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Aces back as Azkals face Oman in friendly

After their semifinal stint in Bangladesh, the Philippine Azkals bring in the big guns for their international friendly against world No. 85 Oman in Doha, Qatar on Saturday......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarOct 11th, 2018

History within reach as Azkals face Tajikistan with Asian Cup qualification on the line

The Philippine Azkals are on the brink of making history and could be ninety minutes away from doing so as they close out their 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers campaign against Tajikistan on Tuesday, March 27th at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. A win or a least a draw will send the Azkals to the AFC Asian Cup tournament for the first time in Philippine football history. Sitting at the top of Group F, the Azkals started strong, picking up back-to-back victories in the Group Stages against Nepal and Tajikistan, creating early separation from the field. In their last three matches however, the Philippine side managed three draws, twice against Yemen and once against Nepal. Still, the Azkals find themselves in prime position to advance to the Asian Cup tournament, and while a stalemate would be enough, it’s the maximum three points that they’re after. “This is a game that we have to win because we want to win our home games. We wanna win every game. It’s important for us to beat a team that we’ve beaten before, and we haven’t lost a game yet in the tournament, so we wanna do the same, we don’t wanna lose the game at home.” said Azkals head coach Thomas Dooley during the pre-match press conference. “Our focus is winning the game. If it comes out as a tie, it’s okay, but we’re trying to win our game.” Coming off a 3-2 win over Fiji in an International Friendly last Thursday, the Azkals, who are coming off a long layoff, have now found their footing, and team captain Phil Younghusband believes that the team is confident heading into the match. “It’s a big game tomorrow. The players understand that. The team understands that. We’re looking forward to the game and we’re going to the game with good confidence but also very wary of how good Tajikistan are.” The visitors will need a victory to keep their Asian Cup dreams alive. Aside from the Azkals making history, Fil-British foward is also on-pace to make some history of his own. Already the leading scorer for the Philippine National Team, Younghusband is one away from reaching the 50-goal mark and would be the first Filipino to do so. Reaching the half-century mark puts Younghusband up there with the likes of international football greats such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo, and many others. For the Azkals’ skipper however, getting the all-important win is what matters. “The 50th can wait for another time, the most important thing is we win the game. Obviously it would be perfect if I could score the 50th and we win the game, but the most important thing is the win because that would take us to another level in the Asian Cup.”   With a win, the Azkals will improve to 12 points and finish first in Group F, securing a spot in the 2019 Asian Cup. With a draw, they finish with ten points and are assured of a top-two finish in Group F, which will also secure a spot in the 2019 Asian Cup. A loss and the Azkals finish with nine points, while Tajikistan finishes with ten points. Should this be the case, The Azkals will need to hope for a Yemen loss in their final match against Nepal to be assured of a second-place finish in Group F and qualification to the 2019 Asian Cup.   Catch the Azkals as they take on Tajikistan in their final 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers match on Tuesday, March 27th, LIVE on LIGA channel 86 and LIGA HD channel 183. Kickoff is at 7:30 PM.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 27th, 2018

NU Bulldogs to face CSAV Titans in friendly

SPORTS aficionados in Talisay City will be treated to an entertaining basketball game as National University Bulldogs is set to play in the 3rd Mayor Neil Lizares’s Basketball Exhibition Game on Feb 9, 2019. The seventh placer in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) will challenge back-to-back Negros Occidental Private Schools Sports, Cultural […] The post NU Bulldogs to face CSAV Titans in friendly appeared first on The Daily Guardian......»»

Category: newsSource:  thedailyguardianRelated NewsFeb 8th, 2019

PBA: Alex Compton s return effectively kills dismissal rumors

Amidst reports that he was dismissed as the Alaska Aces head coach, Alex Compton is back, effectively ending weeks-long speculation. Compton of course, is fresh off his fifth PBA Finals loss, which made the rumors more believable. The coach, who is now sporting a beard just arrived in Manila yesterday after spending time with family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the United States. In that area of the continental United States, temperatures dipped to as low as -33° Celsius, which is a few degrees lower than the temperature in Antarctica due to a phenomenon as polar vortex.  Compton's arrival was just on time to lead his team to their Philippine Cup debut.  However, they ended the game on the wrong side of the story, losing 85-72 to the red-hot Rain or Shine Elasto Painters. "Last time I checked, I was just coaching the game. But we just lost and shot 29 percent. So I don’t know, I might get a phone call later. So yeah, we just have some work to do. I’ve been gone. That FIBA break’s gonna help us out," quipped the coach. Compton also added that if the news had been true, he would have been contacted first by team owner Wilfed S. Uytengsu and governor Dickie Bachmann.  "He’s awesome to work for. He will sit me down and tell me when it’s time. And then, when it is, if it is, whatever happens, then great. But I know I can trust that. Really, I mean, I read it and I was like, oh wow! But I thought, you know, I was gone for two weeks, and we had a tuneup game and I wasn’t there. And no coaches just leave in the pre-season. So it’s a natural rumor to start. It’s fine, but yeah," the mentor said. In his return, the Aces were given a rude awakening by coach Caloy Garcia's squad, which seemed to emphasized the four starters Alaska was missing. Jvee Casio, Vic Manuel, Simon Enciso, and Kevin Racal were injured, leaving Chris Banchero the only regular starter to face the music. It does not mean that the Aces used it as an excuse though, as Compton shared that the remainder of his roster were indeed talented PBA players. With a two week break after their third game, the approachable American hopes to use the league-mandated FIBA break to get their legs going once more and become that hard-nosed team people are used to. However, he does ask the Alaska fanbase to be patient, as being undermanned could lead to underwhelming results. "It’s probably gonna be a while, I can tell you that. A while doesn’t mean eight more months or something, that’s not what it means. It just means a while. Hopefully, it would be great," Compton said. "I’d be so happy if this conference we got everybody back. And that’s... Libre naman mangarap eh. So hopefully, we’ll get them back this conference. But it’s also not good when guys are really banged up to force them to play when they’re injured, then it gets worse, and then you really ultimately hurt yourself longer."   __   Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 3rd, 2019

