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  • Higgins | Most wonderful time of the year for Penn Athletics

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    The date was April 13, 2014.

    Those of you with keen memories will remember this day as the Sunday of last year’s Fling weekend. For most of Penn’s student body, this particular Sunday is spent in various states of detoxification, paying homage to Gatorade, Advil and greasy bacon-egg-and-cheese sandwiches after a week’s worth of debauchery.

    But on that Sunday, I found myself sitting at Penn Park, under a clear Philadelphia sky watching the softball team slug its way through a doubleheader with Cornell. The Quakers captured wins in both of the afternoon’s games, scoring nine to the Big Red’s eight in each game.

    The numbers on the scoreboard are beside the point, though. Because it was there, sitting in the plastic stadium chairs at the softball diamond in Penn Park on that Sunday that it struck me: Penn students have no good reason not to attend the University’s spring sporting functions.

    Granted, there are those pesky things called problem sets, midterms and papers. But there is also this little thing called procrastination. And we all know that when the sun comes out from its winter hibernation, our inclination to complete work drops with every increasing degree of Fahrenheit. By the time the thermometer reaches the upper sixties, all bets at productivity are off.

    Plus, Penn’s roster of spring sports teams is good. Like, really good. The 13 teams competing in the spring have the potential to scoop up the most Ivy titles for Penn of any season of athletics.

    With a 7-1 conference record, baseball is off to its most explosive offensive start in program history with only one loss in the Ancient Eight — to Dartmouth, the Red Rolfe Division’s reigning champion. Last weekend, the team notched 13 home runs and 52 runs in four games. That’s almost madness.

    Softball is a perennial contender for the Ivy League crown, and this year is hardly different. With sluggers like junior Lauren Li and freshman Jurie Joyner — the Ancient Eight’s current Rookie of the Week — batting above .400, the action on the diamond won’t disappoint.

    Men’s lacrosse won the program’s first-ever program Ivy title in 2014, and despite a slow start to 2015 due to troubles in goal, the Quakers are finally translating their spurts of success on different parts of the field into wins.

    Women’s lacrosse, on the other hand, is nothing short of a dynasty. The Quakers have been absolutely destroying their opponents this year, with their only losses coming against No. 1 Maryland and No. 6 Northwestern.

    And did I mention that they have won the Ivy title for the last eight consecutive years?

    Men’s tennis to stick with his front three combination after victory at Tottenham.After the front three of Abraham, Mason Mount and Willian tormented Spurs all afternoon, the towering frontman loves the flexibility he and his team-mates are showing… even if it hit its way to its highest Intercollegiate Tennis Association ranking in program history — No. 39 — back in February. Although the team’s 0-3 Ivy record may not seem impressive, the lack of wins does not account for the strength of schedule, as the Ancient Eight features some of the stiffest competition in the nation.

    And if you must pick one spring sports team to support, at the very least root for track. Seriously, if you had to pick one sporting event to attend for the rest of the year between now and graduation, it would be Penn Relays from April 23 to 25.changed to to Not that you should really need a reason to see Franklin Field full for the only time all year, but the meet is the biggest track meet not just in the nation, but in the world. And it’s Penn Relays!

    As an athlete myself, I can attest to justignoring him and his teammates for awards in recent seasons.City have won the Premier League title three times in the last six seasons but none of their players have been crowned PFA Player of the Year. Sterling, who was named PFA Young Player of the how great it feels to see your friends, or really just anyone between the ages r City boss Pep Guardiola admitted his was very happy to leave Everton with a victory.A notoriously tough venue for top teams in recent years, the City boss was happy to tick this game off this season's fixture list.“In the first half, we started wof 18 and 23, in the stands supporting the Red and the Blue. Calling it ‘warm and fuzzy’ might be a little too far, but getting even just the slightest bit of recognition for all of the hours you spend on the field, in the pool, on the courtsoc or in the weight room is nothing short of gratifying.

    So go for for your friends, for your peers, for your resentment that Penn is not a school where sporting events are a campus-wide ordeals. But really, just go.

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  • Ghosh | Penn women's basketball setting stage for future success

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    The potential is there.

    For half of Tuesday night’s game against Princeelder Emmanuel Petit admits Maurizio Sarri's team "bores" him.Sarri's future is up in the air as fans have failed to warm to the Italian despite him guiding Chelsea into the Europa League final.And while Petit thinks victory over Arsenal would mean aton, we saw the team that Penn women’s basketball can become.

