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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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Pedro Martinez says Yordano Ventura survived crash, was left for dead

Yordano Ventura

Pedro Martinez shared some disturbing details surrounding the death of former Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who died after a car crash on Sunday in the Dominican Republic.

Reports have all said that Ventura, 25, died in the crash, but Martinez says the pitcher actually survived it. Martinez says Ventura was still alive after the crash but was left for dead by people who robbed him instead of trying to help him.

Martinez shared the information on Twitter in his native Spanish language:

Here’s the Bing Translate translation of the tweets:

“That outrageous know that a life as it of Yordano could have is saved of not having been that it plunder of the form in that it sacked. Now it’s more painful to know that I am beautiful live after the accident and instead of someone helping him, robbed and left him to die. Hopefully to lift up an investigation, because if there is specific evidence of this, I would feel very embarrassed by my country.”

The funeral for Ventura was held on Tuesday in the Dominican Republic. Many of his Kansas City Royals teammates were in attendance for the funeral. Alcides Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Sal Perez served as pallbearers.

Mike Goldberg opens up about UFC release

Mike Goldberg

For 15 years, Mike Goldberg was the voice of the UFC. The longtime announcer teamed with Joe Rogan to call UFC fight cards, but that ended during the transition as the new ownership took over the MMA company.

During an interview on “The MMA Hour” on Monday with Ariel Helwani, Goldberg finally talked about his release.

“It was a shock. It was a shock,” Goldberg said of his reaction to the bad news. “I was speechless. I didn’t know what type of emotion to have because I was just in a state of shock and disbelief.”

Goldberg expressed his appreciation of the fans for their support and for making him a trending story topic during UFC 207, which was his final card. He says he was informed around Dec. 1 that his contract would not be renewed, which was crushing. He did not receive an explanation for it.

“No, not at all. Not at all,” Goldberg said when asked by Helwani if he got an explanation for his release. “There may be more to come throughout the UFC family. This is not uncommon with an ownership change in anything. It might just be corporate America, it might be on Wall Street. In this instance, it’s a sports property.”

“I watched everything around me be shattered,” Goldberg said. “It took 15 years to build this wonderful family, and it felt like it was taking 15 minutes to destroy it. And it just was a really tough time, and it may still be tough.”

Goldberg recognizes that he lost his job because of the ownership change and that it wouldn’t have happened had Zuffa remained in charge. Zuffa sold the company to a group of investors led by WME-IMG in July for over $4 billion.

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Man shot in face outside Nationals Park

Police are investigating a shooting that took place outside of Nationals Park in Washington D.C. on Tuesday.

According to WUSA 9, police received multiple calls about a shooting. When they arrived they found a man suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

The victim was said to be conscious and breathing.

The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg notes that there was supposed to be a job fair at the park on Tuesday morning.

LeBron James goes off on front office over lack of additions

LeBron James

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a slump right now, and LeBron James wants his front office to do something about it.

The Cavs lost to the Pelicans on Monday night for their fifth loss in seven games — which includes defeats to the Warriors and Spurs — and that has LeBron looking for help. He believes the front office needs to step up and add some players to the team’s roster.

“I just hope that we’re not satisfied as an organization,” James reporters after Monday’s game. “I just hope we’re not satisfied.”

James then said the Cavs are not better than they were last season, when they won the title, while the Warriors have added players. The big problem is that the Cavs don’t have enough depth to keep winning in the regular season without getting worn out.

“It’s like when you don’t have bodies. It’s tough,” James said. “The f—ing grind of the regular season. We’re a top-heavy team. We have a top-heavy team. We top-heavy as s—. It’s me, [Kyrie Irving], [Kevin Love]. It’s top-heavy.”

Clearly LeBron wants some help, which is what he’s been saying for a while. A few weeks ago he vented that the team needed to add a point guard. All the Cavs have done is acquire Kyle Korver. You get the feeling he’s going to keep speaking his mind until GM David Griffin does add a playmaker.

Alex Mack expected to miss practice with sprained ankle but play in Super Bowl

Alex Mack

Atlanta Falcons center Alex Mack is dealing with a sprained ankle that will likely keep him out of practice but not the big game.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport shared the news on Mack:

The Falcons signed Mack to a five-year, $47.5 million deal during the offseason and he has been a good fit in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Atlanta will hope he will be in good enough shape by Super Bowl Sunday so that he won’t be too limited against the Patriots.

Stan Wawrinka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in confrontation at set change

Stan Wawrinka Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Stan Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got into a heated confrontation in French during the break after the first set of their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Wawrinka won the set 7-6 in a tiebreak and said something to Tsonga when the two were seated in their areas between sets. The exchange was in French and seemed to be along the lines of a “what are you looking at?” type of thing.

The two 31-year-olds met seven times prior to this match, with Wawrinka holding a 4-3 head-to-head lead.

