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Barefoot bet runs ‘extra mile,’ bags gold

Barefoot runner Leslie de Lima literally ran the extra mile in topping the secondary girls 3000 meters, besting a slew of veteran rivals to become the first gold medal winner in the Palarong Pambansa at the President Elpidio Quirino Stadium here yesterday......»»

Category: sportsSource: philstar philstarApr 17th, 2018

Koy Banal, Denok Miranda, Mark Isip – It s an FEU reunion in Marinero

Marinerong Pilipino has been the site of a family reunion in the PBA D-League. With Koy Banal calling the shots, Joel Banal serving as consultant, and now, Gab Banal playing a key role, the Banals have found a new home with the Skippers. Along with that Banal family reunion, a different kind of family has also reunited in Marinero. Koy Banal now has two of his former players on his coaching staff. “I like the composition of our team, our players and at the same time, yung coaching staff namin. Natuwa ako rito sa dalawang ‘to kasi they’ve been with me since the good old days,” he said, referring to new assistants Denok Miranda and Mark Isip. Banal, Miranda, and Isip – along with Arwind Santos, of course – were all key cogs in the Far Eastern University team which ruled the UAAP in the early to mid 2000s. The head coach continued, “Natutuwa akong they are willing to walk the extra mile, willing to sacrifice para rito sa team namin dito.” For Miranda, it’s only right to be starting his coaching career with the very same person who jumpstarted his playing career. “Siyempre, exciting na first coaching job ko is under my mentors coach Koy and coach Joel. Sa kanila ako nag-start (maglaro) tapos ngayon, sa kanila rin ako nag-start mag-coach,” he shared. The now 35-year-old said all he has accomplished, from being a Tamaraw to being a two-time champion in the PBA, was all because of Banal. “Sobrang laki ng pasasalamat ko kay coach Koy kasi siya ang nag-recruit sa akin nung 15 pa lang ako sa Muntinlupa. Sa kanya talaga ako nagsimula,” he said. And now, it’s also his former mentor who has given him his first shot as a coach. “Guards ang responsibility ko. Shine-share ko lang yung mga diskarteng napagdaanan ko sa PBA before,” he said. That means that the likes of Achie Inigo, Renzo Subido, and Joseph Terso will have a lot to learn. Whenever Banal would need him to suit up once more, however, Miranda said he will be ready. “Hindi pa ako retired ha. Baka maglaro pa o hindi na, depende sa sitwasyon,” he said with a laugh. He then continued, “Mahaba pa naman yung season so siguro ang makakapagpabalik sa akin, kapag nagtatalo-talo kami. Nag-eensayo pa rin naman ako with the team.” Imagine that – more than a decade after Koy Banal coached Denok Miranda in green and gold, the former could coach the latter again now in baby blue and white. It could happen, you know? --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 25th, 2018

