Renteria ‘surprised’ White Sox haven’t traded Cabrera

Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria wasn’t expecting the club’s oldest position player to still be on the roster at this point.

Despite having made three trades in the last two weeks alone, the White Sox haven’t dealt slugging outfielder Melky Cabrera, who’s currently in the final year of his contract and could be a welcome addition for a playoff-bound team searching for a rental bat.

The White Sox, of course, are full-steam ahead on their rebuild after trading away former ace Jose Quintana and veteran Todd Frazier (among others) for a bundle of prospects, leaving Renteria shocked no other club has plucked the 32-year-old veteran.

“Honestly yeah, to be honest,” Renteria told CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes. “To me he’s a premier Major League baseball player who has been playing outstanding defense.

“And he has been for us one of the two or three guys who has been timing his hitting in terms of driving in runs when we need them, putting together really good at-bats when we need them. Just playing the game. Yeah, kind of surprised.”

Of course there are a few reasons why Cabrera hasn’t been moved, the biggest of which might be financial.

Cabrera's $ 15-million salary in 2017 is the second-highest on Chicago's payroll this season behind starter James Shields, and clubs may be hesitant to acquire the slugger unless the White Sox agree to pay off a significant portion of his remaining salary, approximately $ 6.3 million, according to Hayes.

Finally, many contending teams might not currently be in the market for a left fielder, especially one as shaky defensively as Cabrera, whose minus-6 defensive runs saved mark ranks the fourth-worst among all left fielders in baseball, behind only Minnesota Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario (minus-8), Atlanta Braves veteran Matt Kemp (minus-7), and Oakland Athletics slugger Khris Davis (minus-11), according to Fangraphs.

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MLB | theScore

Jared Sullinger shedding pounds, hopes to get back in NBA

One of Jared Sullinger's greatest enemies over the past few NBA seasons has been himself, with his poor physique playing a large part in why multiple teams have passed on him.

“I lost a year of basketball directly because of what I have done — my weight and my eating habits,” the 25-year-old big man told The Columbus Dispatch’s Rob Oller.

Sullinger suited up in all but one game for the Boston Celtics in 2015-16, eventually leaving that summer after the organization withdrew their qualifying offer making him an unrestricted free agent. Despite his consistent role on a winning team, Sullinger was admittedly in horrible shape.

"My biggest was 320, when I was finishing my fourth year with Boston," he said. "Honestly, it was embarrassing."

Sullinger made only 11 appearances with the Toronto Raptors the following season after suffering an injury to his left foot. Toronto dealt him prior to the trade deadline to the Phoenix Suns, who released him just days later.

Still without having claimed a roster spot, the former 21st overall pick has embraced a vegan diet to help him shed weight, telling Oller that he's down to about 285 pounds.

The temptations will always be there, but if he wants back in the league, Sullinger knows he'll have to be fully committed to a healthier lifestyle.

“Now that I have basketball and my health, I don’t give a damn about anything else,” he said.

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NBA | theScore

Magic expects Ingram to lead Lakers in scoring

No pressure Brandon Ingram, but Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson wants to see a great deal of growth in your sophomore year.

"I expect him to lead us in scoring, be out there, and be the man," Johnson told The Orange County Register's Mark Medina. "It's his team. It would be disappointing if he didn't score up toward 20 points a game."

Nearing the end of the 2016-17 campaign, Johnson gave Ingram his seal of approval when he called him the Lakers' only untradeable player, citing his athleticism, size, agility, and potential as reasons why he wouldn't consider giving him up.

Entering the league as the second overall pick out of Duke, Ingram struggled adjusting to the pro game out of the gate, with his slim frame not doing him any favors when battling larger forwards. However, he carved out a role in head coach Luke Walton's offensive schemes as the season wore on, with his shot attempts and playing time both on the upswing during the final weeks.

Johnson has expressed his expectations to Ingram and the 19-year-old is ready to take the challenge head on.

"My standard is higher than anyone else can set. So with things like that, I just take it all in," Ingram told The Orange County Register. "I’ve been in this league for one year, so I don’t know what to expect my second year or my third year, but I just know I’m going to work the hardest."

Ingram averaged 9.4 points on 40.2 percent shooting, four rebounds, and 2.1 assists in his 79 appearances, and managed to secure a spot on the All-Rookie Second team. Even though doubling his scoring output seems like an insurmountable task, Johnson said he has confidence in Ingram's ability to improve.