Osaka vs. Kvitova for Australian Open title, No. 1 ranking

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Naomi Osaka never made it past the fourth round at any of the first 10 Grand Slam tournaments of her career. Now, still just 21, she's suddenly on the verge of a second consecutive major championship. And the No. 1 ranking, too. Osaka moved one victory away from adding the Australian Open trophy to the one she collected 4½ months ago at the U.S. Open, using her smooth power to produce 15 aces and groundstroke winners at will while beating Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 in the semifinals Thursday. "I just told myself to regroup in the third set and just try as hard as I can," said Osaka, who saved four break points in the last set and finished the match with an ace at 115 mph (185 kph). "I was so scared serving second serves. I was like, 'Oh, my God. Please!" Osaka said. "Somehow, I made it. I guess that's experience." A day after erasing four match points and a 5-1 deficit in the third set to stun Serena Williams in the quarterfinals, Pliskova could not produce the same kind of comeback. Instead it is Osaka, the only Japanese woman to win a major singles title, who will face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova on Saturday. The winner will rise to the top of the WTA rankings for the first time; Osaka is currently No. 4, Kvitova is No. 6. In the men's semifinals, Rafael Nadal continued his relentless roll through the draw by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 at night. Nadal has not dropped a set as he bids for a second Australian Open title and 18th Grand Slam trophy overall. Osaka's fourth-round finish at Melbourne Park a year ago was her best showing at a major until last year's U.S. Open, where she outplayed Williams in the final. A victory over Kvitova would make Osaka the first woman to win two Slams in a row since Williams claimed four straight across the 2014-15 seasons. Two years ago, Kvitova missed the Australian Open, just weeks after her left hand was stabbed by an intruder at her home in the Czech Republic. Back at her best during what she calls her "second career," Kvitova surged to a 7-6 (2), 6-0 victory against 35th-ranked American Danielle Collins after Rod Laver Arena's retractable roof was closed as the temperature soared toward 105 degrees (40 Celsius). Kvitova reached her first major final since the December 2016 knife attack that led to hours of surgery on the hand she holds her racket with — and first since winning Wimbledon for the second time in 2014. "I didn't know even if I (was) going to play tennis again," Kvitova said. "It's been a long journey." Against Collins, a two-time NCAA champion at the University of Virginia who was 0-5 at Slams until this one, Kvitova was more aggressive throughout, mixing big lefty forehands and well-timed pushes forward to the tune of a 30-9 edge in total winners. But the key to the outcome might very well have been what happened at 4-all after 35 minutes of action: That's when the decision finally was made to close the 15,000-seat stadium's cover, drawing cheers of approval from broiling spectators. Kvitova probably wanted to applaud, too. "I was happier than the fans that the roof closed," she said afterward. "I like to play indoors. It helped me a little bit." She's made clear over the years she is not a huge fan of playing in stifling heat. Not too many people truly are, of course, but Collins is OK with it and thought the roof should have stayed open. "I grew up in Florida and am used to it being really hot all the time. So I kind of embrace that very well," Collins said. "Indoor tennis is a different game. Certainly had its effect." When play resumed after a five-minute delay, it went from being completely even to tilted in Kvitova's favor. She dominated the tiebreaker and the second set to stretch her winning streak to 11 matches. Osaka, meanwhile, extended her Slam run to 13 matches while putting a stop to Pliskova's 10-0 start to the season. Osaka accumulated a 56-20 advantage in winners — and held on when it all could have slipped away. She began the day having won 58 matches in a row after taking the first set, but that seemed in danger when Pliskova broke to end the second and had three break points to go up 2-0 in the third. But Osaka steeled herself there, erasing the first break chance with a huge forehand, the second with a down-the-line backhand winner. On the third, another terrific backhand forced a forehand error into the net by Pliskova, who cracked her racket against the blue court. When Pliskova netted a return of an 83 mph (133 kph) second serve to make it 1-all, Osaka tugged at the brim of her pink visor and let out a big exhale. The match would continue for another 28 minutes, but it basically was done, then and there. That stretch began a nine-point, three-game run for Osaka, and she was on her way. She would face one last break point at 4-3, but saved it with a 108 mph (174 kph) ace......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 24th, 2019

NCAA Season 94 volleyball: Solid service game key in Lady Altas’ win

University of Perpetual Help head coach Macky Carino credited his team’s solid performance at the service line as key to the Lady Altas’ victory over the twice-to-beat College of St. Benilde Tuesday in the NCAA Season 94 women’s volleyball Final Four at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. The Lady Altas landed 12 aces including crucial service winners in the fourth set to beat the Lady Blazers, 25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 25-23, and force a winner-take-all next week for the right to face defending two-time champion Arellano University in the best-of-three Finals.    “Ang naging key sa amin ngayon ay ‘yung target namin sa service talaga,” said Carino, who is looking to steer the Lady Altas back in the championship round since Perpetual won it all in Season 89. “‘Yung attack namin parang secondary na lang pero ang major talaga namin ay service.” Cindy Imbo and Jenny Gaviola scored three aces each in Perpetual’s revenge win over its elimination round tormentor. Imbo nailed crucial back-to-back service winners in the fourth set during the Lady Altas’ impressive closing 11-1 rally from a 22-14 deficit. Carino also took advantage of his familiarity with the tendencies of majority of CSB players, whom he handled two years ago. The mentor steered the Lady Blazers into the throne in Season 91 before transferring to Perpetual last year. “‘Yung majority doon sa kabila akin pa eh. Napag-iwanan ko pa eh. So alam ko pa rin kung paano ko pinalakas yun eh. Advantage on our side because alam ko kung paano sila gumalaw,” he said. “Parang siyempre noong walang-wala pa ang mga yan paano ko sila napalakas at na-develop alam ko rin kung paano sila bawian pagdating sa mga plays namin,” added Carino. Perpetual and CSB will go at it one last time on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2019