Flanagan upsets Keitany, ends US drought at NYC Marathon

NEW YORK (AP) — Shalane Flanagan thought about the seven years building to this race, possibly her last. She thought about the running star striding next to her. She thought about her family. She thought about Meb. With one hellacious holler at the finish, it all poured out. Flanagan dethroned Mary Keitany on Sunday and became the first American woman to win the New York City Marathon since 1977, potentially ending her decorated career with her first major marathon victory. Flanagan's breakthrough came in the last career race for American great Meb Keflezighi. The 2009 New York winner collapsed at the finish line, his 42-year-old body pushed to its limit in his 26th marathon. Keflezighi finished 11th, about five minutes behind 24-year-old winner Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya. This may have been Flanagan's final race, too, although the four-time Olympian wasn't ready to commit. But she likes the idea of her and Keflezighi going out together. "I was thinking of Meb, and I was thinking of how I wanted to make him proud," Flanagan said. Her win came five days after the bike path terror attack in lower Manhattan killed eight and raised questions about security for Sunday. That hit home for Flanagan, a Massachusetts native who completed the 2013 Boston Marathon shortly before a bomb went off at the finish line, killing three and wounding more than 260 others. "It's been a tough week for New Yorkers, and a tough week for our nation," Flanagan said. "I thought of, 'What a better gift than to make Americans smile today?'" Flanagan ended a dominant stretch in New York by Keitany, a Kenyan runner who had won here three straight years. Flanagan stalked Keitany most of the way, hovering behind her during an unusually slow first 20 miles by the lead women. Flanagan, Keitany and third-place finisher Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia broke from the pack in the 21st mile, and with about three miles left, Flanagan hit the jets. She finished in 2 hours, 26 minutes, 53 seconds, about a minute faster than Keitany. Flanagan cried and yelled as she approached the finish line without another runner in sight. "It's indescribable," the 36-year-old said. "It's a moment I'm trying to soak up and savor." The last American woman to win New York was Miki Gorman, who took consecutive titles in 1976-77. "Way too long," Flanagan said. Flanagan knows about long waits. She finished second here in her debut marathon in 2010 but hadn't run New York since. It was also her first marathon since finishing sixth at the Rio Games. She fractured her lower back last winter and missed the Boston Marathon in the spring. She was "heartbroken" to miss her hometown race, but the injury set her up to take aim at Keitany in New York. Flanagan had called Keitany "the alpha racer" and said she was ready to "suffer dearly" while keeping pace with the unpredictable Kenyan. As she went stride-for-stride with Keitany in the middle miles, Flanagan wasn't sure what she'd have for the final stretch. "There's always creeping doubts of whether I was going to have enough to beat the best in the world," she said. Keitany never found her top gear Sunday, though, and finished with her slowest New York time since a third-place result in 2010. Keitany said she had a problem of a personal nature Saturday afternoon that affected her Sunday, but she would not disclose the issue. Flanagan held a stern look on the course until getting emotional near the finish in Central Park. On the podium, she put her hands over face and began to cry again when she was announced the winner. She turned to hug Keitany before accepting her medal. "This is the moment I've dreamed of since I was a little girl," Flanagan said. She's determined to pass on that dream, too. She and husband Steven Edwards — a former track and field star — have been fostering two teenage daughters who are also aspiring runners. Flanagan's parents were also marathoners, and her mom, Cheryl Treworgy, once held the world record. "This means a lot to me, to my family," Flanagan said. "And hopefully inspires the next generation of American women to just be patient." Kamworor beat countryman Wilson Kipsang by three seconds, winning with a time of 2:10:53. Kamworor separated from the pack late and seemed like he would cruise to his first major marathon victory, but Kipsang sneaked up on him at the very end. Kamworor was surprised to see the 2014 New York winner behind him on a large video board located near the finish line. "I look at the camera, I saw someone was coming, which was Wilson," Kamworor said. "And I had to believe in myself because I was holding out for the finish." Kamworor kissed the pavement right after crossing the finish, then turned to embrace Kipsang. Ethiopia's Lelisa Desisa finished third. A few minutes later, the Central Park crowd gave perhaps its loudest cheers of the day to Keflezighi. He waved and blew kisses to the grandstands through the home stretch, then had to be carried away after crumbling at the finish line. "It was a beautiful victory lap, you could say," Keflezighi said. The race went off as planned a few days after New York's biggest terror attack since 9/11. Police had promised an unprecedented effort to secure the course, a plan including hundreds of extra uniformed patrol and plainclothes officers, roving teams of counterterrorism commandos armed with heavy weapons, bomb-sniffing dogs and rooftop snipers. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was expecting 2 million fans to line the streets. The only interruption came when firetrucks had to cross the course to address an emergency that organizers said was unrelated to the race. The course was briefly closed around Mile 18 to let the trucks through, but that was well after the elite runners had finished. Beverly Ramos competed with a Puerto Rican flag headband two months after her home island was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. Like many in Puerto Rico, Ramos was without power after the storm. Still, she decided to continue training near San Juan, seeking out safe places to run amid the wreckage. "You have to stay strong no matter what," Ramos said. "A lot of runners encouraged me to continue and to push." The wheelchair events were a Swiss sweep. Manuela Schar finally upended four-time defending champion Tatyana McFadden to win the women's race, while countryman Marcel Hug repeated as the men's champ. Schar had been runner-up the last three years but beat her nemesis McFadden by nearly three minutes. Hug has won New York three times. Comedian Kevin Hart made his marathon debut at New York. Forget about chasing gold — the actor and fitness nut was mostly worried about avoiding humiliation. "I don't want to see a bunch of memes of me looking weird out here," Hart said shortly before starting.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

Gymnast bags gold, repeats mom’s feat

MANILA, Philippines - It’s virtually liquid gold that runs through the veins of young gymnastics sensation Kaitlin de Guzman......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsAug 22nd, 2017

PCKDF bags 2 golds in China

THE Philippine Canoe-Kayak Dragon Boat Federation (PCKDF) added another feather to its cap by winning two gold medals in the 5th Asian Dragon Boat Championships in Dali Vai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, China. The Filipinos bagged the golds in the men’s 200 and 500 meters 10 seater men’s category….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsJul 10th, 2018

