n will return to City for tests on a persistent kn

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closer will begin the season on the disabled list, as he continues to recover from surgery to remove bone chips in his right elbow, .com reported Saturday.

Francisco threw to hitters this week for the first time since the operation, but admew offer for Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes this summer.The Sun says they have been warned that the powerful centre-half will not come cheap after making an inquiry during the January transfer window.Lille president Gerard Lopez has already proved itted earlier in the week that he is still dealing with some soreness in the elbow.

At this point, it is nther top keepers.The Brazilian is rightly seen as one of the best in the world at his position.He helped the Reds to win the Champions League last season.But he knows his game is not perfect, whichelder Philippe Coutinho has been keen on a move to Chelsea, it has been revealed.Chelsea, despite having a transfer ban, are understood to be interested in securing his signature.The Blues are unable to make any signings until the summer of 2020.They is why he mentioned qualities he’d take from the likot clear when Francisco is expected to join the team, as he has not yet thrown in a game. Bobby Parnell will serve as the team’s closer with Francisco out. 

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boss Pep Guardiola launched a defence of midfield

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Andy Pettitte held the Nationals to two runs (oneterms with Chelsea.Luiz says he is close to agreeing a new contract with the club.Asked if he will be at Chelsea next season, Luiz said: “Yes I think so. Sooneverybody is going to know. It will be before the Europa League final, in fivedays.”I love t earned) on five hits and no walks Friday. He struck out six.

Pettitte owns a 3.52 ERA in 15.1 ulas insists Moussa Dembele will not leave this month.In France, it’s been claimed Manchester United have made an offer for the striker in the last 24 hours.But Aulas told RMC: “Moussa hiGraham Potter.The Seagulls appointed Potter as their new boss in the summer and have since looked to implement a new identity, which has yielded a victory over Watford and a home draw against West Ham so far this season.”I think against a little bit mself is not to my knowledge trying (for a departure). “Whateveinnings this spring with 14 strikeouts against four walks. Pettitte only appeared in three major league games this spring, but if his last tuneup is any indication, he’s ready for the regular season. He’s slated to be the ‘ third starter behind CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda.

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tball Awards on Sunday night. Mbappe spoke of movi

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manager Ron Washington named left-handed pitcher as one of his two primary setup men to begin the yearth Crystal Palace.Now back with Malmo, the midfielder had a year away with Benfica, which sent him on-loan to Palace. However the Sw tenure with Burnley comes to an end.The 33-year-old only played 11 times this season. He had spent the past five seasons at the Turf Moor club.However, he will now move on to pastures new after his contract expires.Taylor, who took his place in the ede failed to make an impression in London.He told Fotbollskanalen: “It was an educational year. It’s not something I , according to the Dallas Morning News. Ross was in ty attacker Kevin de Bruyne says David Silva deserves his goal in victory over Aston Villa.The Belgian was awarded the goal, as his teasing cross seemed to evade everyone before bouncing into the back of the net – although there had been a suggestithe running for a rotation spot this spring before being shifted to the bullpen. Ross has allowed five earned runs in 18 1/3 innings of work, posting a 2.45 ERA and 1.47 WHIP.

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g to Okdiario’s chief pundit Eduardo Inda, when sp

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will return to action from an abdominal injury Sunday, Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reported with his new deal.He has signed a new contractys the Belgium No1 falls short of the great Real goalkeepers from the past.He said: “I think the feeling in the Bernabéu is that they think that Courtois is perhaps not a player that right now could match all the great goalkeepers who have recently with the club until 2023.The Frenchman arrived in north London begun work at Bodymoor Heath after making the switch from rivals West Brom. The former Stourbridge manager spent 13 years as chief of the Baggies academy, helping establish it as one of the best in the country. He described head coach Dean Smith, spin the summer of 2016 and has developed into a key player under Mauricio Pochettino.Sissoko said: “I’m very proud to sign a new deal witts. The injury has kept him out of action for nearly a month; the righty has appeared in just two games so far this spring for the .

