Strange reason why pitcher was ejected in DC

797290.jpg

Strange reason why pitcher was ejected in DC

From Comcast SportsNet
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Even without throwing a pitch, Tampa Bay's Joel Peralta left his mark on the game. The reliever was ejected in the Rays' 5-4 victory Tuesday night when Washington manager Davey Johnson asked the umpires to check Peralta's glove while the pitcher was warming up in the eighth inning. The check found "a significant amount of pine tar," according to crew chief Tim Tschida. The umpires carried the glove off the field and tossed Peralta. As the reliever walked off the field, he tipped his cap to the Nationals dugout. "Good for them," Peralta said. "They still lose the game." Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was clearly upset with the umpires on the field, and afterward he called Johnson "cowardly" for requesting the check of the reliever who pitched for the Nationals in 2010. "Insider trading, man. It's bush," Maddon said. "It's bogus. That's way too easy, right there." Peralta did not directly answer when asked if he intentionally added pine tar to the glove. "That's a glove that I use for batting practice every day," he said. "I'm every day playing catch with it, it's hot here -- that's all I'm going to say about it." Jake McGee filled in and pitched a perfect eighth for the Rays, and Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth inning for his 20th save. "If somebody has been known to use a foreign substance on their glove or their hat, a nice hot night is the time to use it, so I asked them to check and obviously he had it," Johnson said. "It was a rumor that he liked a little pine tar." Maddon didn't deny there was pine tar on Peralta's glove, but he termed it a "common practice." "Joel is using pine tar and had pine tar in his glove," Maddon said. "I'm saying to suggest he's the only one that's doing it is inappropriate." After Peralta's ejection, Tschida told Maddon he could request a check of one Nationals player in reponse. In the top of the ninth, Maddon asked the umpires to check Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus, but no foreign substance was found. The ejection took the spotlight from David Price (9-4), who bounced back from his worst start of the season. He gave up four runs on six hits, struck out four and walked one. His last time out against the Mets, Price gave up seven runs in five innings. "It was big for me," Price said. "It was good for our confidence and it was good for my confidence as well." The only real blemish on Price's night were a pair of home runs. Ian Desmond hit his career-best 11th in the third and Michael Morse hit his first homer of the season -- a two-run shot in the sixth. It wasn't enough for the Nationals, who lost their fourth in a row, one shy of their season-long slide. Washington starter Chien-Ming Wang (2-3) struggled from the start. He gave up singles to the game's first three batters, with the third by B.J. Upton scoring the Rays' first run. The Nationals tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Morse grounded to third with two outs, but Carlos Pena at first base couldn't handle the bounced throw from Will Ryhmes and Ryan Zimmerman scored on the error. Tampa Bay broke the game open with four runs in the third, kicked off by Pena's two-run homer to center. With two outs and two on Elliot Johnson nearly outdid Pena, missing a homer to the left-center gap by about a foot. Instead, he ended up with a two-run triple. Wang was pulled in the fourth inning after giving up five runs on seven hits. Reliever Ross Detwiler -- who opened the year as the Nationals' fifth starter -- came on and retired the first nine batters he faced before hitting Pena on the elbow in the seventh. That was the only baserunner Detwiler allowed in 3 2-3 innings, striking out three. Tampa Bay hung on to win for the third time in four games, but after the game Maddon was more concerned about a possible stain on Peralta's reputation, and he believed the ejection would cause players on other teams to change their practices. "I promise you one thing," Maddon said, "you're going to see brand-new gloves throughout the major leagues starting tomorrow, with pitchers on every major league ball club." NOTES: Rays OF Matt Joyce left the game in the fifth inning with back tightness. ... Tampa Bay will place RHP Jeremy Hellickson on the 15-day DL and recall RHP Chris Archer from Triple-A Durham to start his major league debut Wednesday. ... The Rays recalled OF Rich Thompson from Durham. ... Nationals RHPs Henry Rodriguez (right index finger) and Cole Kimball (right shoulder) started rehab assignments Tuesday. Rodriguez pitched for Triple-A Syracuse, and Kimball's assignment was with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate. ... The Nationals will make up their postponed June 1 rainout with the Braves as part of a day-night doubleheader on July 21.

Rookie class making much-needed impact from Bears

Rookie class making much-needed impact from Bears

Preseason games are about evaluations as well as fusing together the component parts of offense, defense and special teams. But for a handful of Bears, a little more is at stake, for the franchise itself, not just for themselves.