5 best remaining MLB free agents

Spring training is less than a month away, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still a few players in the Major League Baseball free agent market that could make positive contributions to a team.

Though roster spots are filling up, teams still have needs, and there is still talent out there.

Here is a look at the five best free agents left on the market and where they might be able to land.

5. Jason Hammel (SP)

The free agent starting pitching market was weak overall this offseason, and Hammel is the best of the remaining bunch. It seems strange that, in a market like this, Hammel would still be on the market this late in the offseason. He posted a 3.83 ERA for the Chicago Cubs in 2016, winning 15 games for the World Series champions. It was the latest in a steady string of successful seasons with the team, as he posted a 3.59 ERA for the Cubs over parts of three seasons.

There were warning signs late in the season, though. The 34-year-old saw his strikeouts drop from 9.1 per nine innings in 2015 to 7.8 in 2016, with his walks per nine jumping from 2.1 to 2.9. More problematically, he posted an 8.35 ERA in his last seven starts of the season, and was left off the postseason roster in all three series the club played in. They cited an elbow issue, which isn’t good, but it’s not significantly better if the team simply deemed him untrustworthy.

Still, Hammel has enough recent success to his name that teams will be interested, though word is they’re unwilling to give him multiple years.

Hammel has been linked to the Texas Rangers, but an NL club would likely be a better fit. Most would be happy to take on a back-end starter for the right price.

4. Chris Carter (1B/DH)

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NBA midseason awards – MVP, Coach, Rookie of the Year

Russell Westbrook

The 2016-2017 NBA regular season has just passed its midway point, so what better time to start handing out some early awards and honors?

While things are most certainly subject to change in the second half and down the stretch, there are few arguments to be had when it comes to which players (and coaches) have stepped up and made a tremendous impact at this point in the season.

So with all of that in mind, let’s hand out some hardware, shall we?

Coach of the Year: Mike D’Antoni (Houston Rockets)

In a strange and unexpected twist of fate, Mike D’Antoni is currently the best candidate for Coach of the Year. And while your first instinct may be to chuckle given his history in the league, his 2016-2017 resume speaks for itself.

After finishing 41-41 with one of the NBA’s worst defenses a season ago, expectations weren’t very high for the Rockets coming into 2016-2017. However, D’Antoni took over the job and not only rallied his players, but he also managed to get them to buy into his philosophy and maximize their individual potential.

If an example of that is needed, look no further than James Harden, who is not only playing great offensive ball, but he’s morphed himself into an all-around talent and MVP contender.

The Rockets still may not be the greatest team defensively, but they’re third in the Western Conference with a record of 34-13, second in the league behind only the Golden State Warriors in points per game (114.5) and are third in the league in point differential (+7.2). They also have 21 in-conference victories, which is good for second-most in the NBA.

“Mike D’Antoni is NBA Coach of the Year” may sound strange coming off the tongue when you consider the way D’Antoni was dumped by the Lakers and Knicks, but no one is even a close second this year. And it’s hard to believe much will change by season’s end.

Sixth Man of the Year: Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets)

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Report: Browns likely to franchise tag Terrelle Pryor

Terrelle Pryor

The Cleveland Browns are likely to franchise tag Terrelle Pryor for next season, according to a report.

Cleveland signed linebacker Jamie Collins to a $50 million deal on Monday. After locking him up, CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora believes the team is very likely to franchise tag Pryor.

Pryor played quarterback at Ohio State and was drafted as a QB by the Raiders. However, his quarterback career did not pan out, so he decided to make a switch to wide receiver. Pryor worked hard and it has paid off.

He posted 77 catches for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns for the 1-15 Browns during the regular season. If he does sign a franchise tag tender, Pryor should make more than $15 million next season. No matter what, he’s about to get paid good money.

Bengals issue statement on Pacman Jones video

Pacman Jones video

The Cincinnati Bengals issued a statement on Monday about the Pacman Jones police officer video.

Pacman was arrested in early January for allegedly pushing and poking a man in the eye. He was charged with multiple misdemeanors and a felony. But that’s only half the story.

The other half came out on Monday when TMZ Sports released a video that shows Pacman cursing out an arresting officer and being extremely disrespectful.

“We are extremely disappointed with Adam’s behavior,” the Bengals said in a statement. “The behavior in the video is not what we expect from our players. The Club is aware that Adam has put forth his own apology, however, we also offer an apology to the public and to our loyal fans.”

Jones’ lawyers also put out a statement on behalf of their client, whom they say is “deeply remorseful for his behavior and conduct.”

Jones, 33, signed a three-year deal with the Bengals last March. He is due $6.3 million next season, so the Bengals could give some thought to cutting him after his behavior.

Long known for his off-field troubles which included a season-long suspension in 2007, Jones has managed to stay out of trouble off the field for the most part since joining the Bengals in 2010.

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