator against Robbie Lawler. Ultimately, Brown came up short, but it was still one of the more impressive runs you’ll see from a guy like Matt Brown.

With his back up against the wall, Brown knocked out Dhiego Lima back in June to show everyone he still has fight left in the tank and I can assure you, he will bring the fight to Bryan Barberena in December.

Yankees News: Great injury news for Luis Severino, the only option is to keep winning

yankees, luis severino

The New York Yankees have been patiently waiting for the return of Luis Severino for over a year now. After pitching just 12 innings back in 2019, Severino underwent Tommy John surgery again, then picking up a groin injury which set back his return even further this season.

Severino is three years removed from showcasing potential ace-level talent. Back in 2017, he posted a 2.98 ERA with 10.7 strikeouts per nine and a 50.6% ground ball rate. Following that season, he had another terrific campaign, posting a 3.39 ERA and recording 19 wins, a career-high. However, the Yankees don’t plan to force Severino into a starting role just yet, allowing him to adapt and ease his way into MLB play in his first few games of the year.

“That was special for me,” Severino said. “It was really frustrating for a little bit.”

Having not been able to make a serious impact since 2018, the journey has been long and winding for the 27-year-old. Severino is currently on a four-year, $40 million contract with a club option in 2023, and earning $10 million per season certainly justifies some expectations.

Skipper Aaron Boone expressed his excitement about Severino re-joining the team.

“Proud moment for him, for his teammates and for all of us,” Boone said. “Worked his tail off to get to this moment.”

The veteran starter lasted 2.0 innings to close out the win against Texas on Tuesday, allowing two hits and striking out two batters. Overall, he got about 30 pitches of work in, a solid amount that will get him acclimated.

“He’s a big part of this organization, a big part of this team,” Judge said. “We’re gonna need him down the stretch, I know that.”

With the Wild Card boiling down to three teams, including the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays, the Bombers will need all of their top players to get the job done. Ultimately, they must continue to win games, as Boston overcame the New York Mets on Tuesday and Toronto beat Tampa Bay. At this point in the season, the Yankees need Tampa Bay to beat the Blue Jays and the Mets to steal a game against Boston.

Currently, the Blue Jays have a slim 0.5 game lead over the Yankees in the WC; An upcoming series against Toronto starting on September 28 will likely be the Yankees’ best chance at making the post-season. They will also face off against Boston in a three-game series starting September 24 after the final game against Texas on Wednesday evening.

New York Yankee Profiles: Luis Severino, his triumphant return

This morning, I was thinking about the New York Yankees‘ pitching situation and what impact returning pitchers could have on the remaining 10 games of the season. Those being Luis Severino and Domingo German. German is due back before the weekend and Severino has already made his return.

Last night was the joyous return of 2018 ace Luis Severino. Severino was 14-6 during the 2017 season and 19-8 in 2018 making him the Yankees best pitcher in those seasons. Then came 2019, the righty pitched in only 3 games before requiring Tommy John surgery. So with the shortened 2020 season, he was expected not to pitch. However, most thought he was to be back to pitch sometime before the All-Star break this year. But that was not to be as he was beset by setbacks.

Last night he made his triumphant return to the Yankees. After being activated on Monday, he appeared in this first game yesterday after not pitching in a major league game for over 700 days. He saved the Yankee bullpen by pitching the final two innings of the game. He allowed two hits, no walks while striking out two. He looked great in his 2021 debut outing and was showered with applause from the Yankees faithful in the stands.

Although he is not stretched out, he could play a pivotal role out of the bullpen for a spot opening role in the remaining games and in the postseason should the Yankees participate.

With him not pitching in nearly two years, it’s time for Yankee fans to reexamine how Severino got to this point in his career. Luis Severino was born on February 20, 1994, in Sabana de la Mar, Dominican Republic. As a boy, he played baseball in the sand fields of the Republic, he played most infield positions, but as he aged, he preferred pitching. He loved baseball and grew up idolizing fellow Dominican and former New York Yankees player Robinson Cano. He hoped to play professionally and hoped to someday throw for the New York Yankees, his favorite childhood team.