It s a dream come true -- Kapamilya actor Xian Lim on MPBL debut

Kapamilya actor Xian Lim flexed his muscles and showed off his sculpted biceps after scoring over two defenders early in the fourth quarter. Lim’s Mandaluyong squad was already ahead by a mile when he scored the last of his six points but his basket was enough to energize the crowd inside the Blue Eagle gym at the Ateneo de Manila University campus going as the El Tigre ripped apart the Pasig Pirates, 98-55, in the 2018 MPBL Datu Cup Thursday night. The hunky heartthrob cherished his debut for Mandaluyong where he played alongside hardcourt stars Ray Parks and Prince Rivero, calling it a ‘dream come true’ as it brought back his interest to play competitive basketball – the very reason why he decided to come back to the Philippines. “It’s a dream come true para sa akin,” said the 6-foot-1 Lim. “Ito ang dahilan kung bakit ako pumunta from the States to the Philippines, to play basketball for UE along with  (JR) Alabanza kaya nakakatuwa na nag-reconnect kami.” Lim was a part of University of the East’s Team B a few years back but never made it into the school’s main team in the UAAP as he shifted his career into showbiz. Basketball runs in the veins of Xian, whose father Godofredo Lim Uy played for UE in the 80’s, and he’s thankful for the opportunity.      “Napakagandang opportunity ng MPBL especially for everyone, all the Filipinos who want to play basketball to be given a chance,” he said. “Siyempre mahirap (ang level of play). Nirerespeto ko ang mga ‘to eh, napapanood ko lang ang mga ito sa TV pero sabi nga ni coach Mac (Cuan) we have to respect the game, we have to respect all the players and we have to hustle hard,” Lim added. Lim scored his first point in the first half from a split in the free throw line. Fielded back in late in third quarter, Lim uncorked a booming top of the key three-pointer over an outstretched arm of a Pasig defender. He followed it up with strong drive at the hoop off an offensive rebound, twisting in the air and finding a crease to slice through defense of Pasig’s Martin Gozum and Kojack Melegrito at the fourth. Lim celebrated his basket with some swag, much to the delight of the screaming fans. Lim logged in 15 minutes of action, pulling down six rebounds and swatting away a shot.            “Unti-unti na po (nakokondisyon). Araw-araw nagpa-practice, napapagalitan nga lagi ni coach Mac pero to become a better player naman po,” he said. Lim also liked that his basketball career made him learn the importance of discipline in time management both in hoops and in showbiz. “Sa pelikula naman po nagagawan naman ng paraan. Nagiging flexible naman sila sa schedule,” he said. “Sobra (ang nagiging disiplina ko sa schedule) dahil iba po ang disiplina ng player. Kapag sinabing seven o’clock ang practice hindi pwedeng nine o’clock dumating. It’s a whole other discipline po sa basketball.” Lim is now looking forward to Mandaluyong’s game against Marikina – a squad that parades another Kapamilya actor Gerald Anderson. “Pinag-uusapan namin yun noong isang araw ang sabi ko, ‘Bro kailan tayo maglalaro? Wala pa tayong schedule,’” said Lim. “Pero parehong kaming nangangamba kasi all the other players we’re playing with napakagaling and siyempre for me and Gerald to get playing time, si Gerald naman he’s a really good basketball player. Pero for me and him to get playing time, nilalakasan na lang po namin ang dasal namin kay Lord.”     --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 5th, 2018

Malaysian Police Seize Haul of Cash, Luxury Items from Ex-PM Najib

Malaysian police said on Wednesday they have seized cash and luxury items from premises related to former Prime Minister Najib Razak totalling between 910 million ringgit (USD226 million) and 1.1 billion ringgit (USD273 million). The counted items include cash in 26 currencies, 25 bags of gold, 12,000 items of jewelry, 567 luxury handbags, 423 watches […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsJun 28th, 2018

Underprivileged kids from Marawi, Metro Manila, and Batangas participate in Real Madrid-sponsored camp

The two-day YKK Asia Group Kids Football Clinic came to a close last Sunday with 300 underprivileged kids getting the rare opportunity to learn football the Real Madrid way at the McKinley Hill Stadium in Taguig City. Two kids from previously war-torn Marawi City were among those who experienced the world-class football training from coaches of the most multi-titled La Liga team in history with 33 Championship titles to its name.  Children from Gawad Kalinga communities were first to undergo the clinics on Saturday, followed by children from lakeshore communities in Batangas on Sunday morning.  Homeless children who live and sleep on streets and places like Luneta and the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan, and are cared for by Child Hope Asia Philippines had their own exhilarating football experience in the afternoon. Mohammed Faried Anganto and Alintor Bangote were brought by their coach, Espiridion Paran under the auspices of Gawad Kalinga. “Football was one way for the kids to cope and transcend the experience of the past,” said their coach.  “It was special for them to experience the YKK Football Clinic conducted by Real Madrid coaches because they learned new skills and trained with professional football gear. They’re used to playing with makeshift equipment, using tennis balls and playing barefoot,” he added. Real Madrid Foundation coaches Pablo Gomez Revenga, Santiago Sanchez Martin and Hector Vicente were assisted by 30 local coaches who shared and demonstrated world-class training methodologies and training techniques throughout the sessions. The Real Madrid Foundation coaches also promoted values through sports and education, teaching the kids about commitment, responsibility and teamwork, all while having fun.  All participants in the kids clinic received a full set of YKK/Real Madrid Foundation football kits, which include football boots, cap and socks. Everyone received a certificate at the end of the session. The Most Valuable Participants in the morning and afternoon sessions received Real Madrid t-shirts and bags......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 25th, 2018

