peaking about how he is under pressure, with the H

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‘s playing time will come strictly at catcher this season, according to MLB.com. Montero is hitting .395/.435/.674 with two home runs and 11 RBI in 43 at-bats this spring. manager Eric Wedge has been impressed with his performance after a slow start in camp.”From a playing-time standpoint, hiue title this season.He took Liverpool on for the first time as Tottenham boss on Saturday, and came out second best as Jurgen Klopp’s Reds ran out 1-0 winners.After the match Mourinho was asked whether he thinks Liverpool will win the title this seas time is going to have to be behind home plate,” said Wedge. “Obviously, I’m comfortable with him DHing, but we have so many other options with thatReal Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos is being urged to make up his mind on a move to North London.The Spaniard has offers from both Arsenal and Tottenham.Real are only willing to allow Ceballos to leave on a season-long loan.AS says the decision rests on the 23-year-old on who he wants to join.Losdelines after undergoing knee surgery.Khedira missed the 2-2 draw with Sassuolo last weekend and has decided to go under the knife.Juve confirmed on their official website surgery was “perfectly successful”.However, they added in their statement he Blancos expect the situation to be resolved sometime this week. to get people in the lineup we feel make us a better team.”

oss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has deleted his Twitter a

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outfielder is expected to learn his roster fate this week because of an opt-clause in his contract that forces the Tigers to tell him whether or not he’ll be on the 25-man roster, according to MLive.com.

“I had some other opportunities where ason, it has been revealed.Just days after his dismissal by Bayern, reports Sport1, Kovac was offered the Everton job after they had sacked Marco Silva.However, the Croatian turned down the proposal as it came too soon after his departure. Everton wothey told me that I’d have a good chance to make their ballclub,” he said. “But you don’t know what’s going to happen when you go into a different situation.”

If K hunt for Lorient striker Alexis Claude-Maurice.The Gunners are star Fabrizio Maiello admits he was the brains behind the plan.He hatched the plan when he was behind bars along with a another group of inmates who were members of a notorious crime syndicate.But the plan failed after Maiello lost his nerve and instpreparing a second bid for the Lorient star, reports Get French Football News. It comes two weeks after their first bid of £7m was rejected. Claude-Maurice is a former team-mate of Gunnelly makes the roster, he would be used as a reserve outfielder/infielder. Kelly is batting .244 (10 for 41) with one triple, two doubles, three homers and six RBI in 21 spring games.

Real Madrid have set their price for Dani Ceballos

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catcher missed Saturday’s Cactus League game due to a stiff lower back, something he woke up with on Friday, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

“I think it might be sleeping funny or something, maybe a little dehydrated from that 107 in Tempe (on Thl boss Jurgen Klopp says there’s no doubting his players’ motivation levels.The Reds are European champions and sit eight points clear at the top of the table.Klopp says the sheer size and legend of the club means his players will always stay hungry:ursday when temperatures climbed into the mid 90s in the Sox game against the Angels),” he said. “But [tre a 52-year-old Bundesliga record as he inspired Borussia Dieves that his Manchester City side “dignify” football with their style of play.The two-time Premier League defending champions failed to defeat Tottenham at home during the second game of the season, despite having a lionshare of possession and goalortmund to victory over Cologne.His goal in the 3-1 away win was the 15th league strike of his fledgling career, beating a record which has stood since 1967.Aged just 19 years 151 days, Sanchainer] Herm [Schneider] is kicking my butt in there so we should be back shortly.”Flowers is expected to start behind the plate for the White Sox on opening day, with Hector Gimenez as his backup. He hopes to return to the lineup shortly.

market plans.That’s according to Okdiario’s chief

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Mets reliever , wearioved since he replaced Unai Emery.Under his watch Arsenal have managed just one league win from eight – a 2-0 victory over Man Utd on New Years Day, although they have progressed in both domestic cups.”There have been a lot of positives,” Arteta toldng a heart monitor around his neck, made his first appearance in a game since 2010 on a back field at the Marlins’ spring training complex Tuesday, reports ESPN. Feliciano allowed a leadoff homer and hit a batter in one inning of work and his fastball registered at 82-83 mph. “It was betn says the 18-year-old was loaned back to Elland Road after his £10million move to Spurs – but has not made a Championship appearance.And Marcelo Bielsa will have £10,000-a-week off the wage bill and a place in his squad when Clarke’s season-long dter than wed to read Michael Owen’s comments about Newcastle, but it’s not something I’m surprised over after sharing the dressing room with him for what was my final season as a player. He didn’t look like a player who was particularly happy at the club and hhat I expected,” Feliciano said.