The foundation of any franchise ultimately is the draft, and the Bears are seeing at least preliminary impact from key members of this draft class, and not simply down in the lower third of the projected roster. Why that becomes particularly relevant this weekend is that preseason game No. 3 is when starters and key rotational players, and the top picks in this year’s draft are in fact already firmly ensconced in roles at the top of the depth charts.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Among the most significant:

No. 1 - OLB Leonard Floyd

The No. 9-overall pick has not dominated through two games but insiders told CSNChicago.com that Floyd has not only played the run very well, but also delivered impact pass rushes even if only netting him a half-sack on stat sheets. Floyd has played 68 of opponents’ 126 presesaon snaps already and is a critical part of the current edge rotation with Sam Acho, Lamarr Houston and Willie Young as well of the future Bears defenses.

Floyd has missed practice time with three separate issues but “we've been very, very pleased with his progress,” coach John Fox said, an extra “very” always being noteworthy.

No. 2 - LG Cody Whitehair

After a brief flirtation with him replacing injured Hroniss Grasu at center, Whitehair has resumed his upward-trending at left guard. He has been the starter there since the opening of training camp, given an opportunity with an injury to Ted Larsen, and Whitehair has never given the job up.

“He’s done well,” said quarterback Jay Cutler. “He’s a smart kid. He’s quiet, he kind of fits in with that group and he’s doing exactly what we ask him to do. He’s really talented. You can see some stuff he does, the way he passes things off, it comes natural to him.”

No. 3 - DE Jonathan Bullard

Bullard has been given significant playing time (71 of opponents’ 126 snaps) and has produced four tackles, one for loss, and a half sack. He is part of a rotation with Mitch Unrein primarily and has demonstrated starter-grade impact already. “Our expectations are big,” said Fox. “My experience has been, you don’t expect much, you don’t get much. I think he’s lived up to expectations so far.”

No. 4’s - S Deon Bush/CB Deiondre’ Hall

The Bears selected safety Deon Bush three picks ahead of Hall in the fourth round; Bush did play 44 snaps and make two solo tackles against New England but has been out with an injury this week. 

Hall tied for team high with five tackles vs. Denver, plus two pass breakups, and followed that with two tackles at New England as he took over when starter Jacoby Glenn went out with a concussion.

“[Hall] has improved,” Fox said. “When you bring in rookies you don’t really know. You get them out there, they play. He’s played a lot. He’s actually shown up pretty good. We’ll see where that takes us.”

No. 5 - RB Jordan Howard

Howard was given the ball 11 times during his 31 snaps at New England and netted 46 yards along with rave reviews from scouts. His workload may diminish against Kansas City with Ka’Deem Carey back from injury and Jeremy Langford and Jaquizz Rodgers doing heavy time with the No. 1 offense. But he has already made a strong impression.

“Howard, the rookie, has kind of followed along, picked it up as he goes,” Cutler said. “So with those four guys, you’ve got a lot of options.”

Safety DeAndre Houston-Carson (No. 6) and wideout Daniel Braverman (No. 7) have played but their main work will come next Thursday in the game four at Cleveland.

Fantasy Football: 2016 wide receiver sleepers and busts

Fantasy Football: 2016 wide receiver sleepers and busts

Throw the names Antonio Brown, Julio Jones and Odell Beckham Jr. all in a hat and pick one. It doesn't matter which name you pull out. They're all studs.

Anybody who plays fantasy football should know who the top wide receivers in the game are.

Check out that parity. Only one player that we disagree on.

Analyzing the top guys and telling you which one to draft isn't rocket science. That's why we're here to give you advice on who to target, which sleepers to keep an eye on and the busts for the 2016 season.

Top Targets

Eric Decker, NYJ: When will Decker get his due?? Dude's had his own TV show, has a celebrity wife, played with Peyton Manning and now plays in the biggest city in the U.S. and yet he's still an afterthought in fantasy. Decker has proven to be one of the most consistent players in the league over the last few seasons and there's no indication that will change anytime soon. He's had four straight years of at least 74 catches and 962 yards and scored double digit TDs in three of those four seasons. Last year, he scored 12 TDs in 12 different games, earning double digit fantasy points in nine of his final 10 games. For a guy that's going in the fifth round as the No. 24 WR, that's incredible value. — Tony Andracki

