Kyrie Irving, N.J. native and potential future Knick, is still peddling his ‘flat earth’ nonsense

Kyrie Irving’s absence had a major impact on two NBA teams this season. If he was still on the Cavaliers, they probably wouldn’t have been completely demolished by the Warriors just yet in the NBA Finals. And if he hadn’t gotten injured, his current team, the Celtics, almost assuredly would have beaten his old team in Cleveland and gotten to the Finals.

But Irving was traded by the Cavs and suffered a season-ending knee injury in Boston, so he’s had plenty of free time. And, as we learned in a recent New York Times interview, the West Orange native, former St. Patrick star and soon-to-be free agent who may want to sign with the Knicks still isn’t ready to accept the Earth is round, and his prior instances of thinking out loud on the subject appear quite genuine.

… I was never trying to convince anyone that the world is flat. I’m not being an advocate for the world being completely flat. No, I don’t know. I really don’t. It’s fun to think about though. It’s fun to have that conversation. It is absolutely fun because people get so agitated and mad. They’re like, Hey man, you can’t believe that, man. It’s religious, man. It’s just science. You can’t believe anything else. O.K.? Cool, well, explain to me. Give me what you’ve known about the Earth and your research, and I love it. I love talking about it.

Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is the primary statistic used in the calculation. Ratings range from 1 to 10, with 10 representing the best possible matchup, statistically speaking, and 1 representing the worst. For example, a 10 is a must-start rating, while a 1 should be avoided (if possible); a 1-2 is poor, 3-4 is fair, 5-6 is average, 7-8 is very good and 9-10 is excellent.Daily notes: Pitcher and hitter rankings for Saturday

Gardner finished 2-for-3 and has a seven-game hitting streak, tying his season-best. He’s also got a hit in 14 of his last 15 games since May 18.

Over his last 21 games, he’s hitting.364 (32-for-88) with 13 extra-base hits (seven doubles, two triples, four home runs) and 11 RBI.

His.268 batting average has jumped 70 points since he hit.198 with a putrid.578 OPS through his first 29 games.

It just gets worse for Yankees prospect who got shot

A Yankees prospect who got shot while being robbed in the offseason has suffered another injury and might be finished for the season.

Shortstop Thairo Estrada has a back injury and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Bobby Mitchell said he thinks it’s going to be tough to come back from this year, The Times Leader’s D.J. Eberle said on Twitter.

Estrada has battled wrist and hamstring problems this year, too.

Teams cut veterans and break contracts all the time. It’s almost a daily occurrence, and that is the right of NFL teams.

It’s conversely also the right of players to break contracts if they feel those contracts are outdated or if they’ve outplayed them.

None of this means you should have sympathy for players, but it’s always fascinating when people ask players to behave one way while failing to acknowledge teams behave in the exact same manner. 

That core consists of two of the best pitchers in baseball: Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.

DeGrom is having a Cy Young-caliber season, leading the majors with a ridiculous 1.51 ERA.

Certainly, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson could get quite a haul for one or both of his right-handed studs. Just imagine what Yankees GM Brian Cashman might be willing to give up in exchange for deGrom. Perhaps a package built around Miguel Andujar and/or Justus Sheffield?

But SI’s Tom Verducci doesn’t think that’s the way the Mets should go, and he’s not bashful with his opinion:

The Mets have made many dumb moves in recent years, but even entertaining the idea of trading Jacob deGrom and/or Noah Syndergaard would plumb new depths to their foolishness.

The Mets hold five more combined years of control on deGrom and Syndergaard–that’s about 135 starts after this season. One of the most valuable commodities in this game is a young, controllable, front-of-the-rotation pitcher. The Mets have two of them.

Report: Jadeveon Clowney might not get extension before the season

After the Texans signed Benardrick McKinney to a five-year, $50 million extension last week, it was presumed Jadeveon Clowney was next in line. The fifth-year linebacker still might be, but it might not be this season, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

Clowney, the first overall pick in 2014, will make $12.3 million this year under the fifth-year option.

Jamal always had a swagger, but I gotta call plays so I can’t be super loud like that and hooting and hollering like that all the time ’cause I can’t be out of breath making a call. That’s not gonna help anybody ’cause everybody’s gonna be like, ‘Wait, what? What’d you say?’  Lee said. That’s fine, that’s him. He can do that. And I’ll feed off of that.

The pass rush is a huge question mark, but in the meantime, Lee envisions a Dancing With the Stars defense nevertheless.

A lot like how you saw that night against Buffalo, you know, dancing, having a good time, he said. But very focused, very detailed, and we’re just looking to take that next level.