Yankee scouts in the Dominican Republic took notice of Severino and invited him to the Yankee training academy.  The Yankee Academy is a state-of-the-art training facility in Boca Chica, the Dominican Republic. When he was just seventeen, the Yankees signed him as an international free agent. He was offered a signing bonus of $225k, which the Colorado Rockies matched, but Severino wanted to pitch for his childhood favorite Yankees. When he was scouted, he could throw a fastball in the low 90’s. He made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League for the Yankees, where he went 4-2 with an ERA of 1.68 in fourteen games. He stayed in the Dominican League until 2013 when the Yankees promoted him to the Charleston River Dogs. During his time with the Dogs, Severino gained strength and increased his fastball to the high nineties; he finished his first season with the River Dogs going again 4-2, this time in ten games with an ERA of 2.45.

Severino again started the 2014 season with the River Dogs but was quickly promoted to the Tampa A team. The same year he was selected to play in the All-Star Futures Game. Severino was propelling his way up the Yankee organization and was sent to the Trenton Thunder. Between the three teams, he went 6-5 with an ERA of 2.45 and with 127 strikeouts in 24 games. He started the 2015 season with Trenton but was again promoted to Scranton Wilkes/Barre. Before leaving Trenton, he was 2-2 across eight games. Severino went 7-0 with an ERA of 1.68 for the Rail Riders.

In 2015 due to Michael Pineda’s injury, Sevy was called up in August to pitch in his first major league game against the Red Sox; he pitched five innings allowing two hits and one earned run with seven strikeouts. At the time, he was the youngest starting pitcher in the major leagues at age 21. He ended his rookie season having started 11 games, pitching 63 innings with a 5–3 record, 2.89 ERA, and 56 strikeouts. 2016 was a rough year for Sevy; he had injuries and was optioned back to the Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Riders.  Later being called back up but only as a reliever. In 2017 he started the season back in the rotation.

Sevy impressed big time as he went a season-high in innings pitched and achieved a record of 14-6 with an ERA of 2.98. He tied CC Sabathia for most strikeouts in a season by a Yankee pitcher. He was chosen to start the All-Star game but was removed after giving up three runs. He ended the season being voted 3rd in the Cy Young voting.

In the first half of the 2018 season, he recorded 14 wins before the All-Star Game, the first Pitcher to that since 1969, when Mel Stottlemyre did it. He was again selected to pitch in the All-Star game. Severino started the AL Wild Card game against the Oakland Athletics in a game the Yankees won 7-2. Severino finished the season 19-8 with an ERA of 3.39. He led all major league pitchers with an average fastball velocity of 97.6 miles per hour for the second consecutive year. At the end of the season, Severino signed a $40 million contract for four years with a Yankee option for a fifth year.

In Luis Severino’s short career, he earned Pitcher of the Week in the Florida League for the week of June 30. He was a AAA All-Star in 2015 for the Scranton Wilkes/Barre Rail Riders and an AL All-Star in 2017 and 2018. In 2018 he also won the most games for a 24-year-old pitcher in Yankee history. Sevy also holds the Yankee record for the most strikeouts per nine innings on average.

During spring training in Tampa in 2019, he suffered a rotator cuff inflammation and then suffered a strained lat muscle during his initial rehab. After much delay, he pitched in several simulated and minor league games.  On September 17, after missing most of the entire season, he felt good and started his first game of the year against the Los Angeles Angels.  In his first outing, he pitched well, going four innings in the Yankees 8-0 victory over the Angels.  On September 22, he had another win against the Toronto Blue Jays, followed by a loss to the Rangers for a regular-season ERA of 1.50.  While still being stretched out, he pitched two games in the postseason with an ERA of 2.16.

When the 2019/2020 postseason turned into spring training, Severino reported early to begin his workouts.  As the first week of training started, Severino was glad to be ready for a comeback season and feel healthy.  As he tossed fastballs and sliders, he felt good but noticed that he was developing soreness in his elbow and forearm when throwing the changeup.  As it continued to bother him, Manager Aaron Boone shut him down.  Severino spoke about the problem:

“I just want to play baseball. I just want to pitch,” Severino said. “I’ve been doing all the things that they want me to do in the offseason to come here healthy. I was pretty good, I was feeling healthy until yesterday. I was watching TV and I was starting to stand up, I was doing something that wasn’t right. Something happens, you have to just deal with it.”

