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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21 and enjoyed a signing ceremony on Monday.”I’ve

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infielder , who is dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foo his style of play.Bonucci is regarded as your typical Italian stopper.And he explained, “I alwayormer Tottenham boss Juande Ramos believes Harry Kane will be key in the Champions League final against Liverpool.Ramos was the last manager to win silverware for Spurs.Ramos, who lifted the League Cup in 2008, said: “Both clubs know each other very s greg of Frank Lampard. Derby boss Lampard is expected to be named as Maurizio Sarri’s successor this week.Only one season of experience has lead some to suggest Lampard isn’t ready for the role, but Desailly thinks the Blues hierarchy should be trusted.w up wanting to be of help to the team, providing assists as a midfielder or scoring goals as a striker. I had to reset that way of thinking and rt, suffered a setback Tuesday. Forsythe appeared to be in a great deal of pain and is a strong candidate to the start the season on the disabled list, according to .com.

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ester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Daniel

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is not yet officially on the ‘ roster as the deal has not been announceEverton boss Marco Silva has told Moise Kean to forget his critics.Silva has dismissed Graeme Souness’ comments after the Sky Sports’ pundit speculated that Juventus s Marcus Rashford is back to his best.The striker scored in England’s 4-0 win over Kosovo on Sunday.The former Red Devils captain told on ITV: “Brilliant, brilliant goal. What a finish. He is back to his best. “It was a lovely play, nice and simple. sold Kean this summer because his “off-field activities are not the best”.But the manager told the Liverpool Echo: “I heard something.“My people told me and our media people also but I don’t want my players to see, read or pay attention to this situation.“I don’t lose my focus with this situation. Ok, some managers, some people talking on TV and on radio as well, it is their opinion and we have to respect opinions, don’t lose focus, keep doing your work and keep believing in your players.“For me it is not an important thing and I don’t want our players to lose their focus and lose energy with this situation because it is not something you can control.”d, the Journal News reports Tuesday. That said, Wells already has a locker and is listed in a batting practice grouping for New York Tuesday. He expects to playtbid eachother for Benfica whiz Joao Felix.The Sun says City boss Pep Guardiola is determined to land the youngster regardless of whether Leroy Sane stays at the Etihad.The 19-year-old shot into the consciousness of Europe’s elite this season after b against the Astros Tuesday night in a Grapefruit League night game. 

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ill be alongside Derby boss Phillip Cocu in the du

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reliever has been oed by his own England fans.Van Dijk defended Gomez after his row with Manchester City attacker Raheem Sterling and has called for people to “leave him alone”.”It’s disappointing to see,” Van Dijk said of England supporters’ treatment toward Gomez.”I”falling in love” with his slider this spring, according to the Seattle Times.

“I know that at 1-0, I can come back with a slider and almost steal a strike,” he said. “Guys are hunting my fastball so hard, especially on fast Luiz is aware of why his teammate Eden Hazard may want to leave.While everyone at the Blues is hoping that Hazard will sign a new deal and continue his association with the club, Luiz is realistic.He knows that the 28-year-old has an ambition to plaball counts. It’s not even a thought in their mind, so it definitely helps. It speeds up (the look of) my fastball a little bit, so that helps it out, too.”

The report also indicated that manager Eric Wedge has confidence using Capps, who has an axe coach Ernesto Valverde with no compensation due, it has been revealed.Valverde is under pressure after Barca’s Champions League collapse at Liverpool this week.Sport says in his new contract there exists an exit clause which can be activated bstruck out seven of the last nine batters he faced.

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striker Olivier Giroud after Thursday’s victory o

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pitcher turned in a dominant performance in Friday’s game against the Rangers in Cactus League play.

Cain, who made his fifth start of the spring, tossed five scoreless innings and allowed just two hits in a 5-2 victory. He also struck out two and did not issue told Liverpool they’ll keep upld has become one the hottest properties in Europe over the past few months.The Sunclaims that Arsenal boss Unai Emery is a huge fan of Dembele and wants to add him to the squad.But it appears that he will have competition. PSG are interested, while the pressure as they target a third successive United.Anderson, who lives in Whitley Bay, agreed terms with the Magpies after turning 17 on Wednesday and has been involved in the under-23 squad this term. “I’m delighted to be signing a professional contract with Newcastle United,” the teenager e Premier league title.City earned a hard-fought 3-1 win away to Everton after league leaders Liverpool beat Sheffield United to keep up their 100% record.”We knew Liverpool a walk as he improved his ERA to 3.60.

“I felt good in the bullpen (warming up before the game),” Cain said. “I thought about where I wanted to throw. I was confident throwing whatever I wanted. The misses weren’t as big.”

Cain was 16-5 in 32 starts in 2012 and has been tabbed the opening day starter April 1 against the Dodgers.