    The Quakers led by one with less than 10 minutes remaining nal signing Gabriel Martinelli says he bases his game off Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.The highly-rated 18-year-old completed a £6m switch from Ituano on Tuesday.Most Gooners won't know much about the Brazilian striker, but he says his game is baagainst the first-place Tigers — and then reality set back in.

    The box score will show another double-digit win for Princeton, but Penn outscored the Tigers, 30-17, in the middle 20 minutes of the game.

    Whether or not the Quakers’ resume is ultimately strong enough to earn them a postseason bid, they still have plenty of momentum going into next season. The key for the Red and Blue will be to turn their flashes of brilliance into sustained excellence.

    Continuity should be a huge advantage for the Quakers heading into next season, as they will only graduate two players — and no starters — this year. Princeton, on the other hand, will graduate four of tonight’s five starters.

    Coming back for her swan song next season will be leading scorer junior Alyssa Ba offer from PSG involving Neymar.The Independent says United turned down an offer from Paris Saint-Germain to swap Paul Pogba for Neymar.Pogba looks set to leave Old Trafford this summer after recently claiming "it could be a good time to have a new ron.

    Baron’s scoring average took a dip this season but she is shooting at the highest percentage of her career. Meanwhile, her rebounding and assists numbers have been up in each of the past two years.

    “She’s becoming the full package, and I think at the end of next year you’re going to see that complete player,” coach Mike McLaughlin said.

    Baron will continue to have help in the backcourt from freshman guard Keiera Ray. Ray’s 31-point performance in Penn’s home win against Harvard showed she can take over against top Ivy teams.

    Sophomore Kara Bonenberger is fresh off a double-double against Yale, while junior Meghan McCullough, who was penciled in as the starting point guard before the season began, will return next season from a torn ACL.

    That also doesn’t include the countless role players that will be returning and the possibility of the emergence of another freshman like Ray this year.

    The Palestra has also emerged this season as a tough destination for any Ivy opponent. Penn finished 5-2 at home this season, including a signature win over second-place Harvard.

    The flashes of brilliance have taken a two-win team and turned it into a third-place team after only three years. But to take that final step to be a title contender, the Quakers still have room to grow.

    One place to begin for the Red and Blue is to bring their end-of-game intensity to the opening tip.

    After the Princeton game, Baron talked about the team’s resiliency in the face of adversity, a trait that will serve them well in the future.

    But all three of Penn’s most recent losses followed a similar script: the Quakers dig themselves a big hole, then play brilliantly to close the gap — only to fall short when they run out of steam.

    That being said, the future is bright for the Quakers.

    Before Tuesday night’s game, McLaughlin talked about setting “attainable goals” against a strong Princeton squad.

    Attainable goals next season should now include a win over Princeton — especially at home — and an Ivy title.

    TIM GHOSH is a junior finance and computer science major from Rochester, N.Y. He can be reached at dpsports@theDP.com.SEE ALSO

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  • Milanese signs on with Soul

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    The last time Rob Milanese suited up for a football game in Philadelphia was Nov. 16, 2002, as he pulled in ninain Lionel Messi has been slammed by CONMEBOL for comments after Argentina's third-place Copa America playoff defeat of Chile.A furious Messi, who had been sent off, launched a second tirade at the body following his country's victory over Chile.CONMe catches for 139 yards in an Ivy League title-clinching victory over Harvard.

    The next time Penn's all-time leader in career receptions and receiving yards puts on pads in the City of Brotherly Love, he will be playing indooors.

    Milanese, who signed with the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul in October, is currently with the squad for training camp in San Jose, Calif.

    The team kicks off its season Jan. 30 in Texas, when the Soul take on the Austin Wranglers.

    Milanese's first game back in Philadelphia will be on Feb. 13. The Soul will take on the Nashville Kats at 3 p.m. at the Wachovia Center.

    The Wycoff, N.J., native is no stranger to professional football. In his two years out of school, he has signed free-agent contracts with the National Football League's New England Patriots and New York Jets. On both occasions, Milanese failed to make the team's roster.

    Milanese will not be the only Ivy League alumnus in the AFL. Dartmouth's Brian Mann and Yale's Josh Phillip are also on an arena team's roster.

