The Latest: Nats say 1 person tests positive, no players

first_imgThe World Anti-Doping Agency barred Russia from the Olympics for four years after ruling last year that doping data from a Moscow laboratory had been manipulated. The Court of Arbitration for Sport is to rule on whether the ban is valid but hearings have been delayed because of the health crisis.Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin says the virus outbreak means the parties in the legal proceedings should avoid a ruling against Russia because it would fracture the Olympic movement.He adds that “when you see that everyone is isolated and everyone is at home … people understand that now there are priorities and there are issues which go on the backburner. The priority is the future of the Olympic movement.”Matytsin says sanctioning Russia would damage the Olympic movement and says the country is prepared to host more international sports events once the virus outbreak recedes.___ April 10, 2020 Portugal has been under a state of emergency for three weeks. People are confined to their homes, but they can leave to exercize individually. The country has more than 15,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 435 deaths. ___Basketball’s Sabrina Ionescu, soccer’s Carli Lloyd and swimming’s Katie Ledecky are among the athletes who will help young girls and women stay mentally and physically fit during the coronavirus pandemic.The Women’s Sports Foundation and Yahoo Sports are launching #WeKeepPlaying, a live-stream event on Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT. They’ll join tennis great Billie Jean King and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in taking questions from young athletes and providing tips on resilience and training.King says it’s about “bringing together our community of prominent women athletes and leaders to empower, support and inspire young girls — and each other -– during this unprecedented time.” Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says one team employee — not a player — tested positive for the coronavirus and is “on the road to getting better.” The FFT says practical arrangements for the allocation still need to be discussed.The ATP and WTA announced this month that the men’s and women’s professional tours would be suspended until at least July 13. Wimbledon has been canceled because of the deadly virus while the start of the French Open has been postponed from late May to late September.___Florida State offensive lineman Andrew Boselli says he had the coronavirus and detailed some of what his famous father went through in his own fight against COVID-19.The son of former NFL lineman Tony Boselli says in a first-person account he wrote for Florida State’s athletic department website that he dealt with the worst of the virus for about three days. Sports broadcaster Cari Champion will moderate the hour discussion, streamed on YahooSports.com.___On what would have been the final day of the Masters, ESPN will show some masterful spellers.The network says it will broadcast a seven-hour marathon of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Sunday.This year’s spelling bee has been postponed indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic. It had been scheduled for late May at its usual location, a convention center outside Washington. Scripps hopes to reschedule the bee at an undetermined time this year. ESPN has televised the bee since 1994. On Sunday, it will first show the 1997 bee, which was memorably won by Rebecca Sealfon of Brooklyn, New York. Sealfon’s excitement when she was given her winning word of “euonym” — a name well suited to the person, place or thing named — became a classic spelling bee moment when she yelled out each letter.ESPN will also show the 2004 bee won by David Tidmarsh of South Bend, Indiana, and the 2008 bee won by Sameer Mishra of Lafayette, Indiana. ___ The French tennis federation has set up a support plan worth 35 million euros ($38 million) to help professional players facing financial problems because of the coronavirus pandemic.The FFT says it has approved the scheme that will also benefit clubs, coaches, instructors, officials and tournament organizers affected by the health crisis. ___Portuguese officials have defended Cristiano Ronaldo after he left home and was seen training with other people at a soccer pitch amid a national lockdown to stem the coronavirus outbreak.The incident occurred on the island of Madeira, his birthplace. He was observed shooting a ball at a goal with someone playing goalkeeper, along with two other people. They all appeared to be several meters apart.“Cristiano did solely a few minutes of exercize and from that comes no harm to the world,” regional health authority Carlos Ramos said.“All citizens can go out and do some physical exercize as long as they do not gather in big groups and keep their distance from other people they may encounter while exercizing,” Ramos said. “So I think that Cristiano did only what we have seen.”center_img The Central Asian nation will become part of a small group of countries around the world where professional soccer is being played despite the virus outbreak. That includes the former Soviet nations of Belarus and Tajikistan, as well as Burundi and Nicaragua.The eight-team Turkmenistan league was suspended on March 24. The national soccer federation says it will resume on April 19. Fans will be allowed to attend games.Turkmenistan has not reported any cases of the coronavirus.___The Russian sports minister says it’s time for international authorities to “turn a new page” and forget the country’s Olympic doping ban because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Latest: Nats say 1 person tests positive, no players The Seminoles’ lineman wrote that he wants “everyone to know just how hard it was. I spent days feeling miserable” and his healthy 47-year-old father with no underlying health conditions “spent three days in the intensive care unit.”Tony Boselli is now back home and Andrew Boselli says he and his family are recovering from the massive scare. He says his brother and mother also dealt with the virus.Andrew Boselli says he’s looking forward to being around fellow students and teammates again but added a word of caution by writing “the only way for that to happen is listen to the experts and follow their guidance.”___Turkmenistan is set to restart its suspended soccer league amid the coronavirus pandemic. Associated Press Rizzo says no players for the reigning World Series champions have shown any symptoms of COVID-19 at any point and so no one has been tested.He said the team’s medical staff checks in each day with every player and staff member.According to Rizzo, the employee who got the illness was at the team’s spring training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, and now is home and his quarantine has ended. Rizzo said the employee is fever-free and symptom-free.Rizzo did not identify the person who was sick other than to say it is not someone who plays for the Nationals — “and we’re going to keep it at that.” The GM said the person tested positive “well after” the Nationals already had shut down their facilities in Florida and Washington.Rizzo also said Friday on a conference call with reporters that the Nationals are partnering with chef José Andrés to distribute tens of thousands of meals per day to people in need in parts of Washington. More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6last_img read more