“The guy only cares about winning and basketball,” Johnson added. “He’s quiet and doesn’t do anything else. He is a very intelligent young man and is our hardest worker.”

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NBA | theScore

Barrett shrugs off fan backlash: QBs won’t always be liked

J.T. Barrett holds no ill will against fans who clamored for Ohio State to find his replacement at the end of last season.

"At quarterback, you're not always going to be liked," the returning senior told Bill Rabinowitz of The Columbus Dispatch. "When you win, I get the praise and probably don't deserve it. When you lose, I get the blame, which is fine, and I probably didn't deserve that, either."

Barrett ended the 2016 campaign on sourest of notes, failing to register 130 yards passing in any of his final three games. He threw for 86 yards against Michigan State, 124 yards versus Michigan, and then 127 yards in an ugly 31-0 loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl to end a rough stretch, and the season.

"We just weren't operating at our best," Barrett said of the offense's struggles.

Rather than transferring for his last year, as several fans requested of him on social media, Barrett stayed put while Urban Meyer tweaked his offensive staff. The Buckeyes brought in a new offensive coordinator in Kevin Wilson and a new quarterbacks coach in Ryan Day.

“Coach Wilson is a high-spirited guy,” Barrett said. “If you need some juice, you go find coach Wilson and coach Wilson has got some for you. Coach Day played quarterback and has that quarterback feel. He’s never riled, always calm. But he also has his outgoing side as well, which is good.”

Barrett owns the school record for career touchdowns, but hasn't yet earned a permanent spot in the good graces of Ohio State's enormous fan base. He and the Buckeyes will play at home for the first time in 2017 versus Oklahoma on Sept. 9, following their season-opener on the road at Indiana.

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NCAAF | theScore

5 reasons why the Giants can be the NFC’s best team

The New York Giants are sounding plenty confident these days, and for good reason.

Landon Collins "highly doubts" the Dallas Cowboys can repeat as division champs over New York, while Jason Pierre-Paul sees his team taking down everyone on its schedule.

After jumping from a 6-10 record to an 11-5 season between 2015 and 2016, the Giants believe they can make another leap in 2017. Here are five reasons why they might be right:

Elite defense

From front to back, the Giants have one of the best defenses in the NFL – particularly in the front and the back.

New York's linebacking corps is lacking star playmakers, but with all the talent on the defensive line and in the secondary, those second-level defenders just need to do their jobs.

Collins, Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, and Andrew Adams are perhaps the best five-man secondary unit in the league – at least according to Pro Football Focus. Their second season together should result in even better production.

Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison, and Olivier Vernon formed one of the best run-stuffing units in 2016, while notching quite a few sacks. They've replaced Johnathan Hankins with second-rounder Dalvin Tomlinson, but, like the secondary, another season together for the big three linemen should only improve their dominance.

Revamped receiver corps

The Giants' passing game will be fun to watch in 2017.

Odell Beckham Jr. continues to improve every season (he's only entering his fourth year, too, remember), while Brandon Marshall will no longer be the primary focus of opposing defenses, leaving plenty of space for Sterling Shepard, the second-leading rookie receiver in 2016.

The Giants also drafted speedy tight end Evan Engram, who may take time to adjust to the pro-style attack, but will be a matchup nightmare once he figures it out.

Marshall's arrival will also create an advantage over any team that doesn't have a complete secondary.

Eli’s still Eli

Eli Manning's numbers have never been staggeringly impressive from a year-to-year point of view, but he's within reach of the sixth-most all-time passing yards this season.

His production dipped last year, but the last time his numbers dropped in the same capacity, the veteran responded with two career seasons.

Season Yards TDs INTs
2012 3948 26 15
2013 3818 18 27
2014 4410 30 14
2015 4432 35 14
2016 4027 26 16

This is the best receiver corps Manning has had, coming to him as his window for another championship closes. While his facial expression will remain the same, his motivation should rise to a new level.

Sneaky schedule

The Giants will need to face the Cowboys twice this season, but they get the advantage of playing a late-season matchup at home in December.

Outside their division, the Packers and Seahawks pose the greatest threats in the NFC, but Green Bay isn't on the Giants' 2017 schedule, and Seattle will have to come across the country in Week 7 to play in New York.

