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d Czech Karolina Pliskova
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When the word finally came out that Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was being posted, I was convinced he would sign with the Texas Rangers or New York Yankees, with the LA Dodgers and Boston Red Sox being outside possibilities. Now if I had to make a wager, Id say the Seattle Mariners or Arizona Diamondbacks. Over the weekend, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports suggested the Diamondbacks might be willing to trade their former closer J.J. Putz to the Yankees for Ichiro Suzuki. Why, I wondered, would the Dbacks want a 40-year-old future Hall of Famer in the twilight of a great career? Then it hit me! What better way to convince Tanaka to sign with them than to offer him the chance to play with the greatest Japanese player of all time. But if its not just the money, Seattle is probably an even better choice for Tanaka. The Mariners have already shown a willingness to spend by luring free agent Robinson Cano away from the bright lights of New York and they already employ one of Tanakas best friends in baseball. Hisashi Iwakuma has quietly emerged as a star in Seattle the last two seasons. I say quietly because hell always be pitching in the shadow of "King Felix" Hernandez. In two years, though, hes put together a 23-11 record with a 2.84 ERA and 286 strikeouts. He made the American League all-star team last season but couldnt pitch in the mid-summer classic since he had made a start for Seattle on the Sunday, just before the Tuesday night game. He also finished third in Cy Young voting in the American League behind the Tigers Max Scherzer and the Rangers Yu Darvish. Tanaka and Iwakuma were teammates with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan from 2007 through 2011 and are reportedly good friends. Though Iwakuma put together a 107-69 record with a 2.75 ERA in Japan, he went through his share of adversities. In 2006, pitching motion rules were put into effect that forced Iwakuma to alter his delivery. In past, Japanese hurlers had been allowed to momentarily stop in mid-delivery before throwing to the plate. This was designed to throw off a hitters timing but now would simply be ruled a balk. Iwakuma changed, but altering his delivery led to shoulder problems and then elbow surgery that would cost him the bulk of two seasons. Iwakuma bounced back, though, and won the ERA title in 2008 as well as the Eiji Sawamura Award; the Major League equivalent of the Cy Young. Even Iwakumas move to the Majors didnt go smoothly. Oakland won the bidding rights for him prior to the 2011 season. The sides couldnt come to terms on a contract, though, and Iwakuma wound up spending one more year in Japan before finally earning free agency at age 30 and signing with Seattle. Iwakuma will be 33 years old in April and would seem to be the perfect one to show Tanaka the ropes in the Majors. The only complication might be Iwakumas contract. He will be make $6.5 million with the Ms in 2014 and has a club option for $7 million in 2015. Tanaka could get close to twice that amount per season. That could be difficult for the Mariners to rationalize and explain to Iwakuma, whos already given them two very good seasons. Still, Ive got a feeling Seattle will find a way to get this done. The Tanaka negotiations must be completed by January 24 at 5:00 PM. Darvish took until the day before this deadline to sign with Texas. With spring training rapidly approaching, I can see this one getting done in the next week to ten days. Once Tanaka has a new home, it will only serve to intensify the bidding for free agents Ubaldo Jimenez, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and maybe even Bronson Arroyo. The Class of 2014 inductees for the Baseball Hall of Fame will be announced on Wednesday at 2:00 PM. Im sticking with the same three selections I talked about months ago; Braves pitching legends Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and White Sox two-time MVP, Frank Thomas. I counted at least 10 other worthy Hall of Famers on this ballot, but thanks to PEDs and the sheer back-log of quality candidates, Im convinced only the aforementioned three will get in. As for Jack Morris, whos on the ballot for the 15th and final time, I dont care what his career ERA was; any man who was the staff ace on three World Series winners (84 Tigers, 91 Twins, 92 Blue Jays) belongs in the Hall of Fame - end of story. Check out Morriss numbers in 1992 with the Blue Jays at age 37. 