Mets rookie makes record-setting debut

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Mets rookie makes record-setting debut

From Comcast SportsNet

PHOENIX (AP) -- Matt Harvey gave the Mets a brilliant ray of hope Thursday night.

The heralded 24-year-old dazzled in his major league debut, holding Arizona to three hits and striking out 11 over 5 1-3 innings in New York's 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks.

"When I was warming up I looked around and kind of took everything in," Harvey said. "At that moment I really did believe that I was meant to pitch in the big leagues. It was everything I could have imagined. I just wanted to do everything I could to keep the team in a winning distance."

Harvey, the Mets' top pick in the 2010 draft, set a franchise record for strikeouts in a debut. He also doubled and singled to become the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out more than 10 and collect a pair of hits in his first game.

"If things don't work out as a pitcher he should become a hitter," said Miguel Montero, who had one of the Diamondbacks' three hits against the rookie.

Harvey allowed only Jason Kubel's soft single through the third base hole, vacated on an infield shift, a double to Montero on a changeup in the second and Aaron Hill's one out single in the third.

Harvey threw 106 pitches, 65 for strikes -- including his first two.

"He lived up to exactly what everybody has talked about him," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "Now I want him to go out the next time and be a little more comfortable yet pitch as effectively as he did today. He is a different cat."

Gerardo Parra, who reached base on a wild pitch after striking out, was the only Arizona hitter to reach third against Harvey.

While the Diamondbacks praised Harvey's poise, catcher Rob Johnson could see some adrenaline at work.

"I think he was pretty amped up," Johnson said. "The good thing about it was he was amped up down in the zone. It felt like he felt like he belonged here."

Scott Hairston hit a two-run double and Andres Torres tripled and scored for the Mets, who snapped a six-game losing streak.

New York, which is beginning an 11-game road trip, won for only the second time in 13 games since the All-Star break, narrowly avoiding the fate of the 1962 club that went 1-14 to start the second half.

"It's been a tough stretch," Hairston said. "Then to start a long road trip, it was good to get the win."

Bobby Parnell pitched around a pair of walks in the ninth for his third save.

Arizona starter Wade Miley (11-6), the third straight 2012 All-Star the Mets have faced, gave up three runs on nine hits in 5 1-3 innings, his shortest outing since going 3 2-3 innings on June 30.

"I was just pitching behind guys early," Miley said. "I was getting into 2-0, 2-1 counts -- fastball counts -- and they took advantage of it."

The Diamondbacks, who struck out 16 times and stranded 11 runners, have lost two straight after running off five wins in a row.

With Harvey keeping the Diamondbacks in check, the Mets looked like an entirely different club than they had been since the All-Star break.

Ruben Tejada led off the game with a single to center, went to third on Daniel Murphy's single to center and scored on Hairston's two-run double off the right field wall.

"It's a boost for everybody," Collins said. "But he's only going to pitch every five days. We need to do a lot more things to win games."

Torres made it 3-0 in the fourth when he tripled to center and scored on Johnson's sacrifice fly to center, barely sliding under a strong throw from Parra.

"You've got to try and minimize the damage and for the most part I was able to do that," Miley said.

Kubel scored the Diamondbacks' run in the eighth when he was walked by Jon Rauch, went to third on a double by Paul Goldschmidt and scored easily on Justin Upton's sacrifice fly.

Tim Byrdak came on for Rauch and, after hitting Montero with a pitch, struck out pinch-hitter Lyle Overbay with the tying runs on first and second.

NOTES: Harvey became the first Mets pitcher to get a pair of hits in his debut since David West on Sept. 24, 1988. Harvey is the 20th player from the 2010 draft to appear in a major league game, and joined Josh Edgin as the second Mets player from that draft to make his debut. ... Torres' triple snapped an 0-for-14 streak. . New York had allowed four or more runs in each of their past 13 games, the second-longest streak in franchise history. ... Montero has hit safely in 15 of his past 18 home games. ... Arizona CF Chris Young, who has hit .294 since the All-Star break to raise his average to .218, was given the night off in favor of the left-handed Parra. ... Before the game, the Mets recalled Johnson from Triple-A Buffalo to take the place of Mike Nickeas, who was optioned to Buffalo after Wednesday's loss. ... LHP Jonathan Niese will take the mound for the Mets on Friday against RHP Josh Collmenter. Niese gave up three earned runs in five innings in his only previous start at Chase Field.