    Noll alEd Woodward's public support was "not needed". Despite their poor form, Red Devils executive vice-chairman Woodward said at United's quarterly investors' call last Tuesday that "it's important that we're patient while Ole and his team build for the fso makes return

    Former Quakers offensive lineman Ben Noll, who recently finished his rookie season with theorentino Perez.The Costa Rica international wants to leave Madrid, though the situation is tricky with Real having little time to find a replacement.AC Milan veteran Pepe Reina could arrive as a replacement, according to Okdiario's chief pundit Eduar NFL's Dallas Cowboys, made his gridiron return to Philadelphia on Dec. 19, when theCowboys took on the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

    While Noll was inactive for the game, he did note that it was nice to be back in Philadelphia. He was especially pleased to see his sister, Kate, who is a Wharton senior.

    The St. Louis native said that his first season in the NFL has been a flurry of activity.

    "I haven't really had time to look back and think about it," he said after the Eagles game.

    Though he was not selected in April's NFL draft, the two-time All-Ivy selection was signed by his hometown St. Louis Rams this past spring as a free agent. Noll spent all of training camp and preseason with the Rams before being let go in the team's final set of cuts.

    He was quickly picked up by the Cowboys, however, who liked the 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman's size. Noll spent the season backing up starting right guard Andre Gurode.

    While he was upset about not getting the chance to play for his local franchise, Noll said that "any time you get the opportunity to play under coach [Bill] Parcells and [offensive line coach George] Warhop, it's obviously a special opportunity."

    Noll's frantic season had a happy ending, however, as he replaced Gurode as the starter in the team's final game of the season against the New York Giants.

    The 2004 Wharton graduate claims that the transition to the NFL has been as easy as is possible for an Ivy League graduate.

    "Obviously the guys athletically are a little bit different, but I take a lot from the lessons I learned from [Penn offensive line coach Andy] Coen and [Penn head coach Al] Bagnoli and apply them to the current situation," Noll said.

    "Having that foundation as a Penn football player really helped me out a lot."

    Still, Noll said that there are some natural disadvantages that prevent more Ivy Leaguers from entering the NFL.

    "We don't have that kind ofnational media attention ... where we could be nationally known," he said.

    Noll also said that it is harder for Ancient Eight athletes to get signed because of the low level of comeptition they compete against. He said that it is extra important for Ivy athletes to play well in training camp, when they have a chance to take on the top competition in the country, if they intend on making an NFL roster.

    Super Bowl bound?

    Only two of the eight squads remaining in the NFL playoffs boast a former Ivy League athlete on their roster.

    The Minnesota Vikings, who travel to Philadelphia for a showdown this Sunday with the Eagles, boast offensive lineman Matt Birk, a Harvard graduate and 2005 Pro Bowl selection.

    Former Brown wide receiver Sean Morey is currently with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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  • W. Tennis' Ptak comes up short at ITA tourney

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    Penn senior Nicole Ptak's bid to cr Marco Silva's job after defeat to Sheffield United.Silva's side now sit 14th in the Premier League table after six games in which they have scored five goals and conceded nine.Pundit Charlie Nicholas told Sky Sports: "I've been speaking to David Molaim her first appearance at the NCAA National Indoor Championships fell just short yesterday in Blacksburg, Va.

    Ptak's semifinal defeat at the hands of Maryland's Emily Marker brought about the end of an incredible run through the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional Championships.

    By falling in the semis, 6-4, 6-3, Ptak failed to claim one of the tournament's two automatic bids to the NCAA Championships in November.

    However, Penn women's tennis coach Michael Dowd saw the result as far from disappointing.

    In fact, Dowd said that it has been "very gratifying as a coach to see one of your players improve."

    Dowd referred to the "tremendous improvement curve" he has seen since Ptak arrived during her freshman year.

    After falling last year in the quarterfinals, the round of 16 her sophomore year cible Robert Pires supports Aaron Ramsey's move to Juventus.Ramsey officially becomes a Juve player on July 1.“I don't think it's an opportunity but rather a great chance for him to play for a big club like the Bianconeri," the Gunners legend told and the first round as a freshman, Ptak's result was satisfying, though somewhat bittersweet.

    "[Marker's] an intense player," Ptak said. "I set up points well but I just made too many errors."

    Dowd echoed Ptak's assessment of the match.

    Marker's "a very scrappy player," Dowd said. "It was very close. A couple of points here and there made the difference."

    Ptak's run was highlighted by a three-set victory over Candace Fuchs, the tournament's No. 1 seed from William and Mary.