Tsitsipas follows up Federer upset by reaching 1st Slam semi

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Lest anyone get the idea that Stefanos Tsitsipas' upset of Roger Federer was a fluke, the 20-year-old from Greece followed it up by beating No. 22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2) at the Australian Open on Tuesday to become the youngest Grand Slam semifinalist since 2007. "That was a great win. It got people's attention," Tsitsipas said about his fourth-round stunner against two-time defending champion Federer on Sunday. "My biggest challenge was to stay concentrated, stay focused," in order to show that the previous victory "didn't happen accidentally." Cheered on by a loud, flag-waving contingent of Greek fans inside and outside Rod Laver Arena, Tsitsipas again displayed his varied skill set, with 22 aces, 30 more winners than unforced errors (68-38) and a nose for getting to the net. He was down a break in both the first and third sets before turning them around against Bautista Agut, whose run to the quarterfinals included victories over Andy Murray, a three-time major champion, and Marin Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open champion and the runner-up to Federer at Melbourne Park a year ago. "Well, he's a good player, no? He's very complete. He has a good forehand and backhand. He's serving well," Bautista Agut said about Tsitsipas. "I think he knows the game. He knows how to play." Now the 14th-seeded Tsitsipas gets to continue the best showing of his career, one that marks him as perhaps the sport's next big thing. And make no mistake about it: He is a millennial, through and through, even promoting his 27,000-follower YouTube channel during his on-court interview. "Guys," he told the crowd, "if you haven't subscribed, please subscribe." No man as young as Tsitsipas had been this far at any Grand Slam tournament since Novak Djokovic at the 2007 U.S. Open or at the Australian Open since Andy Roddick in 2003. "It all feels like a fairy tale, almost. I'm just living the dream, living what I've been working hard for," said Tsitsipas, who dropped his racket, fell on his back and covered his face with his hands at match's end. "I mean, I feel a bit emotional but not too much because I know I worked hard to get here." Seated in his courtside guest box were his parents and two siblings, along with Patrick Mouratoglou, who is Serena Williams' coach and serves as a mentor to Tsitsipas. Now they'll turn their attention to his next opponent, either 17-time major champion Rafael Nadal or another up-and-coming member of the sport's new generation, 21-year-old American Frances Tiafoe. Nadal and Tiafoe were scheduled to play their quarterfinal Tuesday night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2019

Halep edges young American at Australian Open; Venus next

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Push Simona Halep to the brink, and she summons her best. The Australian Open's top-seeded woman got all she could handle from 20-year-old American Sofia Kenin in the second round before taking the last four games to emerge with a 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4 victory that took 2½ hours Thursday. "Well, I have no idea how I won this tonight," said Halep, the reigning French Open champion. "It's so tough to explain what happened on court." A year ago at Melbourne Park, Halep was a point from being eliminated in two matches but came back each time en route to reaching the final. In the first round this year, she was down a set and a break before turning things around. And this time, against a hard-hitting Kenin, Halep trailed 4-2 in the third set and managed to not cede another game. And that was despite getting what she described as "a little bit injured" in the second set, something that seemed clear from the way she wasn't always able to run with her usual verve. "Hopefully," said Halep, whose No. 1 ranking is up for grabs during the Australian Open, "next round I play better." That third-round matchup will be quite intriguing, because it'll be against seven-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 Venus Williams. And the winner of that could face Williams' younger sister, 23-time major champ Serena, in the fourth round. Venus won a three-setter that finished a little before Halep's did — and in much more emphatic fashion. Pushed to that deciding set by getting broken to end the second, Venus ran away with the win down the stretch, defeating Alize Cornet 6-3, 4-6, 6-0. So what was the difference in the lopsided third set? "She was just putting more intensity than me. She was hitting harder, deeper," Cornet said. "I had a little less energy than in the second set and she took advantage of it and really raised her level." The 38-year-old Venus, unseeded at a major for the first time in five years, was the runner-up in Australia to Serena in 2003 and 2017. Serena advanced to the third round by beating 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday night, reeling off the last five games and 16 of the final 20 points. That match was to be followed in Rod Laver Arena by No. 1 Novak Djokovic against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a rematch of the 2008 final at Melbourne Park. Other winners in the women's draw Thursday included reigning U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka, past U.S. Open runners-up Karolina Pliskova and Madison Keys, No. 27-seeded Camila Giorgi and No. 28 Hsieh Su-Wei. In men's action, Stan Wawrinka was up a set and was just two points away from taking the second against Milos Raonic. Couldn't do it. About an hour later, 2014 champion Wawrinka was a single point from grabbing the third set. Denied again. And another hour after that, Wawrinka was two points from seizing the fourth to force a fifth. Nope, not on this afternoon. Wawrinka kept coming oh-so-close, and Raonic kept hanging in there and toughing out the most important moments along the way to a 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6), 7-6 (11), 7-6 (5) victory that put the 16th-seeded Canadian into the third round. "I missed a few little points," Wawrinka said, "that could have changed the match." So true. "It feels like 4 hours passed by in about 15 minutes. ... The adrenaline takes over," said Raonic, the runner-up at Wimbledon in 2016. "I was very fortunate to stay alive in that fourth set." They were interrupted for about a half-hour while the roof at Rod Laver Arena was shut because of rain at 4-all in the third set. Raonic thought that helped him quite a bit. "I do a little bit better indoors than outdoors," he said, "so thank you for raining up there." In other men's action on Day 4, 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori withstood 59 aces from 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic en route to a 6-3, 7-6 (6), 5-7, 5-7, 7-6 (7) victory, but No. 7 Dominic Thiem retired from his match in the third set after dropping the first two, and 2018 Australian Open semifinalist Hyeon Chung lost to Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-2, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4. Raonic delivered 39 aces, part of an impressive ratio of 84 total winners to only 44 unforced errors. This was a matchup probably better suited to the second week than the second round of a Grand Slam tournament, given both men's credentials. But Wawrinka, a three-time major champion once ranked as high as No. 3, dropped out of the top 250 last season, when he had surgery on his left knee. His signature one-handed backhand is as dangerous as ever — he had a 16-2 edge in winners on that shot Thursday — and he hit 28 aces of his own. But as even as the match was in many respects — Raonic only won two more points overall, 163-161 — Wawrinka couldn't come through when he really needed to. Raonic had plenty to do with that, of course, including in the third-set tiebreaker, when he served his way out of trouble. Wawrinka's three set points there came at 6-5, when Raonic delivered a serve at 129 mph (208 kph) followed by a forehand volley winner; at 8-7, when Raonic's 125 mph (201 kph) serve drew a missed return; and at 10-9, when an ace at 132 mph (213 kph) did the trick. A 123 mph (198 kph) service winner gave Raonic that set. In the last tiebreaker, Wawrinka was up 5-4 before Raonic closed with three consecutive points to avoid heading to a fifth set. "Today, I'm sad and frustrated," Wawrinka said. "But in general, if I take some distance with it, I'm happy to see that I'm able to play again with this level, able to move that well.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2019