Rowdy Roddy Rogers

first_imgRAY PFEIFFER/Herald photoThe University of Wisconsin football team ranks third in the nation in pass defense and first in pass-efficiency defense, the only top national ranking currently for the Badgers in any statistics.Nevertheless, the Badger defensive backs haven’t received much recognition this season, despite having been the most consistent piece of the entire UW team, shutting down the opposing offensive passing threat each week.A large piece to the defensive success, and the chief menace for opposing quarterbacks, has been the Badgers’ free safety, senior Roderick Rogers. Rogers came into his final season ranked as the sixth-best free safety in the nation by the Sporting News, and also a leading contender for the Lott Trophy and Thorpe Award, awards given to the best defensive back in the entire nation.But Badger fans haven’t heard Rogers name too often this season for a good reason — he’s always in the right spot at the right time doing his job, shutting down the opposing team’s passing attack.Defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks has also noticed that Rogers hasn’t been getting much recognition for his play this year.”As of late, I feel he’s prepared and has been playing well the whole season,” Cooks said of Rogers. “Maybe he hasn’t had as many picks as the outside world would want him to have, [but] he prepares the right way and has done that since August, and even now he comes in and watches film. He’s making the plays that they give to him.”Rogers made his name heard, more than he has all season, against Penn State, earning Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors from head coach Bret Bielema. Rogers was seemingly all over the field, making plays against the Nittany Lions pass-catchers.The Stone Mountain, Ga., native totaled three tackles — including one brutal hit on Penn State tailback Tony Hunt for a loss of 7 yards — along with two broken-up passes and his first interception of the year inside the UW red zone, denying PSU their best offensive opportunity of the game.Alongside Rogers in the secondary, sophomore cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu has also seen his teammate excelling not just this past weekend, but the entire season.”You can always trust Rogers to be at the right place, he’s really opportunistic, and he’s always around the ball,” Ikegwuonu said. “He seems to have a nose for the football. He’s great in the run game and brings everything you would want in a free safety.”Not only does Rogers have a knack for finding the ball, but he is also one of the team’s emotional leaders.”He brings a lot of confidence and a lot of swagger [to the team],” Ikegwuonu said. “Roderick is a real confident player, he brings his A-game to the field every day, and it rubs off on us; we want to play up to his level. He knows what’s going on and knows the defense real well.”Part of what makes Rogers so anonymous is his shy side. Rogers was actually unavailable for comment this week in preparation for Wisconsin’s upcoming game against Iowa, leaving his coach and teammates to speak praises of him for his on-field play in 2006.”He’s a quiet guy. He’s not going to be the ‘rah rah’ vocal type of leader,” Cooks said. “But he’s the type of guy who speaks leadership through his type of play on the field, and on the practice field. He’s the guy that focuses in, and … when anything negative [is] going to happen, he’s got the leadership to where people respect him, to where he can say something, and his presence and his words can speak volumes to the team.”Rogers would not have been able to accomplish the feats of the Penn State game, says Ikegwuonu, without his constant efforts at getting better in practice each day and in studying game films.”[Rogers] really stresses the point in watching film; I see him up there every day,” Ikegwuonu said. “What he gets from film, the way he’s able to see the game before it happens, recognize routes, formations on the field. It makes you realize how important film watching is. That’s one of the biggest things that I’ve gotten from Roderick.”Constantly studying film and getting better has not only resulted in Rogers being a force for opposing quarterbacks to reckon with, but has also naturally landed Rogers as chief in command in the back field.”He’s always the one making the checks; he’s kind of the field general out there. He’s constantly controlling the movements and communicating,” Ikegwuonu said. “I think that’s one of the biggest things he does so well. He knows the playbook so well that he’s able to see things before they happen and able to anticipate.”Despite the lack of recognition, his teammates know he’s quietly become one of the best in the conference at what he does.”Rogers is a great free safety. He came in as one of the best in the Big Ten,” Ikegwuonu said. “He always aspires to be one of the best, and that’s where he thinks he could be.”last_img read more

