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Sale's return could bolster the Red Sox rotation heading into the playoff run. While All-Star Nathan Eovaldi has been excellent in 2021 -- posting a 3.66 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 103 1/3 innings over 18 starts -- concerns about the rotation continue to grow. Garrett Richards and Eduardo Rodriguez have posted ERAs of 6.45 and 5.35, respectively, since the start of June, while Martin Perez and Nick Pivetta have 4.76 and 4.85 ERAs in the same time period.Chicago Cubs

Robert Stock gets the start for the Mets on Tuesday against the Reds at 7:10 p.m. on SNY. Wade Miley will pitch for Cincinnati.

The White Sox already have a closer in Liam Hendriks, whom they signed to a three-year, $54 million contract this past offseason. But if the White Sox want to make a run to the World Series, it always helps to strengthen the bullpen.Minnesota Twins
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Teddy Ballgame and Yaz are in a class of their own, but Rice spent all 16 seasons with the Red Sox and eventually landed in the Hall of Fame as well. Rice won the AL MVP in 1978, led the league in homers on three different occasions (1977, '78 and '83) and was an eight-time All-Star.

The Sunday matchup between Washington and San Diego was an entertaining affair for all of the right reasons. It was a high-scoring game, and the Padres rallied in the ninth to make it a 7-7 game. Washington infielder Alcides Escobar came through as the hero in clutch time, hitting a walk-off single to give the Nationals the 8-7 victory. Escobar had two hits, two RBIs, a run and a walk.

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“It’s just staying one day at a time and not really worrying about what's going to happen,” Rizzo said. “What's going to happen is going to happen, and none of us have any control of it.”Tampa Bay Rays

Chicago sent outfielder Joc Pederson to the Braves in exchange for 23-year old first baseman Bryce Ball on Thursday.Arizona Diamondbacks

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"It's been very frustrating, a lot of people talk about his size," Hardy said. "I think a good thing has happened in scouting over the last decade or so, where people are no longer saying, 'OK, that guy is big, he has potential, we'll take him.' People question it now, because a lot of these big guys are busts. So he's probably been unfairly labeled by some people in that way. But his hockey sense, his desire to compete, and skill level is really incredible for being that young and that big."Boston Bruins

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SEATTLE (AP) — When the NHL hit the accelerator on expansion some 30 years ago it brought hockey to untapped markets, warm weather destinations and established a footprint throughout all corners of North America.

The Philadelphia Flyers, Nashville Predators and Vegas Golden Knights made interconnected trades ahead of Saturday's roster freeze for the Seattle expansion draft.St. Louis Blues

Jared McCann, F, Toronto Maple Leafs The situation around McCann is fascinating. Toronto spent very little to acquire the very useful forward from the Penguins, but chose to leave him unprotected. On one hand, if all the Leafs lose in the expansion process is the price of McCann— a mid-level prospect and a seventh-round pick — it seems very palatable. And yet, they have opened themselves up to losing a player who could very well be a difference maker for them next season, while instead protecting a journeyman and asset whose performance falls off the table when not attached at Jake Muzzin's hip in Justin Holl. Seattle takes McCann, because it would be foolish not to, in turn infuriating Leafs fans, despite the team paying a very minimal expansion price all things considered.Minnesota Wild
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Seattle should be able to put a good team together over the next week. Don't be surprised if the Kraken make the playoffs in their first season, similar to the Vegas Golden Knights just a few years ago.

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The Kraken could take multiple expansion draft stabs at “the next William Karlsson.” Who’s a skilled player, yet one who hasn’t really done a ton of tangible things to seem like a star? Again, that’s a matter of the scouting staff identifying quality (possibly over-ripe) prospects. Would Tyler Benson be worth a shot? As a fairly recent departure from the Lightning (now with Anaheim), maybe Alexander Volkov could be the next Carter Verhaeghe or Jonathan Marchessault?Dallas Stars

For years, the Panthers blundered through some real mistakes. To be fair, Panthers GM Dale Tallon deserves the occasional bit of credit. Back in 2013, picking Aleksander Barkov ahead of Jonathan Drouin and Seth Jones was mildly shocking. Today, it looks brilliant.
Thursday morning, Ross picked up one of those stomach-dropping phone calls. Hours before the deal was finalized, Hoyer was reaching out to tell Ross that Joc Pederson could be headed to Atlanta.Boston Red Sox

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DeGrom felt discomfort Friday while throwing a bullpen in Pittsburgh. An MRI hours later revealed forearm tightness but no structural damage.Kansas City Royals
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The Mets lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-7 on Saturday night, blowing a six-run lead in the final two innings.

