Johnny Cueto shared the sad news on Instagram this week that his beloved horse Popeye had died. The death of his pet has affected the pitcher and was a topic of conversation at San Francisco Giants spring training on Thursday.
According to The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly, Cueto said that Popeye died from eating poisonous grasshoppers.
Johnny Cueto will start playing catch next week. In other news, he said his horse, the beloved Popeye, died because he ate poisonous grasshoppers.
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) February 14, 2019
This isn’t the first time there has been a tragic death for one of Cueto’s horses. Back in 2016, his previous horse in the Dominic Republic, also named Popeye, died.
Was a tough day for Cueto. Found out his beloved pony, Popeye, died in DR. Then Cueto had upset stomach as he warmed up.
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) July 2, 2016
What a tough way for Cueto to enter the season.
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- Johnny Cueto
Manny Machado remains unsigned as pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, but he still has interest from several clubs.
One team with interest is the San Diego Padres, who flew to Miami to meet with Machado within the past week, according the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee.
Whether the Padres have offered Machado a contract is unknown, but the NL West squad has interest in the infielder as well as Bryce Harper. Neither player appears close to signing with a team, with a former teammate sharing an ominous note about Harper’s status.
The Padres are establishing themselves as a team actually intent on building a competitive club, unlike many other teams across the league that are not trying to contend. They showed interest in JT Realmuto and continue to show interest in Machado and Harper. Whether they actually land an impact player is the big question.
The Cincinnati Bengals continue to have rough luck with their defensive coordinator search.
The Bengals switched their attention to New Orleans Saints secondary coach Aaron Glenn for the job, but NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says the Saints are planning to block him from interviewing.
The #Saints are planning to block the #Bengals from interviewing New Orleans’ secondary coach Aaron Glenn for their defensive coordinator opening, sources say. The respected assistant was requested earlier today. Cincy’s search rolls on…
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 14, 2019
Glenn, a former defensive back, has been the Saints’ defensive backs coach since 2016. Teams typically allow their coaches to interview for positions that are promotions, so this is odd.
Cincinnati also had interest in Saints current defensive coordinator Dennis Allen for the position but nothing materialized there. The Bengals lost out on Todd Grantham, who decided to remain at Florida rather than leave for Cincinnati.
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Enes Kanter has wasted no time fitting in with his new team.
Kanter posted on Twitter Thursday, a day after signing with the Portland Trail Blazers. His post included a photo of him with referee Ken Mauer, whom he called “King of Portland.”
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) February 14, 2019
What’s the significance of the post? Mauer is the referee who ejected Steve Kerr from Wednesday night’s game, which proved to be a huge turning point that helped the Blazers beat Golden State.
Kanter knows how to troll with the best of them. And how to endear himself to his new city.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are adding another piece for their playoff run.
The Thunder agreed to a deal with free agent Markieff Morris, as first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Morris was traded by the Wizards to the Pelicans ahead of the deadline last week. New Orleans quickly waived him, making him a free agent.
Morris is returning from a neck injury that has kept him out since January. He was recently cleared medically for a return.
The 29-year-old averaged 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds in 34 games for the Wizards this season.
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- Markieff Morris
Houston Astros fans are now thinking about what could have been.
Astros President and General Manager Jeff Luhnow confirmed on Thursday that the team had an agreement to acquire Bryce Harper in a trade prior to last year’s deadline.
Jeff Luhnow confirmed today the Astros had an agreement in principle to trade for Bryce Harper at last season’s trade deadline.
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) February 14, 2019
The Washington Nationals made Harper available for trades last year and even placed him on revocable trade waivers. A November report said the Nats and Astros agreed to a trade that would have sent Harper to Houston for three prospects, but Nats ownership rejected it. On top of Houston, the Dodgers were another team that tried to acquire Harper in a trade.
Harper would have made for quite a rental for Houston, who ended up losing to the Red Sox in the ALCS. Harper remains unsigned as a free agent.
You don’t see this very often.
Steve Kerr was ejected from Wednesday night’s Golden State Warriors-Portland Trail Blazers game after losing his mind over a call.
Draymond Green fouled Zach Collins while trying to prevent a layup with Portland leading 110-103 and under four minutes remaining in the game. The referees decided to review the call and gave Green a flagrant foul for unnecessary physical contact. That decision led Kerr to lose his mind:
Steve Kerr didn't like the flagrant foul call on Draymond Green, and now his vacation starts early pic.twitter.com/zxCDhtkawy
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) February 14, 2019
Kerr slammed down his board and could be seen telling official Ken Mauer the call was “f—ing bulls—.”
He was so livid that Kevin Durant had to direct the head coach away from the court to avoid further punishment.
The sequence of events helped push the game in Portland’s favor. They got five straight free throws thanks to the tech and flagrant foul calls, making all of them. Then they retained possession and made a 3-pointer to push their lead to 15.
Kerr is normally pretty composed, but when he loses his mind — usually about once a year — it becomes a show.
The Houston Rockets are entering the All-Star break on a disappointing note after losing at Minnesota on Wednesday, leaving Mike D’Antoni irritated.
Houston lost to the Timberwolves 121-111, failing to close at the end despite making it a four-point game with under two minutes left. They also led at the half but fell behind in the second half.
Following the contest, D’Antoni upset with the team’s energy.
D'Antoni clearly tired of the same energy/intensity issues. "We didn’t come out with any fire. We don’t put people away. We let them hang around. Then they make some 3s. It happened on Saturday. It happened tonight. We have to get a little more enthusiasm about playing a game.”
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) February 14, 2019
On Saturday, the Rockets blew a huge 26-point lead and lost to the Thunder, which is why D’Antoni is talking about his team’s inability to put teams away. That’s a bad trait to have for a team looking to get back to the conference finals — and advance even farther.