The Eagles haven’t set a specific timetable for Wentz’s return, but he seems optimistic about being ready in time for the team’s training camp six weeks away.

It’s a fluid process, Wentz said. Time will tell when camp comes around. … The biggest thing is to keep pushing along until I am cleared. As you can see out here, I am doing quite a bit. Obviously the biggest last hurdle is going to be the contact part.

The Maturation of Darron Lee is critical to the Jets’ fortunes and is not lost on the coaching staff:

Assistant head coach/inside linebackers Mike Caldwell: He has all the tools. He’s getting better by being able to see things faster. His eyes are better. Coming from college, it took him a while to understand the professional game. He’s done a good job of finding his niche, and he’ll just continue to improve doing that.

Lee’s rookie season was marred by an ankle injury, which slowed his progress so much that Pro Football Focus rated him the worst rookie linebacker in the Class of 2016. He has wisely tuned out the critics.

Ravens corner Jimmy Smith back on field after Achilles tear

The Ravens have some surprises on the field in minicamp that have nothing to do with where Lamar Jackson lines up.

According to Jamison Hensley of, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith was participating during Wednesday’s practice, six months after tearing his Achilles.

Smith suffered the injury on Dec. 3, and while the team was hopeful he’d be ready for the regular season, having him do anything now is a good sign.

After 15 years of research and development by co-creators Scott Goldman and Jim Bowman, the AIQ debuted at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2012 and now has a database of more than 4,000 elite athletes from the NBA, NFL, MLB and elite amateur athletes.

The test can be specific to any sport based on the tasks administered on a touch screen. The AIQ does not have written questions to answer like a traditional IQ test, but offers a more dynamic assessment — using 10 sub-tests that involve visual spatial processing, reaction time, decision-making and learning efficiency.

It’s part puzzle solving and part video game. A score of 100 is considered average and a score of 115 is superior. There is no reading requirement as the tests are non-verbal.

With an injury to free-agent acquisition Yu Darvish and mediocre performances from Tyler Chatwood and Jose Quintana this season, Chicago could certainly improve its rotation.

Alzolay could have been the help they needed down the line, but he is not an option anymore.

Hoyer could do nothing and the team would be fine, however, if the last few seasons have been any indication, Chicago does not like to stand pat.

Losing Alzolay could get the Cubs actively looking to pick up a Cole Hamels or a Michael Fulmer.

However, with the lack of depth in the system due to trades over the last few years (Chicago already traded Gleyber Torres to the Yankees and Eloy Jiminez and Dylan Cease to the White Sox in the last two years), they simply may not have the ammunition to get a deal done for one of the big names.

One thing Edelman didn’t mention is what he might have taken that possibly led to the suspension.

As this matter is being appealed, I can’t say anymore but no matter what, I will be ready to play and pursue another championship with our team and for Patriots fans around the world, Edelman wrote. Edelman also didn’t mention Alex Guerrero, which is only notable because Tom Brady’s controversial trainer released a statement about Edelman after the receiver’s suspension was announced on Thursday.

Due to the fact that Edelman has been rehabbing his torn ACL at Guerrero’s TB12 facility this offseason, the trainer was quick to distance himself from Edelman and let everyone know that he was not the reason that the receiver was suspended.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame released a statement saying it regrets Owens won’t be part of the induction. No Hall of Famer has ever refused an invitation.

We are disappointed but will respect Terrell’s decision not to participate in the Enshrinement, Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker said in a statement. While unprecedented, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the nearly 5,000 volunteers and the entire community are committed to celebrating the excellence of the Class of 2018 that will kick off the NFL’s 99th season.

The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow, the statement reads. They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our country.

The Bengals invested a lot in cornerbacks by drafting Kirkpatrick, Dennard and Jackson over a five-year span. If Jackson’s play remains at the same level in expanded time, the last of them will likely turn out to be the best.

However, if Edelman serves his suspension at the beginning of the 2018 season, the Jets will still have to face him twice this season.

The Patriots and Jets meet for the first time in Week 12 at MetLife Stadium and conclude the season with a Week 17 date in Foxborough, Mass.

I think that Dez is still going to get that ball, and now he has something to prove.

He wants to prove the world that you guys made a mistake. You guys categorized me wrongly. I know that he has a multitude left in the tank.

Let me tell you something, man. I played with great receivers. I’ve played against great receivers. Which one of them didn’t have an attitude? That’s just how some of the big-time receivers are. Antonio (Brown) has it. Julio (Jones) has it. All these guys have it whether you want to talk about it or not, they have it.