PVL: Perlas Spikers secure at least a Final Four berth playoff

BanKo American import Kia Bright punished the defense of BaliPure-National University with her blinding attacks as the unbeaten Perlas Spikers secured at least a playoff for a Final Four seat with a 25-19, 22-25, 25-14, 25-19, win Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The Perlas Spikers claimed their fourth straight win in the quarterfinals and sixth overall since the preliminary round.          Bright exploded with 24 points with all but one coming off attacks for the Perlas Spikers. Thai import Jutarat Montripila finished with 14 points while Amy Ahomiro had nine. "My goal is to try to find ways to motivate them to play their best," said Bright. "No matter how hard I play, or how many points I make, I still need my teammates. I realized that that really pumps them up and fires them up so I try to go the extra mile." BanKo sent the Water Defenders marching towards the exit door that narrowed the semis berth race to three teams. The Perlas Spikers, Petro Gazz and defending champion Pocari Sweat are all in the running for best-of-three Final Four seats to join Creamline and PayMaya. BaliPure dropped to 1-3 slate. American import Alexis Matthews had 17 point while Jannisa Johnson scored 13 for the Water Defenders.    ---    Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 23rd, 2018

‘I’m Willing to Walk an Extra Mile to Achieve Peace’: Duterte

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has expressed willingness to walk an extra mile to achieve peace in the land by continuously reaching out to the enemies of the state. The President made this promise in two occasions on Tuesday as he led the nation in celebrating its 120th Independence Day from Spanish rule. Duterte first travelled […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  metrocebuRelated NewsJun 15th, 2018

Join the freedom run for good governance, climate change

This is a press release from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation Are you ready to run the extra mile for Freedom? Be part of the biggest fun run for good governance and the environment!  Join the Freedom Run 2018 happening on 10 June 2018, Saturday, 5:00 at the Promenade, beside Robinson’s Mall, Dumaguete ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJun 7th, 2018

Cebu City bags Philippine National Games 2018 overall crown

  MANILA, Philippines – Cebu City leaned on a last-day surge to dethrone Baguio City and rule the Philippine National Games 2018.  Cebu amassed a total of 52 gold, 59 silver, and 71 bronze medals, according to the official final tally released by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), following ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 27th, 2018

Tigresses Jessey De Leon, Rica Rivera can stun both on, and off the court

The University of Santo Tomas has one of the most decorated women's volleyball programs in Philippine collegiate history. Aside from 15 total championships in the women's division, UST has also produced countless volleybelles who banner the fierce Tigress spirit anywhere they go. Among them are former middle blocker Jessey De Leon, and current starter Rica Jane Rivera.  Both highly-regarded in their positions as modern-day torchbearers of UST's proud tradition of success in the sport, De Leon and Rivera can also carry themselves beyond the four corners of a volleyball court. De Leon is nothing short of a renaissance woman, with her undeniable knack for multi-dimensional mastery of any craft she choses, be it in sports, or her studies. As an architecture graduate, De Leon has built herself a solid foundation when she does decide to hang up her sneakers. And there's more. She has a growing business, an online store for fans of star collegiate athletes in the Philippines that specialize in bags and other accessories. Clearly, Jessey sets herself apart from other successful student-athletes, though, is her relentless drive to keep taking on challenges and finding areas where her smarts, and passion collide to create something beautiful. Meanwhile, Rivera, a part of the UST squad who finished with a lowly 4-10 record this season, has always been a steady presence for the Tigresses. After a promising start to the season, UST's campaign took a wrong turn when Rica, and rookie of the year awardee Milena Alessandrini went down with injuries. The Tigresses struggled mightily but Rivera and Alessandrini returned just in time to help UST rack up another couple of wins to end their season 80. This season will always be a huge 'what if' for UST. But Rivera became the epitome of the Tigresses' undying spirit.  After going down and rising back up, Rivera fought hand-in-hand with her teammates as they get ready for a better outing next season.  Jessey and Rica have shown the confidence worthy of a Tigress each time they have taken the court for the black and gold. And now, it’s time to watch them exude a different kind of pride as they kill it in the fashion department, thanks to H&M Philippines. See De Leon and Rivera in their volleybelle off-duty looks. Watch them trade their casual, laidback style for something edgier and party-ready!.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 8th, 2018

Hurdler bags PH s lone gold in 2018 Thailand Open

MANILA, Philippines – A graduating civil engineering student of the University of Perpetual Help in Las Piñas won the Philippines' only gold medal in the 2018 Thailand Open Track and Field Championship. Government sports radio dzSR said Monday, May 7, that Francis Medina clocked 52.16 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles. A ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 7th, 2018

Let’s Talk About Movie Etiquette and What You Shouldn’t Do

With box office hits likeAvengers: Infinity Warpremiering recently, people have been filling up cinemas to get first dibs at their favorite films. Many even go the extra mile and go for 3-D (if it's available) to immerse themselves more. It's the perfect night-out for me, to be honest. But sometimes our movie-going doesn't always go well. Particularly because of people who break etiquette rules while inside the cinema. And it goes beyond the "no talking" and "silent your phones" rules we're all used to hearing by now. Allow us to list some of them down below as a reminder for us the next time we watch a movie. You can share your own rules too based on your experiences! Unnecessar...Keep on reading: Let’s Talk About Movie Etiquette and What You Shouldn’t Do.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMay 1st, 2018