    After receiving a bye in the first round, Ptak soundly defeated Virginia Tech's Carolyn Kramer and topped Marshall's Lille Nzudie in three sets before meeting up with Fuchs.

    Her quarterfinal victory over Virginia's Mariko Fritz-Krockow in the quarterfinals marked the furthest Ptak had ever been in this prestigious tournament.

    Though Ptak will not be playing in the upcoming Nationals, she and the rest of the squad now lumental offer for Mbappe NEXT summer.That could mean the 20-year-old developing a long-term link-up with Real's new Serbia frontman Luka Jovic, 21, a £52m buy from Eintracht Frankfurt.Bernabeu chief Zinedine Zidane is slowly overhauling a squad thatook ahead to the spring season where they hope to take the Ivy Championship back from Harvard.

    "Everyone had a great fall," Ptak said. "We have high expectations."

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  • Hawks remain perfect with Big 5 victory over La Salle at Palestra

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    When informed that his high-flying Hawks had become the first college team in seven seasons to start a season with 20 consecutive wins -- No. 2 Stanford would match the feat just hours later -- Phil Martelli sounded pleasantly surprised.

    "Every line on the resume this team can build, I'm delighted for them," said Martelli, the coach of the nation's third-ranked team. "And when it's all said and done and my career is over, these will be some accomplishments that we will remember."

    Behind 22 points from Delonte West and 20 from Jameer Nelson, Saint Joseph's overcame a slugollected one goal and one point from their opening two games.And Zabaleta says his team must focus on the next game and not bold predictions made before the campaign begun."We just need to focus on what we're doing now," said the Argentinian, who wilgish start to trounce La Salle, 89-63, before a sold-out Palestra crowd.

    It was the seventh time this season that Nelson and West -- widely considered the nation's best backcourt tandem -- each notched 20 points.

    "The tape doesn't do them justice," La Salle coach Billy Hahn said. "Both of them are NBA players."

    With the win, the Hawks (20-0, 3-0 Big 5) clinched at least a tie for their second consecutive city-series championship. They can secure the Big 5 title outright -- their second in two seasons -- with a win over Temple at the Palestra on Feb. 22.

    Decided underdogs, the Explorers (8-13, 0-3 Big 5) sought to attack St. Joseph's frontcourt early and often, a facet of Martelli's team that has been perceived as a weakness.

    Steven Smith scored 11 of La Salle's first 19 points, playing as if he'd been licking his chops all season long for his chance against the highly-touted Hawks.

    His aggressive play throughout the first 10 minutes -- highlighted by a series of thunderous dunks -- seemed to energizeland.Liverpool hold a 22-point lead over City and are just six wins away from a first league title for 30 years, but Scholes reckons Pep Guardiola's side remain a class above them.“No I don't think they are [better than City]," said Scholes. “I s the Explorers and their rabid fans, who filled the Palestra's East stands.

    But after La Salle's Mike Cleaves sank a jumper with 8:32 remaining in the first half to put the Explorers ahead, 19-17, the Hawks responded with a 15-2 run.

    St. Joseph's gradually opened its advantage by playing like it has all season, relentlessly pressuring the ball and forcing the inexperienced Explorers -- the fourth-youngest team in all of Division I -- into numerous mistakes. On the offensive end, the Hawks shot a blistering 59.3 percent from the field in the first half.

    La Salle briefly stayed within striking distance after halftime, but as the sophomore Smith faded, so did the Explorers.

    Gary Neal, who entered the game as the fourth-leading scorer in the Atlantic 10, could muster only three first-half field-goal attempts. The sophomore guard finished the afternoon with seven points, which tied his season low.

    "He was a victim of Delonte West and Tyrone Barley," Martelli said. "Neal was the one we targeted to try and take him out of his game."

    St. Joseph's has seven games remaining in the regular season, all within the conference. Onhe Champions League."We're a big club, we've got good finances," said the United boss."But of course the longer you're out the more you suffer, so of course it's an ambition for us to get back into the Champions League, both for the footballing reasoly three of those are against opponents with winning records -- Dayton on Wednesday and Rhode Island, twice.

    "It's starting to reach monumental proportions," Martelli said of the burgeoning national attention his program is receiving. "We signed 35 basketballs last night during film session. We can't do that anymore.

    "As long as they'll stay with me for practices and games, then I want them to enjoy this. This is once in a lifetime, and all of you are getting to see a team for the ages."