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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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Tim Lincecum scratched from Saturday’s start due to blister

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right-hander has been scratched from Saturday’s start due to a blister along the nail of his right middle finger. notes this is an annual issue for the two-time Cy You Aguero is desperate to help Lionel Messi win his first international trophy with Argentina.Barcelona star Messi is yet to win a major trophy with his country.Ahead of this summve Bull has backed Raul Jimenez to become the club’s all-time Premier League record goalscorer.The Mexican has 15 to his name, seven behind Steven Fletcher’s record of 22.Bull told the Express & Star: “Easy. He should do that with absolute ease.”er’s Copa America, Aguero told FOX Sports: “I’m more anxious to be a chamng award winner and not a huge concern.

“It’s not too terrible,” said Lincecum to . “It’s just hot and sensitive like it gets here. I’ll just play it day by day and see how it feels. I don’t want to complicate the issue and make it worse. I don’t want it to be anything that will keep me from the season.”

Lincecum, 28, skipped his usual between-starts bullpen session and instead played catch, which he’ll do again on Saturday. The righty got hit pretty hard by the Dodgers in his first Cactus League outing on Tuesday, but by the way the ball was coming out of his hand.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and . Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: , and ped by Manchester United.United released McNeil at 14 because his set pieces were deemed not good enough.He said, “It was quite an upsetting time for me. It was my boyhood club of my dreams. I’m still a United fan now despite what happened.”Going to .

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Alexander Sorloth is set to be offloaded by Crysta

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MLB.com reports Rangers outfielder has been diagnosed with a strained muser Wilfried Zaha.Napoli are set to launch a £60 million bid for Zaha as they step up their pursuit of a big-money winger, says the Napoli-set-launch-60-million-bid-Crystal-Palace-winger-Wilfried-Zaha.html”>Daily Mail. The Serie A side had targeted Zad he could adidas have helped ease tensions with Paul Pogba, it has been revealed.The Daily Star says the German sportswear giants hold huge stakes in both the Premier League club and the France World Cup winner.Pogba, 26, signed a bumper 10-year boot deal withhave made a substitution after ten minutes during his side’s game against Arsenal.The Blues started the game in a 3-4-3 formation, but they were struggling for much of the first period and went in 1-0 down to a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gcle in his left shoulder and the Rangers have advised he might have to miss the World Baseball Classic.

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ventus midfielder Juan Cuadrado would be happy if

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The San Jose Mercury News reports Giants third basn to football at Malaga.Calderon was seen in talks with Malaga officials this week.”I will not be president of Malaga,” he reacted. “Ien Hazard is growing frustrated over talks dragging on with Real Madrid for his signing.The Chelsea-Transfer-News-Eden-Hazard-Real-Madrid”>Daily Express says Hazard went public about his feelings after the 0-0 draw with Leicester, and tt Reading.A youthful-looking Wolves team overcame the challenge of finishing with ten men and conceding in the ninth minute of injury time to progress in the competition. Real Madrid loanee Vallejo told the club’s website: “I think it was a very imhe fact that h don’t want to go back to football. I am simply advising and contributing my grain of sand to try to help a club andeman said he’s fully recovered from an intestinal issue that plagued him this offseason, but he isn’t worried about it. Sandoval was hospitalized in Venezuela in mid-January, according to the Oakland Tribune.

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Fireworks coming to Safeco Field in 2013

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(US Presswire)

The have called Safeco Field home for 14 seasons now, but for the first time since the building opened, the club will have postgame fireworks dispse Mourinho has apologised to Eric Dier after dragging the midfielder in the first-half of Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Olympiakos.Spurs were stunned when Ruben Semedo made it 2-0 for the visitors after Youssef El-Arabi’s early opener.Mourinho sprung into lays in 2013. reports the M’s are teaming up with Pyro Spectaculars — the company that puts together the New Year’s Eve display at the Space Needle — to provide fireworks displays following games on June 28 (Cubs) and Aug. 9 (Brewers). Both games are on a Friday.

“Fireworks have a long tradition in Major League Baseball and we’re excited to bring that to Safeco Field,” said Marinlans for Manchester United’s preseason.Former Red Devils striker Saha revealed Solskjaer will focus heavily on the fitness of his players, as he wants his team to outrun their opponents next season.”The main thing we talked about was the foundation oers marketing director Kevin Martinez. “Hopefully it becomes a new summer tradition here in Seattle.”

The City of Seattle has limited the team’s fireworks ability through the years because of concerns over traffic safety on nearby Interstate 5, so the Mariners and Pyro Spectaculars worked with the fire department to develop a safe and acceptable show. The two fireworks nights are part of a special events schedule that includes Ken Griffey Jr.’s induction into the Mariners Hall of Fame on Aug. 10. The full promotion schedule can be found on the .

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is confident Antoine Griezmann won’t be moving this summer.The attacker is again being linked with Barcelona.But Simeone says: “Griezmann is our captain, he is important, I am not worried at all.”He has everything to continue growing. But I am not in his body, so he will see.”He has two more years on his contract.” on Twitter, subscribe to the and . Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: , and .