10 can’t-miss moments in sports for 2019

2018 is already in the books. Now, we look forward to the next chapters we’re all about to read in 2019. Laban Azkals in AFC Asian Cup – January The Azkals will enter historic grounds as early as January as they play for the first time in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019. Their ticket was booked after crushing Tajikistan in a 2-1 home victory early in 2018. With a world-renowned mentored on their side in Sven-Goran Eriksson and veteran national players, the Azkals will travel to the United Arab Emirates for the continental showdown. The Azkals kick off their 2019 AFC Cup Campaign on January 7th against South Korea, followed by a match against China PR on January 11th, before closing out the Group Stage on January 16th against Kyrgyzstan.  Newest season of the oldest professional league in Asia – January After just roughly a month of break from basketball action, the oldest professional league in Asia is back. The PBA will be kicking off its 44th season on January 13 with San Miguel defending its Philippine Cup title. Aside from that, marquee rookies such as CJ Perez, Robert Bolick, and Paul Desiderio are all set to play their first professional games with their respective teams. Up next on Pacman’s list – January The Filipinos will be treated to quality boxing as early as January 19 when Manny Pacquiao defends his WBA (Regular) Welterweight World Championship against challenger American Adrien Broner. After two years of fighting outside the US, Pacquiao will be back in Las Vegas to defend his title against a tough challenger in Broner. Just like old times, Freddie Roach will be back in Pacquiao's corner, this time serving as a consultant. Fanning the flames for a place in FIBA World Cup 2019 – February For the Philippines to be back in the FIBA World Cup, these are the things that need to happen: we must sweep out last two games then Japan must lose at least one of its last two games – giving us the third spot in Group F. Alternatively, we can pin our hopes on China winding up in the top four of its group – giving Groups E and F four berths apiece. Gilas Pilipinas begins its trek through that long and winding road away from home up against Qatar. All teams are teams-to-beat in UAAP 81 Volleyball – February The exciting and highly entertaining collegiate volleyball league is back on February 16. Things to watch out for? La Salle's bid for their fourth consecutive title, Ateneo's face post-Tai Bundit era, UP's confident aura coming off two major preseason championships, and UST's game-changing rookies. Eaglets-Bullpups Finals rematch or not – March Without a doubt, Ateneo and NU, the very same two teams that battled in the Finals last year, are the favorites to go all the way back to the champipnship round in the ongoing season. After all, the Blue Eaglets still have 7-foot-1, 16-year-old Kai Sotto and the Bullpups boast of the deepest roster in all of high school. After the first round of eliminations, however, it’s also clear that RJ Abarrientos-led FEU-Diliman and Joem Sabandal-fronted Adamson have other plans. For sure, something’s gotta give. Alab Pilipinas’ shot at history – April In the almost decade-long history of the Asean Basketball League, no team has won back-to-back championships. Alab Pilipinas is here to change that with the Puerto Rican pair of Renaldo Balkman and PJ Ramos showing the way alongside two-time Local MVP Ray Parks Jr. No doubt, this is the most talented team in franchise history and as such, nothing but a second straight title will be an acceptable outcome. The NCAA is five years away from its centennial celebration – July The first collegiate league in the country is approaching rarified air. Set to open its milestone mark 95th Season, the same old intensity is to be expected in the NCAA. The protagonists, however, may very well be different as all of last year’s Final Four teams will now be missing their main men – Robert Bolick for San Beda, CJ Perez for LPU, Bong Quinto for Letran, and Prince Eze for Perpetual. Is the UAAP 82 Basketball crown Katipunan’s to keep – September In Season 82, all teams will be seeking to nip the dynasty that the Ateneo Blue Eagles are trying to build. After going for back-two-back last season, all eyes will still be on them as their enter the season with an intact core. However, just like Season 81 it will not be a walk in the park with all contenders striving to match their caliber through massive recruitment, coach changes, and tough training camps. Filipino hospitality in SEA Games 2019 – November For the first time since 2005, the SEA Games will be played in Manila. That means that, at long last, our regional neighbors will yet again experience that world-renowned warmth of the Philippines and its people. Make no mistake, however, the Filipinos are all set to go all-out and dominate the medal tally – whether that be basketball in Manila or athletics and aquatics in Clark......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2018

