See the latest player to test positive for PEDs

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See the latest player to test positive for PEDs

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Outfielder Marlon Byrd was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball on Monday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Major League Baseball said the 34-year-old Byrd tested positive for Tamoxifen, which can reduce side effects of steroid use and increase testosterone. It is often used to treat breast cancer patients. "I made an inexcusable mistake," Byrd said in a statement released by the players' association. "Several years ago, I had surgery for a condition that was private and unrelated to baseball. Last winter, I suffered a recurrence of that condition and I was provided with a medication that resulted in my positive test. Although that medication is on the banned list, I absolutely did not use it for performance enhancement reasons." Byrd is currently a free agent, and will be placed on the restricted list for the duration of his suspension, which began immediately. He started the season with the Cubs and was dealt to the Red Sox on April 21. He was designated for assignment by Boston on June 9 and released four days later. "I am mortified by my carelessness and I apologize to everyone who loves this game as I do," Byrd said. "I will serve my suspension, continue to work hard and hope that I am given an opportunity to help a Club win later this season." In 2009, Byrd said he was using supplements provided by SNAC System, a company founded by Victor Conte, who also was the founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative. BALCO was at the center of a wide-ranging scandal involving performance-enhancing drugs that enveloped several top-level athletes, including Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery and Barry Bonds. Conte pleaded guilty to steroid distribution in July 2005 and served four months in jail. Byrd said the supplements were all OK to use under MLB rules. He had never before been suspended for failing an PED test. "Any nutritional supplements I ever provided to Marlon Byrd were legal products that contained no banned substances," Conte wrote on Twitter. "I provided Marlon Byrd with nutritional and training advice which had nothing whatsoever to do with any type of prohibited substances." In an email to The Associated Press, Conte said he still supports Byrd. "Marlon Byrd is a terrific person and did not use a drug to cheat," Conte said in his email. "Look at his numbers this season, the worst of his career. Traded and then cut. I was not aware of his medical condition. Marlon is my friend and I will always have his back." Byrd hit .210 in 47 games with the two teams, though he hit .270 with a homer and seven RBIs in 34 games with Boston. The Red Sox picked him up when they had a shortage in the outfield after a rash of injuries. "He played here and he played well," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said. "I had no indication or I don't think anyone did." The 34-year-old Byrd has played for five teams in 11 major league seasons and is a career .278 hitter. Byrd finished fourth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2003 with the Phillies and was a National League All-Star with the Cubs in 2010.

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Morning tip: Dissecting decision for John Wall to take final shot

Morning tip: Dissecting decision for John Wall to take final shot

The tip-in by by Marcus Morris to beat the Wizards raises a lot of questions about how they closed a game that they once trailed by 16 in the third quarter only to lead at the end. The Detroit Pistons won 113-112 Saturday, but it was the last offensive possession that's worth being looked at again.

Coach Scott Brooks wasn't asked about it postgame, but given the shot John Wall took he should've been. 

Had the Wizards gotten two points, the only way Detroit beats them is with a three-pointer which is much easier to defend. Instead, any shot beats them. 

Unlike when Wall made the first game-winner of his career Jan. 10 vs. the Chicago Bulls, this wasn't the same situation. He took a jump shot in that game, and he was being contested by a 7-footer, but that was a much better look. 

Let's compare:

Andre Drummond is playing so far back and Reggie Jackson is aggressive in getting up on Wall to get around Markieff Morris' screen. Drummond's containment is there and Jackson is locked and trailing. But they completely ignore Morris. If Wall makes the pass, the Wizards have multiple options here. First, Morris has a wide-open three that could make it a two-possession game. He was 2-for-5 from deep. If Drummond steps up to close out Morris, he's easily beaten off the dribble and to the rim. If Wall drives all the way with Jackson trailing, the likelihood that he gets a whistle on any contact is rare in this situation. It's a low-percentage shot. The better option to get Wall 1 vs. 1 with Drummond or take Jackson out of the play is to pass back to Morris and reset. Wall can execute a dribble-handoff as Morris effectively acts as a screene. Wall would be going into the paint at full speed grabbing the ball. He'd be stepping into a jump shot or catching Drummond squaring up and unable to contest. If Drummond were to step up, that's Morris' cue to dive to the rim for the cleanup of a miss in a size mismatch with Jackson. More likely, Jackson sticks with Wall to double-team him and Morris could get a late delivery at the rim for an uncontested shot. Who knows how Detroit adjusts, if at all, but the result here is a stepback, low percentage jumper that's a tough shot even for the likes of Kyrie Irving. It bails out the defense rather than re-applying the pressure. 