Beychella Weekend 2 Had New Wardrobe and Another Destiny’s Child Reunion

If you think Beyonc won't go the extra mile for her second Coachella weekend, then think again. She may have sang the same songs, but boy did she up the ante with a wardrobe change and another taste of Destiny's Child, Jay-Z, and Solange. Last week's yellow BAK pullover was changed to pink. And it wasn't just Beyonc, but the entire band and dancers. If you want to match the queen, then you better hurry and purchase from the limited Beychella Pop-Up Store which will close in less than a month! A post shared by Beyonc (@beysrblue) on Apr 22, 2018 at 11:04am PDT The Destiny's Child performance also got them decked in a totally new custom look from Balmain. Fro...Keep on reading: Beychella Weekend 2 Had New Wardrobe and Another Destiny’s Child Reunion.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 23rd, 2018

Olympian son Edward Josh Buenavista proves winning runs in family

ILOCOS SUR, Philippines – Not only is he following his father's footsteps, a Palarong Pambansa medalist draws inspiration from his two-time Olympian father. Edward Josh Buenavista, son of Filipino long-distance runner Eduardo Buenavista, secured a gold medal in the 3,000-meter steeplechase secondary level in Palarong Pambansa 2018 ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsApr 19th, 2018

James Reid and Nadine Lustre go the extra mile in ‘Never Not Love You’

  If you go by how well James Reid and Nadine Lustre acquit themselves in Antoinette Jadaone’s exquisitely helmed romantic drama “Never Not Love You,” you’d think that the embattled duo is merely getting a bum rap for the unsavory things you hear about them through the “social media” grapevine. In fact, it is Jadaone’s… link: James Reid and Nadine Lustre go the extra mile in ‘Never Not Love You’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsApr 4th, 2018

A good running form helps you–and your team, too

Olympian and Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medalist Mary Joy Tabal has one piece of advice for runners: Work on improving your running form. The biggest mistake runners make is neglecting their form. After all, it's not like they need to swing a bat or dribble a ball. The sport is popular because of its simplicity. Just wear your running gear and head out to wherever you want to go. How complicated can that be? Like many elite athletes, the extra-petite Tabal (she's 4'11") knows that better form leads to better performance and fewer injuries. While there's no such thing as the perfect form, good form means, among others, ensuring you land over your center of gravity, develop...Keep on reading: A good running form helps you–and your team, too.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsApr 2nd, 2018

Adamson Pep Squad keeps soaring, bags 3 golds in Asian cheerleading meet

Reigning UAAP Cheerdance champion Adamson Pep Squad followed up its Season 80 victory with a dominant outing in the Asia Cheerleading Invitational Championships in Singapore, held from March 31 to April 1. After taking down perennial powerhouse National University on the mats last December to cop its first-ever cheerdance crown, Adamson Pep Squad took home three gold medals in the continental meet, coming up victorious in the pom, the open group stunts coed premiere, and the open group stunts coed elite divisions. Adamson also copped a silver award in the open coed premiere division to top off its Asian conquest. The UAAP season 81 Cheerdance Competition better watch out, as the San Marcelino-based squad looks ready to back up their championship poise with their growing international experience. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsApr 2nd, 2018

