Review Category : National Sports

Blue Jays Claim 1B Justin Smoak off Waivers

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TORONTO) — The Toronto Blue Jays claimed first baseman Justin Smoak off waivers from the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.

In 80 regular-season games this past season with the M’s, the 27-year-old batted .202 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs. He also scored 28 runs and had an OBP of .275.

Smoak was originally selected out of the University of South Carolina by the Texas Rangers with the 11th overall pick in the 2008 MLB amateur draft. On 2010, the Rangers dealt him along with minor league second baseman Matt Lawson and right-handed pitchers Blake Beaven and Josh Leueke to the Seattle Mariners for Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee and right-handed pitcher Mark Lowe.

Smoak owns a career batting average .224 across five big-league seasons.

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Rays Deny Rumors They’re Interested in Moving to Montreal

Zoonar/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Will Major League Baseball move back to Montreal? Not so fast says the Tampa Bay Rays who are denying rumors that the franchise may be interested in relocating to Montreal.

Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reports that Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has had discussions with “wealthy Wall Street associates” about possibly moving the team to Montreal.

Whether the report is true or not, the team felt it was necessary to address it in a statement.

“We are committed to making baseball work in the Tampa Bay region,” the statement read. “We will do everything we can to make that happen and right now things are moving in a productive and positive direction. We have not spoken to Montreal — or any other city, including Tampa — about relocation at any point.”

The Rays have been one of the better teams in the American League since they made the World Series back in 2008.

Still, attendance has been below average annually. This past season, the Rays ranked dead last in Major League Baseball in attendance and are locked into their current lease at Tropicana Field until 2027.

The Expos left Montreal after the 2004 season.

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Ravens Cornerback Jimmy Smith to Miss a Few Weeks

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(OWINGS MILLS, Md.) — While getting ready for a pivotal game against their NFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, the Baltimore Ravens will have to do so without top cornerback Jimmy Smith as he’ll miss the next few weeks with a sprained left foot.

Smith suffered the injury on the opening drive of the team’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

“He’ll be back soon,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Monday.

Aside from being one of the top defensive backs on the team, Smith is emerging as one of the top young cornerbacks in the NFL. He leads the Ravens with eight passes defended.

The Ravens are thin when it comes to cornerbacks now — Ladarius Webb, Dominique Franks, Chykie Brown are the only healthy corners the team has.

At 5-3, the Ravens and Steelers are tied for second in their division, with the Bengals holding a half-game lead over both teams at 4-2-1.

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Rams Lose Jake Long and Brian Quick to Season-Ending Injuries

Leon Halip/Getty Images(EARTH CITY, Mo.) — The injuries continue to pile up for the St. Louis Rams as tackle Jake Long will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL while wide receiver Brian Quick will also miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder.

This is the second time Long has tore his ACL in under a year, same with starting quarterback Sam Bradford, who has missed the entire season.

When on the field, Long has been as good as advertised for the Rams as he’s provided steady protection for quarterback Austin Davis this season.

For Quick, this is a tough blow for him as he was firmly establishing himself as the Rams go-to wide receiver. In just seven games this season, Quick had already set career highs in catches, yards, and touchdowns.

“He was very productive,” Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said. “He took advantage of all the opportunities, he made tough plays, tough catches, we’re going to miss him. But as is the case when you have injured players, people step up so we have got to have people step up.”

Receivers Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens will see an increase in playing time now.

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World Series Game 6 Preview

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(KANSAS CITY, MO) — The Kansas City Royals title hopes are on the brink with a tough matchup against the San Francisco Giants’ Jake Peavy in game six of the World Series.

The Royals are nicked up but that won’t slow them down according to outfielder Lorenzo Cain.

“I’ll be ready to go. We’re all dealing with stuff right now,” said Cain, who has been playing through leg pain. “I’ve done the best I could to stay healthy and just stay on the field.”

Even though the Royals smacked four runs in against Peavy in game 2, hitting coach Dale Sveum explained to MLB Network that the pitcher will prove to be a tough matchup the second time around.

“He’s not going to give in, he’s going to keep the ball down,” Sveum explained. “He still knows how to pitch. He competes as well as anybody. He’s just a guy you are going to have to get up in the zone and be patient on.”

For the Royals, they will send out Yordano Ventura; a young pitcher that manager Ned Yost believes is ready for the moment.”

“His confidence is just staggering,” Yost said. “You walk in that clubhouse and he looks you square in the eye with that glint that says, ‘I’m ready for this.'”

Ventura may have the confidence, but as Giants manager Bruce Bochy explains, his team has got the experience.

“They’re not going to change anything, they’re not going to put any added pressure on themselves,” Bochy said. “They’ve been through so much with their history in the postseason.”

Youthful exhuberance versus established experience. Game six at Kaufman Stadium should be an entertaining game for any baseball fan.