McCann takes batting practice for first time since shoulder surgery

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catcher took batting practice on Thursday for the first time since having right shoulder surgery in October, reports . He will hit again on Saturday and will be on an every-other-day routine for another week.

“It was nice to get back in there and see sohas announced his retirement.While the 38-year-old has not been playing for the past 18 months since departing from Kerala Blasters in India, his future was in doubt.Now he has confirmed that he will hang up his boots to focus on the next chapter of mething coming at you,” McCann said. “I’m on pace. Everything they have asked me to do, I’ve done.”

McCann, 29, was hampered by shoulder problems last year and hit just .230/.300/.399 with 20 homers. He’d produced a .281/.362/.482 line with 82 homers from 2008-11, when he established himself as one of the two or three best catchers in baseball.

McCann will earn $12 million this year and is scheduled to be in regular contact with Lazio president Claudio Lotito since the end of last season.And Milinkovic-Savic, 24, has told Lotito he wants to leave this summer.Lazio and representatives of Milinkovic-Savic are in contact with Manchester United, which arcome a free agent next offseason. A full, healthy year of his typical productioi says the club didn’t know enough Mario Lemina to complete a deal this summer. The Southampton midfielder instead joined rivals Galatasaray on a season-long loan.Discussing Lemina, Avci said: “We looked at him and thought he could be a good player, n should bring a sizeable free-agent contract given the dearth of quality catchers.

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hile United have been pushing for a deal with Ajax

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Boston catcher returned to Grapefruit League action as the designated hitter on Sunday against the Yankees. Dealing with lower-back stiffness early in camp, Saltalamacchia appears to be over it after goingucceed at Chelsea.Henderson could come up against his compatriot when Chelsighting to keep hold of Hamza Choudhury.The Mirror says Leicester have rebuffed loan enquiries from Burnley and Newcastle for midfielder Choudhury.The Foxes have used the 22-year-old local lad largely as a substitute this season.And that prompted Seaea host the Premier League leaders at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.He told Sky Sports: “They’ve go Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen.The Dane’s current deal is due to expire in June.The Guardian says Inter have offered Eriksen a four-year deal and want to sign the Tottenham star this month.The midfielder is out of contract in the summer andot huge potential with the likes of Mason already training for England, I can see 1 for 2 with a double. Saltalamacchia said Saturday that he’s been wanting to play and that he believes the Red Sox were just being careful with him. He’s batting .375 this spring.

to win it.The competition’s draw will be held toda

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A’s infielder played his second game of the spring on Sunday against the Angels. He went 0 for 1 with a walk and an RBI, making him 1 for 3 with two walks thus far. After missing last season due to a touthampton.The midfielder is being linked with Manchester United and Arsenal this week.”The best thing for me would be to stay here, but I don’t close the door on any club, or any country. I aspire to play in the very biggest clubs, now we will see worn ACL, Sizemore, who is competing for the starting job at second base, told .com that he glad to be playing in games again. “I’d say I’m still more comfortable at second than anywhere else,” Sizemore said. “It felt real good to get out there to just run around different situations, be in differ City striker Gabriel Jesus has cooled talk of a move to Bayern Munich.BILD reports Bayern turned down the chance to sign the Brazilian over the summer.The report states City were unwilling to part with Leroy Sane, offering Gabriel instead in a dealrent places, have different st Brom whizkid Louie Barry is finally set to make his debut for Barcelona’s Juvenil A (U19s).The team this weekend will meet San Francisco after receiving international clearance from FIFA. Sport says Barcelona confirmed the signing of Barry from Weresponsibilities, all the stuff that you don’t really practice until you’re in a game. It felt good to be out in a game for the first time in awhile. It’s nice to have your body do what it’s used to doing.”

rd.Tyrone Mings proved the matchwinner with a scra

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Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher told the Orange County Register that while there remains a possibility that will be available for opening day, it is now an “unlikely” scenario. Madson has been throwing every-other-day after experiencing soreness in his surgically-repaired elbow. “A smart athletic trainer once told me that for every day you’re off, it takes that many days [to get back],” Madson said. “I had three weeks off. So it’ll probably takeoor to returning to Chelsea.Terry has hinted that he could return to Chelsea to work alongside former team-mate Frank Lampard at some point in the future. In an interview with Frank Khalid, the former Blues skipper waxed lyrical aboverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold admits he and Andrew Robertson don’t want to ‘Gary Neville-type’ fullbacks.After victory over Sheffield United, Alexander-Arnold name-dropped Neville, with Liverpool hero Jamie Carragher once claiming “no one wut the work hger Jarrod Bowen.The two clubs want to sign the Championship star in the January transfer window.Bowen, 22, has managed four goals in the first seven games of this season with Hull.He was the club’s top scorer last season, netting 22.Per the Daily Exis ol three weeks to get back to where I was at.”

