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Monday, July 22, 2019

Stories by Grey Papke:

Dave Roberts not pleased with Kenley Jansen pitching through injury

Kenley Jansen

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts openly wishes closer Kenley Jansen had learned his lesson about pitching through injury a little sooner.

Jansen melted down in the 9th inning against the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night. After getting an out on a comebacker that hit his right ankle, he gave up four straight hits and three runs, turning an 8-6 Dodger lead into a 9-8 loss. After the game, Jansen said his ankle had gone numb and he was unable to push off after getting struck and should have left the game.

Reacting on Wednesday, Roberts wasn’t exactly thrilled that his closer had waited to divulge this information after he’d blown the save and waved off trainers in the process.

It’s a fine lesson in pain management. Athletes want to play and push through injury, and some fans will call them soft if they don’t play. Not listening to one’s body, however, can lead to disasters like this.

Report: Broncos finally sign second-round pick Drew Lock

Drew Lock

The Denver Broncos narrowly avoided a training camp holdout with their second-round pick.

According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, the Broncos finally agreed to terms with quarterback Drew Lock on Wednesday, the day of the official start of training camp.

Reports indicated that Lock, the No. 42 pick in April’s draft, had been seeking a quarterback premium and threatened to not report to camp on time in order to get it.

It’s a rather inauspicious start to Lock’s NFL career. The Broncos like him and view him as a project for the future, but it sounds like the former Missouri quarterback wasn’t interested in being paid like a project. Ultimately, he’ll be in camp as scheduled, likely backing up newly-acquired veteran Joe Flacco.

Report: Chris Paul likely to start season with Thunder

Chris Paul Rockets

Chris Paul’s contract will likely ensure that he starts the season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on Wednesday’s edition of The Jump that there is little momentum towards a trade right now, and Paul is likely to open the regular season with Oklahoma City.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski essentially said the same thing on Twitter, adding that both Paul and the Thunder believe a year together could prove beneficial.

Things have been trending this way for a while. As it stands, Paul’s remaining contract is not of interest to any teams, and the Thunder simply aren’t going to kick in a draft pick to get rid of him. It may not be anyone’s ideal scenario, but it’s simply the way things are going to be for a while.

Kemba Walker looking to younger Celtics for playoff guidance

Kemba Walker immediately becomes one of the Boston Celtics’ key players upon signing with them, but he knows that he has a lot to learn in certain aspects that some teammates could help him with.

Walker appeared in just two playoff series while playing for Charlotte, losing both of them. That’s why he intends to check in with some of his Celtic teammates who have had deeper playoff runs to find out what it takes to win there.

Walker is expected to assume a leadership role in Boston, but this shows just how good of a teammate has has the potential to be. Despite the fact that the likes of Brown and Tatum are much younger and less accomplished, they have both played big minutes in an Eastern Conference Finals series that they nearly won. Walker wants to know what that’s like.

It’s a good sign early in Walker’s career that he’ll be the type of leader and teammate the front office envisions. That would be a far cry from Kyrie Irving, who seemed to alienate everyone in the organization instead.

Peyton Manning has high praise for Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes

It’s fair to say Peyton Manning is a big fan of one of the NFL’s great young quarterbacks.

Manning spoke to NBC Sports’ Peter King for “The Peter King Podcast,” opening up about Kansas City Chiefs sensation Patrick Mahomes. It’s safe to say Manning was impressed, even comparing Mahomes to Denver Broncos great John Elway.

“I think some of the ability to sprint left, throw back right, he’s got a little Elway in him,” Manning said. “Elway was kind of famous for that. The Broncos actually started designing plays to sprint left and throw back right. Mahomes is still improvising.”

It’s kind of funny to see Mahomes getting Elway comparisons when Elway himself is searching for the next great Broncos quarterback in the same division. Regardless, Manning’s assessment reinforces what most already think: Mahomes is a special talent who will be entertaining NFL fans for years to come.

David Price doubles down on ‘trash’ Dennis Eckersley criticism

David Price

Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price has a long-running feud with broadcaster Dennis Eckersley that keeps getting dragged to the forefront.

Eckersley and Price infamously had a heated exchange on a team flight in 2017, but never spoke to clear up the incident. In a Boston Globe feature released this week, Eckersley said he “[doesn’t] plan on seeing him, never” and has no intention of apologizing.

Price gave a brief response on Twitter, but really doubled down Wednesday when asked by reporters.

In other words, Price is saying that it’s a good indication of Eckersley’s character that so few teammates were willing to speak on his behalf during a special about his career.

Price went on to defend Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman, whose antics Eckersley called “tired” in June.

This feud had largely been relegated to the backburner, and probably will be again in the coming days. The bad blood, however, is still as strong as it always was.

Rangers reportedly ‘increasingly likely’ to trade Mike Minor

The Texas Rangers are in a difficult situation at the trade deadline, but it appears they’re going to stick to their rebuilding plan instead of going for it.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, Rangers pitcher Mike Minor is “increasingly likely” to be traded by the deadline, with both the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies as interested parties.

The Rangers were not expected to contend this season, as evidenced by the fact that Minor has been the subject of trade rumors since April. Texas, however, sits at 50-45, just four games out of the second wild card spot. They’ve decided, apparently, that it’s not worth trying to go for it this year, and their best chance of being competitive in the long-term is to stick to the plan they already had in place.

10 MLB teams that need to make a trade deadline move

Brian Cashman

It is a seller’s market in Major League Baseball this July. The bulk of MLB teams can at least claim to be in contention, sitting within five games of either the division or a wild card spot, and that means a lot of teams are going to be competing for limited resources ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.

Sure, most contenders would probably like to upgrade. But which ones really need to most of all? Here are ten teams that most need to make a move with the deadline looming.

10. Houston Astros

On the surface, the Astros would seem to have everything, sitting comfortably in first place in the AL West. However, they could use another starter behind the devastating 1-2 punch of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. It won’t be the end of the world if the Astros opt to stand pat, but in a loaded American League, their best shot at matching up with the Yankees may be to load up on pitching and put their aces up against their playoff rivals. Plus, some of their players are eager for reinforcements.