Cardinals strike gold, get Goldschmidt from Diamondbacks

By Bob Baum, Associated Press PHOENIX (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals struck gold in their search for a big hitter, getting All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a multiplayer trade Wednesday. Eager to push for the playoffs after a three-year absence, the Cardinals sent pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, minor league infielder Andy Young and a 2019 draft pick to Arizona. A six-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner at 31, Goldschmidt was among the top players available in the trade market. He hit .290 with 33 home runs and 83 RBIs last season and has often finished high in the NL MVP voting. “We’ve been busy this offseason working to upgrade our lineup, and today we are excited to announce the acquisition of one of the game’s premier players,” Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said in a statement. Goldschmidt has a $14.5 million salary next year, receives a $1 million assignment bonus for the trade and will be eligible for free agency after next season. The Cardinals have a history of acquiring top hitters and then signing them to long-term deals, including Mark McGwire and Matt Holliday. St. Louis went 88-74 and believed it needed a boost in the middle of a lineup that includes Matt Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna and Yadier Molina to compete with the likes of Milwaukee and the Cubs in the NL Central. The Cardinals’ postseason drought is their longest 1997-99. Free agent slugger Bryce Harper has supposedly been on the Cards’ wish list, too, as the winter meetings approach this weekend. Last offseason, the Cardinals had worked out a deal with Miami for NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, but he refused to waive his no-trade clause. Arizona went 82-80 in the NL West and finished behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado, who both made the playoffs. The Diamondbacks, obviously in rebuilding mode, parted ways with a homegrown player who grew to be the face of the franchise but is nearing the end of an extremely team-friendly contract. The quiet slugger, an eighth-round draft pick out of Texas State in 2009, quickly moved through the Arizona minor league system and advanced to the big league club in 2011. In 2013, Goldschmidt hit 36 home runs and drove in 125. In 2017, he matched that home-run high with 36 and drove in 120. He is a career .297 hitter with 209 home runs, and was runnerup in the NL MVP voting in 2013 and 2015. Despite an awful start to last season, he bounced back to once again become a powerful force. Goldschmidt was the Diamondbacks’ franchise leader in slugging percentage and on-base percentage. “This was an extremely difficult decision given how much Paul has meant to our team both on and off the field. He represents everything it means to be a D-back, and we are very thankful to him for all that he has done for our franchise and our fans,” Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said. Weaver, a 25-year-old right-hander, was 7-11 with a 4.95 ERA last season. He was long rated among the top St. Louis prospects. The 24-year-old Kelly has played for the Cardinals in parts of the past three seasons, batting .154. He’s been highly regarded for his defensive ability. Young, 24, hit a combined .289 in Double-A and high-A ball. The draft choice that Arizona got will come after the second round, likely a pick somewhere in the high 70s or low 80s......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 6th, 2018

Azkals face Golden Dragons in first of two-legged series

The Philippine Azkals face Top 100 side Vietnam in the semifinal series of the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup, hoping to use the Golden Dragons as their springboard to history much like they did back in 2010......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 1st, 2018

Azkals: Everything we’ve got

JAKARTA---After surviving the AFF (Asean Football Federation) Suzuki Cup's Group of Death for a fourth semifinal appearance in five tournaments, the Philippine Azkals have their work cut out for them even before they face Vietnam over two legs in the knockout round. As if toppling an in-form Vietnamese side isn't an already difficult task, the Azkals will have to do it without left back Daisuke Sato, who has ruled himself out of the tournament after he was recalled by Romanian club Sepsi. But the challenges that the Azkals managed to navigate and survive during the home-and-away group stage may be enough to prepare them for any complications in the semifinals starting with the ...Keep on reading: Azkals: Everything we’ve got.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 26th, 2018

PBA: Travis, Lee and the text message that won Manila Clasico

It's late one Wednesday night and Romeo Travis casually avoids the media for an interview after Magnolia's Game 3 loss to Brgy. Ginebra in Manila Clasico. Travis is usually one of the last to leave the Hotshots locker room after each and every game. Usually, he's with his whole family as he exits the arena. He's usually also very approachable and is a joy to talk to, giving great answers to basketball questions and even the occassional life lessons here and there. Yeah none of that happened on this particular Wednesday night. Travis, with an in-ear headset on and a baseball cap, walks with a Magnolia staffer. The two of them casually side-step the media, using another player being interviewed as a sort of a hard screen in order to get free and get away. No one will get to talk to him until two days later.   SO WHAT HAPPENED AGAIN? After back-to-back monster games for Magnolia and a 2-0 lead in Manila Clasico, Travis had his worst PBA performance ever in Game 3. Travis struggled for 12 points, a career-low. While he scored consecutive lay-ups late in the fourth quarter to give the Hotshots the lead, the veteran forward fumbled an offensive rebound following a wild miss from Paul Lee. [Related: PBA: Brownlee scores 46 to save Ginebra's title] If he grabbed that rebound under the basket, it would have been easy two points for Travis. It would have been an easy two points and a tied game with four seconds to go in regulation. Magnolia lost by four instead. And while the Hotshots remained ahead in the series, 2-1, the Gin Kings were charging. Justin Brownlee just tied his career-high of 46 points in the win and it felt that Ginebra, the reigning two-time champions of the Governors' Cup, was actually up in the series and was ready to roll to another Finals appearance. Also, while it was no excuse, Travis turned out to be injured in Game 3, dealing with a bum hamstring. No one would know officially until two days later.   THE REVEAL "It's a grade 2 hamstring injury, since yesterday hirap na siya," Magnolia head coach Chito Victolero said of Travis two days later, right after the Hotshots recovered and beat Ginebra in Game 4 of the semifinals, sealing a Finals appearance. "I trust him, I believe in him. After that Game 3, ibibigay niya lahat. I love this guy and from the beginning, ibang klaseng leadership binigay niya sakin. Grabe ang puso nitong si Romeo," Victolero added of his import. Despite a bum hamstring, Travis soldiered on in Game 4 of the semifinals. Coming off a terrible Game 3 performance, it was actually Travis that carried the Hotshots. He had 11 points in the first quarter alone, one shy of his total the game before. [Related: PBA: Hurting Travis delivers game of his life with 50 points in Manila Clasico win] He had 29 after three quarters and finished things off with the first 50-ball of his whole career, leading a last-minute rally for the Hotshots to finally dethrone the Gin Kings. Fifty points from Romeo Travis was the reason that Magnolia won in Game 4, but it was an early-morning text that won Manila Clasico for the Hotshots.   THE TEXT "Me and Paul [Lee] talked this morning. Paul texted me at 6 a.m. and asked me if I was going to play," Travis said of the conversation he had with his star guard in the morning of Game 4. "I told him if I can play, I was gonna play. He was like if, 'you're playing, I'm playing.' We both decided at about 7:30 a.m. that we were gonna play and give it a go," he added. Over the course of the next 14 hours or so, Travis got clearance and dropped 50 points in a Magnolia win. Lee, bum right knee and all, didn't have the best of games by his standards but his clutch gene came through again, scoring big free throws late to make sure Travis' earlier work will not be wasted. "I texted him asking how he feels. He said he was gonna play so I was like let's go, let's get it," Lee said of the conversation he had with Travis prior to Game 4. "If you have an import like Romeo na he keeps on battling the pain, there's no reason na mag-give up ka kaagad, alam mo yun? (there's no reason you should give up that easily, you know)" he added.   A CHANCE FOR REDEMPTION After his 50-ball and big win over Brgy. Ginebra, Romeo Travis was noticeably emotional after Game 4. How can he not, he could barely walk the day before and he hasn't run since the win. "When you have a lot of pain and it's worth it [you become emotional]," Travis said. "I went through a lot of pain to play and it was worth it. That was emotional, to be able to make it through, get through the pain and make it worth it. It meant a lot to me," he added. Lee, who sent the text that won Manila Clasico, doubled down on his effort to back up his import. If Travis can play through his injuries and come through, he can too. "Kung makikita mo yung import mo na ganun, lumalaban, there's no reason to give up. Lahat lang kami kumuha ng lakas ng loob sa kanya," he said. Now that he's made it back to the Finals, Travis can win a title for Magnolia, something he didn't do three years ago when he was still suiting up for Alaska. [Related: PBA: Romeo Travis should be ready for Game 1 of Finals for Magnolia] Ironically enough, the Hotshots will face the Aces in the best-of-7 Finals set to start in two weeks. "Last time I was here I laid an egg, I played very bad last time I was in the Finals," Travis said. "I want redemption, that's why I came back," he added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2018