fender Marc Cucurella.Getafe have exercised their

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In another indication of how quickly time passes, veteran starting pitcher will enter his ninth season in Atlanta this year. And the campaign could be his last as a member of the Braves as he heads into the final year of his contract with the club. The 37-year-old said he would like to finish his career with Atlanta, but is not focused on the situation. “We’ll make the most of it,” he told .com. “My job is to go out and help this team win. I’m going to enjoy it and savor it as much as I can. Hopefully it’s not, but it could be the last year for talks between the club and Maddison’s representatives started last November, but a fresh deal is only just moved to Parma from Manchester United for £1.4m.But Corriere dello Sport says a deal is already in place for Darmian to join Inter Milan in January.As part of the deal, Parma will take Alessandro Bastoni on loan.Moving to Inter will see Dyet to be agreed.City wanted to reward their number 10 with a contract that reflected his importance to the club and his rise to full England internatiome here. Hopat he is far better than Carlos Vela.While Vela is the top scorer in MLS this season, Ibrahimovic believes that he is still the best player in the league.Despite being in the twilight of his career, Ibrahimovic has lost none of his arrogance and passefully, I’ll play a while longer, and hopefully it’s here.”

Rockies, Dexter Fowler avoid arbitration with two-year contract

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The and outfielder have agreed to a two-year deal, avoiding arbitration, the club announced Monday. The contract will pay Fowler $11.6 million, according to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman.

Fowler, 26, had a career year in 2012. The switch-hitter had a .300/.389/.474 (117 OPS+) line wdgers was delighted with their 2-1 win at West Ham.Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring for the Foxes and, while Pablo Fornals levelled before the break, Demarai Gray recovered from an early penalty miss to win it in the second half.”It”s a really gith 13 home runs and 11 tmpton failed with a bid for Wolfsburg defender Felix Uduokhai earlier this month, it has been revealed.Saints landed Kevin Danso from Augsburg in the final hours of the Premier League transfer window – but not before an attempt was made for Uduokhai.riples in his fourth full season as a major leaguer. 

Fowler was arbitration-elirweireld has denied any unrest in the dressing room.Spurs have endured a disappointing start to the season, culminating in a humiliating 7-2 home loss to Bayern Munich.The Champions League group stage defeat has prompted much soul searching among thegible as a Super 2 player last season and earned a $2.35 million contract. When his new contract expires following the 2014 season, Fowler will be arbitration-eligible for one final season.

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Phillies’ Amaro has faith in Delmon Young: ‘He’s not an anti Semite’

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(Getty Images)

took nearly a 90 percent pay cut in guaranteed dollars after a year in which he hit 18 home runs and 74 RBI at age 26, had a 1.000-plus OPS in both the ALCS and World Series and won the ALCS MVP.

And he may be lucky to get what he got.

No, it’s not mostly because he is disliked by the statistics crowd for his extremely low 0.6 lifetime WAR (and worse -1.2 this past season). The real issue is an incident in New York early last season that led to him pleading guilty to aggravated assault in a hate crime.

general manager Ruben Amaro agreed to sign Young to a $750,000 guaranteed deal (down from the $6.75 millon he made with the last year), but not until after many interviews regarding Young’s character, Amaro said in a phone interview with CBSSports. Amaro Lampard has shrugged off claims from Jason Cundy.Former Chelsea player and now radio presenter Cundy said every team bar Manchester City and Liverpool would want to be Chelsea at the moment, with an icon as manager, good results and lots of young taladmitted that the incident was a “big part” of the consideration as he weighed whether to gamble on Young.

Amaro said he talked to rabbis from Philadelphia and Detroit (the Detroit rabbi knows Young well, according to Amaro), the Philadelphia Anti Defamation League and Young himself before giving the player a chance.

“I certainly feel comfortable with the due diSouthampton have secured a raft of young players to new deals.Nathan Tella, Dan N’Lundulu, Oludare Olufunwa and Kieran Freeman have all put pen to paper on fresh terms at the club.Forward pairing Tella and N’Lundulu have signed one-year contract exteligence we put together. But it’s really up to Delmon to prove us right,” Amaro said.

Amaro was a particularly interesting GM to make this decision, given his own background.

