ALCS MVP finds a new team


ALCS MVP finds a new team

From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- In just a few months, Delmon Young went from MVP of the American League championship series to a guy hoping for an opportunity.Young got that chance Tuesday, signing a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for 750,000.The 27-year-old outfielder batted .267 with 27 doubles, 18 homers and 74 RBIs for Detroit last season. He hit .313 with three homers and a team-high nine RBIs during 13 playoff games and was MVP against of the ALCS against the New York Yankees. The Tigers were swept by San Francisco in the World Series.Young made 6.75 million last year, but off-field issues cost him a lucrative, multiyear deal. He was suspended without pay for seven days by Major League Baseball after an incident outside a New York City hotel last spring. Young later pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment for shouting an anti-Semitic slur and tackling a man to the ground.The Phillies are counting on Young to stay out of trouble and provide balance in a lineup that's filled with left-handed hitters. The team has sought a right-handed corner outfielder with power throughout the offseason. He could fit into the lineup in the No. 5 spot behind Chase Utley and cleanup hitter Ryan Howard."Delmon is an experienced major league bat who will add some depth to our relatively inexperienced outfield and another layer of competition for playing time there as well," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said in a statement.Less than a month before the start of spring training, the Phillies were sure of just one starting outfielder. They acquired Ben Revere from Minnesota to be the regular center fielder. Amaro talked about possible platoons for the two other spots.Now he expects Young to be the regular right fielder, a position he hasn't played since 2007. Young revealed he had ankle surgery in November, so there's a chance he may have to start the season on the disabled list.Darin Ruf, who hit 38 homers at Double-A Reading last year, is competing for playing time in left field. Former top prospect Domonic Brown had been in the mix in right field. Laynce Nix and John Mayberry Jr. were mentioned in a leftright platoon.But if Young ends up starting every day, Ruf and Brown could platoon in left while Nix and Mayberry come off the bench.Young started 29 games in left field last season and primarily served as Detroit's designated hitter. He has 156 career starts in right field, including 127 for Tampa Bay in 2007.Outfield had been a strength for the Phillies during their string of five-straight NL East titles from 2007-11. They had five All-Star outfielders in that span, including Aaron Rowand, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino. They also had slugger Pat Burrell, who never made an All-Star team but averaged 32 homers and 92 RBIs in 2007-08.Pence and Victorino were traded away last July 31, opening up two holes. Revere and Young could end up filling both spots at significantly less salary. Pence will earn 13.8 million with San Francisco this year. Victorino signed a 39 million, three-year deal with Boston.Young was Tampa Bay's first overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft. He has batted .284 with 89 homers and 482 RBIs with Tampa Bay (2006-07), Minnesota (2008-11) and Detroit.Young's best season was in 2010 with the Twins. He hit .298 with 21 homers and 112 RBIs and finished 10th in AL MVP voting.Young's deal includes performances bonuses.

Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett


Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett

PITTSBURGH – So far this season, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have combined for 39 catches, 644 yards and five touchdowns. Making the numbers that much more impressive is the fact the numbers were rolled up with Gronk inactive for two games and fairly useless in another thanks to his hamstring injury.

Will the Steelers slow the roll of Robellus Grennetski?

Hard to imagine. As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, Gronk alone has tuned up the Steelers with 26 receptions for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in six meetings.

Fittipaldo explored the strategies the Steelers defense may unveil Sunday afternoon when the Patriots and Steelers get going. He also pointed out that the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a three week layoff and injuries for safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden may put Pittsburgh at a disadvantage.

Said Shazier: “They have the tandem they want at tight end. Now they can use tight ends the way they want. You have to respect everyone on the field. Both of them are good blockers, good pass threats and great at running after the catch.”

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Pittsburgh will alter its approaches.

“We have to be able to play more than one defense,” Butler said. “They’re very good and they’ll pick you apart if they can figure out what you’re doing. We just have to execute the defense more than anything else. If we can do that … that’s been our problem for the most part. Some of the things that went on last week, we missed some things we should have made mentally.”

What “went on last week” was a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh hasn’t been a big-play group so far -- eight sacks and three picks -- nor have they seen a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in the first six games. 

Interestingly, their losses have been to Ryan Tannehill and rookie Carson Wentz, probably the two quarterbacks one would figure Pittsburgh would do best against.
Between a smoking hot Brady and a can’t-be-stopped tight end tandem, there’s probably not a lot Pittsburgh can do aside from hoping for an off day.

Said linebacker Arthur Moats hopefully: “You have to continue to mix it up against (Gronkowski). You can’t give him the same look over and over. He has success on guys like that. If we disrupt him, and rush Brady and speed up his clock, I definitely think that will help out.”

In theory, perhaps. In practice? We’ll see.

Game notes: Patriots vs. Steelers


Game notes: Patriots vs. Steelers

A quick look at the information you need to know about today's Patriots-Steelers game:

TEAM RECORDS: Patriots 5-1, Steelers 4- 2

GAME TIME: 4:25 p.m. EST


TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson


NATIONAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Larry Kahn, Mark Carrier and Troy West

LOCAL RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak


LAST MEETING: Patriots 28, Steelers 21 on Sept. 10, 2015 at Gillette Stadium

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-- The Patriots are 8-11 against the Steelers in Pittsburgh in their history, but are 4-2 at Heinz Field. Included in those four Heinz Field victories are two in AFC Championship Games (in the 2001 and 2004 seasons).

-- Tom Brady is 8-2 against the Steelers in his career.

-- The last time Brady played the Steelers, in 2015, he set a Patriots franchise record with 19 consecutive pass completions.

-- The Patriots are 108-70 (.607) in road games since 1994, the best record in the NFL over that span. The Steelers (97- 82, .542) are second.

-- The Patriots have yet to throw an interception in 2016, setting a team record for consecutive games without an interception at the start of a season (6). The NFL record for consecutive games at the start of a season without a pick is 9, set by the 1960 Browns. The Patriots' franchise record for overall consecutive games with no interceptions is 8, set in 2010.

* * * *
-- Rob Gronkowski has 67 overall touchdowns and needs one to tie Stanley Morgan (68) for the franchise record.

-- Gronkowski has 66 receiving touchdowns and needs one to tie Morgan (67) for the franchise record.

-- Gronkowski has 22 100-yard receiving games, including two in 2016, and is tied with Jackie Smith for the third-most among all NFL tight ends. The only TEs who have more are Kellen Winslow (24) and Tony Gonzalez (31).