Severino underwent tests in Tampa with Yankee team Doctor Chris Ahmad.  The tests could not determine the cause of the soreness.  The physician ruled out an elbow or shoulder injury.  It was thought that there might be a muscle or nerve injury that would require more intensive tests.  The Yankees shipped him back to New York City, where he went through a battery of tests with Dr. Ahman at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on Monday.  After the Yankees acquired one of the best pitchers in baseball, Gerrit Cole counted on a healthy #2 ace in Severino in the offseason.  Now with this problem, his season could be in doubt again, at least at the start.

After postseason MRIs and CAT scans showed no problems with his arm, Severino was hopeful that he would be pitching during spring training.  Upon learning he would have to leave camp and go back to New York, Severino said:

 

 

“It’s definitely frustrating to hear this stuff again,” Severino said. “We’re dealing with it. We’re seeing what we can do to get me healthy. I think we have the right people here to figure out what is the issue and fix it.”

As we all know, it turned out that Severino had to have Tommy John surgery making him miss the entire 2020 shortened season and the postseason. The New York Yankees sorely missed not having Severino in the rotation during the season, and his absence from the postseason may very well have cost them a trip to the World Series.

General Manager Brian Cashman gave an update on his recovery. He said Severino was in approximately week six of his throwing program and had progressed to about 90 feet at the team’s facility in Tampa. Cashman said Severino’s rehab Is “going well.” Cashman said Tommy John rehabs are “anywhere between 14 to 15 months sometimes. So, I’ve got to give myself and therefore our fans a few safety rails in terms of the expectation of when would be the appropriate time to expect him to be reintroduced to the major-league club.” Most scouts believe he will return to the Yankees in June, but no later than July, giving the Yankees new hope for a successful 2021 season.

Now we get back to question two: How successful will he be upon his return? That is a question that can only be answered when he returns and has a few games under his belt. In addition to him returning for form, the Yankees have to be cautious with him because of his multiple arm issues. But the reality is that anything he can do will be a bonus to the Yankees with such a questionable starting rotation. If healthy and can return to form, he can be one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Here are his career stats: 3.46 career ERA (125 ERA+) -3.35 career FIP -10 Ks Per 9 Innings -Strikeout to walk ratio of ≈ 4:1 -1.09 WHIP since 2017. If the New York Yankees can get close to that from Severino, they will be happy campers. But like so many things with the Yankees, this is to wait and see as well. Severino seems healthy and happy, posting several recent photos of himself with his daughter, even teaching her a golf swing on Twitter.

If last night was any indication Severino could be impactful in the last 10 days and if they get to postseason play. He looked good but make no mistake he will not be pitching more than a few innings if it is in relief or in a spot-opening situation. One thing is for sure, his return is one of the best things that have happened for the Yankees this season.

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

New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from Yankees series win over the Rangers

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

The New York Yankees entered last night’s game with the Rangers with the same urgency that they did in game one, knowing that a wild-card berth was on the line in that race that both the Red Sox and Toronto presently own. The Yankees had only 11 games to get back into it. The Yankees came away with their second win over the Rangers 7-1.

Montgomery gets the job done

Yankee pitcher Jordan Montgomery did a fine job last night holding down the Texas Rangers. “Monty” had all his pitches working. Montgomery pitched into the sixth inning, allowing 4 hits and one earned run while striking out six Rangers with only one walk. Montgomery got the win in the 7-1 game.

Yankees reliever Michael King retired cleanup batter Adolis Garcia with a runner on second to hold the Rangers at 3-1 in the sixth and then struck out all three batters in the seventh looking.

The home run is king again

Last week in a game against the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees hit five home runs in the same game. Brett Gardner homered. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton hit homers. However, Joey Gallo topped them by hitting two long balls. Last night Gallo again was among three Yankees to hit homers in the 7-1 win over the Texas Rangers. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge also hit homers in the game. When Stanton and Judge homer in the same game the Yankees are 15-1.

