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#pounditMonday, August 10, 2020

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Ramon Laureano calls Alex Cintron a ‘loser’

Astros As fight

Ramon Laureano lost his cool after being hit by a pitch on Sunday and charged after the Houston Astros’ dugout, and the Oakland Athletics outfielder has confirmed that a derogatory comment about his mother is what set him off.

Laureano was hit by a pitch for the second time in the 7th inning, and he abruptly charged at the Astros dugout on his way to first base. Baseball writer Jose de Jesus Ortiz reported after the game that Laureano was enraged after Houston bench coach Alex Cintron made a vile remark about his mother, which Ortiz referred to as “fighting words” in Latino culture. Laureano shared more details of the exchange with ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Monday.

Laureano said he first made a motion toward A’s pitcher Humberto Castellanos telling him how to properly snap off a slider. That prompted Cintron to shout an expletive at Laureano, and Laureano says he responded with one of his own. Laureano says Cintron then “said in Spanish something you don’t say about my mother.”

“I regret charging him because he’s a loser,” Laureano said. “[A suspension] is understandable, but I hope it’s not that many games.”

Laureano insists he held no ill will toward the Astros over their sign-stealing scandal, but he says his parents are responsible for his MLB career and he has a very close relationship with them.

“Every day I wake up with the motivation to be with them,” Laureano told Passan. “They sacrificed their life for me. They made the tough decision to let their own kid go to the States by himself and follow his own dreams. I’ve been away from my family for 10 years. It’s tough to be away from them. Any chance I have to be with them, I feel like I’m in heaven. So for him to say that to me about my mom, it doesn’t sit well. I’ve got a fire inside me right away in that second.”

While Laureano will likely be suspended, Cintron should face disciplinary action as well. It may have been a matter of time before tempers boiled over with the way the series began, but Cintron escalated the situation. Multiple fines and suspensions could be forthcoming.

Nick Saban feels Alabama players are safer on campus

Alabama coach Nick Saban has added his voice to the growing chorus inside college football pushing back against the rumored cancellation of the season.

Saban said that he believes the Alabama campus is the safest place for his players, noting that the percentage of positive tests within the football team is lower than it is among the general public.

“I want to play, but I want to play for the players’ sake, the value they can create for themselves,” Saban told ESPN’s Chris Low. “I know I’ll be criticized no matter what I say, that I don’t care about player safety. Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home. We have around a 2% positive ratio on our team since the Fourth of July. It’s a lot higher than that in society. We act like these guys can’t get this unless they play football. They can get it anywhere, whether they’re in a bar or just hanging out.”

Saban admitted that it’s unclear how safe things will be once all students return to campus, but said that the SEC schedule was pushed back in order to judge how that process goes.

The Alabama coach becomes another big name to endorse an effort to play, joining the likes of Jim Harbaugh. The season is still in doubt, but it’s clear that many of the sport’s most prominent figures are trying to push administrators into thinking twice before deciding on a full cancellation.

Disturbing details from Derrius Guice’s domestic violence arrest emerge

Derrius Guice

Derrius Guice was released by the Washington Football Team on Friday following a domestic violence arrest, and we now know some of the disturbing details from the alleged incident.

Guice’s girlfriend told police that the running back choked her until she was unconscious, according to court documents obtained by TMZ. The victim says Guice was next to her crying and tapping her when she regained consciousness. That was one of three alleged incidents that took place between Feb. 14 and April 17.

In the Feb. 14 incident, Guice’s girlfriend says she popped a blood vessel after Guice “pushed her to the ground in his bedroom bathroom, causing injury to her left thumbnail where she caught her fall.” The woman says the choking took place on March 13 and that Guice physically assaulted her multiple times that day. Then, on April 17, the woman says Guice pushed her to the ground outside his home in Virginia and she took photographs of her injuries. She also said Guice threw her cell phone in the street and caused it to shatter.

Guice is facing five charges in total, including assault and battery, felony strangulation and destruction of property. The felony strangulation charge alone carries a penalty of up to five years in prison if Guice is convicted.

The 23-year-old entered the league as a second-round draft pick in 2018, but he only appeared in five games for Washington. Guice suffered a torn ACL in his first preseason game, costing him the entire 2018 season. His 2019 was shortened by both the MCL sprain and a torn meniscus that cost him most of the first half of the year.