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e in the next 48 hours.That’s according to Swedish

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manager Terry Collins said Wednesday he expects to return for another spring training start early next week.Marcum received a cortisone inje has defended wantaway Romelu Lukaku.The forward, who is set to join Juventus in a swap deal which is expected to see Paulo Dybala move to United, has scored 42 goals in 96 matches for the club since arrivgement to sign permanently Jonjoe Kenny.The Everton fullback has impressed during his season-long loan.And Matondo told The Sun, “Jonjoe is confident, has a good mentality, he’s aggressive like the manager likes it, he’s good going forward and obviing from Everton in 2017.”I said it before anction in hisre prepared to back new boss David Moyes in the market as they attempt to strengthen their team.The Mirror says the Hammers have pinpointed three areas they want to strengthen.The London side want to sign a striker, midfielder and right back before t right shoulder Tuesday.”He said he gets it every spring, pretty much,” Collins said. “He just wanted to get it cleared up early so he can take a couple extra days now and he can go into his last start of the spring and extend himself a little bit.”

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K£38 million (US$49 million) for the financial ye

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For the first time since second baseman went down with a rib injury last month, the expressed some concern that he might not be reManchester United defender Eric Bailly is adamant his Instagram account was hacked amid surprising social media activity from the Ivorian.Screenshots appeared on social media of Bailly’s account ‘ericbailly24’ apparently liking derogatory comments abady for tstle United are close to announcing the transfer of Joelinton from Hoffenheim.The 22-year-old Brazilian attacker is joining as the club’s record transfer.Per Chronicle Live, the announcement will be made by the end of this week.The versatile forward he start of the regular season. Manager Terry Collins said Sunday that Murphy will stay sidelined until at least Wednesday while he recovers from a strained intercostal muscle.

The 27-year-old has yet to McCann admits he wants to sign Liverpool midfielder Herbie Kane.Kane starred under McCann at Doncaster Rovers last term and the boss is keen to take him to the Championship.“Herbie’s top class, he really is,” he said. “He’s a Liverpool player. H play in a Grapefruit League game with New York after originally suffering the injury Feb. 18. If Murphy — and David Wright — are unavailable for opening day, is expected to patrol second base for the Mets while Justin Turner takes third.

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eir finishing after a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.Chel

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pitcher endured his roughest outing of the spring Thursday against the Astros. Soriano, who made his fourth Grapefruit-League appearance, gave up a leadoff single to Brandon Laird and a first-pitch home rlva’s squad.Indeed, a European place is still in their thoughts going into Friday night’s penultimate game of the season at home to Burnley.Keane told the Mirror: “That’s the next step.“For five or six years now, Everton have been around the top siun to Nate Freiman in the sixth inning. He allowed two runs on two hits in just one inning of work in a 6-3 victory. He also struck out two and did not issue a walk. 

Manager Davey Johnson did not seem concerned with Soriano’s struggles on ThursManchester City boss Pep Guardiola admits he could be sacked if they’re beaten by Champions League opponents Real Madrid.The two teams will face-off in the round of 16 this month.The fact that City have never won the title simply adds to the difficulday. 

“I thought he threw the ball good,” Johnson said. “If you throw a high fastball out over the plate and somebody gets part of it, it’s going to be gone.”But he was basically just getting his work in. He used a few e football chief Mateu Alemany is on the brink of leaving.Alemany, reports AS, has fallen out with Valencia owner Peter Lim and is now weighing up departing.A decision could be made today with Alemany and Lim at odds over transfer policy.Los Che coachxtra pitches. Early on, he was just getting his location and his arm stretched out. That’s what you expect,” Johnson added. “Then, he started establishing his breaking stuff, which was awfully good.”

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ighs up leaving Gremio.The Brazil star shone as hi

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is under pressure at the Nou Camp after a stuttering start to the season.TNT says Barca are searching out alternatives, with Gallardo high on the agenda.Indeed, the Argentine has already spoken with Barca management, but he replied that he could not

Astros starting pitcher continued his rocky spring Friday against the Braves, allowing six runs on seven hits in only two-thirds of an inning. He has allowed 14 earned runs in five innings this spring. “Definitely not concerned, but I don’t think anybody’s happy with giving up runs after runs,” the 22-year-old right-hander said. “It’s part of the game, but I think next time I’ll start mixing in my cutter and slider. I think the results will be different when I start mixing in all those pitches and start going for outs more than quality strikes.” Manager Bo Porter agreed. “There are some things that we would want to address. The ball looks elevated a little bit,” Porter said. “But we’re not worried about it. We’re going to continue to work, he’s going to continue to get the balnjoying his record-breaking loan with PSG.Icardi has become the quickest player to score 10 goals for the Parisians.“I didn’t know that and it’s a source of pride to achieve this kind of thing and make history for a team like Paris Saint-Germain,” l. There’s stilRomelu Lukaku took his Inter Milan teammates to dinner this week.The striker used the moment to thank the squad for the way they have welcomed him.“I’m very happy to be here with you,” he said during a speech around the table. “Thanks for the help you’ve given me. This is a special group.”l a lot of time left in spring training, and we feel confident he’ll be ready to go when the season starts. We expect him to be part of our rotation.”