The Giants won't play at home in consecutive weeks until Week 14-15, but that also means New York gets to finish the season playing three of four games at MetLife. With all three of those games being against divisional opponents, the Giants are set up to either make up ground or establish a firm lead in the NFC East race at a crucial time.

Confidence over contenders

The Giants are a team on the rise, but have the veteran experience to know how to take the next step.

They have a level of excitement similar to the Seahawks in 2012, with a much more veteran-heavy corps. And unlike the Seahawks, the Giants haven't been running the same scheme for more than five years with an extra 12 games of wear and tear on their bodies. Seattle has been losing pieces ever since their Super Bowl XLVIII win, while New York has been building.

As mentioned before, the Packers aren't on the Giants' schedule this season, but apart from quarterback and offensive line, Big Blue takes the edge in every position group on paper.

The Giants should own the Cowboys in terms of mental warfare after handing them two of their three regular-season losses last year. While the Giants have strengthened the passing game, Dallas' defense lost several key players this offseason.

(Photos courtesy: Action Images)

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NFL | theScore

Report: Yankees checked in with Marlins on Stanton

Imagine Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge manning the same outfield.

The New York Yankees may have tried to make it happen.

The Bronx Bombers reportedly checked in with Miami on their hulking outfielder, sources with ties to the Marlins told Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. However, it's unclear how serious the Yankees are about acquiring the 27-year-old, and Heyman added their focus is currently on adding to their rotation.

Any deal involving Stanton would have to overcome a number of potential hurdles. Along with the nearly $ 300 million still remaining on the massive 13-year, $ 325-million contract he signed in 2014, Stanton also owns a no-trade clause that he would need to waive in order to facilitate a move.

However, Stanton may not need much convincing. On Wednesday, the slugger didn't hide his frustrations with his club when he blasted them for dropping their series against the worst team in the league, the Philadelphia Phillies.

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MLB | theScore

Watch: LaVar Ball forfeits game for Big Ballers following technical foul

Don’t mess with LaVar Ball, because you’ll get the horns.

Upset with the officiating while coaching his Big Ballers squad at the Double Pump Best of Summer Tournament on Saturday, Ball removed his players from the court during a playoff game after receiving a technical foul.

As a result, the Big Ballers forfeited and the win was awarded to Clutch Players Navy.

Afterwards, Ball was heard outside of the American Sports Centers venting before heading over to pose for photos with some nearby fans.

– With h/t to Ballislife.com

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NBA | theScore

Watch: LeBron vibing to Meek Mill could be dig at Irving

Warning: Story and video contain coarse language

"N—– say they with you when they really not, n—– plot on everything you got …"

LeBron James may just really like rapper Meek Mill's "Heavy Heart," but of all the verses to include in his latest Instagram story, he had to choose those?

Following reports that Kyrie Irving wants the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him so he can escape James' shadow, this could be The King responding to an awkward situation.

Related – Report: LeBron ‘blindsided’ by Irving’s trade request

Then again, maybe he’s just jamming to the song, and wanted to share that with the world.

The only thing that’s for sure about James is nothing’s for sure.

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NBA | theScore

Patterson’s father blasts Houston Nutt for timing of Ole Miss lawsuit

If Hugh Freeze was "disappointed" with the timing of Houston Nutt's lawsuit against Ole Miss, Shea Patterson's father could be described as irate.

"Just because he has a grudge or he has a problem with a coach, he couldn't wait another few days to go after that guy?" Sean Patterson Sr. told SEC Country's Alec Shirkey.

Nutt filed his suit one day before the Rebels were set to occupy the podiums at SEC Media Days, making their three player representatives – Patterson included – an afterthought before they stepped foot in the building.

"He had to get his moment in the sun because he doesn't have it anymore. Whether the suit was good or not, that's not the issue," the quarterback's father added. "It's always the kids who are forgotten. Not one thought was given to them. I've coached for 25 years. No way would I ever want to spoil a kid's moment in the sun. It was gutless. It ruined three kids' days."

Nutt’s lawsuit accused Freeze and other Ole Miss administrators of orchestrating a smear campaign against him in relation to the program’s recruiting scandal.

Freeze resigned as head coach Thursday after phone records uncovered in the suit revealed a call he made to a female escort service. He said it must have been a pocket dial.

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NCAAF | theScore