2018 MLB preview: NL East

By The Associated Press Capsules of National League East teams, listed in order of finish last year: ___ Washington Nationals 2017: 97-65, first place, lost to Cubs in NLDS. Manager: Dave Martinez (first season). He's Here: 1B-OF Matt Adams, C Miguel Montero, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP Joaquin Benoit, INF Matt Reynolds. He's Outta Here: Manager Dusty Baker, LF Jayson Werth, 1B-LF Adam Lind, C Jose Lobaton, RHP Matt Albers. Projected Lineup: SS Trea Turner (.284, 11 HRs, 45 RBIs, 46 SBs in 98 games), LF Adam Eaton (.297, 2, 13 in 23 games), RF Bryce Harper (.319, 29, 87), 3B Anthony Rendon (.301, 25, 100, 41 2Bs), 2B Daniel Murphy (.322, 23, 93, 43 2Bs, expected to begin season on DL recovering from knee surgery), 1B Ryan Zimmerman (.303, 36, 108, 33 2Bs), CF Michael A. Taylor (.271, 19, 53), C Matt Wieters (.225, 10, 52). Rotation: RH Max Scherzer (16-6, 2.51 ERA, NL-high 268 Ks, 200 2/3 IP, 3rd Cy Young Award), RH Stephen Strasburg (15-4, 2.52, 204 Ks), LH Gio Gonzalez (15-9, 2.96, 79 walks), RH Tanner Roark (13-11, 4.67), RH A.J. Cole (3-5, 3.81 in 11 appearances) or RH Jeremy Hellickson (8-11, 5.43 with Phillies and Orioles). Key Relievers: LH Sean Doolittle (2-0, 2.81, 24/26 saves with Athletics and Nationals), RH Ryan Madson (5-4, 1.83, 2 saves with Athletics and Nationals), RH Brandon Kintzler (4-3, 3.03, 29/35 saves with Twins and Nationals), LH Sammy Solis (1-0, 5.88, 1 save), RH Shawn Kelley (3-2, 7.27, 4 saves), RH Joaquin Benoit (1-6, 4.65, 2 saves with Phillies and Pirates). Hot Spots: Fifth Starter and Catcher. The Nationals have as good a 1-2 combination at the front of their rotation as anyone in the big leagues, with Scherzer and Strasburg. Their 3-4 slots aren't too shabby, either, with Gonzalez and Roark. But the big question is, who will be the fifth starter — the inexperienced Cole or late free-agent pickup Hellickson? The only other spot with some real doubts is catcher, where Wieters is coming off a terrible year at the plate. Outlook: This might very well be the end of an era at Nationals Park, with Harper eligible to leave as a free agent after the season and GM Mike Rizzo's contract set to expire, too. The team has won four NL East titles in the past six years but has zero playoff series wins to show for it. That's why yet another manager (Baker) lost his job, and yet another rookie skipper has been brought in (will Martinez have more success than Matt Williams?). Rizzo has made no secret of the need to start making postseason inroads — a World Series is the stated goal, and that's certainly not an outrageous aim, given all the talent he's assembled. The lineup remains almost exactly the same, although Werth is gone after playing out his seven-year contract, and the rotation and bullpen are also nearly identical to the way they looked at the end of 2017. ___ Miami Marlins 2017: 77-85, second place. Manager: Don Mattingly (third season). He's Here: INF Starlin Castro, CF Lewis Brinson, OF Cameron Maybin, 1B Garrett Cooper, RHP Jacob Turner, OF-1B Scott Van Slyke, RHP Jumbo Diaz, RHP Sandy Alcantara. He's Outta Here: RF Giancarlo Stanton, LF Marcell Ozuna, CF Christian Yelich, 2B Dee Gordon, RHP Tom Koehler, OF Ichiro Suzuki, RHP Dustin McGowan, C A.J. Ellis. Projected Lineup: RF Cameron Maybin (.228, 10 HRs, 35 RBIs, 33 SBs with Angels and Astros), CF Lewis Brinson (.106, 2, 3 in 21 games with Brewers), 2B Starlin Castro (.300, 16, 63 in 112 games with Yankees), 1B Justin Bour (.289, 25, 83, .902 OPS in 108 games), C J.T. Realmuto (.278, 17, 65), LF Derek Dietrich (.249, 13, 53), 3B Brian Anderson (.262, 0, 8 in 25 games), SS Miguel Rojas (.290, 1, 26 in 90 games). Rotation: RH Jose Urena (14-7, 3.82 ERA), RH Dan Straily (10-9, 4.26, 170 Ks), RH Odrisamer Despaigne (2-3, 4.01), RH Jacob Turner (2-3, 5.08 with Nationals), LH Justin Nicolino (2-3, 5.06). Key Relievers: RH Brad Ziegler (1-4, 4.79, 10/15 saves), RH Kyle Barraclough (6-2, 3.00, 1 save), RH Drew Steckenrider (1-1, 2.34, 54 Ks in 34 2/3 IP), RH Junichi Tazawa (3-5, 5.69), RH Nick Wittgren (3-1, 4.68). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. Urena had a breakout season in 2017, and Straily tied for the NL lead with 33 starts, but they're the only established starters. The other three spots will likely be a revolving door occupied by a mix of prospects and journeymen, and the results could be ugly. One potential bright spot is the 22-year-old Alcantara, who had a 4.32 ERA in eight games for the Cardinals last year. He'll begin the season in the minors but might join the Marlins before summer. Outlook: New CEO Derek Jeter is accustomed to winning, and that is about to change. He traded away half of last year's starting lineup, including the NL MVP in Stanton, which means the Marlins are rebuilding yet again. Even with an entirely new outfield, the offense could be decent. But Castro and Realmuto are potential trade bait and might be gone before August, and the season will almost