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in victory at FA Cup opponents West Ham.Townsend’

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After signing a two-year, $15 million contract in the offseason, made his dey a replacement for the wantaway Antoine Griezmann.Griezmann is expected to move to Barcelona this summer.Simeone said, “We will go and look for a Griezmann that w United Double winner Andrei Kanchelskis has questioned the quality of the current team’s young players.Kanchelskis was reacting to last week’s Europa League defeat at Astana, where United fielded a record young XI.He told Sports: “Manchester United ill be a Griezmann in the future, like Rodrigo or [Jan] Oblak. I’m still excited by allbut for the Angels in Sunday’s Cactus League game against the Cubs. He allowed one run on one hit over two innings of work. The right-hander surrendered a solo homer to for his lone damage. Blanton also struck out two with no walks while throwing 20 pitches. “I think for the first outing you couldn’t ask for anything more,” manager Mike Scioscia said. ” He pounded the zone, no doubt. Just pulled a couple of pitches middle in. … Joe likes to kheir two-goal Carabao Cup deficit if Manchester City repeat their first-leg performance.The Sky Blues blew United away with a explosive 45 minutes that put them 3-0 ahead at the half-time break.”I felt on the pitch we could have done even better – coeep that tempo, and when he’s going he wants to keep that ball and keep that feel.”

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Barca B debut last season and Girona chief Quique

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Diamondbacks pitcher made his Cactus League debut on Sunday against the Rockies. He worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit while striking out four. The left-hander also itar Neymar has agreed personal terms with Barcelona, it has been revealed.Sport says Barcelona has a verbal agreement with Neymar to return this summer on a five-year deal.Neymar is so desperate to re-sign for Barca that he accepted the offer made byssued one walk while thr already been won over by Moussa Djenepo.Both Saints scored in victory over Brighton yesterday.”I think everyone can see around the training ground how much of a fun and bubbly character he is,” Redmond told Southampton’s club website.”He’s still onlowing 18 pitches, 14 for strikes. “Last year I came up and wanted to show them what I have and this year you have a definite goal s assurances from the Egyptian FA over how Mohamed Salah will be managed if he is to be released for the Olympics this year.Ahram Online says Klopp will seek a ‘comprehensive file’ on Egypt’s training programme for the 2020 Olympics before he decidesin mind,” Corbin said. “I can relax and just try to be myself and show that I can be the guy.”

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Report: Mat Latos, Reds barely beat arbitration buzzer

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The and Tuesday. The two parties were in the arbitration hearing room as his new was finalized, John Fay of the Cincinnati Inquirer reported.

Latos, 25, had a 3.48 ERA (122 ERA+) in 33 starts for Cincinnati in 2012, his first year as a Red after a blockbuster trade brought him from Sadhoven fullback Angelino.De Telegraaf says City will sign their former left-back soon.Angelino has left PSV and will not be returning as he finalises a move back to City.PSV signed Angelino last summer for €5.5m and now face losing the young Spanian Diego. Latos assuaged doubts about his ability to transition from pitcher-friendly Petco Park to hitter haven Great American Ballpark — he had a 3.47 ERA in 2011 as a Padre. 

This is Latos’s first arbitration-eligible season. He will be eligible for arbitration once more, when his new contract expires after the 2014 season.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwice are looking into the abuse midfielder Jesse Lingard received as he boarded the team coach after Thursday’s FA Cup victory at Derby County’s Pride Pl Madrid hero Roberto Carlos insists there’s no need for major squad changes this summer.Real are facing an overhaul this summer.But Roberto Carlos told Marca: If I were the coach I wouldn’t change much. The team has won a lot recently. I don’t thinkark.United are furious and feel the behaviour was unacceptable and should be condemned in the stronik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow .

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In Arizona, gritty is good, and Upton may not have been gritty enough

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(Getty Images)

The like gritty.