A.J Green, CIN: I know it's a little bit of a "Captain Obvious" moment to tell you that you should target Green, but I'm going to explain why anyway. Currently, Green has an ADP of 13, which has him falling out of the first round in many leagues. Outside of the "Big 3" Green is arguably the safest wide receiver to target in your draft and should be snatched up if he's available anywhere close to the end of the first or the start of the second round. Gone from the Bengals are wide receivers Marvin Jones and Muhamed Sanu, meaning the target burden is going to fall squarely on the shoulders of Green in 2016. He should easily blow his 2015 targets (132) out of the water with only Brandon LaFell, Tyler Eifert and the Jeremy Hill/Gio Bernard tandem as the only trusted targets for quarterback Andy Dalton. As a WR1, Green is an excellent piece to build your team around. — Scott Krinch

Sleepers

Donte Moncrief, IND: Moncrief is a sixth-round pick right now, but count on a higher return on your investment than that. The third-year wideout has a rather high floor considering he's not yet an established name and his ceiling could eclipse that of teammate TY Hilton. Moncrief has a great rapport with Andrew Luck, who should be happy, healthy and back to his dominant self in 2016. Everything here spells breakout this season. — TA

Kevin White, CHI: The wait is over. Bears fans and fantasy players alike are happy to finally see White return to full health. White, the 7th overall selection in 2015 who missed all of his rookie season with a stress fracture in his shin, has been drawing rave reviews throughout the preseason, being compared to Andre Johnson/Reggie Wayne by Bears' wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson. White heads into the 2016 season as the Bears' No. 2 wide receiver opposite Alshon Jeffery. Equipped with off the charts athleticism and speed for his 6-foot-3 frame, White is expected to play a significant role in the Bears offense. His 8th/9th round ADP puts him behind wideouts like DeVante Parker, Jordan Matthews and Torrey Smith, all players that may have a higher floor than White, but don't possess the type of ceiling that he does. If you want a high upside guy in the later rounds, White is your man. — SK

Busts

Allen Hurns, JAX: I hate to label Hurns as a bust heading into the 2016 season because I really like him as a player on the upstart Jaguars offense. However, the problem I have with Hurns is the fact that he's going off the board before the likes of Tyler Lockett, Sterling Shepard and Kevin White. The three aforementioned wide receivers all have massive ceilings next season, while Hurns will undoubtedly see a decline in last season's numbers. I can't see Hurns repeating his 2015 stretch where he went seven straight weeks with a receiving touchdown. Blake Bortles is going to spread the wealth between Allen Robinson, Rashad Greene, Marqise Lee and Hurns, in addition to having a full season of Julius Thomas. If you're expecting another big year from Hurns, temper your enthusiasm. There are too many targets to go around in Jacksonville. — SK

Sammy Watkins, BUF: This isn't about Watkins' talent level. He is one of the most physically gifted receivers in the NFL. But he's being drafted in the third round and I simply don't think he will provide that kind of value. From the No. 12 WR on the board, you'd expect him to be a guy you set and forget in your lineup every week and Watkins is not that. For starters, there is his injury history (he missed three full games last season and was limited for a few others) and he already has a foot issue this season. Then factor in the fact the Bills offense under Tyrod Taylor is not a passing offense and more about ball control and letting Taylor improve or use his legs. Watkins will have some big games, but he won't be consistent enough to warrant such an investment. — TA

Michigan-Michigan State rivalry moves to Twitter with play on Wolverine's slogan

sparty-0825.jpg

Michigan-Michigan State rivalry moves to Twitter with play on Wolverine's slogan

"Those who stay will be champions."

That's the familiar motto of Michigan football.

Well, consider that motto co-opted by the Wolverines' in-state rival.

Michigan State's director of college advancement and performance, Curtis Blackwell, tweeted out this image Thursday. Check out the slogan on the right.

Whoa!

Now, this is certainly nothing new, social-media flaps between the two programs. Jim Harbaugh makes a habit of going after people on Twitter, and Mark Dantonio has had his own veiled Twitter shots at Harbaugh & Co. in the past, too.

And, truthfully, Michigan State has reason to boast, as it's the program that's done the most winning in the Great Lakes State in recent seasons. Dantonio has led the Spartans to a trio of conference championships, in 2010, 2013 and 2015. In the past three seasons alone, the Spartans are 36-5 with two conference titles, wins in the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl and an appearance in the College Football Playoff.

Meanwhile, Michigan has won double-digit games in a single season just twice since 2006.

So while riffing on the Wolverines' motto raised a few eyebrows, the Spartans aren't wrong.