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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Stories by Grey Papke:

Derek Carr amazed by Antonio Brown’s recall after return to practice

Antonio Brown

After a lot of drama, everything returned to normal Saturday with Antonio Brown’s return to practice with the Oakland Raiders.

Brown’s return to the team walkthrough was very impressive to quarterback Derek Carr, who was amazed by Brown’s recall and sharpness despite his time on the sidelines.

“The man’s recall is unbelievable,” Carr said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “He came in and no mental errors, and in this offense, that’s not easy to do. Especially, whenever you have a day off … you come back and you’re like, you’ve got to stay on Coach Gruden’s offense all the time. You can tell Antonio’s been studying because he came out and didn’t miss a beat.”

This is going to be music to Raiders’ fans years after a lot of negative headlines involving Brown lately. He’s still one of the most talented players in the league, and if he can emphasize that and not the off-field drama, the Raiders should be happy with their acquisition after all.

Cameron Maybin accuses umpire Ben May of instigating ejections

Three New York Yankees were ejected during the sixth inning of Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Indians, and one player who was somewhat involved believes the home plate umpire was looking for a reason to toss some players.

Cameron Maybin was the batter who struck out looking on a questionable call, resulting in the series of events that got manager Aaron Boone and teammates Brett Gardner and CC Sabathia ejected. After the game, Maybin had his say, accusing plate umpire Ben May of “egging it on” and staring into the dugout. Maybin also decried the lack of accountability, noting that May would not have to answer for his actions to the media like players do.

Umpire accountability has become a frequent talking point for players, who are frustrated with the double standard. Plenty of players probably feel the same way that Maybin does about events like this.

Dodgers’ Julio Urias accepts 20-game domestic violence suspension

Julio Urias

The Los Angeles Dodgers will be without Julio Urias for roughly two more weeks owing to a domestic violence suspension.

Major League Baseball announced Saturday that Urias had accepted a 20-game ban for a domestic violence incident. The league gave him credit for five games already served when he was placed on administrative leave immediately after the arrest, meaning he has 15 more to go.

The suspension stems from an arrest in May in which Urias was accused of shoving a woman. While the charges were ultimately dropped, that did not preclude MLB from pursuing its own punishment, which they have. He’s on schedule to return to action in early September.

Watch: Three Yankees get ejected in short order after strike zone argument

A pair of umpires tossed New York Yankees left and right during Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Indians.

The conflict started when Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected by home plate umpire Ben May for an argument over the strike zone. As Boone was winding things down, however, things really got out of hand. First base umpire Phil Cuzzi ejected Brett Gardner for banging his bat on the top of the dugout in frustration. In protest of that, Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia — currently on the IL — was also tossed.

A view from behind the dugout shows Cuzzi ejecting Sabathia, though be warned, as there is some inappropriate language.

Gardner getting ejected for banging his bat around seems ridiculous, yet it may not even be his strangest ejection of the season. By doing that, Cuzzi essentially escalated the situation by punishing Gardner for an act that very easily could have been ignored.

Yankees outfielder Cameron Maybin later accused May of instigating things.

Watch: Manchester City winner controversially disallowed due to new handball rule

The Premier League is grappling with a host of new rules and the introduction of video replay for the first time this season, and all of those things collided to provide a controversial finish to Saturday’s game between Manchester City and Tottenham.

With the game locked up at 2-2 late into stoppage time, Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus pounced on a loose ball in the box and scored what looked to be a late winner to give City the points. However, a VAR review intervened, and the goal was disallowed due to a handball in the buildup.

In previous years, the goal would have stood, and not just because VAR didn’t exist. The implementation of a new handball rule means that all contact with the arm, intentional or not, is an infraction. In this instance, the ball deflected off City defender Aymeric Laporte’s arm. Despite the fact that it was completely inadvertent and had little to do with the goal being scored, by rule, it was disallowed.

Ironically, the finish echoed a similar moment last season, when a late Manchester City winner against Tottenham in the Champions League was rightly disallowed by VAR in stoppage time due to an offside.

The introduction of video review, plus a few tweaks to the laws of the game, has changed how things are looked and exposed some arcane foibles of the sport’s rules when looked at in slow motion. It started in last season’s Champions League, and now it’s come to England as well.

Derwin James reportedly set to miss 3-4 months with stress fracture

The Los Angeles Chargers got the expected bad news on safety Derwin James’ injury.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, James will undergo surgery for a stress fracture of his foot and will miss 3-to-4 months, costing him the bulk of the regular season. It is at least possible that James could return just before the playoffs.

James was a Pro Bowler as a rookie and collected 105 total tackles in 2018. This certainly qualifies as significant time, and is a big blow to the Chargers’ season before it can even get started.

Dodgers’ Max Muncy not viewing Braves as rival

Max Muncy

The Atlanta Braves have developed into one of the National League’s better teams, and they’re clearly out to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers for league supremacy. The two teams even have some playoff history, having met in the postseason last year.

Despite that, Dodgers infielder Max Muncy isn’t buying the growing narrative that the two have a rivalry, shooting down that suggestion when asked about it after Friday’s game.

One playoff series may not be enough to spark an actual rivalry just yet, even if these are two division leaders right now. It didn’t stop Muncy from enjoying it a lot when he homered off Atlanta in last year’s playoff series, though.

Carlos Carrasco poised for rehab assignment Monday

Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco could be shaping up to be one of the feel-good stories of the baseball season.

Manager Terry Francona announced Saturday that Carrasco, currently working his way back from leukemia, will likely throw a rehab inning on Monday, with the Indians keeping him on a reliever plan moving forward.

All the updates on Carrasco have been good as he works to make his recovery. It now looks like there’s a very real likelihood that he’ll pitch in the majors this season.