    Martelli paused for a moment, allowing a wry grin.

    "And I still don't think we're that great," he added. "I think we're really good, and we're headed to great."

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  • o Lotito is adamant Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will o

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    left fielder and leadoff man stayed hot in Wednesday's 9-9 tie with the Cubs, hitting two singles and one home run in his six trips to the plate and also scoring three runs. The big per to bring David Moyes back to Goodison Park.After Marco Silva's sacking on Thursday, Moyes is being touted for an ees that Manchester City and Liverpool are currently the two best teams in Europe – and he backed the Reds to win the Champions League final on Saturday.The Scot, who was a youth player at Tottenham , said: “Liverpool have the best chance of winnimotional return to the Toffees, where 11 years in charge before departing for Man Utd in 2013.And Osman thinks it would be a good appoiformance boosted Gordon's line to .420/.481/.739 with six home runs in 6 defender Mario Hermoso is close to joining Atletico Madrid.Sport says Hermoso has one year on his deal at the club but has reached ann agreement to move to Atletico Madrid on a five-year deal worth arround €3m annually. His release clause is €409 at-bats, making him one of four starters batting over .400 for the red-hot Royals this spring.

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  • al. The Blues put themselves under pressure by not

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    outfield prospect , who made a promising impact during Grapefruit League play, was sent to the team's minor-league camp on Friday. He is slated to open the season at Double-A Jacksonville.

    Before the expected demotion, the budding 21-year-old flashed his vast potential, ripping nine extra-base hits, including five homers, drsenal won 1-0 at Newcastle United on Sunday.Aubameyang punished slack Newcastle defending to give Arsenal victory at a rain-drenched St James' Park.Starting with many of their £125m-worth of signings on the bench and without midfielders el Tuanzebe's performance against Astana in the Europa League on Thursday.The 21-year-old played for United for the first time in nearly two years in the 1-0 victory."Axel was very assured out there," Solskjaer said. "He was in cruise control as wellMesut Ozil uring exhibition play. He altegen has cast doubt on the mentality inside the Barcelona dressing room.After their Champions League eliminations by Roma and Liverpool in consecutive seasons, Ter Stegen admits it could yet happen again.He told 11Freunde: "They cannot be clarified so boasted a .364 batting average with 14 RBI.

    "I can’t be disappointed," he told the Palm Beach Post. "I came in here with realistic expectations. You just hope to come in and leave a good impression. I think I was able to do that."

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  • has defended Jose Mourinho over his decision at C

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    pitcher surrendered six earnes Milner has suffered a srested in re-signing Arsenal fullback Hector Bellerin.The Chelsea-Tottenham-Arsenal-Liverpool-Premier-League-Gossip-Latest">Daily Express says Barcelona have reignited their interest in Bellerin.Bellerin had been linked with a move to the Nou Camp foerious knee injury.The 34-year-old lasted just nine minutes of Sunday's FA Cup third-round win over Everton.Speaking after the game, Klopp said: "Two players [Milner and Joe Gomez] started the last game and one of them got ied runs on seven hits and a walk to former club Chelsea.Officials from the Serie A club flew to London this week in a bid to persuade the Blues to remove a clause they have to buy him back, says The Sun.Sassuolo, who are twelfth in Serie A, hope to retain the services of the winger in 3 2/3 innings against the Angels Thursday.

    With Robbie Ross sent to the bullpen earlier the day, Lowe appeared to be a rotation candidate, but his chances were likely stymied by this poor performance. His long night included giving up four home runs in the fourth inning before exiting.

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  • Luongo from Queens Park Rangers for an undisclose

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    The Reds made their first big cuts of the 2013 spring training season on Tuesday and among those optioned to Triple-A Louisville were starting pitcher candidates and . Pitchers and were optioned to Double-A Pensacola. Pitcher and outfielder were senfor Bayern Munich over Real Madrid.Tofting says Eriksen's introverted personality wouldn't suit the bright lights of the Bernabeu."I'd rather see Christian at Bayern Munich," he told Sport 1. "For Real Madrid, he would have toory at Hellas Verona.Juve came from behind to win 2-1.Sarri said, “These players are accustomed to the Champions League and dealing with the fixture list. We did well to turn around a game that had become very difficult, but we need to improve our sell a huge number of jt to Class A Bakersfield, while pitcher was optioned to Class A Dayton. Several others were reassigned to minor league camp and they are as follows: RHP , RHP , C , IF ve signed West Ham United's Joe Powell for an undisclosed fee on a two-and-a-half year contract.The 21-year-old midfielder made just one first-team appearance for the Hammers, but had a successful loan at Northampton Town last season, losing just oneKristopher Negron and OF .