In the past two weeks, the New York Yankees have hit 33 home runs in 14 games. That’s 2.4 home runs per game. It is often said when the Yankees hit home runs, they win games. Seven of those home runs are from one player, Joey Gallo. If the Yankee power-hitting continues it bodes well for a wild card berth.

The Return of a superstar

Last night was the joyous return of 2018 ace Luis Severino. Severino was 14-6 during the 2017 season and 19-8 in 2018 making him the Yankees best pitcher in those seasons. Then came 2019, the righty pitched in only 3 games before requiring Tommy John surgery. So with the shortened 2020 season, he was expected not to pitch. However, most thought he was to be back to pitch sometime before the All-Star break this year. But that was not to be as he was beset by setbacks.

Last night he made his triumphant return to the Yankees. After being activated on Monday, he appeared in this first game yesterday after not pitching in a major league game for over 700 days. He saved the Yankee bullpen by pitching the final two innings of the game. He allowed two hits, no walks while striking out two. He looked great in his 2021 debut outing and was showered with applause from the Yankees faithful in the stands.

Although he is not stretched out, he could play a pivotal role out of the bullpen for a spot opening role in the remaining games and in the postseason should the Yankees participate.

Who Ya Got Wednesday: New York Jets at Denver Broncos

After a painful home opener, the New York Jets head out west to battle the undefeated Denver Broncos at Mile High.

  • What: New York Jets (0-2) at Denver Broncos (2-0)
  • Where: Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, CO
  • When: Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET
  • Watch: CBS
Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Magliocchetti

By conventional football wisdom, everything about the Jets’ visit to the Rocky Mountains screams “trap game” for their equine hosts.

They’re 2-0 after taking advantage of the collectively winless Giants and Jaguars. Brief Jet Teddy Bridgewater (120.7 passer rating) has been a godsend at quarterback after two years of Drew Lock limbo. Von Miller (three sacks) is back in action at the helm of a resurgent defense. Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams have united for 241 yards on the ground. Surely, the other shoe’s about to drop for the Broncos, partial owners of the second-longest playoff drought behind the Jets, no?

Alas for New York, there’s little to suggest that they’re ready to take advantage of such a situation. The Jets need to think about revisiting the end zone before they worry about getting back in the win column. There’s plenty to be inspired by in the early going: the makeshift defense has held its own and the run game gained traction through Michael Carter and Ty Johnson. But the lingering offensive issues…namely the sputtering protection and Zach Wilson’s rookie growing pains…mean that a win is a little too much to ask for at this point.

The Broncos’ upcoming schedule suggests we’ll soon find out whether they can be counted amongst the legitimate contenders: Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, and Cleveland loom large after the Jets’ visit. They’ve done a good job of capitalizing against opponents trying to find themselves. Expect that trend to continue on Sunday.

Broncos 24, Jets 13

C.J. Mosley, New York Jets
(Photo: USA Today)

Dylan Price

The Jets head to Mile High hoping they can benefit from some Mile High magic. This past week saw the Jets string together a great performance everywhere except on offense. The defense looked great, the secondary had itself a day, C.J. Mosley and John Franklin-Myers put on shows and overall proved they can hold their own.

But the offense was stagnant and Zach Wilson had a terrible performance. The unit needs to step up, and they have a hard task at hand: the Denver defense is legit, and they are going to be a tough test.

The fan in me hopes the Jets take a step forward and pull off a win, or, at the very least, perform better. But the analyst in me says the Jets have a tough task ahead. I think the Broncos win in a tight game, and Wilson performs better, but not good enough to get the win.

Broncos 17, Jets 14

Magliocchetti Price
Carolina @ Houston (Thu.) Panthers Panthers
Arizona @ Jacksonville Cardinals Cardinals
Atlanta @ NY Giants Giants Falcons
Baltimore @ Detroit Ravens Ravens
Chicago @ Cleveland Browns Browns
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh Steelers Steelers
Indianapolis @ Tennessee Titans Titans
LA Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs Chiefs
New Orleans @ New England Patriots Patriots
Washington @ Buffalo Bills Bills
Miami @ Las Vegas Raiders Raiders
Seattle @ Minnesota Seahawks Seahawks
Tampa Bay @ LA Rams Buccaneers Buccaneers
Green Bay @ San Francisco 49ers Packers
Philadelphia @ Dallas (Mon.) Cowboys Cowboys
Last Week 13-3 10-6
Overall 20-12 16-16

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

Knicks: ESPN’s NBArank disrespects RJ Barrett after big sophomore season

new york knicks, nyk, rj barrett

New York Knicks shooting guard RJ Barrett is criminally underrated in the basketball community, routinely being left off top-100 lists and rankings. In the latest offense, Barrett was left off ESPN’s NBArank, with several rookies getting the nod ahead of him, which is rather unexplainable.

