Yankees beat Rangers for sixth win in seven games
Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley are quickly putting their stamp on a playoff surge for the New York Yankees.
Acquired earlier this month from NL West also-rans, they teamed up Thursday to help the Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 4-2. McCarthy threw six more solid innings, Headley delivered another timely hit and New York won for the sixth time in seven games.
“From the beginning of spring training, it’s about giving yourself a chance in the postseason,” said Headley, obtained this week in a trade with San Diego.
“What an opportunity for me,” he said. “I take it as an honor and privilege to be here.”
McCarthy improved to 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three starts since the Yankees got him from Arizona. He was 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA at the time of the trade.
“I really felt I wanted more pressure,” he said. “It’s ramped up all the way. I feel like I’ve responded.”
“It’s the opposite of how I felt earlier in this year. I was a burden on the team and holding things up,” he said. Read more …
Cowboys’ Carr not at camp
By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com
OXNARD, Calif. – Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr is not with the team at the beginning of training camp to deal with what coach Jason Garrett described as a “family health situation,” on Thursday.
“We’re just going to communicate with him as he’s dealing with the situation,” Garrett said. “We’re going to give him some time to take care of it.”
Carr was in London last week to help promote the NFL’s three games this season at Wembley Stadium. Garrett was not sure when Carr would arrive in Oxnard for practice. Last year safety J.J. Wilcox missed roughly two weeks of training camp after the death of his mother.
Linebacker Rolando McClain returned to Decatur, Alabama, on Wednesday night because he has a court case on Friday. A judge denied McClain’s appeal to delay a trial stemming from an arrest in 2013. Garrett said the hope is McClain would return Friday and be on the field on Saturday.
The Cowboys placed defensive end Anthony Spencer and guard Ronald Leary on the physically unable to perform list on Thursday, but the expectations for their returns to the field couldn’t be more different. Garrett said the Cowboys do not expect Spencer to practice soon, while the hope is Leary, who suffered a hamstring strain during the player-run conditioning test, can start practicing on Tuesday. Read more …
Former Magic PG Nelson signs with Mavs
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com
Veteran point guard Jameer Nelson signed with the Dallas Mavericks, the team announced Thursday.
The Mavs signed Nelson with the cap-room exception, giving him a salary of $2.73 million this season. Sources told ESPN’s Marc Stein that Nelson signed a two-year deal with a player option to return to free agency next summer. His salary next season would be $2.86 million if Nelson opts to return to the Mavs.
“I feel like this team is really good,” Nelson said Thursday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. “I’ve been watching the Mavs from afar for my entire career. I admire what they’ve done over my 10 years and even before that. The organization, from everyone I know, is top of the line.”
Nelson, 32, a one-time All-Star, spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Orlando Magic before being waived on June 30. The Magic must pay Nelson $2 million this season, the guaranteed money from the final year in his deal with the Magic.
The 6-foot, 190-pound Nelson has career averages of 12.6 points and 5.4 assists per game. He averaged 12.1 points and 7.0 assists last season. Read more …
Dez, Cowboys talk extension; deal not close
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com
OXNARD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys have had several discussions with the agent for receiver Dez Bryant about a lucrative, long-term extension, but the sides are not close to a deal as the team opens training camp.
Bryant believes he has earned the right to be among the highest-paid receivers in the league, but he understands he likely will have to wait to cash in with a new contract. Coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance, Bryant is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is due to make $1.78 million this season.
“It feels good to know that things are being talked about, but I’m going to let it take care of itself,” Bryant told ESPNDallas.com after the Cowboys’ first practice of camp Thursday. “I feel like as long as I take care of business on that field, the rest will be taken care of.”
The Cowboys have a history of giving extensions to core players before their contracts expire. However, several of those contracts did not work out favorably for them, including rich deals for receivers Roy Williams and Miles Austin.
This year, owner/general manager Jerry Jones made a handful of offseason decisions designed to improve the Cowboys’ salary-cap situation, the most difficult being the release of DeMarcus Ware, the franchise’s all-time sacks leader.
Bryant, 25, who caught 93 passes for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, wants to get a deal done as soon as possible. However, he knows the team has no urgency to complete a deal, with the Cowboys having the leverage of being able to use the franchise tag on him next offseason. Read more …
Oakland blowouts Houston 13-1
A warm day helped Brandon Moss reach another milestone and it helped Jeff Samardzija enjoy even more run support.