“I’m part Jewish, so it’s a concern to me,” said Amaro, a 2009 inductee into the Philadelphia Jewish Hall of Fame whose mother is Jewish.

Ultimately, Amaro concluded that Young shouldn’t be kept from employment with them based on one incident, no matter how ugly. Young was said by police to have uttered an anti-Semitic slur while rles says they should’ve pushed harder for Totteham ace Christian Eriksen.United legend Scholes admits he would have loved the Dane to join his former club.”I was quite excited when Christian Eriksen got mentioned,” Scholes told Robbie Savage’s Premieoughing up a tourist (who turned out not to be Jewish) in Manhattan on April 27, 2012. Young, who had no prior arrests, was sentenced to 10 days of community service and suspended seven days by .

“He’s not an anti-Semite. He made a mistake,” Amaro said. “Hopefully, he can move on from that.”

Amaro pointed out that Young’s two agents, Arn Tellem and Joel Wolfe, are Jewish. But the key for Amaro was a meeting with Young a few weeks back. Amaro said it was a “very long” meeting.

“I got a good feel for the player,” Amaro said.

The Phillies have looked at several corner outfielders this winter, including , who signed with the , , who is still a free agent, and trade targets Alfonso Soriano and . Young gives them a proven run producer at the right price (he reportedly can make $3.5 million if he hits his incentives).

Young allows the Phillies to stay under the luxury tax threshold (they finished last year a few hundred thousand below that limit). While they may have a few dollars left, Amaro indicated he’s not uncomfortable going with the seven outfielders he now has for three spots, with trade acquisition set in center field, Young favored to take right field, and youngsters Jr., , and others vying for playing time.

Amaro said their reports suggest Young will do better in right field than left, where he struggled mightily the past two years with Detroit, contributing to his awful WAR numbers. The Phillies see Young improving since there’s no DH option for them.

“We’re hopeful he can come back and be much better defensively than he was the last couple years,” Amaro said.

Young also had an ankle procedure that should help his range, though Amaro admitted it may mean he won’t be ready for Opening Day.

“We’re not going to rush him,” Amaro said.

The expectation, though, is that Young will do enough to be the team’s right fielder, and there’s hope he could even fill the spot of the righthanded-hitting No. 5 hitter they’ve been seeking. Amaro pointed out he filled such a role for the AL champion Tigers. Young, still only 27, had 112 RBI in 2010 for the .

Young filled his role best in the postseason, and three more postseason homers made it a Tigers career record eight for him. He had 1.186 OPS in the ALCS to win the MVP award, then a 1.043 OPS in the World Series.

Amaro see the Phillies marriage as one that can be “mutually beneficial.”

In more ways than one, Young certainly has a lot to prove.

ormer U-17 coach Carlos Amadeu believes Rodrygo Go

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MLB.com reports Cardinals outfielder said Sunday the shoulder strain that plagtegui is eager to work in England next season.Currently a free agent, Lopetegui has had his agents circulate his name around the Premier League and major clubs in the Championship.The former Porto coach lost his job at Real before Christmas after beiued him in 2012 is no longer an issue and he declared himself “100 percent.” Jay said he was able to perform a normal workout program this offseason after team doctors c plan more major spending.United spent £140million in the summer bringing in defenders Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka as well as winger Daniel James.But United wer’s loving the relegation battle.Villa travel to Watford today for the third of their crucial Christmas fixtures. Smith said: “I, perversely, quite enjoy it. I’d rather be fourth in the league and have that pressure but, being third bottom, let’s go ae languishing in 12th spot heading into their 1-1 draw with table toppers Liverpoleared him before heading home for the winter.

h Friedhelm Funkel praised Zak Steffen after their

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The Marlins and free-agent thirer League’s winter break.Azpilicueta feels it will help with the players’ fitness.”It’s nice to have a few days to switch off,” says Azpilicueta to chelseafc.com.”At the top level you need a high level of fitness, but also on the mental side you needd baseman agreed to a one-year, $2.75 million deal Thursday. Polanco, limited to only 90 games because of injuries, most notably to his back, hit .257 with a .629 OPS for the Phillies last a team.Tuanzebe and his fellow academy graduates are getting their chance under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season.He told the UTD Podcast: “I still have contact with a lot of players that I came up with through the youth team, even back in seaso Jurgen Klopp insists silverware is NOT his motivation.Liverpool finished a solitary point behind Manchester City despite losing just once all season.While the German insists he’s not motivated by silverware, he concedes missing out was a bitter pilln.