England avenges Croatia WCup loss to get shot at new trophy

By Rob Harris, Associated Press LONDON (AP) — Harry Kane's goalless streak was only five minutes from extending to eight games when the captain finally found the net again for England. As Ben Chilwell floated a free kick into the penalty area, Kane slid in, stretched out his right foot and nudged the ball into the Croatia net. It came four months too late to secure a place for England in the World Cup final. But the World Cup Golden Boot winner ensured England went some way to avenging the Moscow semifinal loss to Croatia by turning the tables with a 2-1 victory at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. While England advanced to the final four of the inaugural UEFA Nations League, Croatia was relegated to the second tier. Any doubts about what soccer's newest international competition means to England were dispelled in the relief and glee on Kane's face as he darted toward the crowd in celebration before being leapt on by Jesse Lingard as the Wembley crowd roared. Rarely in the 11 years since English soccer's national stadium was rebuilt has there been such tension for an international game. Not, perhaps, since the opening months when England was beaten by Croatia and denied a place at the 2008 European Championship. "I've never seen (Wembley) like this in an England shirt," the 25-year-old Kane said. "We are going to enjoy it so I hope the fans do too." For a competition that only debuted in September — to replace some largely meaningless friendlies — it has been quickly embraced in soccer's often-cynical heartland. The comeback from such a young side demonstrated a fortitude so often missing from a country that hasn't won a major title since the 1966 World Cup. "The most important thing is the connection with the fans," England coach Gareth Southgate said. "The energy that came back to the team in those difficult moments helped us get over the line." Now England has seven months to contemplate just how meaningful winning the Nations League would be in June. Portugal secured the hosting by winning its group on Saturday. Switzerland sealed the third spot on Sunday night by beating Belgium 5-2, before France or the Netherlands complete the lineup on Monday. "It's another semifinal, two wins away from winning a trophy," Kane said. "We showed that we can beat the big teams. Croatia and Spain are two of the very best in the world. So this is kind of our next step after the summer." Croatian players have said since July that they were inspired in the semifinal by what they perceived as arrogant undertones in the "Football's Coming Home" lyric in the "Three Lions" team anthem. Croatia went on to lose to France in the World Cup final. The song was played immediately after the final whistle on Sunday and even cited by Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic to congratulate England. "It's coming home," Dalic said in his only post-match comments in English. "Very soon." Fatigued after going the distance to beat Spain on Thursday, Croatia was unsettled throughout the first half by England's pace. But Croatia found its stride in the second half, taking the lead after 12 minutes after cutting through England down the right. Josip Brekalo played in Nikola Vlasic, who cut the ball across to Andrej Kramaric. Switching the ball between his feet, the midfielder twisted unchallenged before raising a shot into the roof of the net, via a deflection off Eric Dier's thigh. "We let a soft goal in," Southgate said, "and it is a real test of resilience and patience." The game turned on Southgate's double substitution in the 73rd minute that saw Jadon Sancho and Lingard enter. The impact was felt within five minutes and the set pieces that served England so well on the run to its first World Cup semifinal in 28 years proved decisive again. Joe Gomez's long throw-in was headed down by Kane through the legs of Hrvoje Millic and Lingard tapped in from close range for his second goal in two games after scoring in a 3-0 friendly win against the Unites States on Thursday. At the other end, Lingard came to England's rescue. Domagoj Vida's header had beaten goalkeeper Jordan Pickford but Lingard cleared off line. Parity was maintained but England was still facing relegation from Group A4. Only a win would secure top-tier status and with it a place in the semifinals. For the first time since the last-16 World Cup game against Colombia, and after 747 frustrating minutes, Kane found the target in an England shirt again. "Harry is the best goalscorer in the world," Southgate said. "We have huge belief in him. He is so hungry to lead the team on and further.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 19th, 2018

PBA: Aces out to finally shut down Bolts

Meralco is back to a familiar situation. The Bolts are in true must-win mode once again as they face an uphill climb from a 1-2 series deficit against Alaska in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup. Alaska has taken control of the series following back-to-back wins, including a close 104-102 decision in Game 4. The Aces are looking to close this one out to make their first Finals in two years. Meanwhile, Meralco looks to win a seventh knockout game this conference to force a deciding Game 5. The Bolts previously won six straight do-or-die games to advance to the semifinals. Tip off for Game 4 will be at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Cuneta Astrodome.     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 17th, 2018