Syracuse basketball roundtable: Rebounding, X-factors and the bubble watch

first_img2. Who is the X-factor for Syracuse and what must they do to take the Orange to the next level?S.B.: Coleman needs to be better and be consistent for Syracuse to be a better team. Right now there are five players that are consistent, solid options. Coleman has shown signs of being that guy, and his presence will always mean something due to size alone. He showed flashes of offensive potential against Wake Forest, only to squander that against Duke. There are moments where you can see the five-star recruit, but there are far too many moments when he’s not that guy. When he’s in at center, Lydon can stretch the floor by moving out to the wing. The Orange is a team that needs more depth, and having Coleman play well is the X-Factor to continued success.J.D.: After Syracuse’s win over Duke on Monday, Roberson was the obvious answer. After Syracuse’s win over Wake Forest on Saturday, it was Cooney. After the nonconference play, Michael Gbinije was the obvious answer. But there is a clear commonality between the Orange’s run in the Battle 4 Atlantis in November and its current three-game winning streak, and that is Lydon’s confidence on offense. When the 6-foot-8 freshman is asserting himself into SU’s half-court offense teams have to respect his high-percentage jump shot and driving lines open up for the guards. When he’s playing passively — like he was during Syracuse’s four-game losing streak to start ACC play — the Orange’s spacing is off and the offense sputters. For that reason, Lydon remains SU’s X-factor two months after he broke out in the Bahamas.M.S.: He may not be flying far enough under the radar to be considered an X-factor, but Malachi Richardson has really shown an increased ability to finish at the rim to complement an already deft touch from deep. He’s perfected the euro-step drive and it created space against the Blue Devils. He also hit a couple clutch 3s late to keep Duke out of reach down the stretch. With Gbinije orchestrating the offense and Roberson handling the inside, even Cooney isn’t as prominent. But Richardson, who tied a team-high with 14 points against the Blue Devils, is just as important. 3. If the season ended today, would Syracuse be in the Tournament?S.B.: You’d have to ask Patrick Stevens or Joe Lunardi. My completely uneducated guess based on limited understanding of bracketology would be that SU is not a Tournament team today. That said, are they good enough to be an at-large team today? Absolutely. They pass my eye test. That’s why they have the rest of the ACC schedule to prove it to all the experts out there as well.J.D.: It’s hard to say, mostly because there are so many good teams in college basketball this season and we really don’t know how much the selection committee is going to weigh Boeheim’s nine-game absence into its decision on Syracuse. With that said, if the regular season ended today I think the Orange would need one or two ACC tournament wins to punch its ticket to the Big Dance. The win over Duke will only become more impressive as the Blue Devils recover from their current skid, which will inevitably happen when Amile Jefferson returns from injury. Now SU has to win the games it’s “supposed to win” and see what others it can steal along the way.M.S.: Yes, Syracuse would just squeak into the NCAA Tournament field thanks to its upset over Duke. Texas A&M is currently No. 10 in the nation and that’s SU’s best win. The Orange also picked up a quality victory against UConn in the Bahamas. And don’t forget, the NCAA said it would weigh Boeheim’s absence — though unknown how much — during SU’s 4-5 stretch, which may give Syracuse even more of a chance. Comments Logan Reidsma | Senior Staff Photographer Logan Reidsma | Senior Staff Photographer Related Stories What we learned from Syracuse basketball’s 64-62 win against DukeTyler Roberson has historic rebounding night at Cameron Indoor StadiumGallery: Syracuse defeats No. 20 Duke, 64-62Dougherty: Being in the ACC provides a double-edged opportunity for SyracuseBlum: Battle 4 Atlantis title was about proving Syracuse could do itcenter_img Published on January 20, 2016 at 12:34 pm After starting conference play 0-4, Syracuse has turned things around with three straight wins, most recently on the road against No. 20 Duke on Monday night. The Orange’s (13-7, 3-4 Atlantic Coast) season is now somewhat back on track and head coach Jim Boeheim is 3-1 since returning from his nine-game suspension. SU visits No. 13 Virginia on Saturday before starting a four-game home stand. With ACC play heating up, beat writers Sam Blum, Jesse Dougherty and Matt Schneidman discuss three questions surrounding Syracuse basketball.1. Can Syracuse continue to out-rebound ACC opponents?Sam Blum: Can Syracuse out-rebound teams or can Tyler Roberson out-rebound teams? As long as Roberson remains “plugged in” Syracuse is in contention for any rebound. You can just tell there’s a better sense of urgency on the glass in the past couple games. Duke isn’t one of the best rebounding team out there, but North Carolina is, and SU handled the Tar Heels on the glass as well. The short and obvious answer is yes. Syracuse has out-rebounded teams and clearly has the ability to continue to do that, especially with Roberson playing the way he is.Jesse Dougherty: After these four games, why not? There are still going to be teams that are simply bigger and stronger than the Orange — Pittsburgh and North Carolina State immediately come to mind — but Roberson and Tyler Lydon have really stepped it up on the glass. Then factor in that Dajuan Coleman has played the most he has all season since Boeheim’s return from suspension, and you have a frontcourt capable of out-rebounding, or at the very least rebounding with, a handful of SU’s upcoming opponents.Matt Schneidman: Yes, Syracuse can continue to out-rebound ACC opponents. What it will take is a valiant Lydon, who’s been playing bigger than his frame of late, most notably in a nine-rebound effort against Duke. Roberson is a shoe-in to grab 7-12 boards a game, but Lydon will be the key. Not long ago, Boeheim said the freshman wasn’t physically ready to bang with the conference’s top bigs. But against 7-footer Marshall Plumlee on Monday, Lydon held his own and Boeheim showered him with praise in his postgame press conference. Boeheim emphasized simply attacking the ball when it hits off the rim. That grit hasn’t always been there, but as of late it has been and can continue to be.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Worrying times for Belle Vue after housing plans revealed