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The Raiders, who had two separate stints in Oakland -- 22 and 25 years sandwiched around a 13-year stay in Los Angeles -- moved to Las Vegas prior to the 2020 NFL season.

By that point, he was drenched. As he leaned in to take signs, sweat poured down his forearm. It was as if someone had turned on a faucet and then smashed the handle. The imagery perfectly accompanied the meltdown occurring on the field.Baltimore Orioles

Paredes has played 44 games for Triple-A Toledo and 11 games for the Tigers this season, posting a .172 batting average, one home run, four RBIs, six walks and five strikeouts in the majors. For the Mud Hens, he is hitting .261 with five homers, 23 RBIs, 26 walks and 29 strikeouts.

Betts was selected to this year's All-Star Game but opted out due to what he called an accumulation of "nagging'' injuries.Detroit Tigers
TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois confirmed on Tuesday that star forward Nikita Kucherov played in the Stanley Cup Final with a non-displaced rib fracture.Anaheim Ducks

The Minnesota Wild continue to look to Russia for talent, unafraid of the lure of the KHL. After all, they do have an awesome recruiter in “Dollar Bill Kirill.” Svechkov is a versatile, well rounded forward who seems like the kind of player Minnesota has really focused on adding in recent drafts. - Brock Otten

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This roster keeps the cap space relatively low with room to extend some of the players not yet under contract. It also allows them to have some minor league depth with players like Tyler Benson and Vitaly Abramov. They also have room to make some splashes; P.K. Subban could be a face of the franchise, even with his cost. James van Riemsdyk gives them a power play option early in franchise history.

• NHL prospect Logan Mailloux has opted out of this weekend’s draft four days after it was revealed that last November he was charged in Sweden with taking and distributing an offensive photo without consent following a consensual sexual encounter. [Daily Faceoff]Minnesota Wild
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While the Olympiques center isn't a regular highlight-reel type, he does a lot of things right. Respected for his two-way game, Dean is responsible and engaged, whether he has the puck or not. He works hard, reads the game well, and never seems to take a second off. An asset in all situations, Dean just makes a team better.Vegas Golden Knights

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With Brent Seabrook ($6.875 million cap hit) and Andrew Shaw ($3.9 million cap hit) on long-term injured reserve and newfound cap space available from the Keith trade, the Blackhawks are likely to target All-Star defenseman Seth Jones — the older brother of Caleb — via trade or six-time 40-point scoring defenseman Dougie Hamilton via free agency.

Another local connection for the Kraken: Gambrell grew up in the suburbs southeast of Seattle. And he can be a third-line center, too.Dallas Stars
The Oilers reportedly tried to include goalie Mikko Koskinen, who has another season at $4.5 million against the cap, in the deal for Keith. Didn't happen. The Oilers have other contracts they could have offloaded, like the $1.65 million Kyle Turris carries into next season. Again, didn't happen.

The final episode of any "Quest for the Stanley Cup" season is always an emotional one. Episode 7 of this year's edition, titled "Lightning Strikes Twice," was no exception.Anaheim Ducks

Accused at times of trying to make the most of each and every opportunity on offense, Johnson often succeeds. During his freshman year, he notched 27 points in 26 games with the University of Michigan.

Widely heralded for his lethal wrist shot, Sillinger is one of a handful of elite scoring forwards in this draft. Having bolted the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers for the U.S. during the pandemic, he potted 24 goals and 22 assists in 31 games for Sioux Falls. He has great hands and reads the game particularly well. His considerable size and strength helps keep defenders at bay, along the boards and in open ice.
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The news comes less than two weeks after the 37-year-old defenseman respectfully requested a trade so that he could be closer to his son.Columbus Blue Jackets

However, injuries to key players and other factors were too much to overcome in a second-round exit to the New York Islanders, setting the stage for what is a pivotal offseason for the franchise.Boston Bruins

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While most are in agreement the Massachusetts native is headed for a long NHL career as a second-line center, a top-unit role is hardly out of the question.New Jersey Devils

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Even with Lillard at 31 and the Rockets in an apparent rebuilding cycle after finishing 2020-21 with the NBA’s worst record, the appeal is obvious. He’s consistently among the league’s most dominant playmakers and clutch scorers. And thanks in large part to the blockbuster James Harden trade, Houston general manager Rafael Stone does have a significant amount of future draft capital to help facilitate a deal.