surely end Sept. 30, leaving the Marlins out of the playoffs for the 15th year in a row. This season is really all about developing prospects acquired in those offseason trades, and if youngsters such as Brinson and Alcantara perform well, 2018 will be considered a successful start for the Jeter regime. ___ Atlanta Braves 2017: 72-90, third place. Manager: Brian Snitker (third season). He's Here: RHP Brandon McCarthy, RHP Anibal Sanchez, LHP Scott Kazmir, INF Charlie Culberson, OF Preston Tucker, OF Ronald Acuna, 3B Austin Riley, OF Jeff Decker, 2B Christian Colon, RHP Shane Carle. He's Outta Here: OF Matt Kemp, RHP R.A. Dickey, 3B Adonis Garcia, 1B Matt Adams, INF Jace Peterson, RHP Jason Motte. Projected Lineup: CF Ender Inciarte (.304, 11 HRs, 57 RBIs, 22 SBs, Gold Glove), 2B Ozzie Albies (.286, 6, 28, 8 SBs in 57 games), 1B Freddie Freeman (.307, 28, 71 in 117 games), C Tyler Flowers (.281, 12, 49) or Kurt Suzuki (.283, 19, 50), RF Nick Markakis (.275, 8, 76), LF Ronald Acuna (.325, 21, 82, 44 SBs with 3 minor league teams) or Lane Adams (.275, 5, 20, 10 SBs), 3B Johan Camargo (.273, 14, 65) or Charlie Culberson (.154, 0, 1 in 15 games with Dodgers), SS Dansby Swanson (.232, 6, 51). Rotation: RH Julio Teheran (11-13, 4.49 ERA), RH Mike Foltynewicz (10-13, 4.79), RH Brandon McCarthy (6-4, 3.98 in 19 games with Dodgers), LH Sean Newcomb (4-9, 4.32 in 19 games), RH Anibal Sanchez (3-7, 6.41 with Tigers), LH Scott Kazmir (10-6, 4.56 with Dodgers in 2016) or LH Luiz Gohara (1-3, 4.91 in 5 games). Key Relievers: RH Arodys Vizcaino (5-3, 2.83, 14/17 saves, 64 Ks in 57 1/3 IP), RH Jose Ramirez (2-3, 3.19), LH A.J. Minter (0-1, 3.00, 26 Ks, 15 IP in 16 games), RH Dan Winkler (1-1, 2.51 in 16 games), LH Sam Freeman (2-0, 2.55 in 58 games). Hot Spot: Third Base. Camargo was the probable starter before an oblique injury left his status uncertain for the beginning of the season. Culberson, expected to play a utility role, or Rio Ruiz would be next in line. Austin Riley, a 2015 first-round pick who has not yet reached Triple-A, might be a year or two away. Camargo, who shared time with Swanson at shortstop last year, could be more than a stopgap if he can provide some of the power the Braves need at a corner infield spot. Outlook: Teheran, Foltynewicz and Newcomb have provided reasons this spring to believe they can improve their 2017 numbers. The progress of Newcomb, one of the team's many touted pitching prospects, became especially important when Gohara sustained a groin injury that will keep him from being ready for the start of the season. For a change, the spring spotlight was on a position player; Acuna was hitting .432 with four homers, 11 RBIs and four steals when he was sent to minor league camp. The move involving the 20-year-old top prospect was expected. It was made to maintain an extra full season of contractual control down the road, but Acuna likely will be recalled in April and immediately start in left field. He could provide a needed power bat to help Freeman in the middle of the lineup. The Braves likely are still at least a year away from contending in the NL East, but improved starting pitching could push them closer to .500 this year. ___ New York Mets 2017: 70-92, fourth place. Manager: Mickey Callaway (first season). He's Here: 3B Todd Frazier, RF Jay Bruce, LHP Jason Vargas, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, RHP Anthony Swarzak, LHP Matt Purke, C Jose Lobaton. He's Outta Here: Manager Terry Collins, LHP Josh Smoker, LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Chasen Bradford, OF Norichika Aoki, RHP Erik Goeddel, RHP Tyler Pill, LHP Tommy Milone, OF Travis Taijeron. Projected Lineup: 2B Asdrubal Cabrera (.280, 14 HRs, 59 RBIs, .351 OBP), LF Yoenis Cespedes (.292, 17, 42, .892 OPS in 81 games), RF Jay Bruce (.252, 36, 101 with Mets and Indians), 3B Todd Frazier (.213, 27, 76, .344 OBP with White Sox and Yankees), 1B Adrian Gonzalez (.242, 3, 30, .642 OPS in 71 games with Dodgers) or Dominic Smith (.198, 9, 26, .658 OPS, 49 Ks in 49 games), C Travis d'Arnaud (.244, 16, 57, .293 OBP in 112 games) or Kevin Plawecki (.260, 3, 13, .364 OBP in 37 games), CF Brandon Nimmo (.260, 5, 21, .379 OBP, .797 OPS in 69 games) or Juan Lagares (.250, 3, 15, .296 OBP, .661 OPS in 94 games), SS Amed Rosario (.248, 4, 10, 49 Ks, 3 BBs, .271 OBP, .665 OPS in 46 games). Rotation: RH Noah Syndergaard (1-2, 2.97 ERA, limited to 30 1/3 innings by lat injury), RH Jacob deGrom (15-10, 3.53, 239 Ks, 201 1/3 IP), LH Jason Vargas (18-11, 4.16, 179 2/3 IP in 32 starts with Royals), RH Matt Harvey (5-7, 6.70, 110 hits, 21 HRs, 67 Ks, 47 BBs in 92 2/3 IP), LH Steven Matz (2-7, 6.08 in 13 starts), RH Zack Wheeler (3-7, 5.21, 97 hits, 81 Ks, 40 BBs, 86 1/3 IP in 17 starts). Key Relievers: RH Jeurys Familia (2-2, 4.38, 6 saves in 26 games), RH AJ Ramos (2-4, 3.99, 27 saves with Marlins and Mets), RH Anthony Swarzak (6-4, 2.33, 91 Ks, 22 BBs, 58 hits, 77 1/3 IP in 70 games with White Sox and Brewers), LH Jerry Blevins (6-0, 