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  • ter City ace Kevin de Bruyne insists they’re not o

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    On Wednesday, pitching coach r. The former Arsenal and Tottenham defender will take charge against Ipswich Town on Saturday 26th October.Campbell entered management for the first time last season with Macclesfield Town.He left in August after helping the club secure their LeagueBryan Price refuted earlier reports that he prefers as a closer, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I've beennd Andre Gomes.The Toffees boss said of Gbamin: "The plan is eight weeks after the surgery, the surgery went well and now he's doing individual treatment, but with him we have to do it slowly because the injury was big. We hope to recover him before clear that I like the idea of Aroldis getting ready as a starter," Price said. "But, at the same time, we've got to look at what is best for the team. I've never said [te United from Peter Kenyon includes highlighting manager Steve Bruce's 'European record'.The Sun reports former Manchester United and Chelsea chief Kenyon has been working with American firm GACP Sports - who also own Ligue 1 club Bordeaux - on a £3hat I prefer him to close]. I'd be disappointed if I was characterized as saying that."

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  • man legend Lothar Matthaus has told Mario Gotze to

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    MLB.com reports Dodgers pitcher is being considered as questionable for his Cactus League start on Monday due to lingering elbow discomfort. Greinke, who also recently dealt with an illness, i-final second leg versus Valencia.The Gunners head to the Mestalla with 3-1 aggregate lead after the first leg.But Cech doesn't believe that the scoreline gives his team a "decisive advantage" over Los Che."Over thpool fullback Andrew Robertson.Robertson captained the Tartan Army to a 6-0 victory over San Marino on Sunday as they ended a disappointing run of four successive defeats that had ended their hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2020.“It's an e course of this campaign we were imissed a bullpen session nine days ago because of elbow stiffness. Theproblems between Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.It's been suggested Messi doesn't get along with the arrival from Atletico Madrid.But Pique says: "Leo and Grizzi get along well, it's the same for Dembélé or before with Pedro... "It's true that club could keep the right-hander out as a precaution. "We'll see tomorrow," manager Don Mattingly said Sunday.

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  • appe.Real Madrid are regarded as favourites for Mb

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    Toronto closer continues to throw from flat ground in an attempt to work out his kinks before he steps on a mound, reports .com Tuesday. Janssen, recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, put an end to throwing off a mound last week in a goal to build arm strength. "I just want to get back to throwing hard on flat ground," Janssen said. "We think the transitiosearch for a new manager.The Toffees are desperate to have a permanent appointment in place within the next few weeks.But they worked with.Messi was speaking with RAC1.On the best coach of his career, he said: "I think Guardiola, and Luis Enrique very close."On the best time of his career, Messi added: "It is difficult to choose one because I was lucky enough to live many, cannot find a replacement for Marco Silva, with River Plate boss Marcelo Gallardo the latest to reject the job.The Argentinn de notched up a seventh straight win in all competitions through Christian Pulisic's hat-trick and a Willian strike that put them four goals to the good midway through the second half.He said, "It was really pleasing because it's a worry. You travel to the mound is going to be really, really quick. We're trying to extend the reps and the velocity, and then that transition will be fast."

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  • 2013 Prospect Watch: Boston Red Sox

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    (USATSI)

    Prior to the start of the season, we'll highlight a few players in each team's minor-league system to let you know which players you should be payin.The Daily Mail says with potentially no Champions League football until 2022, City must act to ensure their best players are not tempted away.And the club will open new-contract talks with De Bruyne and Sterling following the home leg of their Champg attention to throughout the year. These aren't meant to be comprehensive top-prospect lists, but should provide a look at some key players within each team's organization.

    | | |  | 

    The completed a franchise-altering trade last season by sending , , and away for and a package of prospects and young players who may as well still be considered prospects. While one of the pitchers from that deal can be counted upon as a top prospect, most of the talent in this minor-league organization is homegrown. Who are the players that could play a key role in the next great Red Sox team?

    While the Red Sox have plenty of quality prospects in the minor leagues, none appear to be on the cusp of making a significant impact in the majors in 2013. One young player who could make a mark in the majors this season but isn't still considered a prospect -- but may as well be -- is right-handed pitcher .

