MLB All-Star suspended for 50 games

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MLB All-Star suspended for 50 games

From Comcast SportsNet
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games without pay Wednesday after the Giants outfielder tested positive for testosterone, a big loss for San Francisco as it fights for a playoff berth. Major League Baseball said Cabrera tested positive for the banned performance-enhancing substance in violation of the drug agreement between owners and the players' association. His penalty was the first for a high-profile player since Ryan Braun's penalty was overturned by an arbitrator last winter, which led to revisions in the drug agreement to better define procedures for handling the urine samples. "My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used," Cabrera said in a statement released by the union. "I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down." Cabrera is batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs in his first season with San Francisco and is five hits shy of 1,000 in his big league career. Flashing bright orange spikes, he singled and hit a two-run homer last month in the National League's 8-0 All-Star win, which secured homefield advantage for the World Series. He will miss the final 45 games of the regular season and serve the remainder of the suspension at the start of next season or during the postseason, depending on whether the Giants make the playoffs and how far they advance. "We were extremely disappointed," the Giants said. "We fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance enhancing drugs from our game." If the Giants wanted him to become active in the middle of a playoff series, they would have to play a man short from the start of the series until the suspension ends because rosters can't be altered in mid-series. Cabrera became the second Giants player to receive a drug suspension this season. Reliever Guillermo Mota was penalized for 100 games in May, becoming just the third major league player disciplined twice for positive drug tests. Mota is eligible to return Aug. 28, barring rainouts, and began a minor league rehabilitation assignment Tuesday with the Giants' rookie team in Arizona. There have been four suspensions in the major league drug program this year, with Philadelphia infielder Freddy Galvis and free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd also suspended 50 games apiece. There have been 70 suspensions under the minor league drug program. In mid-May, MLB and the players' union agreed to drop the 100-game suspension imposed on Colorado Rockies catcher Eliezer Alfonzo for a positive drug test because of the same procedural issues that came up in the case of Braun, the Milwaukee outdfielder who is the reigning NL MVP. Alfonzo missed 48 games -- the final 15 of last season and the first 33 of this year. Braun's 50-game suspension for a positive drug test was overturned in February by arbitrator Shyam Das after Braun's lawyers argued his urine sample was not handled in the manner specified by baseball's drug agreement. Das, who had been baseball's permanent arbitrator since 1999, was fired this spring. In December 2011, slugger Manny Ramirez received a 50-game suspension for a second positive drug test. The 12-time All-Star signed a one-year minor league contract with the Oakland Athletics on Feb. 20, but was released in June per his request while playing for Triple-A Sacramento before even reaching the big leagues with the A's. Ramirez retired from the Tampa Bay Rays last season rather than serve a 100-game suspension for a second failed drug test. The penalty was cut to 50 games because he sat out nearly all of last season. The 28-year-old Cabrera, who became a marketing phenomenon this year with nicknames like "Got Melk?" "Melk Man" and "Melky Way," produced a 51-hit month in May. Cabrera batted .429 in May with three homers, five triples, seven doubles and 17 RBIs. He hit safely in 25 of 29 games. The 51 hits matched Randy Winn for most hits in a month since the club came to San Francisco in 1958. Cabrera also set the San Francisco record for most hits in May, passing Hall of Famer Willie Mays' 49 from 1958. Cabrera came to the Giants in a trade with Kansas City last November that sent left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals. Cabrera -- who signed a 6 million, one-year deal to avoid salary arbitration -- batted .305 with 44 doubles, 18 homers and 87 RBIs last season. He is a big reason San Francisco began play Wednesday tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the NL West. Cabrera had been listed in the original lineup for the series finale with the Washington Nationals, batting third and playing left field. Gregor Blanco replaced Cabrera. San Francisco said it will not make a roster move until Thursday's off day before opening a weekend series at San Diego. The clubhouse was closed before the game when the news of Cabrera's suspension broke. "Sad, man," Robinson Cano of the Yankees said. "He's a friend. I'm going to be there for him. I never talked to him about anything like that. Sad day."