Kirk i Puig is set to leave on-loan.Puig has voiced his discontent at his lack of playing time with the Blaugrana’s first team, yet Kluivert feels like he would be better served going out on loan.”If you see the midfielders in the first team already – FreGibson-type gritty.

“That’s the way Gibby played the game,” general manager Kevin Towers said on a Thursday afternoon conference call.

And although Towers stopped short of saying the Diamondbacks didn’t consider “gritty” enough, he never used that exact word as he praised Upton on the day that he finally traded him away.

In fact, if you were looking for an answer to the long-asked question of why the Diamondbacks would trade away a 25-year-old All-Star outfielder, I think you have at least part of it.

Justin Upton tradedRelated links |

“That’s how we won in 2011,” Towers said. “Justin was a part of that team. We kind of like that gritty, hard-nosed player. I’m not saying Justin isn’t that type.”

But he wasn’t exactly saying Upton was that kind of player, either.

ToAnfield.Guardiola is relishing the ­hostile atmosphere that awaits him and his Manchester City players at Anfield.While Guardiola hopes there is no repeat of the ugly scenes that saw City’s coach come under ­attack there in 2018, he welcomes the ­wers suggested that although he thought Upton played hard, his style may not have always made that clear to people watching. He spoke of the way that Upton would walk back from the plate after striking out.

And he suggested that the players whom the Diamondbacks received in Thursday’s deal, including but also some of the minor-league prospects, were gritty-type guys.

Towers gave other reasons for trading Upton, suggesting that although he thinks Upton has the potential to become a superstar, it was going to be harder for him to realize that potential in Arizona. Because Upton came up to the Diamondbacks at age 19 and had success at a young age, Towers thinks there was more pressure on him there than there will be with the , where he won’t come in as the face of the franchise.

Even with all that, Towers insisted again thaSadio Mane believes Liverpool deserved to beat RB Salzburg on Wednesday.The Reds went up 3-0 before Salzburg scored three unanswered goals.Mohamed Salah popped up to save his team, and Mane said it was a deserved victory.He told BT Sport: “Salzburg at he wasn’t as determined to trade Upton as it seemed. He said that as of two days ago, he still didn’t have any deal that he was willing to make and that he acted only after the Braves added two players in the final days.

That’s fine, but Upton had been very available — and very publicly available — for more than a year. Towers can say he’ll listen on any player (and he does), but he has been listening a lot harder on Upton.

And if you guessed it’s because Upton’s style of play didn’t fit in perfectly with his manager and general manager, well, you’re probably right.

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atford goalkeeper Ben Foster has poured cold water

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Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Friday that first base prospect could make his major-league debut during the upcoming season despite his recent suspension. Singleton, considered the team’s top prospect, will be suspended fence ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Sheffield United.The Red Devils travel to Bramall Lane on the back of five wins in their last six games. And with the likes of Anthony Martial back from injury, McTominay says United are raring to go.He told repoMourinho says Nuno is capable of leading Wolves to victory in the Europa League.Mourinho was relieved after Spurs managed to see off Wolves on Sunday.And afterwards, he said of fellow Portuguese Nuno: “It’s a matter for Nuno, but I think they are witor the first 50 games of the season after testing positive for marijuana. He will be able to parovers.Former Manchester United prospect Whelan says the U23 players, who included goalscorer Kaylen Hinds, can only grow stronger from the experience.After making his first senior start for the club, Whelen, 21, told the club website: “I’ve been workticipate in Houston’s minor-league camp and could appear in some Grapefruit League games. “I think we’ve always thought this is the year probably gets to the big leagues, whether it’s the beginning, middle or end of the season,” Luhnow told .com. “I think he’s got a good shot. If he stays healthy and continues to produce, he’ll be there.”

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is RB Leipzig loan.Ampadu has not managed any play

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The Rockies signed pitcher to a minor-leagu hit the ground running for Southampton last season.The striker made his loan move from Liverpool permanent this summer.And Ings feels excited for the season with a solid preseason under his belt.Speaking to the Daily Echo, Ings said: “I think it wase contract on Sunday. The Denver Post reports the deal ier Ruben Loftus-Cheek admits he models his game on club icon Frank Lampard.He admits he wants to improve his goalscoring like the Derby County manager.RLC said, “He was obviously the best at that. I studied him a lidfielder Marco Verratti has heaped praise on Chelsea playmaker Jorginho.The pair were outstanding for Italy’s win in Greece on Saturday.”We work well together and Jorginho really reminds me of Thiago Motta, someone who also played it simple, but madot in the Academy with my coaches, hs worth $1.5 million. Volstad went 3-12 with a 6.31 ERA in 21 starts for the Cubs last season.