Report: Tigers may be out on Rafael Soriano

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A official says that a deal between the team and free-agent closer isn’t happening, to .com’s Peter Gammons.

Soriano, the highest-profile closer on the free-agent market this offseason, was to be looking for a four-year deary.Emery was sacked by the Gunners on Friday.And El Confidencial says beffter suffering a sprained internal ligament on his left knee.James has been struggling for fitness at Real Madrid and has been absent from Zinedine Zidane’s recent training sessions. However, he did travel to meet up with his national team.During a tore his dismissal, Emery was counting on the Gunners trying again for Vazquez after failing to prise the winger away from Real Madrid last summer.Emery was hoping to add the harl worth $60 million this offseason.

The Tigers reportedly with Soriano’s agent, Scott Boras, in late November.

Soriano, who turns 33 in December, saved 42 games for match of Barcelona’s season against Athletic Club, but was taken off at half time and hasn’t been used since.”There is no explanation for me being dropped after the game in Bilbao,” he told RAC1 while on Spain Under-21s duty.”No player likes being lthe in 2012, two years after saving 45 games for the . He owns a 2.78 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 502 innings over an 11-year career.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers Chris Cwik, Jack Moore and R.J. White, follow

What can we expect from R.A. Dickey in 2013 and beyond?

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(Getty Images)

After days of speculation and negotiation, reigning NL Cy Young winner is . That, of course, raises the matter of what we can expect from Dickey moving forward.

The incovenient reality is that there’s never been a case quite like Dickey’s. He’s an artie Swede actually met with Bologna director Marco di Vaio in LA as he considered his options after coming off contract with the LA Galaxy.However, he eventually signed with AC Milan, where he has proved a revelation.Sabatini revealed: “He spoke with tsan of the most elusive, befuddling pitch in captivity, and he didn’t break out until his mid-30s. All of that makes projecting him outward an uncommon challenge. But try we must!

Dickey used his forkball as the foundation of what would become one of the best knuckleballs ever seen. The pitch took years to master, but master it he did. While Dickey’s skyscraping 2012 stands above his pre-existing work, he’s been at another level for a while.

For instance, here are his combined numbers from 2010 and 2011: 383 IP, 3.08 ERA. So he was working at an “ace-like” level even before his work in 2012. What distinguishes his 2012 season is the leap in strikeout rate, from 5.8 in 2011 to 8.9 in 2012. Sustainable? Signs point to yes.

First, look to the tools we typically use to identify outlier pitching performances — BABIP, home-run/fly-ball percentage, and percentage of base-runners stranded — and you find little cause for concern. The BABIP and HR/FB numbers are in line with 2010-11 levels, and the strand rate is just modestly elevated. That strand rate may regress in 2013, but even if it does Dickey still figures to perform at a high level. Let’s probe a little more deeply into why that appears to be the case …

Courtesy of the most excellent , have a look at Dickey’s velocity chart …

As you can see, Dickey’s knuckler (represented by the color … lime? ochre? sad  lime? jaundice?) has steadily added “oomph” over the years. That bodes well for his ability to sustain his success (knucklefeat to Lecce.However, he insists he was to blame for the 2-1 loss.Mazzarri said, “I want to apologise to the fans, as they were exceptional despite this being our worst performance for a very long time.“We got almost everything wrong tonight. Ters in the high 70s/low 80s are simply unprecedented) — adding mph at an age when conventional pitchers are shedding them. Here’s another good sign for Dickey …

Dickey’s vertical movement, after dipping a bit in 2010 and 2011, spiked this past season, back to 2008-09 levels. It must be noted that Dickey wasn’t effective in 2008 and 2009, but the increased vertical movement in tandem with the improved command (substantially better control, substantially higher K%) he showed in 2012, suggest that one key to Dickey’s surge has been his ability to harness that increased movement. Add it all up, and it looks like a knuckleball that’s continuing to evolve. 

It’s no surprise, then, that Dickey least season went to his knuckle-piece more than 85 percent of the time, which is a career-high. There’s no getting around the fact that Dickey is 38, but he almost exclusively throws a pitch that helps one to defy the typical aging curve. And that pitch has been getting even better. Even if his movement charts and gun readings plateau, Dickey’s knuckler will remain one of the best go-to pitches in the game today. 

Dickey may be g the departure of club legend Gianfranco Zola.The Italian will not be part of Lampard’s new staff after spending the season as an assistant to Maurizio Sarri.Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, before Zola’s departure was made official, Lampaa novelty, but he’s a novelty who’s very good at getting major-league hitters out. Expect that to continue in .

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