The Suns already know what they could have done better. Though their success surely hinges on how well Booker plays, it also hinges on their ability to master everything else so that the burden does not just fall on him.

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Middleton can just give you buckets at opportune times, and when his heralded teammate has it going, sit on a 10-foot string to make himself open and available for kickouts when Antetokounmpo is doubled.Orlando Magic

MILWAUKEE -- The ball was in their veteran leader's hands, and the Phoenix Suns were trying to pull out a win during the final minutes of Game 4 of the NBA Finals when not once, but twice, Chris Paul turned the ball over late in Wednesday's 109-103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
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The Milwaukee Bucks star is guided by a philosophy that many try to achieve: live in and embrace the present.Utah Jazz

"He's a guy that is ready for this and he’s going to do a great job," Connelly said. "It’s just a really, really cool moment for him and his family and the organization."Toronto Raptors

Watch the video embedded below to get their take on the big deal that kicked off the Celtics offseason under new team president Brad Stevens, as well as what they think of Horford’s fit with this iteration of his former team.Phoenix Suns

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“There’s a long drive… that one is going way up. … It is off the roof! That hit the transformer up there! A tremendous smash.”Baltimore Orioles

Boston will be among the buyers in the next few weeks, and if Duran performs well facing MLB-level competition it will only raise his stock.

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What makes him bigger than baseball: His magnetism. Watch a game in which Tatis is playing and it's difficult to look at anything else. It's the pupu platter of appeal: the size, the grace, the dynamism. It's the length of his stride and the bounce of his dreads, the smoothness of his swing and the strength of his arm. Tatis is appointment viewing because one night he'll hit a 450-foot home run and the next he'll do the splits and the one after that he'll leap like a basketball player and then he'll uncork a new kind of bat flip. In a game that has been around for more than 150 years, he is its greatest threat to do something that's never been done.Oakland Athletics

The prize money was also an incentive. Finishing first in the Derby will net a cool $1 million– or one-third of Ohtani’s $3 million salary this season to star as a pitcher and slugging hitter for the Los Angeles Angels.San Diego Padres

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It just adds to the legend, Obara says, even topping that moment at their high-school dormitory when Ohtani woke up late. He rushed out, but at 6-foot-4, his head slammed into the lower door frame.

Ohtani was the top seed in Monday's derby but was eliminated in the first round after he lost a swing-off to Washington's Juan Soto.
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Over those two seasons, he so often covered for the Yankees’ offensive inadequacy. In 2021, the first year of a six-year, $90 million contract, he has been part of it, his strikeout rate spiking from 9.7% last year to 15% this year, his worst since 2015. His weighted on-base average has dropped from .429 to .320, his OBP from .421 to .351.Chicago White Sox
* All first- and second-year professionals, and all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection and will not be counted toward protection limits.St. Louis Blues

Fleeing the idle Flint Firebirds (OHL) for second-tier professional pastures in Switzerland, Othmann held his own just fine against fully grown men, scoring seven goals and nine assists in 34 regular-season games. His ability to quickly adjust to the pro game overseas is testament to his maturity and impressive hockey IQ. A near point-per-game showing at the under-18 championship tourney pads what was a relatively successful pandemic-riddled season all around.

The Kraken will select one player from 30 NHL teams, as the Vegas Golden Knights are exempt from the draft. The selections will be revealed beginning on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET during a 90-minute special on ESPN2.Minnesota Wild
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"Just to tell you about the last day," Merzlikins said. "There were 60, 70, 80 people. I never looked for him. I was talking to so many people. Always, he came to me, he looked for me. We had our last beer, our last shot, last cigar. He was always smiling. I think he made me stronger as a man."Vegas Golden Knights

The reason for doing so would be to avoid arbitration, where Ritchie’s 82-game pace of 22 goals last season would net him a decent deal. In not qualifying Ritchie, however, the Bruins would let him become an unrestricted free agent free to sign with anyone. The Kraken, for example, would be able to pick one of Boston’s defensemen in the expansion draft, then sign Ritchie anyway. Boston Bruins

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My goal here is to make sure I do not saddle myself with long-term contracts, because pretty much any player that will be unprotected with term is going to be a player that is probably not worth that long-term salary cap number (Jeff Skinner, Matt Duchene for example). The players with the longest term remaining on my team are Yanni Gourde and Matt Dumba, and I think they are probably fairly safe investments that will maintain some value. Beyond that, I looked for players that only have one or two years remaining and could be tradable assets. That might especially work in my favor on defense with P.K. Subban and Mark Giordano.