Adam Eaton on clubhouse protests: 'You've got to stick up for yourself'

Adam Eaton on clubhouse protests: 'You've got to stick up for yourself'

Whether you agree with them or not, the White Sox have consistently shown a willingness to fight for their cause all season.

Twice last week, and in March with Adam LaRoche, White Sox players took a stand against management decisions they don’t agree with.

The more recent incident of course occurred Saturday and ultimately led to Chris Sale’s five-game suspension for insubordination and destruction of team property.

White Sox players also made headlines when they declined to tip the Seattle Mariners clubhouse attendant as a form of protest to a new team policy instituted that redirects 60 percent of those tips back to a club account to cover expenses such as postgame meals, etc. Traditionally, all money tipped by players has gone directly to clubhouse personnel without team involvement. Eaton said players merely are standing up for their beliefs.

“You’ve got to stick up for yourself,” Eaton said. “As clich√© as it might sound, it’s just power to the players. The players have a voice in this game and if you don’t feel like something is par for the course or up to standard, we definitely vocalize it. It’s not that we’re spoiled or anything like that.”

“It’s just the way things have been ran and how things have been, with the instance of Adam LaRoche, the kid coming into the clubhouse -- I thought we got a lot of support with all kinds of guys putting pictures up online of them and their kid being in the clubhouse. With the Seattle thing, the other 29 teams are doing it. Sale’s a little bit off the radar -- I kind of like it.

“We feel strongly about something we’ll do something about it.”

[SHOP: Get your White Sox gear right here]

White Sox players met with Seattle assistant general manager Jeff Kingston during the trip to talk about the policy in a story first reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Eaton said Monday that White Sox players have an envelope full of checks ready to hand over to Mariners visiting clubhouse manager Jeff Bopp when the situation is resolved. It’s not that they want to hurt Bopp, but they want the policy changed similar to how the San Francisco Giants quickly amended theirs last year. Eaton said the Cleveland Indians also tried to get around Seattle’s policy. He expects it will be an issue that is discussed in upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement talks.

“More or less we want to give the money to the people that are doing the work in the clubhouse,” Eaton said. “We don’t want the front office taking money from the guy that’s down there working until 1 o’clock in the morning cleaning our uniform and cleaning our spikes. We treat those guys with the utmost respect. They work their butts off. When we made a decision as a team not to pay, it was because we want that clubby to get the money he deserves. The front office, they’re not down there during the day, they’re not doing any work, and they’re receiving the funds. We don’t see that as a productive practice.”

How Joe Maddon plans to unleash Aroldis Chapman in Cubs bullpen

How Joe Maddon plans to unleash Aroldis Chapman in Cubs bullpen

When the Cubs traded for Aroldis Chapman, the dream end result would be the left-hander closing out the final game of the 2016 World Series.

While that is the most likely solution (if the Cubs get that far, of course), Joe Maddon wouldn't lock anything in right now.

The Cubs manager doesn't live by etching relief roles in stone, preferring to employ his best pitchers at the most opportune spots, whether that is in the ninth inning or not.

So with the most dominant closer in the game now in the fold, Maddon wasn't ready to just move the rest of the Cubs pitchers down an inning and leave it at that.

"I do things with leverage moments. It really opens up the sixth, seventh and the eighth [innings]," Maddon said while rattling off the options at his disposal including former Cubs closer Hector Rondon and top setup man Pedro Strop. "It's incredible. It's like a lineup. 

"You throw one more guy in the lineup and what it does with the rest of the group. Same thing happens with the bullpen. You put the anchor at the back side and then it really permits you to do other stuff."

Maddon is one of the top bullpen managers in the game and now has plenty of relief options to work with. 

Beyond Chapman, Rondon and Strop, there's also the emergency of young Carl Edwards Jr., Joe Nathan's comeback tour, new left-hander Mike Montgomery and then bullpen stalwarts Travis Wood and Justin Grimm.

Maddon admitted he stresses more about the Cubs bullpen each day than anything else, but that was prior to acquiring a guy who has saved 165 games over the last five seasons while posting a 1.91 ERA and ridiculous 15.7 strikeout per nine ratio.

[RELATED: Aroldis Chapman trade gives Cubs intimidating closer]

Plus, the emergence of another trustworthy option out of the bullpen alleviates the stress placed upon the rest of the relievers, keeping them fresh down the stretch.