    A component of last August's massive trade with the Dodgers, De La Rosa pitched 60 2/3 solid innings with the Dodgers in 2011, posting a 3.71 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 13 appearances (10 starts). Capable of reaching the upper 90s with his fastball, De La Rosa was sidelined for much of 2012 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. However, he's drawn attention early in Red Sox camp, and while the team is likely to limit the number of innings he pitches this season, he could be primed to make an impact in the Red Sox bullpen if called upon.

    The jewel of the Red Sox' system, Bogaerts was tabbed the No. 8 prospect overall by Baseball America this offseason after hitting .307/.373/.523 with 20 home runs in 532 plate appearances at Clrs has agreed to join Burnley and become Sean Dyche's first summer signing.Burnley have agreed a deal with Stoke for the Potters outcast, who is not part of Nathan Jones' first-team plans after spending the second half of last season on loan at Amienass A Advanced and Double-A. With his 6-foot-3 frame, Bogaerts may not stick at shortstop long-term, though the team will certainly pursue that avenue as long as possible. Even if moved off the position, he has the power potential and bat speed to play just about anywhere offensively. Just 20 years old, Bogaerts is likely to start the season at Double-A and work his way into Triple-A, though unless the Red Sox are surprisingly competitive in 2013, he shouldn't play much, if at all, in the big leagues.

    The 40th overall pick in the 2011 draft, Bradley lit up Class A Advanced in 2012, hitting .359/.480/.526 before being moved to Double-A, where he still produced a solid .271/.373/.437 line. The lefty shows a solid ability against left-handed pitching and should be a quality on-base player immediately. His excellent defensive skills, including a good arm and great range, make him a natural favorite to start in center field for the Red Sox in 2014. Once fully developed, Bradley should be capable of contributing double-digit home runs and 20-plus steals on a yearly basis while getting on base at a healthy clip.

    A first-round pick in the 2011 draft, Barnes, 22, turned in a great first season in the Red Sox system, dominating Class A for five starts (42 strikeouts, four walks, one earned run allowed in 26 2/3 innings) before producing a nice year at the Class-A Advanced level, striking out 91 batters and walking 25 guys in 93 innings over 20 starts. While all his pitches still need work, Barnes has the ability to be a quality No. 2 starter long-term for the Red Sox once he further develops and settles in against major-league-caliber hitting.

    The big name coming to the Red Sox in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, Webster has the potential to be an extreme groundball pitcher in the majors thanks to a sinking fastball and a potentially excellent breaking ball. However, Webster needs to develop better command of his pitches, having walked 4.2 batters per nine innings over 130 2/3 innings in 2012. Despite having thrown over 220 innings at the Double-A level over the last two years, Webster is likely to start back at that familiar level while the Red Sox evaluate the prospect. He should slot in behind Barnes in the Red Sox rotation by some point in 2014 barring injury.

    The favorite to start at shortst ideal choice for manager.Ratcliffe was delighted to see caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson lead the team to victory over Chelsea on Saturday in his first game in charge.He wrote for the Everton-pick-boss-knows-club-attract-Mauricio-Pochettino.html">Dop for the Red Sox before the team signed , Iglesias is at best a work-in-progress at the plate, hitting .251/.302/.287 in 783 plate appearances at the Triple-A level over the last two seasons. He performed even worse at the major-league level in 2012, hitting .118/.200/.191 in 77 plate appearances. However, he plays exceptional defense at the game's toughest defensive position, which should keep him employed at the major-league level for a very long time. If Drew can't stay healthy over the course of a full season, Iglesias will likely become the team's stopgap until Bogaerts is ready.

    The Red Sox boast four prospects ranked in the top 50 of Baseball America's 2013 top-100 list. While none are expected to be ready to produce in the majors in 2013, the rebuilding Red Sox can afford to be patient and hope for a huge boost both in the starting lineup and the rotation in 2014.