first_img ARC confirms Belle Vue closure August 3, 2020 Share Submit HBLB gives £3.2m boost to UK racing August 13, 2020 Related Articles HBLB ups prize money commitment by 50% July 31, 2020 StumbleUpon Share Steeped in history and tradition, but it could now be the case that Manchester’s Belle Vue dog track could be at risk, after it was revealed by the Manchester Evening News that there are potential plans to build 243 homes on the site. Having first been built in 1926, the infrastructure is synonymous with the Belle Vue area and is one of the country’s oldest and most well regarded greyhound stadiums. As reported by the Manchester Evening News, a spokesman for Countryside Properties stated: “Countryside are currently preparing proposals for the development of circa. 240 new family homes at the Belle Vue Stadium site at Kirkmanshulme Lane.“Current proposals comprise green landscaping and housing across a variety of tenures.“Our planning team have notified local residents, councillors and stakeholders of the proposed development ahead of submitting a planning application to Manchester City Council.“We are committed to creating places people love and welcome discussions on all aspects of the scheme to ensure it meets local demand for high quality and affordable homes while enhancing the local area.”Last month Mark Bird the MD of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), sent an open letter to Paul Darling, Chairman of the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) and Clive Hawkswood, leader of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), urging the industry figureheads to support further funding measures for sustaining UK greyhound racing.Bird outlined that greyhound racing is in the midst of a funding crisis, which threatens the Greyhound Board’s ability to maintain its welfare and integrity commitments.The letter emphasised: “The BGRF’s income has declined from circa £14 million in 2008 (£17 million in today’s terms) to £7.2 million in 2017, reflecting the migration of betting turnover from retail to online and mobile platforms.“Until this year, with the notable exception of bet365, none of the major Bookmaker companies have included the turnover of their online betting operations in their voluntary contributions. In addition, some major betting companies do not pay any voluntary levy, or only pay it on part of their estate.”last_img read more

NSA assures of a successful Ghana-Sudan World Cup qualifier

first_imgThe National Sports Authority (NSA) has met stakeholders to discuss and institute measures aimed at ensuring a successful 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Ghana and Sudan at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.About 40,000 spectators are expected to throng the Stadium, necessitating measures to protect lives and property before, during and after the match.Mr. Saka Acquaye, Ashanti Regional Sports Director, told newsmen in Kumasi that the venue was noted for its friendly atmosphere and as such it was imperative that preparations were put in place.In all, he said, a total of 190 police personnel including officers, as well as a team of security personnel from the National Security, Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and Ghana National Fire Service would be on hand to maintain order.In addition, a team of medical personnel drawn from the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), paramedics and the National Ambulance Service would also be detailed to attend to emergencies.The GNA Sports gathered that the NSA was in serious discussion with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) as to how best the Stadium could be provided with an uninterrupted power. When Ghana hosted Lesotho at the same venue last year, the game was abandoned temporarily due to power cut to the floodlights.last_img read more

International Friendly:Boye to captain Black Stars against Japan

first_imgJohn Boye will lead Ghana against Japan in Tuesday’s friendly at the 70,000 capacity Yokohama International Stadium.Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah speaking at the pre-match conference on Monday confirmed that the Rennes defender will step in to captain the team in the absence of Asamoah Gyan.Ghana, pushing for a third consecutive World Cup appearance play the Blue Samurai, who have already booked their place in next year’s finals in Brazil to prepare for their next round opponents.The Black Stars are through to the final round of the continental qualifiers as their opponents for the decisive two-leg tie will be revealed a week today at a draw in Cairo, Egypt.last_img

