Amendola's return to practice 'sparked' Rams on Wednesday in London


Amendola's return to practice 'sparked' Rams on Wednesday in London

FOXBORO -- Danny Amendola returned to practice in a "limited" capacity on Wednesday in London.

The St. Louis Rams wide receiver has missed the last two games with a separated shoulder, suffered in the Rams' 17-3 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5.

That was the last win that St. Louis has seen, since Amendola went down. The Rams have lost to the Dolphins in Miami and to Green Bay at home the last two weeks.

So, as expected, Amendola's presence -- while limited on Wednesday -- was well received by the team.

"It was really good to see him, obviously," said Rams quarterback Sam Bradford in a conference call after Wednesday's practice in London. "Me and him are pretty close. We talked about it last week. He told me that he was going to be out there with us today doing some stuff. I was a little surprised, just from the initial reports, I thought it was going to be quite a bit longer for him to get back on the field. But anytime you get him back out there, I think it just brought a whole spark to the whole group today and just lifted everyones spirits a little bit seeing him back out there. Even though he didnt do a whole lot, just having him on the field really energized our group."

While missing two full weeks, Amendola still leads the Rams in receiving, with 32 receptions for 395 yards and two touchdowns.

In his absence, the Rams have needed receivers Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens to step up their game.

"Chris doesnt have a lot of catches, but I believe Chris in four consecutive weeks has a reception over 50 yards, which last week, as his third, hadnt been done by a rookie since former Bears and Raiders receiver Willie Gault," said Rams coach Jeff Fisher in a conference call on Wednesday. "So, hes making a big play here and there. Wed like to try to get him more involved, like to try to get more balls to him, but hes coming on.

"Gibby is doing well too. Gibby is making plays, as are the rest of the guys around him. We have a young group. We have an ascending player in Brian Quick who I think is going to be a very, very solid player for us. Austin Pettis can make plays. When we lost Danny Amendola two weeks ago, other guys had to step up and were getting some production."

Bradford said, on Wednesday, that Amendola's return to the team this season will be crucial.

"Obviously, Ive said it before, a lot of our offense runs through Danny when hes healthy," said Bradford. "You look at the Washington game when he caught 15 balls and everything really started with him. Theres no doubt that we miss him, but I think in the past couple weeks, the guys that have had to step up and make plays because he's not there. I think theyve done a great job and I look for them to do the same this week. Everyone has really elevated their game since he went down."

Dee Gordon homers leading off as Marlins mourn Jose Fernandez


Dee Gordon homers leading off as Marlins mourn Jose Fernandez

MIAMI - Dee Gordon hit an emotional homer in Miami's first at-bat following the death of Marlins ace Jose Fernandez in a boating accident.

Leading off the first inning Monday night against the New York Mets, Gordon pulled a 2-0 pitch from Bartolo Colon over the wall in right for his first homer of the season.

Gordon circled the bases slowly and was crying when he reached home plate. He tapped his chest and waved toward the sky, and then sobbed as teammates hugged him in the dugout.

Gordon took the first pitch batting right-handed, in tribute to the right-handed Fernandez. Gordon then switched to his normal left side.

Fernandez died Sunday morning, prompting the Marlins to cancel their game that day against Atlanta.