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ESPN: Lions’ Fairley Out 4-5 Weeks

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(DETROIT, MI) — After a scary collision with teammate Ndamokung Suh, Nick Fairley’s season appeared to be over.

The young defensive tackle’s knee bent awkwardly as he attempted to make a tackle against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and needed assistance off the field.

According to a report from ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright, Fairley has a sprained MCL and PCL in his knee and will be out four to five weeks – much less than what was feared.

This is good news for both the Lions and Fairley. The young nose tackle has been an integral part of the improved Lions defense this season. The Lions are holding opponents to less than 300 yards per game.

As for Fairley, the Lions declined a team option that would have kept him under contract through 2015. He would have been set to enter free agency this coming offseason and a severe knee injury would have hurt his market.

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Idzik Shoulders Blame for Jets Season

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(FLORHAM PARK, NJ) — In a season that has left fans irate, Jets General Manager John Idzik addressed the media and accepted the blame for a New York team off to a 1-7 start.

In his mid-season press conference, Idzik took accountability for the dissapointing start.

“It starts with me,” Idzik stated. “My performance as General Manager, everything falls under me.”

Idzik’s hand picked quarterback Geno Smith has dramatically regressed in his second season. In the worst start ever by a Jets quarterback, Smith completed two of eight passes for five yards and had three interceptions.

When asked who would start at quarterback this week against the Kansas City Chiefs, Idzik deflected the responsibility to head coach Rex Ryan, simply stating it was “an organizational decision… everyone has a card in that game” and that Ryan would answer that question.

In a later press conference Ryan announced that he would go ahead with Mike Vick.

In spite of the terrible performances, Idzik maintained support for Smith.

“He is still a New York Jet,” Idzik said when asked if Geno would see the field again this season. “We are still trying to develop Geno Smith.”

The Jets general manager remained adamant that this is a long-term plan. It remains to be seen if anyone will be left when the season is over to execute it.

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Redskins Upset Cowboys in Overtime

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(DALLAS,TX) — Colt McCoy just got his first start as a quarterback in the NFL since 2001; he made the most of it. McCoy got the nod over Kirk Cousins and helped lead the Washington Redskins to a 20-17 overtime upset over the Cowboys in Dallas.

With sharp passes and smart decisions, McCoy was 25-30 for 299 yards while methodically moving the ball against the Cowboys defense. McCoy also showed his legs were still fresh as he scored a touchdown from seven yards out to break a 10-10 tie in the fourth quarter.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo suffered an injury in the third quarter and was forced to the locker room. Backup Brandon Weeden entered and tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 17-17.

After receiving an injection in the locker room, Romo returned, but a drive he began to lead stalled at the Dallas 32.

The game entered overtime and McCoy led a nine-play, 58-yard drive that set up a go ahead field goal by Kai Forbath.

Romo tried to counter, but the Redskins defense made several plays to break up contested passes and in the end, the Cowboys simply ran out of downs.

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Idzik Shoulders Blame for Season

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(FLORHAM PARK, NJ) — In a season that has left fans irate, New York Jets General Manager John Idzik addressed the media and accepted the blame for a New York team off to a 1-7 start.

In his mid-season press conference, Idzik took accountability for the disappointing start.

“It starts with me,” Idzik stated. “My performance as General Manager, everything falls under me.”

Idzik’s hand-picked quarterback Geno Smith has dramatically regressed in his second season. In the worst start ever by a Jets quarterback, Smith completed two of eight passes for five yards and had three interceptions.

When asked who would start at quarterback this week against the Kansas City Chiefs, Idzik deflected the responsibility to head coach Rex Ryan, simply stating it was “an organizational decision” and that Ryan would answer that question.

Ryan later stated that he would go ahead with Michael Vick.

In spite of the terrible performances, Idzik maintained support for Smith.

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Redskins Upset Cowboys in Overtime

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(DALLAS,TX) — Colt McCoy just got his first start as a quarterback in the NFL since 2001; he made the most of it. McCoy got the nod over Kirk Cousins and helped lead the Washington Redskins to a 20-17 overtime upset over the Cowboys in Dallas.

With sharp passes and smart decisions, McCoy was 25-30 for 299 yards while methodically moving the ball against the Cowboys defense. McCoy also showed his legs were still fresh as he scored a touchdown from seven yards out to break a 10-10 tie in the fourth quarter.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo suffered an injury in the third quarter and was forced to the locker room. Backup Brandon Weeden entered and tossed a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 17-17.

After receiving an injection in the locker room, Romo returned, but a drive he began to lead stalled at the Dallas 32.

The game entered overtime and McCoy led a nine-play, 58-yard drive that set up a go ahead field goal by Kai Forbath.

Romo tried to counter, but the Redskins defense made several plays to break up contested passes and in the end, the Cowboys simply ran out of downs.

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