Clippers rookie Sindarius Thornwell making the most of his opportunity

first_imgPLAYA VISTA — The Clippers had a plan for rookie Sindarius Thornwell, but it didn’t involve checking Paul George in his first NBA start. Coach Doc Rivers’ options were limited when the Clippers faced the Oklahoma City Thunder last week without injured guards Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic.“I made a joke before the game: I’m starting, and they’re going to throw me on Paul George for my first starting matchup?” Thornwell said. “They should have thrown me on Andre Roberson. It was fun, though. You’ve got to be ready when your name is called.”George torched the Clippers for 42 points in the Thunder’s victory last week, although not all of them came against Thornwell. Roberson scored only four points. Thornwell countered with a career-high 10 points on 4-for-5 shooting in nearly 23 minutes in his first start.Welcome to the NBA, rookie. “I really want to see if it’s really what everybody says it is,” Thornwell said of facing players like George and Russell Westbrook. “It’s just the experience of putting up a fight. You’re never going to stop those guys. The best you can do is make it tough on them and slow them down.”One night later, Thornwell scored seven points in a career-best 31:52 in the shorthanded Clippers’ loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Then, during Monday’s defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center, he had seven points in 30:43.Overall, Thornwell is averaging 4.8 points on 44.9 percent shooting in 13 games, including three starts. His fourth start will be against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, although he’s not likely to be matched up one-on-one against James. It’ll be a team effort.“I’m looking forward to that,” said Thornwell, who helped lead South Carolina to the Final Four last spring. “It’s going to be an experience to guard him.”So far, Thornwell’s defensive game is ahead of his offensive play, which was to be expected. “My confidence on the offensive side is coming. Slowly,” said Thornwell, who turned 23 on Wednesday. “On defense, I feel like I’m good. Defensively, I feel like I’m doing my job and what they ask of me. Sometimes I hold myself back on offensive because I don’t want to make a mistake.”Rivers said he isn’t disappointed. He’s realistic. He’s willing to be patient because, well, there’s no alternative to playing Thornwell at the moment. Thornwell has filled Beverley’s role as a defensive-minded guard as well as can be expected under the circumstances.“We’re telling him who he is,” Rivers said of playing Thornwell against George, only partly joking with a group of reporters. “That’s exactly what we’re telling him. You’re a defensive player. That’s exactly the announcement our coaching staff has made to our rookie.“Actually, overall, he’s done pretty well.”Rivers then laughed after mentioning George’s explosive game against Thornwell. The rookie was simply overmatched against the veteran. Rivers said he doesn’t have high offensive expectations from Thornwell. Not yet, anyway.Defensively, it’s a different story, as far as Rivers is concerned.“Whatever offense he gives us, we’re good with that,” Rivers said. “He has a chance to be an elite defender, but his offense will come because he has great offensive instincts. What I don’t want him to do is what most young guys do, which is they get lost in their offense and then they don’t defend.“The quickest way to get on the court when you’re a young guy is to play defense. He has a gift. He should want to do that. His instincts, his strength, his quickness. He’s a want-to defender. There’s no great defender that doesn’t want to be a great defender.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Masters 2019: Francesco Molinari one clear of Tiger Woods with 9 to play

first_imgWoods hit his approach to tap-in distance at the same hole, meaning a two-shot swing that left the 14-time major champion just one off the pace heading to the par-five eighth.All three players in the final group birdied that hole, before Woods produced a magnificent lag putt from 70 feet on the ninth to ensure he was able to rescue par and stay on Molinari’s heels.Ian Poulter, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay were not out of the running at 10 under, while Bryson DeChambeau was well down the field but made an ace at the par-three 16th. Molinari had led by three after five holes but headed to the 10th a solitary stroke clear of Woods at 13 under, with Finau and Brooks Koepka two off the pace.Anything can happen on the back nine at Augusta on Sunday:-13 Molinari-12 Woods-11 Koepka-11 Finau-10 Cantlay-10 Poulter#TheMasters pic.twitter.com/DmM0PAd9yc— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) April 14, 2019The overnight leader’s play over the front nine was far from faultless as rising winds made life tricky, but he initially salvaged a succession of pars with sensational scrambling skills.Molinari drained a 13-footer on the first hole, before producing brilliant up-and-downs on the fifth, which Woods and Finau bogeyed, and sixth to stay at 13 under.At that point, he was three clear, but Molinari finally faltered on the seventh — dropping his first shot in 50 holes to fall one short of Stuart Appleby’s record for the longest bogey-free streak at the Masters. Francesco Molinari took a one-shot lead into the final nine holes of the Masters, with Tiger Woods his nearest rival at Augusta.On a day when play had been brought forward by several hours due to the anticipated arrival of thunderstorms in the afternoon, Molinari teed off leading Woods and Tony Finau by two.Yet four-time Masters champion Woods — seeking a first major title in 11 years — reduced his arrears by turning in 35 as Molinari and Finau shot 36 over the first nine.last_img read more