“We’re looking at everything,” Philadelphia GM Chuck Fletcher said Tuesday. “It’s an exciting time in a sense that with the Seattle expansion draft, with the flat (salary) cap, you might see maybe a few more trades, a few more hockey trades throughout the week.”

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Chris Paul's 15 turnovers over the last three games are his most in a three-game stretch in the playoffs since 2012.Toronto Raptors

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"I was just trying to score the ball," Booker said. "[Holiday] was behind me. I turned and he was right there."Utah Jazz

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"It wouldn't surprise me if we were off on some of these win totals," Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill U.S., said in a company release. "Usually there's a pretty good formula for these: You've got 12 games, they went 10-2 last year, they've got this many starters returning, you look at their schedule -- and you can pretty much make a number. But there's not much to base off from last year, and so many more kids are coming back with the extra COVID year."

The Blazers should feel relieved that Damian Lillard got in front of these rumors and shot them down, but they shouldn’t feel comfortable. Their point guard has essentially challenged them to be more urgent and make moves that make this roster ready for a championship, or it won’t be long before a trade demand does emerge. Lillard seems to be staying put in Portland for now, but the front office better get moving, because who knows how much more patience he has left.San Antonio Spurs

Is this a championship formula? No. It’s tasty eye candy, designed to whet the appetite of a league placing a premium on scoring. My goodness, the Warriors would be the most entertaining offense in the NBA.Orlando Magic

Suns vs Bucks Game 5 prediction, odds, spread, line, over/under, and betting info for the NBA Finals on Saturday night.

With 42 and 41 points in his last two games, Antetokounmpo has joined LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry West and Rick Barry as players to have two straight 40-point outings in the NBA Finals.
“Somebody asked me the question – ‘How can I help DA?’ So I answered it,” Williams said. “Then the free-throw disparity is what it is. So that's what I did. They had one player with 17 free throws; we had 16. That's not complaining; that's stating facts.”

Many of the Suns were openly happy for Green, who has been the top assistant for Monty Williams during their push to the finals. Green's name has been linked to the Pelicans' opening by multiple outlets.Toronto Raptors

Lonzo Ball is a free agent with plenty of options this offseason, but there’s one that stands out as perhaps his best bet for success. 

But since the pandemic forced the NBA to create health and safety protocols to limit the virus’ transmission, the league made the rules regarding two-way players more flexible, such as giving them unlimited time with the NBA roster (until their contract expired) both in the regular season and playoffs.

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There have been comparisons to LeBron James' epic block of Andre Iguodala's layup in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, and debates rage over which of them was the more impressive play, along with other great blocks from past playoffs.Washington Wizards

Even before the play-in games started, the prospect of the tournament added drama to the end of the regular season with several teams fighting to avoid the play-in tourney as well as avoid outright elimination. By ESPN's count, 24 of the league's 30 teams had a chance at a play-in spot in the final two weeks of the season.Phoenix Suns

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"I’m honored to work with a company that’s investing in women and betting on us to succeed," Parker wrote on Twitter. "I’m hopeful there will be many more badass females to follow."Oklahoma City Thunder
And while Andrew Heaney has been more inconsistent, posting a 5.38 ERA despite recording 94 strikeouts and a 5-6 record in 15 starts, the two new additions to the rotation have made strong first impressions after replacing struggling veterans.Chicago Cubs

Kimbrel, 33, just made his eighth career All-Star team behind a dominant first half. He’s allowed two earned runs in 31 2/3 innings, converting 20 saves (fifth in MLB) in 22 chances. His 15.35 strikeouts per nine is third among relievers (minimum 30 innings).Minnesota Twins
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Going up against the best home run hitter in the league was not easy task, but Soto lived up to the challenge. In the Swing Off, he clobbered all three of his pitches into the Mile High night sky.

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Condensed Game: Christian Arroyo and J.D. Martinez belted homers, while Eduardo Rodriguez struck out eight to lead the Red Sox to a 4-0 winBoston Red Sox

1. Jameson Taillon (5.1 IP, 0 ER, 3 K, 4 H) had his third positive start in a row. Over that span he's pitched 18.1 innings and allowed only three earned runs.

Condensed Game: Jake Cronenworth hit for the cycle and Wil Myers tallied seven RBIs in the Padres' 24-8 drubbing of the NationalsChicago White Sox

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Yet Seager played just 26 games in 2018 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and hip surgery, and just 37 this year after suffering a fractured hand. Cody Bellinger, the 2019 NL MVP, has been limited to 34 games this season.