PBA: Underperforming bench dooms Blackwater vs Alaska

Blackwater Elite head coach Bong Ramos admitted that his bench had lacked effort in their 116-109 loss against the Alaska Aces at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, Sunday evening. Of the Elite's 109 points, his players off the bench only provided 19 markers compared to the Aces' 37. The coach pointed out several instances in the game where his team fought back their opponents' runs but as his starters rested, the lead somehow ballooned once more for the now 7-2 squad. "Every time nagro-rotate ako ng player medyo gumegewang kami. Di kami naging consistent. Start of the game we controlled the game -- siyempre kailangan ko ipahinga yung starters ko -- pag-rotate ko medyo gumewang kami," the mentor said. Ramos also rued some calls which did not go Blackwater's way, which definitely left a bad taste in their mouths for the remainder of the contest. With the tough loss, all the team wants is to regroup and take on the next challenge as they face the upset-conscious Columbian Dyip at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan Saturday afternoon.  The Johnedel Cardel-led team is coming off an upset win against Rain or Shine last Friday with sky-high morale on their minds. In facing the 1-9 team, guards will not be let down in order to avoid a second-straight party spoiler by the cellar dwellers.  With a potential victory, the team will inch ever closer once again to a coveted twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, a distinction held by the top four teams of the Governors' Cup standings.  "Wala naman kaming mahinang kalaban kasi kulelat kami noong nakaraang conference so that means yung Dyip, malakas pa rin yun. Kailangan talunin namin, kailangan trabahuhin namin. We cannot get Dyip on a silver platter or spoon na ibibigay lang sa amin." __ Follow this writer on Twitter, @philipptionary. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2018

PBA: Alaska grinds out win over Columbian, but Compton ‘unhappy’

It was easy to understand why Alex Compton looked and sounded defeated even though he was doing the customary winning coach's interview. Playing a team that has done practically nothing worth remembering in the PBA Governors' Cup, Compton's Alaska Aces needed 44 points and 27 rebounds from import Mike Harris to turn back Columbian, 104-94, to earn at least a tie for a playoff berth in the season-closing conference on Wednesday night. For such a powerhouse team to be dragged into a close contest by such a lowly squad, Compton faced reporters with a long face, a somber tone and words of displeasure towards his charges who are up for a crucial game with another top four contender ...Keep on reading: PBA: Alaska grinds out win over Columbian, but Compton ‘unhappy’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 17th, 2018

Azkals hold 85th-ranked Oman to a draw

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals drew Oman, 1-1, in a FIFA International "A" friendly on Saturday, October 13 at Al Gharafa Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar.  It was the first time in 17 years that the country faced 85th-ranked Oman as the Philippine men's football team continues its buildup for ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsOct 14th, 2018

PVL: Cool Smashers respond to early wake up call

Creamline came into the Premier Volleyball League Season 2 Open Conference as the title favorite especially after its good build up which included a training camp in Thailand. However, the Cool Smashers started on the wrong foot and stumbled in a stinging five-set loss to PetroGazz.     “Well sobrang frustrated namin as a team talaga kasi syempre hindi namin ine-expect na ganoon kasama ‘yung pagkatalo namin kasi we’ve been training hard for the past few months,” said top hitter Alyssa Valdez. The Cool Smashers bowed down to the Angels in five sets, 25-27, 25-17, 23-25, 25-19, 5-15. It was a crushing loss especially with the fifth set result with Creamline squandering an early 4-0 lead as PetroGazz answered with a 15-1 barrage to steal the match.     “It’s a wake up call, it’s an early wake up call sa amin and it’s a good thing ganoon na panggising. We hope na talagang natuto kami,” said Valdez. The Cool Smashers responded on Wednesday with an emphatic sweep of Tacloban, 25-15, 25-21, 25-15, despite playing their second game without veteran libero Mel Gohing.   “Ngayon syempre nanalo kami but we were struggling sa middle ng mga sets so we really have to work on that pa,” said Valdez, who scored 20 points on 15 kills and five aces. Creamline got into trouble in the second set, needing to come back from a 13-16 deficit to get back on the right track and cruise into a straight sets win.      “Kahit nag-struggle kami we make it to a point, we thought and we think talaga na hindi na kailangan mangyari yung nangyari last game kasi sana natuto na kami doon,” Valdez said. The Cool Smashers will face listless Iriga-Navy on Sunday.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2018