Guice tallied 245 yards and two touchdowns on 42 rushing attempts last season. He recently announced that he had been cleared for football activity.

Julian Edelman offers first quote about moving on after Tom Brady’s departure

It’s fair to say that no member of the New England Patriots was closer to Tom Brady than Julian Edelman. For that reason, there was extensive speculation about how Edelman would react after Brady’s departure in free agency.

Edelman spoke for the first time since the end of the 2019-20 season on Monday, saying that as much as he loves Brady, life goes on with or without him in New England.

Fundamentally, Edelman has no choice but to move on. While some of the wide receiver’s social media activity fueled talk that he was looking for ways to join Brady in Tampa Bay, the reality according to one teammate is that the 34-year-old is eager to prove that his success isn’t simply down to him being Brady’s favorite target.

2019 marked the third 1,000-yard season of Edelman’s career, and he caught 100 passes for the second time as well. His focus in camp will be on developing as good a rapport with likely Patriots starter Cam Newton as he possibly can, not on anything relating to Brady.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have teamed up yet again! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.

Ron Rivera says Alex Smith will compete for starting job if cleared

Alex Smith is still making his way back from the devastating leg injury he suffered nearly two years ago, and he could return to the practice field with his teammates soon. If he does, Washington head coach Ron Rivera says Smith will be competing for a starting job.

Smith was placed on the active/PUP list to starting training camp despite being fully cleared last month to resume all football activities. Players can be removed from the active/PUP list at any time during training camp and the preseason. If that happens with Smith, Rivera says the 36-year-old will be “in the throes of this competition.”

Former Ohio State star and last year’s No. 15 overall pick Dwayne Haskins is still the favorite to earn the starting job. Kyle Allen, who played for Rivera with the Carolina Panthers, will also be in the mix.

Washington is going to take it slow with Smith, and it’s possible he could begin the season on the PUP list. That would rule him out for at least the first six weeks of the season, at which point Rivera could evaluate the quarterback situation and see if Haskins or Allen has done enough to seize the starting job.

Smith suffered a tibia and fibula fracture during Washington’s loss to Houston on Nov. 18, 2018. Not only was he carted off the field after having his leg broken, but he suffered a spiral fracture that caused more complications. On top of all that, Smith had a serious infection that threatened his career. The fact that Rivera is talking about him potentially competing for a starting job is remarkable given all that happened.

Rory McIlroy hits back at Brooks Koepka with defense of Dustin Johnson

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy went after Brooks Koepka on Sunday in defense of Dustin Johnson.

Koepka entered the final round of the PGA Championship two back of Johnson, who led the field. Koepka said he liked his chances entering the final round because he had more major wins than anyone else high on the leaderboard, including Johnson, who only had won one major.

Koepka also recognized how tough it is to win a second major.

Well, McIlroy didn’t like what he perceived to be a shot at an accomplished player like Johnson, and made his feelings known.

“Sort of hard to knock a guy that’s got 21 wins on the PGA Tour, which is three times what Brooks has,” McIlroy said on Sunday.

Koepka’s comments from Saturday are getting attention — especially among his peers as we can see — but he didn’t seem to be taking a voluntary shot at Johnson or the other players. He seemed to be responding to a question and giving a truthful answer, and that is that he has more experience than some of the other contenders. That is truthful. But when Koepka is actually trolling someone, you can tell.

McIlroy obviously saw things in a different way.

Video: Ramon Laureano starts Astros-A’s fight after hit by pitch

Astros As fight

The Houston Astros were involved in another bench-clearing incident Sunday, this time after Oakland Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano took offense to being hit by a pitch.

In the bottom of the seventh of Sunday’s game, Laureano was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. Though the pitch looked to be a breaking ball, Laureano exchanged words with pitcher Humberto Castellanos. The Oakland outfielder then got into it with the Houston dugout before charging and clearing the benches.

It appeared that Laureano was being taunted and goaded by Houston hitting coach Alex Cintron before the Athletics outfielder charged the dugout.

Major League Baseball has said it will come down hard against on-field brawls, as they inherently violate the league’s health and safety protocols. That is at least partially why Joe Kelly got such a hefty suspension for his actions against the Astros a week and a half ago. Laureano may be in line for a significant suspension, and Cintron may land in hot water for provoking him as well.