Moss hit a grand slam and the Oakland Athletics gave Samardzija more run support than he has had all season in a 13-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Thursday.
“I didn’t realize it went over the fence,” Moss said. “I thought it was going to be a sacrifice fly. Then I saw it bounce around and was shocked. That’s not a home run at night. Being a day game, the ball carries better.”
Jed Lowrie had three hits and drove in a run for the A’s, who have the best record (63-38) in baseball and are a season-best 25 games over .500.
Chris Carter hit a home run for the Astros, who fell to 2-4 since the All-Star break.
Samardzija (2-1) gave up a leadoff single to Jose Altuve and then retired 10 straight before Carter’s 20th home run put Houston on the board. He did not walk a batter and struck out six.
He retired 12 of 13 following Carter’s blast. Carter was the lone Astro to get past second base against Samardzija, who received a combined 13 runs of support over his final six starts with the Cubs. Read more …
Romo says his best football is yet to come
By Todd Archer | ESPN.com
OXNARD, Calif. — Tony Romo turned 34 in April and is coming off his second back surgery in less than a year, but the Dallas Cowboys quarterback sees himself playing the best football of his career in 2014 and beyond.
“I feel personally like I’ve just started to come into the player that wanted to be six, seven years ago,” Romo said after the Cowboys’ first training camp practice Thursday. “I think — and I’ve said it before — but I think over the course of the next four or five years, you’ll see the best version of me that I’ve had throughout my career. That’s for a lot of different reasons. But I really believe that, and I believe that will show as we go forward. So I’m excited about that. As my body continues to get healthier and healthier, it’s going to be better.”
Romo, who is entering his eighth full season as the Cowboys’ starter, would not go into those reasons, but he did address the current state of his back. He had a discectomy last December that kept him out of the Cowboys’ Week 17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. He was held out of competitive drills in organized team activities and minicamp to make sure he was 100 percent for training camp.
Romo said he will spend 3-4 hours a day doing rehab, maintenance or strengthening exercises for his back. He said there is no pain in it. Read more …
Strong offseason fueling Brandon Weeden
By Todd Archer | ESPNDallas.com
IRVING, Texas – Brandon Weeden’s bid to be the Dallas Cowboys’ No. 2 quarterback in 2014 got a lot easier when the club decided to release Kyle Orton.
Barring something unforeseen, Weeden, who signed a two-year deal in the offseason, will be Tony Romo’s backup. But Weeden does not look at the move as “weight off my shoulders.”
“Given the situation Kyle has been in in previous years in Dallas, he’s been the backup quarterback, so I think if he was there it would be one more obstacle I would have to kind of hurdle,” Weeden said. “But at the same time I can’t really get wrapped up in putting all of my attention on that. I need to do what I did in the [organized team activities] and continue to play well and get better. I think hopefully things will work out that way regardless.”
The Cowboys felt confident enough to jettison Orton, who skipped the entire offseason program and minicamp, in part because of what Weeden did in the spring. With Romo recovering from back surgery and being kept out of competitive drills and Orton missing, Weeden took all of the first-team snaps.
“I think the reps I got in the OTAs were kind of irreplaceable,” Weeden said. “If I was in a situation where God forbid something happened to Tony and I’m asked to play, those are the guys I’m going to battle with, so those reps I got were invaluable. I know I won’t get many of those in [training] camp, but fortunately I had 12 practices where I was able to get out with those guys. Now it’s, ‘Let’s get to work.’ I’m ready to get to California and get things rolling.”
Orton had the same benefit last year of taking all of the offseason snaps in 2013 as Romo recovered from surgery to remove a cyst from his back. When Romo hurt his back in Week 16 against the Washington Redskins, he was able to step into the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles and play well. He completed 30 of 46 passes for 358 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, but a late turnover sealed the Cowboys’ loss.
“[Gavin] Escobar and [Jason] Witten are two totally different players. Dez [Bryant] and Terrance [Williams] are two totally different players,” Weeden said. “You kind of learn what certain guys’ strengths are and little nuances of what they do. That’s the thing more than anything. You kind of get a feel for what Dez likes on fades and all that stuff a certain way where Terrance might like it another way. You’ve got to learn what each guy likes. When you’re with so many new guys it takes time. You always want more time, but it’s nice to have the reps I did get there to get a head start.”