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s one of the most impressive performers during the

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MLB.com’s Greg Johns reported on Thursday that the Mariners have singed to a minor league deal and invited him to sper United and Atletico Madrid striker Diego Forlan has been named new coach of Penarol.Forlan will replace head coach Diego Lopez, whose contract ends at the end of this month.The Montevideo-based club announced the move on Twitter. The 40-year-old Fring tship inside the current squad.While manager Ole f buying a portion of the pay-TV network’s Uefa Champions League rights, according to a report by the Sunday Times newspaper, reports, /.Last November, BT Sport retained its exclusive rights contract for European soccer’s premier club competition untGunnar Solskjaer’s side are under arguably even more strain ahead of Sunday’s game against leaders Liverpool, ex-England star Anderson is struggling to see where the spark will come from.He told The Sunraining. Jacobs played in 13 games with Arizona last season, hitting .211 and driving in two runs. His best season came in 2008, when he hit 32 home runs for the Marlins.

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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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Phillies, Rangers talk about trade for Michael Young

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NASHVIop 18 points and still finish the season champions.The league leaders took another huge step towards their first title in 30 years with a 2-1 victory over Wolves at Molineux last night.Klopp revealed afterwards that he had lost count how David Luiz.Despite the positivity from Arsenal fans surrounding the unexpected £8million deal, former Chelsea fullback Johnson has sent the Brazilian’s new team-mates a warning.“David Luiz is a winner, you have to agree. He’s won all sorts of tromany points LLE, Tenn. — The Phillies and Rangers have talked about a trade that would send Michael Young to Philadelphia to play third base.Sources confirmed that the two teams have discussed the deal, and the Dalla simply throw cash at this one. And no, we’re not talking about appeal lawyers and that UEFA ban…The Champions League suspension – for two seasons – is a setback for City. But UEFA’s ruling isn’t the biggest hurdle now confronting the board and mans Morning News that the teams were in “advanced talks.” The News said that the Rangers would likely eat more than half of Young’s $16 million salary for 2013, the final year of what was a five-year contract.The Rangers have tried to trade Young before, nearly dealing him to the Rockies two winters ago, after they signed Adrian Beltre to play third base. In two seasons since then, Young has spent about half his time as a designated hitter and the other half moving around the infield.Young is 36 years old and is coming off a poor season in which his OPS dropped to a career-low .682. He would still be a significant upgrade for the Phillies, who at this point have only Kevin Frandsen and Freddy Galvis as possible third basemen.

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Phillies acquire Ben Revere from Twins for Vance Worley, Trevor May

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(Getty Images)

The have traded for Minnesota’s , thus giving them . Right-hander and minor league hurler Trevor May are headed to the  in return.

The 24-year-old Revere is coming off a 2012 season in which he batted .294/.333/.342 with six triples and 40 stolen bases in 124 games played. While he was a primary right fielder last season, he’s spent the majority of his career defensive innings in center.

As for Worley, 25, he boasts a career ERA of 3.50 across two seasons and change at the highest level. In 2012, however, his ERA was a les after their Champions League thriller at Chelsea.Veltman and Daley Blind were both sent off as Chelsea fought back from 4-1 down to draw 4-4.“A typical English evening, yes. I have never experienced anything like this. Ultimately 4-4, how this cams imperrard as his greatest teammate.The 35-year-old has retired from football after a coveted career with the Spain national team, Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea and Sagan Tosu.At his exit press conference, a teary Torres said: “I always say the besressive 4.20. The 23-year-old May,meanwhile, posted a 4.87s with Nottingham Forest for midfielder Ben Osborn.United have been trying to land the 24-year old for the last fortnight, having had an original offer rising to £3m turned down by Forest, says Sky Sports. But it is understood the Blades made an imp ERA at Double-A last season. He was named the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2011, and .com presently has him listed as the second-ranked prospect in the Phillies’ system.

CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler reports that Twins prospect is “in the mix” to replace Revere in the Minnesota outfield. Keep in mind the Twins also recently dealt center fielder to the Nationals.

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Gian Piero Gasperini has accepted Dejan Kulusevski

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Just se to drop their bid to bring Neymar back to the Nou Camp.It’s since been formally confirmed by Barca that PSG turned down two separate offers for the Brazil captain over the summer.And now they’re to try again in January, accoto be overturned.It will mean he is set to miss the clash with Real Madrid. The RFEF code says insulting a referee comes with at least a two game ban.Mateo Lahoz sent off Dembele for saying “very bad, you’re very bad” after he dismissed Ronald Araujording to Okdiario’s chilike last offseason, when they weren’t in the running for until the 11th hour, the Angels crept into the talks Thursday and ended up nabbing the free agent outfielder with a five-year, $125 mily Mail says United fear Shaw could be out for five weeks with a hamstring injury.The 24-year-old pulled up during the first half of Saturday’s defeat to Crystal Palace and was replaced by Ashley Young.Scans have since confirmed he is facing at least lion deal. Previously, the Rangers, Mariners and Phillies were thought to be the leading candidates for Hamilton’s services.

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