240.2 innings pitched, 21-6 record, 4.04 ERA, six complete games and one shutout. Remember, the Blue Jays had Tom Henke and Duane Ward as the 1-2 punch in the pen. The onus wasnt on Morris to pitch that many innings or that many complete games. He just did, he was that good. Maxime Lagace Golden Knights Jersey .com) - The Carolina Hurricanes placed defenseman John-Michael Liles on injured reserve Tuesday. Marc-Andre Fleury Golden Knights Jersey . Speaking with TSN 1050 following Brendan Shanahans introductory press conference, the Leafs GM also addressed the clubs perceived leadership issues and the type of working relationship that can be expected within Torontos front office. http://www.authenticgoldenknightsproshop.com/customized/.com) - The surprising Calgary Flames host the winless New Jersey Devils at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday. Griffin Reinhart Jersey .com) - The Chicago Blackhawks take aim at their longest winning streak of the season on Sunday when they host the Calgary Flames in a battle at the United Center. Teemu Pulkkinen Golden Knights Jersey . Long snapper Patrick Mannelly announced Friday that he is retiring after a 16-year-career with the Bears, a span in which he played in a team record 245 games and snapped the ball 2,282 times.London, England - Five-time champion Serena Williams and one-time titlist Maria Sharapova were a pair of easy second-round winners Thursday at Wimbledon. The world No. 1 superstar Williams stomped helpless South African Chanelle Scheepers 6-1, 6-1 in a mere 49 minutes on the No. 1 Court at the venerable All England Club. The 17-time Grand Slam champion and reigning U.S. Open titlist is now 72-9 lifetime at Wimbledon, including seven trips into the final. The 32-year-olds third-round opponent on the famed grass Saturday will be 25th-seeded Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, who got past Czech Petra Cetkovska 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. The fifth-seeded former world No. 1 Sharapova has now won her last nine Grand Slam matches after blasting Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 6-2, 6-1 in an hour, also on the No. 1 Court. The Russian star is fresh off her French Open title three weeks ago. Sharapova stunned Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final and was the 2011 runner-up here to Czech Petra Kvitova. Up next for the five-time major champion Sharapova will be upstart American Alison Riske. Ninth-seeded German left-hander Angelique Kerber reached the round of 32 by sneaking past Britains Heather Watson, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. Meanwhile, 11th-seeded former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic improved to 7-0 on grass this year with a 6-4, 6-0 pasting of Chinese Zheng Jie, 13th-seeded Canadian Eugenie Bouchard improved to 12-2 at Grand Slams this season with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Spaniard Silvia Soler-Espinosa, and 19th-seeded 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki handled Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 7-5. The former French Open champion Ivanovic captured her first-ever grass- court title in Birmingham two weeks ago; Bouchard is the only woman to appear in two major semifinalls this year; and Lisicki was last years runner-up to Marion Bartoli at the AEC.dddddddddddd Ivanovic and Lisicki will clash on Saturday. Kazakhstans Zarina Diyas ousted 15th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6 (14-12), 5-7, 6-2, while 20th-seeded German Andrea Petkovic got past Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, and 24th-seeded Belgian Kirsten Flipkens handled Spains Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-2, 6-1. Flipkens was a surprise Wimbledon semifinalist last year. American Madison Keys posted a mild upset by tackling 31st-seeded Czech Klara Koukalova 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2. The 19-year-old Illinois native Keys is fresh off her first-ever WTA title, on grass, in Eastbourne last week. Also on Day 4, 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Vera Zvonareva, of Russia, dismissed rising Croat Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-4, Kazakhstans Yaroslava Shvedova doused Estonian two-time Wimbledon quarterfinalist Kaia Kanepi 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, and the aforementioned Riske downed rising Italian Camila Giorgi 7-5, 6-2. Matches between third-seeded French Open runner-up Simona Halep, of Romania, and Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko and American Victoria Duval and Swiss Belinda Bencic were postponed because of rain. The third round will commence Friday, as second seed Li Na, fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska and a sixth-seeded Kvitova will take to the courts. The Australian Open champion Li will meet Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, while the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Radwanska will take on Portuguese Michelle Larcher de Brito and the 2011 titlist Kvitova will battle 30th-seeded five- time Wimbledon champ Venus Williams. Also slated for action are 10th-seeded Aussie Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova and 16th-seeded former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki. cheap falcons jerseys cheap ravens jerseys cheap bills jerseys cheap bears jerseys cheap bengals jerseys cheap cowboys jerseys cheap lions jerseys cheap texans jerseys cheap colts jerseys cheap jaguars jerseys cheap chiefs jerseys cheap rams jerseys cheap dolphins jerseys cheap vikings jerseys cheap saints jerseys cheap giants jerseys cheap jets jerseys cheap eagles jerseys cheap steelers jerseys cheap 49ers jerseys ' ' '


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