Hill had had 57 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks during the 2017 season.

Redditlover1981 also could be someone with connections to Edelman, to the Patriots or to the NFL, but that seems less likely: Someone connected to those camps might know Edelman failed a drug test, but how would he know that the failed drug test had been leaked to the national news and that the news was going to be reported tomorrow?

As part of that effort, the NFL wrote an anthem policy that made presence on the sideline mandatory but standing during the anthem optional. Then, when protests first happened in 2016, the NFL didn’t swoop in and fix the problem. Instead, the NFL confirmed that players have the right to protest. Then, when the President was elected and anthem protests were still happening, the NFL didn’t realize that it probably would have been a good idea to remove the issue from the Presidential radar screen before the President realized just how low the fruit was hanging.

Make no mistake: The last major hurdle of Luck’s rehabilitation from shoulder surgery in January 2017 has been, and will continue to be, his brain.

He’s not throwing it hard, not yet, but that day’s coming. Training camp doesn’t start for another six or seven weeks, so it’s easy to imagine Luck being physically ready to go full speed from Day One. He won’t go full speed every day, a rhythm he says began last week and will continue. He’ll throw a bit more Wednesday than he did Tuesday, then take Thursday off.

For Luck, getting his mind right means getting his routine down. His routine during the season will be to throw in practice on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and then Sunday in the game. For now his routine roughly mimics that, albeit moved ahead by two days: throwing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and again Friday.

Everything you must know about Seigler

The Yankees start a three-game series with the Blue Jays in Toronto on Tuesday night.

On Monday, they split a doubleheader with the Tigers in Detroit.

Late Monday night, top Yankees scout Damon Oppenheimer explained his affinity for Seigler.

In the days before anthem protests, players on the sidelines, flush with adrenaline, might rock back and forth or clutch their collars. Fans might hold their beer or nachos. Some folks fold their hands, as in prayer, and others cross them behind their backs. There are no patriotism police ordering exact posture and gestures, because this is America.

Many NFL players locked arms last season to represent unity. It has become a commonplace, accepted practice. Even the football players at my son’s suburban high school locked arms during the anthem. No veterans or vice presidents stormed out of the bleachers over such a humble expression of unity and solidarity.

It just comes back to how he was raised by his mom and dad. He gives all his teammates respect, and his catcher. He’s handled interview after interview, and pro team after pro team. It’s just been amazing. He’s held it together so well.

Mize might be the best pitching prospect to come out of the SEC since David Price was carving up hitters at Vanderbilt 11 years ago. Mike Minor, Drew Pomeranz, Kevin Gausman, Aaron Nola, Carson Fulmer, A.J. Puk and Kyle Wright have all been selected in the top 10 in recent years and Vanderbilt product Walker Buehler is quickly making a name for himself as a former No. 24 overall pick but Mize is on the verge of becoming the first SEC pitcher to top the charts since Tampa Bay chose Price No. 1 in 2007.

It has been a swift ascent to prominence for Mize, who went undrafted out of his high school in Springville, Alabama (population: 4,080). A severe high ankle sprain during Mize’s senior year put a crimp in his draft stock. But amateur talent evaluators also thought that he could benefit from elite college competition and time for his body to get stronger.

Paul Richardson showed his promise as a field-stretcher last season, but he didn’t do enough to be retained for a high price.

jets_010Doug Baldwin remains the firm, savvy No. 1. Tyler Lockett needs to find his explosiveness to have a shot at regaining No. 2. Brandon Marshall, Seattle’s late free-agent signee, isn’t much of a threat coming off toe and ankle injuries at age 34.

Should he make the team, Marshall’s size and hands will be situational help in replacing the red-zone void left by Graham. Because of what Baldwin can do in the slot, the Seahawks can pair Lockett outside with the speedy former Cardinal Jaron Brown, who’s better equipped to give them the big-play element than Richardson was.

The Seahawks want to be more balanced to take pressure off Wilson, who has proved he can get the job done with lesser receivers. Drafting Penny helps the QB more than losing Richardson hurts him.

With Graham and Willson gone, Nick Vannett is the best remaining option. Ed Dickson was signed from the Panthers, and Will Dissly was drafted. Although Dickson has proved he can do well catching passes in a pinch, he and Dislsly will be blockers for the most part.

The Twins held another Prince Night, a heavily themed celebration of the Minneapolis-born-and-raised musician whose 60th birthday would have been on Thursday. The first 10,000 fans through the gates got inflatable plastic purple guitars. Eddie Rosario was spotted strumming one in the dugout as Grossman sent his drive to deep right field, and he leaped to his feet with the souvenir in hand as the ball cleared the wall.