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Who’s the greatest designated hitter of all-time?

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(Getty Images)

The occasion of our evaluating Edgar Martinez’s Hall-of-Fame case raises a relevant question: Who’s the greatest DH of them all?

The designated hitter is a rather recent artifact (born in 1973), but you nevertheless find a number of good-to-great hitters who spent most of their time fulfilling those duties.

So there are two ways to approach such an urgent matnt Mino Raiola has defended his management of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.Since his return to England from Juventus, the 26-year-old has been blighted by injuries and rumours of being a divisive figure in the dressing room.Speaking to Spoter. The first way is to answer the question: Who was the best hitter to spend a majority of his career at DH? If that’s the guiding query, then the discussion will be a brief one. It’s Frank Thomas (career OPS+ of 156), and it’s not a close call.

But if we frame the question in a different, perhaps more fitting way — Who was the most productive while occupying the DH spot? — then things get more interesting. That’s in large part because Thomas was far more productive as a first baseman than he was as a DH.

If we stipulate that contenders for “best ever while manning DH spot” must have logged at least 5,000 career plate appearances and have spent at least half of those PAs at DH, then our list of contenders is down to six: Thomas, Martinez, , Hal McRae, Harold Baines and Don Baylor.

Let’s compare some numbers, shall we? Below you’ll find a table — as lovely in execution as it is informative in conception — that places these six names athwart and astride one another.

You’ll see each designated hitter’s name, the number of plate appearances he logged at DH, his AVG/OBP/SLG and OPS compiled while deployed as a DH and — and then comes the long division. Actually, it’s pretty simple. Under the heading “OPS/Avg. DH OPS” you’ll find the hitter’s OPS as a DH divided by the league DH OPS over the span of his career. Ergo, the higher the number, the better he fared relative to the garden-variety DH of his era. This makes for a quick-and-dirty way to compare across run-scoring environments and according to positional standards.

To the digits …

Who is the greatest DH?PlayerPA as DHAVG/OBP/SLGOPS as DHOPS/Avg. DH OPSEdgar Martinez6,218.314/.428/.532.9591.21David Ortiz6,523.288/.384/.557.9411.16Frank Thomas5,698.275/.394/.505.8991.12Hal McRae5,917.294/.357/.463.8201.10Harold Baines6,618.291/.370/.467.8371.07Don Baylor5,391.259/.344/.449.7921.06Sorted by OPS/Avg. DH OPS

As you can see, Martinez, our candidate in question, distinguishes himself. He has the highest OPS and the highest era/position-adjusted OPS, and he ranks third out of six in DH plate appearances. It’s also worth remembering that OPS equates its two components, OBP and SLG, when OBP is the more valuable of the two. Given Martinez’s OBP-heavy breakdown, OPS actually undervalues him to an extent.

Park effects? Contrary to reputation, Seattle’s Kingdome played as a roughly neutral environment over Martinez’s time as a reTottenham have pinpointed Giovanni Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele as their primary transfer targets.Both players have impressed manager Mauricio Pochettino this season.The London Evening Standard says Pochettino’s obvious excitement for the summer won’t impact their new targets.Both clubs are widely touted as top talents.gular there, and he spent the back end of his career in run-suppressing Safeco. As for Ortiz — Martinez’s closest competition based on the above numbers — his home park of Fenway is a toan Rice has emerged as a 2020 priority target for Manchester United.Goal says United could even make a move for the West Ham star in January – if they can stump up £80million.United are already thought to be drawing up a shortlist of stars they wantugh yard for left-handed home runs, but it’s a very accommodating park for every other facet of the left-handed hitter’s game (i.e., singles, doubles and triples). In other words, there’s nothing in the playing environments that would push Ortiz ahead of Martinez. That’s to say nothing of the fact that Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs each rate Martinez as the better base-runner of the two.

Given all that, I’m comfortable saying that Martinez, in terms of value from the DH position, is the greatest designated hitter ever. How much that means when it comes to Martinez’s Cooperstown case is a matter for another EOB post.

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