This was the winner Wall made, the first in his career, in a 101-99 win over the Bulls on Jan. 10. The backstory here was the Bulls continually switched on pick-and-rolls as long as Marcin Gortat set a solid screen on Michael Carter-Williams. That left Wall vs. Robin Lopez. But also look at the spacing of the floor here vs. the previous example. There are three defenders on the strong side vs. Detroit. In this one it's 2 vs. 2. There's a lot of room for Wall to operate and even though he still takes a difficult shot he's going to his strongside when it comes to taking pull-up jump shots -- his right. Lopez has no help and is playing so deep, Wall is able to get the needed separation and fade to drain it with five seconds left. 

Brooks always talks about not caring about who takes the final shot, be it Wall, Beal, Morris or Otto Porter -- all of whom have done so this season. It's about the best quality shot that goes to the taker's strength.

When the defender is 0-2 feet from Wall when he's taking a shot more than 10 feet away from the basket, his accuracy is 21.4%, according to the NBA's SVU data. In fact, when he's defended in this situation he only takes that shot 1.9% of the time, an indication that Wall knows this isn't his comfort zone.

[RELATED: Brooks confident in Beal despite shooting slump]

 

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Need to Know: Redskins stay in house for both coordinator jobs

Need to Know: Redskins stay in house for both coordinator jobs

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 23, 37 days before the NFL franchise tag deadline.

Timeline

Days until:

NFL free agency starts 45
—NFL Draft 94
First Sunday of 2017 season 230

Staying in house

­There are reasons to dislike the hire of Greg Manusky as defensive coordinator but the notion that he got the job because he is buddies with Jay Gruden really doesn’t hold water. They had no connection prior to last year and with them working on opposite sides of the ball they didn’t work side by side. I’ve heard the two have a friendly relationship but it’s not like he’s out of the Tampa Bay Yacht Club or anything.

I know that everyone is obsessed with yardage rankings, which is a pretty weak indicator of the quality of a defense. Since you want to know, in Manusky’s nine seasons as a defensive coordinator his defenses have finished ranked 18th in yards allowed on average. In reality, Football Outsiders’  DVOA is a more accurate measure of the effectiveness of a defense since it takes the strength of the opponents into account. There isn’t much difference there, Manusky’s average DVOA ranking was about 17. In other words, he’s run middle of the pack defenses. Sure, you'd like them to do better but having a defense that's around average would represent an improvement over most of the last seven seasons.

How has his talent been? Three different players have been first-team All-Pro selections. LB Patrick Willis made it three times, S Eric Weddle and DE Robert Mathis once each. Players under him made the Pro Bowl 13 times with Willis (3), Mathis (2), and DE Justin Smith (2) making it more than once. His defenses had three Pro Bowlers on one occasion when LB D’Qwell Jackson, CB Vonta Davis, and S Mike Adams all made it. That year the Colts defense was ranked 11th in yards and 13th in DVOA.

It remains to be seen how much the Redskins will change schematically. Manusky has run both 4-3 fronts and 3-4’s so the Redskins could make a switch. Even if they go with a 3-4 base the unit is likely to be more aggressive than it was under Joe Barry. Some fans seem to be worried that promoting an assistant coach means that things will be done the same. Let me ask you this: If your boss was fired for not getting the job done and you were promoted into his position, would you do things the same way he did? I didn’t think so.

­There will be continuity on the offensive side of the ball as Matt Cavanaugh is going to get moved into the offensive coordinator job. It’s Gruden’s offense anyway so there would not have been much change even if they had brought someone in from the outside. It seems likely that Gruden will call the plays, although we won’t know for sure for a while. The only immediate question on that side of the ball is if Wes Phillips will stay on as the tight ends coach or if he will follow Sean McVay to Los Angeles. That should be resolved over the next several days.

Tandler on Twitter

This was in response to a tweet saying that Kyle Shanahan is likely to get roster and personnel control when he becomes the head coach of the 49ers.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.