Eaton will start in right field and bat leadoff Saturday afternoon against the San Francisco Giants. Nationals manager Dave Martinez said last month that Eaton also could play some center field upon his return.

Bryce Harper will start in center field Saturday for Washington.

Eaton had surgery May 10 to repair a chondral flap in his left ankle that was causing pain and has been on the 60-day DL. He has played in just eight games this season, hitting two home runs with five RBIs.

Schatz: Dallas Cowboys. I wish I could be creative and suggest a team other than Dallas, but you end up with teams in the division (San Francisco, a trade that will never happen) or teams with cap space that have a clear hole at strong safety but not free safety (Indianapolis). The Houston Texans might make an interesting landing spot, though, especially with the recent announcement about Andre Hal’s health.

Is Thomas a Hall of Famer right now?

Los Angeles recalled OF Jabari Blash from Triple-A Salt Lake and optioned OF Michael Hermosillo to its top farm team.

jets_012Scioscia said he wanted the right-handed-hitting Blash in the lineup to face Seattle lefties LeBlanc and Marco Gonzales. Blash was hitting .324 with 18 homers for Salt Lake this season.

Angels: Trout underwent precautionary X-rays postgame after fouling a ball off his left shin in the third. He said they were negative and he expects to play Tuesday. … 1B Jefry Marte was lifted for pinch-hitter Jose Miguel Fernandez in the fourth after bruising his left wrist in a collision with Dee Gordon at first base. Scioscia said X-rays were negative and Marte will be evaluated further on Tuesday. … Scioscia said SS Andrelton Simmons (ankle) is throwing and hitting off a tee, but not running yet. … P/OF Shohei Ohtani began daily therapy on his right elbow UCL sprain Sunday and will be re-evaluated in about three weeks, Scioscia said.

We had plenty of opportunities, manager Buck Showalter said. We just couldn’t get that hit that’s been eluding us for it seems like quite a while.

Orioles starter Dylan Bundy gave up three hits over eight innings. He struck out seven, walked two and did not permit a runner to reach third base.

It was his fourth scoreless outing of the season, the second in a row. Last week, the right-hander blanked the Mets on three hits in seven innings.

Wright was going up against an offense that ranked last in the AL in runs and was missing ailing slugger Manny Machado. The knuckleballer allowed four hits over 6 2/3 innings. In the seventh, after Baltimore used two walks and an infield hit to load the bases with two outs, Joe Kelly entered and struck out Adam Jones with a 97 mph fastball.

Goldschmidt went 3-for-4 his franchise-record fourth straight game with at least three hits and has 16 hits in eight games in June after collecting 14 hits in 27 games in May. He hit his 11th and 12th long balls this season, both off Rockies starter Chad Bettis.

Goldschmidt’s first homer was a solo shot that traveled an estimated 450 feet.

Doug Martin wants to show he ‘can bounce back’ in ’18

jets_013After six roller-coaster seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Doug Martin signed with his hometown Oakland Raiders in hopes of relaunching his career.

My approach is, basically, I’m a rookie again, Martin said Tuesday, via the San Francisco Chronicle. And I’ve got to prove to the team, to the players, the coaches, that I can be useful on this team. Like I said, just act like a rookie, and go out there and play, play the game that I love.

Martin owns one of the most up-and-down careers in the NFL. After bursting on the scene as a rookie, compiling 1,454 yards, the running back struggled through two injury-plagued seasons, not reaching the 500-yard mark. He bounced back in 2015 with a 1,402-yard output to earn a new contract. Since then, Martin has been an inefficient runner. He’s averaged 2.9 yards per attempt and gained fewer than 425 yards each year in addition to serving a four-game suspension. He was cut earlier this offseason.

Stanton was hitting.202 in 28 home games through Monday with six homers, 15 RBIs, 42 strikeouts in 109 at-bats and a.688 OPC compared to.302 in 22 road games with five homers, 13 RBIs 27 strikeouts in 86 at-bats and a.941 OPS.

On the Yankees’ current homestand, Stanton was 0 for 12 against the Los Angeles Angels last weekend, then benched for Monday’s game, a 5-1 home loss to the Houston Astros.

Stanton’s struggles at home began from the get-go, too, as he was 0 for 5 with five strikeouts in his Yankee Stadium debut as a Yankee and 3 for 32 with 16 strikeouts on the first homestand.

Why so bad at home?

Yankees manager Aaron Boone addressed this topic before the Yankees-Astros game on Tuesday.