US OPEN 18: Nadal aims for 2nd title in a row in New York

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press Men to watch at the U.S. Open, where play begins Monday: ___ RAFAEL NADAL Seeded: 1 Ranked: 1 Age: 32 Country: Spain 2018 Match Record: 40-3 2018 Singles Titles: 5 Career Singles Titles: 80 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 17 — U.S. Open ('10, '13, '17), Wimbledon ('08, '10), French Open ('05, '06, '07, '08, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14, '17, '18), Australian Open ('09) Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-Won Championship,'16-Lost in 4th Round,'15-3rd,'14-Did Not Play,'13-W Aces: Won the U.S. Open as No. 1 seed in 2010, 2017. ... Trying to become first man to repeat as champion in New York since Roger Federer won his fifth in a row in 2008. Topspin: Beat two past U.S. Open champions and two future stars en route to tuneup title at Toronto Masters this month. ___ ROGER FEDERER Seeded: 2 Ranked: 2 Age: 37 Country: Switzerland 2018 Match Record: 33-5 2018 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 98 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 20 — U.S. Open ('04, '05, '06, '07, '08), Wimbledon ('03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '09, '12, '17), Australian Open ('04, '06, '07, '10, '17, '18), French Open ('09) Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-QF,'16-DNP,'15-RU,'14-SF,'13-4th Aces: Only made it to the final at Flushing Meadows once in the decade since his last title. ... Could face Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. Topspin: Still has never played Nadal at the U.S. Open. If they meet this year, it would be for the title. ___ JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO Seeded: 3 Ranked: 3 Age: 29 Country: Argentina 2018 Match Record: 37-10 2018 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 22 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 1 — U.S. Open ('09) Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-SF, '16-QF, '15-DNP, '14-DNP, '13-2nd Aces: Playing in his 22nd major tournament since his lone such title. If he gets a second, he would set an Open era record for most Slam appearances before No. 2. Topspin: Biggest forehand in the game makes him ever-dangerous on hard courts. Just needs his oft-repaired left wrist to hold up on backhands. ___ ALEXANDER ZVEREV Ranked: 4 Seeded: 4 Age: 21 Country: Germany 2018 Match Record: 43-13 2018 Singles Titles: 3 Career Singles Titles: 9 Major Titles: 0 — Best: QF, French Open ('18) Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-2nd,'16-2nd,'15-1st,'14-DNP,'13-DNP Aces: Recently started working with Ivan Lendl, saying: "He's a smart man, a great guy. Done it as a player, done it as a coach, so he knows what it takes." Topspin: Has won three Masters titles. Now it's time to step up at a Grand Slam tournament and get to his first semifinal. ___ KEVIN ANDERSON Seeded: 5 Ranked: 5 Age: 32 Country: South Africa 2018 Match Record: 33-1 2018 Singles Titles: 1 Career Singles Titles: 4 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: RU, U.S. Open ('17) Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-RU, '16-3rd, '15-QF, '14-3rd, '13-2nd Aces: Runner-up at two of the past four majors, including in New York last year, then again at Wimbledon last month. Topspin: Coming into his own late in his career, he's shown that with a big serve and consistent groundstrokes, he is a contender on fast surfaces. ___ NOVAK DJOKOVIC Seeded: 6 Ranked: 6 Age: 31 Country: Serbia 2018 Match Record: 33-10 2018 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 70 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 13 — U.S. Open ('11, '15), Wimbledon ('11, '14, '15, '18), Australian Open ('08, '11, '12, '13, '15, '16), French Open ('16) Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-DNP, '16-RU, '15-W, '14-SF, '13-RU Aces: Since starting the year 6-6, has gone 27-4. ... Titles at Wimbledon and Cincinnati Masters (beating Federer in the final) make him a popular pick. Topspin: Sure seems very close to being right back at his best after a lull caused at least in part by an injured right elbow. ___ JOHN ISNER Seeded: 11 Ranked: 11 Age: 33 Country: United States 2018 Match Record: 26-5 2018 Singles Titles: 2 Career Singles Titles: 14 Grand Slam Singles Titles: 0 — Best: QF, U.S. Open ('11) Last 5 U.S. Opens: '17-3rd, '16-3rd, '15-4th, '14-3rd, '13-3rd Aces: 12 of 14 titles have come in the U.S. ... Just one quarterfinal appearance in New York, way back in 2011. Topspin: Says playing with calm and not fretting over results helped him have his best season, including first Slam semifinal at Wimbledon......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 25th, 2018

High-priced, established pitchers could be on the move soon

By Rob Maaddi, Associated Press From aces to closers, pitchers will be on the move this month. Teams trying to make a push for the postseason are always looking to add new arms. There are some big names available on the trade market who can make a difference in the starting rotation or bullpen. Here are 10 pitchers — five starters and five relievers — who could be changing uniforms before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline: COLE HAMELS: The MVP of the 2008 World Series and NLCS has been through this before, going from the Phillies to the Rangers in July 2015. Hamels has a career-worst 4.36 ERA and he's already allowed 21 homers, but he's a proven lefty who could benefit from pitching away from a hitter-friendly ballpark. Hamels has a 2.93 ERA in 10 starts on the road. Texas may have to eat some of his salary, however. His contract includes a team option for $20 million next year or a $6 million buyout. Hamels also has a no-trade clause for 20 teams. J.A. HAPP: Another former Phillies lefty, Happ is in the final season of his contract with Toronto. He had three rough starts leading to his first All-Star appearance but has been a consistent starter in baseball's toughest division for a few years. Happ is 10-6 with a 4.29 ERA and is averaging more than one strikeout per inning for the first time in his career in a season in which he's pitched at least 100 innings. MATT HARVEY: After rejuvenating his career in Cincinnati following his release from the Mets earlier this season, Harvey could find himself back in a pennant race. The righty is 5-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 12 starts. JORDAN ZIMMERMANN: He's 4-1 with a 3.79 ERA in 12 starts after an atrocious 2017 season. Zimmermann has the highest strikeout percentage of his career (23.6 percent) but he's owed $50 million over the next two seasons, so the Detroit Tigers might have to pay some of his salary to deal him. NATHAN EOVALDI: Back on the mound after missing 2017 following Tommy John surgery, Eovaldi is 3-4 with a 4.59 ERA in nine starts for the Rays. The righty was roughed up in his final start before the All-Star break but pitched well in his previous three starts. He is only making $2 million this season, so he's a cheap option for budget-conscious teams. ZACH BRITTON: The hard-throwing lefty had 120 saves between 2014-16 before injury cut his season short in 2017. He's back healthy and hasn't allowed a run in 13 of his 15 appearances. Britton is making $12 million this season, and the Baltimore Orioles will have plenty of suitors. BRAD HAND: A two-time All-Star, Hand is signed through 2020 with a team option for 2021 and will be one of the most pursued relievers. He has 24 saves with 65 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings, and the San Diego Padres will be asking for a lot in return. RAISEL IGLESIAS: The Reds have no urgency to move a 28-year-old closer who won't become a free agent until 2022, but Iglesias can net solid prospects in a trade. He has 19 saves and a 2.36 ERA. JOAKIM SORIA: After returning to closing, Soria is having his best season since 2015 in his first year with the White Sox. He has 14 saves and a 2.75 ERA for a team that should be a seller. KYLE BARRACLOUGH: He has a 1.28 ERA and nine saves for Miami in 44 appearances and is under team control for multiple years, so the Marlins will get plenty of calls for the tough righty......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 19th, 2018