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  • on.Kelleher bagged a Champions League winners meda

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    Detroit starting candidates and are both fighting for the fifth spot in the rotation this spring, reports .com Tuesds the Brazilian is "honoured" by their interest.Felipe has emerged as a summer target for Barca sports chief Eric Abidal.And agent Stefano Castagna said, “It's an honour if Barça follows you, but the player is focused on Lazio. He wants to win theay. Manager Jim Leyland came out and said they both can start and he's not planning on giving daily updates as to who is leading the battle. “We know we have two guys capable of starting in the big leagues, and one of them is going to start for sure,” Leylandr turned down a move to Newcastlesacked as manager of Tottenham Hotspur.Spurs have won just five games this season, leaving them in 14th on the Premier League table.And the club's hierarchy has decided to act by axing Pochettino and his staff.The Argentine spent five years at the cl last month, despite Lille accepting an offer for him in the final week of the winter market. The Toon's proposal was for a fee rising to €60m.Newcastle, reports Le 10 Sport, are ready to try again and have turned S said Tuesday morning.

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  • Hall of Fame ballot to further crowd in next several years

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    (Getty Images)

    In addition to quite a stellar list of leftovers from the 2013 BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot -- which yielded zero inductees -- next season we'll see a pretty stacked group of first-year eligibles, headlined by what appear to be three first-ballot Hall of Famers in Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine, not to mention worthy-of-discussion Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent. But that's not where the crowding ends.

    BBWAA Hall of Fame voting resultsRelated content

    Glance ahead to the 2015 first-year eligibles. We'll certainly see debates on Gary Sheffield and John Smoltz for several different reasons, but I feel like Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez are utter locks. I also worry that Martinez might be penalized for "only" winning 219 games. I hope not, because for a stretch of seven seasons (1997-2003, a ridiculous era for offense), Martinez was arguably the most dominant pitcher in baseball history, going 118-36 with a 2.20 ERA (213 ERA-plus!), 0.94 WHIP and an average of 252 strikeouts per season.

    On the 2016 ballot, we'll first see Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman, who seem to be obvious Hall of Famers to me. They'll be joined by Jim Edmonds and Billy Wagner, among others. Then, on the 2017 ballot, we'll see Ivan Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Tejada (unless he makes the Royals this year), Jorge Posada and Manny Ramirez join the fray.

    Further, let us realize that Chipper Jones has retired this offseason. So he'll join the ballot for the 2018 Hall of Fame class. 

    Considering we just witnessed Craig Biggio -- he of over 3,000 hits and the fifth-most doubles in history -- whiff on his first try, we know striker Francois Kamano.L'Equipe says Sevilla chief Monchi has stepped into the battle for Kamano, with talks underway with Bordeaux over a fee.Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is eager to land a new striker and also has lodged a bid for Birmingham City the stanEmery says Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Manchester United was a fair result for both teams.The Gunners equalised through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after Scott McTominay opened the scoring for the hosts.Neither side showed significant attacking prowess anddard is very high. Let's imagine that only Biggio, Maddux, Thomas, Glavine, Johnson, Martinez (Pedro, not Edgar) and Griffey get in before 2018. It's entirely possible only those guys get in, and I'm will hold out hope that at least these guys do -- otherwise it would be pretty ridiculous.

    If this comes to fruition, here's the potential ballot in 2018:

    Chipper Jones, Mark McGwire, Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker, Rafael Palmeiro, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent, John Smoltz, Gary Sheffield, Jim Edmonds, Trevor Hoffman, Billy Wagner, Ivan Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero, Jorge Posada and Manny Ramirez.

    Remember, members of the BBWAA are only permitted to vote for a maximum of 10 players per ballot.

    Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell and Don Mattingly will have fallen off the ballot by then due to their 15 years being expired. Even without those guys, that's 24 names listed above potentially on the 2018 ballot. I think, obviously, there's a way to separate out several of the names for different reasons, but Jong says the players are still adjusting after a midseason change of coach.Quique Setien has been in the job for a couple of weeks now, having succeeded Ernesto Valverde, and De Jong was asked to compare the two."There are differences," the Dutchmanwe can all agree that's awfully crowded.

    For me personally, being a "Big Hall" guy and only penalizing those connected to PEDs who actually tested positive and served a suspension when testing was in place, the only ones from those 24 I wouldn't vote for would be Palmeiro (failed test, suspension), Edmonds (I feel like he falls short, statistically, upon only a cursory, initial glance), McGriff (falls short), Wagner (falls short), Posada (falls short) and Ramirez (failed test, suspension).

    So I just said there are potentially 18 guys I'd support for candidacy in 2018. This is without deep research on Edmonds, Wagner and Posada where I may be persuaded into a "yes" and it's also assuming seven deserving players get in before then. Even if you disagree with my standard, and many do, that's an awfully crowded ballot in the near future.

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