Where do the Yankees go from here? Big decisions that New York must address this offseason

first_imgBERNSTEIN: Astros are everything Yankees, Dodgers wish they wereYou can point to any number of reasons why the Yankees fell to Houston. Maybe it was the lack of situational hitting. Maybe it was the lack of pitching. What we do know is, the Yankees are now firmly in offseason mode, and it’s going to be a really, really busy one.1. Take starting pitching seriouslyNo, the starting pitching wasn’t the problem in the postseason, but it was part of a problem.Yes, Astros hitters weren’t particularly good in the ALCS, slashing .178/.275/.302 vs. New York pitching entering Game 6, but playing a bullpen game, with a fatigued and worn bullpen in an elimination game, would starting pitching — stick with me here — actually help the Yankees?Wild theory, right?The Yankees actually pitched pretty well in the series. But here’s the thing: Yankees starters in the postseason pitched on average 4 2/3 innings per start. While the Yankees’ bullpen is undoubtedly a strength, luxury and weapon that other teams don’t have, in critical situations where any one matchup, pitch or at-bat might be crucial, the regular season numbers don’t mean as much.Prior to Game 3, Astros manager A.J. Hinch alluded to the fact that relief pitching can only become more vulnerable as games go on; some of that is because of fatiguing relievers, but another factor might be more familiarity with a reliever’s plan of attack. Perhaps that’s why the Astros held the Yankees to four runs in the deciding game Game 6, relying strictly on relievers who the Yankees didn’t see often throughout the series.If the Yankees decide to fortify their rotation, there are options on the market. The Yankees have been linked to Gerrit Cole in the past, seemingly interested in trading for him twice before, but ultimately Cole went to the Astros, where he victimized the Yankees this postseason. Houston didn’t even need to send him out twice, because the ‘Stros relied on Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke in four games between the two. That right there is the benefit of great starting pitching. It might be a clash of philosophies, and the numbers might bear out a different story in favor of bullpen use in the postseason, but common sense does not. Full disclosure: I love the numbers. I love the way we evaluate pitching in today’s game — but in the pressure cooker environment of October, when every matchup and pitch could swing things one way or the other, maybe relying on your horses to get you through a lineup is the best way to go.Maybe the trio of Luis Severino, James Paxton and Masahiro Tanaka doesn’t measure up to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke, but if you’re the Yankees, why would you waste another upcoming season of what-ifs and maybes when there’s going to be a surefire, bona fide ace on the market? More starting pitching help could potentially be available, should Stephen Strasburg opt out of his contract with the Nationals or Zack Wheeler turn down the qualifying offer from the Mets.While bullpens might be a continuing trend in baseball, the Yankees cannot continue to try to get cute via trade when there are options staring them in the face. It would be silly, to say the least.2. Extend D.J. LeMahieuD.J. LeMahieu’s contract is up after the 2020 season, but we’ve seen how vital he is to this Yankees team. Contact baseball is the new market inefficiency — crazy how that works, right? — and the Yankees’ strikeout rate wasn’t horrible, but it was at 23 percent, 11th in MLB. The two teams that will be vying for the World Series this year, the Astros and Nationals, ranked first and fifth, respectively.During an injury-riddled season for the Yankees, LeMahieu was among the best in almost every facet. He hit for power, he fielded multiple positions well, he drove in runs and, obviously, didn’t strike out much. Not to mention, LeMahieu avoided the injured list in 2019. Best ability is availability, and so forth.LeMahieu’s K rate in 2019 was dazzling. At 13.7 percent, it was by far the lowest of the Yankees and among the best in baseball. For a team that leans on power and is not afraid to swing and miss, the Yankees need not only to extend