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Prediction and preview for Raiders at Ravens

Prediction and preview for Raiders at Ravens

What: Raiders (2-1) vs. Ravens (3-0)

When: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Where: M & T Bank Stadium

Injuries:

Ravens – RB Kenneth Dixon (knee), CB Sheldon Price (thigh), and LT Ronnie Stanley (foot) are doubtful; WR Kamar Aiken (thigh), OLB Elvis Dumervil (foot), WR Devin Hester (thigh), LG Alex Lewis (concussion), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), G John Urschel (shoulder) are questionable.

Raiders – S Nate Allen (quad), OT Austin Howard (ankle), OT Menelik Watson (calf) are out; C Rodney Hudson (knee), RB Taiwan Jones (knee), OT Matt McCants (knee) are questionable.

Five questions to ask:

1. How badly will Stanley’s injury hurt the Ravens’ offense?

The guess is that Stanley won’t play, and even if he does, he won’t be 100 percent. Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack is one of the NFL’s best pass rushers. If James Hurst starts at left tackle, the Ravens will have to give him help to deal with Mack.

2. Will Raiders LG Kelechi Osemele punish his former teammates?

Osemele is one of the league’s best and most physical linemen, and he talked about pancaking some of the Ravens this week. He also says the Ravens didn’t try hard to keep him during free agency, and Osemele has a long memory. There could be some thunderous collisions between Osemele and Ravens’ defenders. If Osemele loses his composure, it will hurt the Raiders, who lead the NFL in penalties.

3. Will Ravens’ corners Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright give up the homerun ball to the Raiders?

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr loves to throw deep, and he torched the Ravens for 351 yards and three touchdowns in 2015. Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper beat Smith during a 37-33 Raiders’ victory. Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree has superb hands, and both he and Cooper topped 100 yards against the Ravens last year. The Ravens’ secondary has improved, with Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb taking over as the starting safeties. But the Raiders will try to isolate Smith and Wright, looking for a big play or two that could make the difference.

4. With OLB Elvis Dumervil returning to action, will the Ravens’ pass rush be dominant?

The Ravens have gotten good pressure on quarterbacks without Dumervil, led by Terrell Suggs and Timmy Jernigan with three sacks each. Now Dumervil is ready for his 2016 debut, after missing the first three games recovering from foot surgery. Carr could face a lot more pressure in the pocket than he did against the Ravens last year.

5. Can the Ravens finally have a breakout game offensively?

The Raiders rank dead last in the NFL on defense, yielding 436 yards per game. The Ravens only have four touchdowns all season. It’s time for quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense to put four quarters together.

Prediction:

Ravens 30, Raiders 20 – Being at home, and getting a consistent pass rush on Carr, should allow the Ravens to remain unbeaten.

RELATED: Stanley misses 3rd straight practice, question mark for Sunday

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More talk of Redskins OC Sean McVay as head coach - but this time on college level

More talk of Redskins OC Sean McVay as head coach - but this time on college level

When LSU fired head coach Les Miles, a lot of big-time names were suggested for the job. But what about Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay?

Albert Breer of the MMQB listed McVay as a potential candidate, along with a host of other NFL names to go with obvious college options like Tom Herman or Lane Kiffin. From Breer on McVay:

His star has risen so quickly that the 30-year-old may be an NFL head coach before colleges even get the chance to call, but he’d make a lot of sense for a program looking for energy and buzz.

Watching McVay work it's obvious he has the passion and ability to connect with young players - as he currently runs the Redskins offense that includes some players older than him. But it's worth keeping in mind the Redskins coordinator was raised around the pro game, not the college one, and with his background and offensive acumen the guess here is that McVay will stay in the professional ranks. 

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Even while scoring is down for Washington through three games, the Redskins offense is moving the ball well. QB Kirk Cousins is second in the league in passing yards, and the team finished 2015 with the 10th highest scoring offense.

"I’m sure he’ll be a head coach a lot sooner than people think," Washington head coach Jay Gruden said of McVay in an early August MMQB article.

It's clear McVay will get a chance as a head coach, the only question is where. Apparently that list could now include Baton Rouge. 

NOTE: Former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan also landed on Breer's list of LSU possibilities. From Breer, "Would Shanahan go? He’s 37 and he’s been an OC for nine years, so it’s possible he’d want to get his feet wet as a head coach. Remember, [Texans coach Bill] O’Brien went to Penn State after knocking on the door for NFL jobs, so it’s not hard to see another rising young guy doing it. Shanahan played at Texas and coached at UCLA, which means he’s not foreign to big college programs."