"He's the kind of guy that permits you not to run other people down and then possibly the trickle down effect," Maddon said. "It's not a problem. It's a great situation to be in. 

"My perspective as the manager, being the steward of this group, I have to try to figure this out the best I can."

The Cubs have struggled to find consistency from their group of left-handed relievers all season, but the arrival of Chapman helps ensure there's an option Maddon feels comfortable with in October in case lefties like Bryce Harper come up in a big moment late in the game.

The Cubs also don't have to worry about facing Chapman in the postseason now, flipping the momentum to their side.

"Just think about it: You never want to see him coming into the game when the other team has the lead," Maddon said. "Now, all of a sudden, we have the edge on our side. It's kind of fun to have.

"What we're talking about here right now is theory. It all looks good on paper and I believe it's gonna work out. But you also have to go out there and perform on a daily basis.

"He's good. We're gonna put him in there in the right moments and hopefully it's gonna make everybody else running better. You never want to face him in the ninth inning."

Notre Dame unit preview: Tarean Folston, Josh Adams a strong 1-2 punch at RB

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Notre Dame unit preview: Tarean Folston, Josh Adams a strong 1-2 punch at RB

With the start of Notre Dame preseason camp approaching fast, we’re looking at what to expect from each unit that’ll take the field in primetime Sept. 4 against Texas at Darrell K. Royal Stadium. Today: The running backs. 

Depth Chart

1A. Tarean Folston (Redshirt junior)
1B. Josh Adams (Sophomore)
2. Dexter Williams (Sophomore)
3A. Deon McIntosh (Freshman)
3B. Tony Jones (Freshman)

In Adams and Folston, Notre Dame should have a dynamic 1-2 punch out of its backfield this fall. Adams broke Autry Denson’s freshman rushing record with 838 yards last year. The lightly-recruited Pennsylvania native showed excellent speed, vision and running back instincts — the latter of which were even more apparent in comparison to those of greenhorn back C.J. Prosise, who nonetheless rushed for over 1,000 yards last year. 

Folston suffered a torn ACL on his third carry of the season against Texas, which robbed him on a chance to build on his 889-yard sophomore season. He developed into a well-rounded running back in 2014, answering Brian Kelly’s challenge to improve his pass protection skills and catching 18 passes out of the backfield that year. 

While Adams and Folston are clearly atop the depth chart, Williams impressed coaches during the spring not so much for his burst and agility, but for his ability to grind out an extra yard or two after contact in the trenches. Kelly said Williams could be utilized as a short-yardage back this fall, though the former four-star recruit should have a few opportunities to showcase his explosive playmaking skills, too. 

Biggest question: Can Tarean Folston improve off 2013 and 2014?

Folston was the first offensive player to go down with a serious injury last year (defensive lineman Jarron Jones and defensive back Shaun Crawford both were hurt during preseason camp) and only had three carries for 19 yards. It wasn’t in the least bit the kind of season Folston hoped for.

The Cocoa, Fla. native thought a big 2015 season could vault him into NFL Draft consideration following his junior season. After putting together solid freshman and sophomore campaigns, Folston’s hope was to cement himself as Notre Dame’s feature running back and be a big part of a successful offense. 

Those efforts were delayed a year when Folston blew up his knee trying to bounce outside against Texas. The fact that Folston even participated in spring practice — even though he wore a non-contact jersey during March and April — was a positive sign, and Notre Dame expects him to be 100 percent for the start of preseason camp. If Folston can finally build off his first two seasons, it’ll provide a nice boost to the Irish offense, even if it’s a year behind schedule. 

Youthful impact

Jones and McIntosh were both rated as three-star recruits by Rivals coming from Bradenton and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., respectively. Ideally, Notre Dame won’t have to force either into action with three players ahead of them on the depth chart, but given the attrition that happened at this position last year, Jones and McIntosh aren’t guaranteed to redshirt this fall. 

The most important thing either player can do to get on the field quickly is pick up Notre Dame’s pass protection responsibilities. That’s a big part of why Adams, not the more highly touted Williams, played as a freshman in 2015. 

They said it

“Just going into practice with that appreciation — not saying I never had it, but you know, day in and day out knowing that I’m getting the opportunity to do what I love and not sitting at a table rehabbing just watching or on the sideline, freezing, just watching.” — Tarean Folston on returning to practice during the spring