LeMahieu, but find a way to clone him. His skillset as a hitter is vital and diversifies the Yankees’ lineup a lot, and even with one more season under contract, it only makes sense to get him to avoid the open market.3. Solve left field Is Giancarlo Stanton destined to play left field in the Bronx for the next five years? Probably not.If that was the plan, the Yankees likely wouldn’t have brought back Brett Gardner on a one-year deal and absolutely refused to trade Clint Frazier for anybody. With Mike Tauchman a surprising ingredient to the outfield recipe in 2019, there are a few options for the Yankees to figure out.Stanton’s injury history is problematic and concerning, and there are some doubts as to whether he can last a full season in left field. With lingering hamstring issues in 2018 and multiple leg injuries in 2019, it’s hard to envision a world where Stanton plays 140 to 150 games in the outfield in 2020.Would the Yankees consider looking in-house to solve the issue? Frazier showed flashes at the plate in 2019 and could be given the keys to that spot should he remain on the roster past the offseason. Tauchman went from unknown to Bronx savage before an injury sidelined him the rest of the season. Could Gardner be brought back for one last go? What about Cameron Maybin, who went from another fill-in to impact player?Stanton’s long-term future is as a DH, which means, for now, the Yankees need to figure out how they’re filling that left-field spot.4. Figure out the third base logjamIt’s not quite the Pan/Pam dilemma from “Step Brothers,” but it could be just as confusing, considering there is a D involved in there somewhere.Gio Urshela had a massive year for the Yankees, living up to the top-prospect billing he once had with the Indians with 3.1 fWAR, by far his best year as a major leaguer. There’s a catch: With Miguel Andujar likely returning from injury, there’s a tough decision for Yankees brass to make at the hot corner.Andujar had a very good bat in his rookie season, but here’s where the D gets involved: Andujar’s defensive deficiencies plagued his overall production, costing him two wins of production, per Baseball Reference (-2.2 dWAR). Along with his 27 home runs, he had -25 DRS on the season, the worst among third basemen in all of baseball and the second worst mark among all positions.Urshela is strictly a third baseman, as is Andujar, so the idea of one of them being a backup infielder is tough to fathom in 2020. Could Andujar be dangled for pitching help? Tough to say, considering no one knows what he will be as he returns from the labrum tear. The third base situation will come down to how much the Yankees value defense at the position. With contact baseball (remember that?) becoming more prevalent once again, defense in the infield matters. 5. The Didi DilemmaDidi Gregorius is one of the few left-handed bats available to start for the Yankees. In 2019, there were only two big-time lefties in the lineup in Gregorius and Brett Gardner. Both are free agents following the season, and neither is a lock to return. The other lefties on the roster: Tyler Wade, Mike Tauchman, Greg Bird. That’s baseball, Suzyn.The Yankees looked like a team that flirted with destiny all season. No injury could hold them down en route to an 103-win season. They navigated through up-and-down seasons from key members of their starting rotation. Now, the chase for No. 28 is postponed until 2020, after Jose Altuve broke the hearts of Yankees fans everywhere with a series-winning bomb off Aroldis Chapman. Well, now Bird is gone and Gregorius is in the wind after the Yankees didn’t offer him the qualifying offer. Now what?If the Yankees trust Gleyber Torres in the shortstop hole, then their major league infield left to right could be: Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit. You sacrifice a bit of defense in that scenario, but it’s still a very good offensive infield. Gregorious has been a solid Yankee and was worth 14.6 fWAR/13.3 bWAR between 2015 and 2018 before dealing with injuries in 2019. The Yankees are going to have to decide how much they value defense, lefty power and leadership in that spot. It’s critical, and at this point, it doesn’t look like a deal for Didi is going to get done.last_img read more