Oddly, ESPN ranks Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green, two rookies, ahead of RJ Barrett, who established himself as a productive offensive scorer and adequate defender during the 2020-21 season.

Cunningham ranked 76th, ahead of players like Caris Levert and Knicks’ point guard Derrick Rose. Green ranks 96th with the expectation he will lead all rookies in scoring, which is all hearsay until he actually accomplishes that feat.

Realistically, unless you’re a generational talent like Zion Williams or LeBron James, any rookie making the top-100 list is spotty.

Looking at Barrett’s production from his sophomore season, he saw massive increases in several categories, including field-goal percentage, three-point shooting, and free-throw percentage. He enjoyed a slight increase in total rebounds and turned the ball over less.

He finished the campaign averaging 34.9 minutes per game, playing in all 72 games. He tallied 17.6 points, 3.0 assists, 5.8 rebounds, and shot 44% from the field. Barrett saw his three-point percentage increase 8% to 40% last year compared to his rookie season. With an effective field-goal percentage of nearly 50%, it is ludicrous he was left off a list that features multiple rookies who haven’t accomplished anything as a professional level yet.

The Knicks haven’t seen the best of RJ Barrett:

Heading into just his third year, Barrett still has three years left on his contract, including a qualifying offer for the 2023-24 season. The team has plenty of time to continue helping him develop, and with the additions of multiple scorers and facilitators, it will take a tremendous amount of pressure off him to force shots.

However, RJ paired nicely with Julius Randle last season, seeing a few advanced statistics increase with more minutes. The best part about RJ is his ability to finish in the paint using strength and elusiveness while also featuring as a spot shooter in the corner. Only 2.4% of his shots from three were unassisted, indicating that he found space and allowed his teammates to find him open. Nearly 30% of his total point production came from beyond the arc, while 54.3% of his points came from the paint and 7.0% from mid-range. He was able to create a lot of opportunities for himself, converting 64.7% of his two-point field goals unassisted.

Seeing clear advancements on offense and remaining aggressive on defense, it is crazy to think Barrett is considered more inferior than two players who’ve never enjoyed a single minute in the NBA. Hopefully, Barrett uses this as fuel for his growth and progression moving forward.

The New York Giants are making a smart move with Matt Peart plans

New York Giants, Matt Peart

Going into the off-season, the New York Giants assumed that second-year offensive tackle Matt Peart would give veteran Nate Solder a run for his money at right tackle. After Solder opted out for the 2020 season due to COVID-19, Peart displayed signs of growth and adequacy as a rookie, but he lost out badly during the position battle for the starting job this pre-season.

In fact, Peart has only played 19 snaps this year, all of them coming in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos. He allowed one QB hit and a pressure during that time, quickly being supplemented for Solder as the Giants ended the competition and gave the more experienced option the job.

However, the Giants aren’t giving up on the Connecticut product just yet, as they’re making a proactive decision to cross-train him at guard. This is a decision the former coaching staff failed to make with Ereck Flowers, forcing him to play left tackle despite significant issues. Peart, who stands at 6’7″ and over 300-pounds, would be a huge body in the interior. With superior athleticism, if he can develop his fundamentals, he could end up being an adequate option, which would be a definitive change in strategy.

Head coach Joe Judge indicated as much as Peart begins to earn reps with the second-team during practice at guard.

“We’re going to rotate Matt on through the tackle position,” Judge said. “We’ll kind of take a look at him maybe playing some stuff inside as we get going right here. We’ll kind of work around through practice these next few days and kind of see where things shake out.