2.94, 1 save, 69 Ks, 24 BBs, 49 IP in 75 games), RH Paul Sewald (0-6, 4.55, 69 Ks, 21 BBs, 65 1/3 IP in 57 games), RH Seth Lugo (7-5, 4.71, 101 1/3 IP in 19 games, 18 starts) or RH Robert Gsellman (8-7, 5.19, 119 2/3 IP in 25 games, 22 starts). Hot Spot: First Base. The 35-year-old Gonzalez, a five-time All-Star weakened by a bad back last season, was signed at a bargain price to provide competition and short-term insurance for Smith, a top prospect who struggled in his initial taste of the majors last year. Smith, 22, slimmed down in the offseason but was disciplined early in camp for arriving late one day. Then he strained a quad, keeping him out of the lineup for most of spring training, so it seems unlikely he'll make the opening day roster. Gonzalez, meanwhile, batted .182 with one extra-base hit and 11 strikeouts in his first 44 Grapefruit League at-bats before connecting for a home run. Wilmer Flores can play first against left-handers, but vs. righties the Mets either need Gonzalez to find the Fountain of Youth or Smith to live up to his first-round hype. Outlook: Callaway had great success with Cleveland's arms and the injury-plagued Mets are counting on his methods, along with new pitching coach Dave Eiland, to keep their talented but fragile rotation intact. New York also overhauled its medical department, hoping to keep star players on the field. Syndergaard and deGrom make for an imposing 1-2 punch. So if Harvey, Matz and Wheeler — even one or two of them — can finally stay healthy and approach their initial big league form, the pitching staff could be terrific again after unraveling last year with a 5.01 ERA that ranked 28th in the majors. Vargas was signed to eat innings but will miss some time at the beginning of the season following surgery for a broken right (non-pitching) hand. All-Star outfielder Michael Conforto (27 HRs, .384 OBP, .939 OPS) is targeting a May 1 return from surgery for a dislocated left shoulder. His status is critical to a lineup that lacks speed and a natural leadoff hitter. Nimmo made strides last season and is a potential candidate for that role while platooning early with Lagares to fill Conforto's spot in center field. After the Mets spent nearly $90 million to plug holes in free agency, it still might be a stretch to envision them seriously challenging star-studded Washington for NL East supremacy. But with better health in a soft division, they could certainly rejoin the wild-card hunt. ___ Philadelphia Phillies 2017: 66-96, fifth place. Manager: Gabe Kapler (first season). He's Here: RHP Jake Arrieta, 1B Carlos Santana, RHP Pat Neshek, RHP Tommy Hunter. He's Outta Here: Manager Pete Mackanin, SS Freddy Galvis, INF Andres Blanco, OF Daniel Nava, OF Hyun Soo Kim, RHP Clay Buchholz, 1B Tommy Joseph. Projected Lineup: 2B Cesar Hernandez (.294, 9 HRs, 34 RBIs, 15 SBs), 1B Carlos Santana (.259, 23, 79 with Indians), RF Nick Williams (.288, 12, 55) or Aaron Altherr (.272, 19, 65), LF Rhys Hoskins (.259, 18, 48), CF Odubel Herrera (.281, 14, 56), C Jorge Alfaro (.318, 5, 14), 3B Maikel Franco (.230, 24, 76), SS J.P. Crawford (.214, 0, 6 in 23 games). Rotation: RH Aaron Nola (12-11, 3.54 ERA, 184 Ks), RH Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53, 163 Ks with Cubs), RH Vince Velasquez (2-7, 5.13 in 15 starts), RH Nick Pivetta (8-10, 6.02), RH Zach Eflin (1-5, 6.16) or RH Ben Lively (4-7, 4.26). Key Relievers: RH Hector Neris (4-5, 3.01, 26/29 saves), RH Pat Neshek (5-3, 1.59, 1 save with Phillies and Rockies), RH Tommy Hunter (3-5, 2.61, 1 save with Rays), LH Adam Morgan (3-3, 4.12), RH Luis Garcia (2-5, 2.65). Hot Spot: Starting Rotation. There are a lot of question marks beyond Nola, who emerged as a reliable starter in 2017. Arrieta, the former Cubs ace, had a rough first half in 2017 but finished strong. Yet he was a free agent until mid-March. He's getting paid big bucks to be a No. 1 guy again. Jerad Eickhoff will begin the season on the DL and Velasquez is coming off a disappointing year after showing promise in 2016. Pivetta has upside but needs more maturity. The team has plenty of depth at Triple-A, including several pitchers who have big league experience, in case any of the starters falter or get hurt. Outlook: The decision to sign Arrieta signals the rebuild is over. The Phillies added Santana, Neshek and Hunter to a talented young roster in hopes of being competitive. A month into spring training, they added Arrieta because management thinks it's time to contend now. The lineup has the potential to be dynamic if the young hitters continue to emerge and Santana does what he did in Cleveland. The bullpen should be formidable with Hunter-Neshek-Neris at the back end. If Arrieta regains his old form, Nola lives up to his promise and a couple other starters take steps forward, the Phillies can not only end their five-year run of losing seasons but maybe even make a surprise push for a postseason berth......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMar 29th, 2018