I wouldn’t expect to see Peart starting at LG anytime soon, as the Giants have been Bredeson, for who they traded a fourth-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens. While he’s shown flashes in run-blocking, his pass-protection has been spotty at best. He has allowed five hurries and five pressures over 100 snaps this year. The Giants started Center Nick Gates at left guard against Washington before he suffered a gruesome lower leg injury, forcing Bredeson into the starting spot.

Taking a more progressive approach toward Peart is a great move by the coaching staff and one that will hopefully pan out in the future. The Giants might try to sprinkle him in to get his feet wet against the Falcons, but unless something serious happens to Bredeson, I expect him to remain the starter moving forward.

Defenseman Nils Lundkvist is ready to begin his first training camp with the Rangers

The New York Rangers begin training camp on Wednesday, and all eyes will be on defenseman Nils Lundkvist. Is a roster spot his to lose?

The day has finally arrived. New York Rangers hockey has returned with players reporting to training camp for physicals on Wednesday.

With a few roster spots available, the competition to make the lineup on opening night is sure to be intense. On the blue line, the club is looking for a third-pair combination.

It appears that Lundkvist has secured a place on the roster, and it’s his to lose once practice begins on Thursday.

First Round Pick

Lundkvist was the Rangers’ first-round pick (28th overall) in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

General Manager and President Chris Drury gleamed with confidence when he spoke of Lundkvist before the development camp began two weeks ago.

“We’re having exhibition games, we’re having a tryout, and it wouldn’t surprise me if at the end of it he’s standing there on our team,” Rangers general manager Chris Drury said to Dan Rosen of NHL.com. “We’re certainly excited.”

The Pitea, Sweden, native played in the Lulea organization in Sweden. He set career highs in goals (14) and points (32) in 2021 as he won the Salming Trophy awarded to the top Sweden-born defenseman in the SHL.

Lundkvist was considering North America last year but decided another year in the SHL would be better for him and his development.

“It’s a big step just coming here and move overseas too,” Lundkvist said this month at Rangers development camp. “With the COVID situation last year, I think it was a good decision to play back home again.”

In A Good Place

Rangers director of player development Jed Ortmeyer likes what he has seen so far of Lundkvist. He sees some comparisons to last years Norris Trophy winner and Rangers teammate Adam Fox,

“He reads the play well. He knows when to jump in offensively. He’s got a heavy shot and an accurate shot. He scored a lot of goals for his team in Sweden from the point. He can generate offense for his team but he can also play against other team’s top lines and shut them down. I think the overall game that Adam Fox has, the way he thinks, there could be some similarities there for sure, but we’ll see when the puck drops.”

The organization has been successful with the last two rookie defensemen to get a full-time spot with the team. Two years ago Adam Fox took center stage, and last season K’Andre Miller shined bright under the Broadway lights.

Can the Rangers score a hat trick with Lundkvist? Sunday’s first preseason game could indicate how things will play out for the young player.

New York Jets make defensive roster moves

New York Jets

The New York Jets locked linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips onto their active roster and bid farewell to a substitute safety.

The New York Jets announced a series of roster moves on Tuesday, transactions headlined by further adjustments to the defense. New York (0-2) added linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips to its active roster and waived safety Sheldrick Redwine. Offensive lineman Isaiah Williams took over Phillips’ spot on the practice squad. 

Phillips was a practice squad promotee in each of the Jets’ first two games and has filled in for the injured Jarrad Davis and Blake Cashman. He tallied a game-best 11 tackles in the opening weekend tilt in Carolina, his regular season debut in green. The Illinois alum previously worked with current Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich as an undrafted rookie in Atlanta and appeared in two games with the Buffalo Bills last season.

Redwine was part of the Cleveland Browns’ final summer cuts and was scooped up by the Jets shortly after. The Miami alum took over at safety after the season-ending injury to Lamarcus Joyner but was overshadowed by another practice squad arrival and former Hurrican, Adrian Colbert. Redwine had six tackles over two games and was mostly relegated to special teams during last Sunday’s home opener against New England.

Williams has lingered in the systems of several squads since entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of Akron in 2016. He was on the active roster for Sunday’s Week 2 contest but did not appear in any snaps and was waived shortly after.

The Jets return to action on Sunday afternoon on the road against the Denver Broncos (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags