<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth Sports News, Analysis, and Scores for the Giants, Jets. Patriots, Huskies, Knicks and More]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:05:37 -0500 Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:05:37 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Mavs' Tyson Chandler Headed to Phoenix: Report]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:01:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/470290970_master.jpg

After 14 seasons in the NBA, Tyson Chandler has been handed a four-year deal worth a reported $52 million -- but it wasn't by Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks.

Chandler, 32, reportedly has a long-term deal with the Phoenix Suns that'll keep the 7 foot 1 inch All-Star center playing into the 2018-19 season.

Chandler was a key figure in the Mavericks 2010-11 championship run. After one year with Dallas, he spent the next three with the Knicks before returning to Dallas in 2014-15.

With Chandler now headed to Phoenix, the Mavs are even more desperate to land a high-caliber center in free agency.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[RBs to Headline Competition for Starting Jobs]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:48:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460755606.jpg

Good thing about 12-4 teams coming off a season with a playoff win: The holes are minimal, and usually easy to identify.

As the calendar turns to July we can begin to smell football. And we can start to identify the positions open for competition at Cowboys’ camp.

Barring injury, unforeseen slippage or drastic improvement, the battles are few and far between. In other words, the Cowboys’ starters are set at most positions. From punter to kicker to quarterback to safety, we mostly are assured who will play and how well they’ll play.

With Oxnard three weeks off, to me these look like the open competitions for starting gigs:

Cornerback – Orlando Scandrick is set on one side. But on the other can underperforming, overpaid Brandon Carr hold off the arrival of Byron Jones and the comeback of Morris Claiborne?

Defensive End – At least until Greg Hardy’s suspension is up, Jeremy Mincey seems locked in. But on the other side DeMarcus Lawrence, Ben Gardner and even rookie Randy Gregory all have a chance to start.

Defensive Tackle – Tyrone Crawford has a shot to unseat starters Terrell McClain and Nick Hayden.

Linebacker – Rolando McClain in the middle. Sean Lee on the weak side. And on the strong side … Kyle Wilber or Anthony Hitchens?

Right Tackle – Doug Free is back, but he’ll be pushed by highly touted free agent La’el Collins.

Running Back – The most scrutinized, most important battle of all will be who wins DeMarco Murray’s old gig? Joseph Randle has the inside track, though he’ll be challenged by Darren McFadden and Ryan Williams.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Could a Dez Bryant Deal Be "Imminent?"]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:42:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4563067701.jpg

As of Tuesday, the Dallas Cowboys have 15 days to get Dez Bryant a long-term deal.

If a recent report is correct, they might be getting close. Shan Shariff of 105.3-FM The Fan tweeted on Tuesday night that he was beginning to hear some “whispers” involving a potential deal from Valley Ranch.

Starting to hear multiple whispers about imminent long-term deal for Dez. The numbers 100 and 45 tossed around but still working to confirm,” he wrote, via BloggingTheBoys.

This comes just a few days after the report from ESPN Dallas’s Todd Archer that Bryant’s agent, Tom Condon, had been in town and in contact with the Cowboys.

That's a big deal, because before this past weekend, the two sides hadn’t been in contact for several months.

As for the numbers, we’d assume that means the deal that’s currently being kicked around is worth a total of $100 million, with $45 million in guaranteed money.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Auburn, Oregon BCS Title Game Rematch Coming to JerryWorld in 2019]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:20:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ATT-Stadium1.jpg

The 2019 college football season will get started with a huge matchup right here in North Texas.

In a rematch of the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, the Oregon Ducks will face the Auburn Tigers on August 31, 2019 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It will mark just the second time in history that the two teams have played, the first (of course) coming in that 2011 title game, which a Cam Newton-led Auburn team won 22-19 on a last-second field goal.

"I'm thrilled that Auburn will face Oregon in an epic match-up of two elite programs on a big stage to open the 2019 season," Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a statement, per AL.com. "I know how much it means to our players to have an opportunity to play in high-profile games; it is one reason they choose to come to Auburn. I'm also happy for the Auburn family, the best fans in college football. They always travel in masses to support our program, so this is a great reward for them as well."

The game will mark the 11th edition of the AdvoCare Classic, which has been around since JerryWorld has.

<![CDATA[Mavs Lose Key Piece Aminu to Blazers in Free Agency]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:19:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/al-farouq-aminu-2014.jpg

As NBA free agency dawns the Mavs haven’t signed an important player. But they’ve already lost one.

Forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who flashed his potential in the playoff loss to the Rockets, is leaving Dallas to sign a contract with the Portland Trail Blazers.

While it’s a disappointing loss for the Mavs, it’s not unexpected. It’s one of the reasons they drafted Justin Anderson – who plays a similar position with a similar skill set – last week.

The Blazers needed help at forward, as they expect to lose All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency, possibly to the Mavs.

Aminu, 24 and the 8th overall pick in the 2010 draft, bobbed between the bench and Rick Carlisle’s rotation last year before ramping up his game in the postseason. When Chandler Parsons left the series with a knee injury, he averaged 11 points and 7 rebounds to help the Mavs stay competitive and raise his stock in free agency.

Would have been nice for the Mavs to keep Aminu and add Anderson to what would have been a versatile, athletic frontcourt. But Dallas has its money earmarked for even bigger prizes.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: NBA, NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Who's On, Who's Not?: July 1]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:11:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-477030716.jpg

In a weekly staple, we'll discuss who's in a groove and who's in a rut for the Texas Rangers.

Who's On?

Mitch Moreland — No one in baseball is hotter than Moreland right now, at least from a power perspective. The first baseman, who seems to finally be putting a solid full season together (knock on wood), has six home runs and 10 RBIs to go with a .393 average in his last seven games with the help of back-to-back two-homer games.

Prince Fielder — What's new, right? Fielder has been the Rangers' best player all year with Moreland coming in a pretty distant second. The AL's batting leader is hitting .429 with a .484 on-base percentage over his last seven games with two doubles and a homer.

Yovani Gallardo — His scoreless inning streak is approaching 25 innings, and over his last 33 1/3 innings of work, the veteran righty has posted a 0.54 ERA. He's also coming off an outing of 8 1/3 innings with no runs allowed and just three hits against a stout Blue Jays lineup.

Who's Off?

Leonys Martin — On the verge of losing his starting spot whenever Delino DeShields returns from the DL, Martin is struggling horribly at the plate with a .120 batting average over his last seven games. In that time, he has seven strikeouts and no walks.

Adrian Beltre — Beltre clearly isn't right with his injured thumb, and over the last seven games since his unexpected return from the DL, Beltre has just one extra-base hit (a double). He's batting .241 over that span with one RBI.

Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys "Lead Dog" Runner Could Vary]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:05:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459967304.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys will go into training camp unsure who will serve as the starting running back, but they feel good about what they have at the position, particularly the trio of Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar.

We’re very confident in what we have,” said Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown, per the Dallas Morning News. “We got some very good football players. With the addition of Darren it’s going to be a nice group. I can’t say who is going to be the lead dog right now, but those guys are going to compete and we’re going to do what’s necessary to win games.

“I think we have three capable guys who can go out and do what we need to do. I’m not concerned about it at all.”

Where last year, it was no secret that the running game was on DeMarco Murray’s shoulders week in and week out, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan suggested earlier this offseason that the “lead dog,” to use Brown’s term, could vary from week to week for the 2015 edition of the Cowboys.

“I just think that we have a complementary backfield,” Linehan said. “They’re going to spread out the carries. Some games are going to be different than others. Maybe one guy is going to have more in one game than the other or maybe sometimes two guys are going to split the carries, sometimes it’s going to be three. Again, it’s to be determined. It is a bit rare to have the one guy carry all the load. I tip my hat to DeMarco for being able to do it. But these other guys have different roles now that he’s gone. We’re going to have someone step up, and I know they’re excited about it.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hamilton Shines in Return from DL]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:58:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/212*120/GettyImages-475023156.jpg

Remember when the Texas Rangers acquired Josh Hamilton for pennies on the dollar back at the end of April, and how we all just said, "Hey, if they can get anything at all from him, it'll be a bonus."

Well, after watching Hamilton for seven games last month, it appeared he might have a whole lot more to offer than simply "anything."

Then, the inevitable happened when the fragile slugger injured his hamstring and was on the shelf for a month, and just when he was starting to show something at the plate.

Hamilton returned to the Rangers lineup on Tuesday in Baltimore, and he picked up right where he left off despite admitting to not yet being 100 percent. The former AL MVP finished the game with two hits, including a single in his first at-bat of the night after fighting off a couple of tough pitches with a two-strike count.

He also made a sliding catch in left field and scored a run in the Rangers' 8-6 win over the Orioles — their second straight over first-place Baltimore to start the four-game series.

Maybe there's something to the fact Hamilton just wasn't comfortable in Los Angeles and needed the stable environment he thrived in with the Rangers from 2008-2012 before he left for a huge contract that ended up being laughable for the Angels. If that's the truth, the Angels' loss will truly be the Rangers' gain.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Jackson Says Eagles Smeared Him on the Way Out]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:52:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457964998.jpg

LeSean McCoy has been highly critical of the Philadelphia Eagles, head coach Chip Kelly in particular, ever since he was sent to the Buffalo Bills in a trade this offseason.

Now, another big-name former Eagle is airing his grievances against the team.

DeSean Jackson was released by the Eagles last offseason, after putting together the most productive campaign of his career in 2013. Reports at the time had the Eagles concerned about some gang connections on Jackson’s part, as well as a questionable work ethic and a bad attitude. It got to the point last year where the NFLPA looked into whether the Eagles had launched a smear campaign around the move.

Jackson believes they did, as he made clear in the debut of his reality show on BET, DeSean Jackson Home Team.

“When I was released by the Eagles, I feel they tried to paint a picture that definitely wasn’t true,” Jackson said. “It was a slap in the face, coming off one of my best seasons in the NFL. ... The Eagles tried to blow me up. That’s cold how they did it. ... Have I went to jail? ... I ain’t done none of that.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Martinez Hoping to Bounce Back from Another Stinker]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:51:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/211*120/GettyImages-478684006.jpg

Nick Martinez has had a year no one could've reasonably expected from him so far in 2015.

He wasn't even in the rotation plans in spring training, and was most likely going to get some much-needed seasoning in the minors after he made a huge leap into the rotation last year and held his own while posting an ERA in the mid-4.00s.

Of course, injuries to Yu Darvish and Derek Holland changed plans for Martinez, and the second-year righty made the most of his opportunity by entering May with an ERA less than 1.00. He's come back to Earth a bit since the calendar turned to May, and it appeared his wheels completely came off back on June 3 against the White Sox.

In that game, Martinez allowed seven earned runs on nine hits in just 3 1/3 innings, and in the process he watched his ERA climb from 2.03 to 2.89 with one bad outing.

After that, though, Martinez was back to his old ways — tossing six scoreless innings of one-hit ball in a win over Oakland and following that with two straight quality starts against a good Twins team and that same White Sox team that ripped him a new one earlier in the month.

But in his last start against Toronto over the weekend, things turned sour again against arguably the scariest lineup in baseball.

The Blue Jays rocked Martinez for nine runs on nine hits over six innings as he allowed two homers, including a first-inning grand slam.

Now, the Rangers hope he can bounce back the way he did earlier this month against a pretty good Orioles lineup in an extremely hitter-friendly park. If Martinez can respond like he did the last time he had a bad outing, the Rangers will win their first series since taking two of three from Minnesota in mid-June.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Choo Quietly Coming Back to Relevance]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:35:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/472875428.jpg

Mitch Moreland has hit six home runs in his last seven games, and four in the last two in wins over the Baltimore Orioles.

With that said, it's hard to imagine anyone else getting noticed at the plate for the Texas Rangers.

But one struggling piece of the lineup is starting to turn things around.

Shin-Soo Choo, who is batting just .210 over his last 15 games and has been a key part of the Rangers' recent offensive slump along with the rest of the starting outfield, is starting to heat up at the plate. Just like the last time Choo bounced out of an extended slump, he's doing it by going to the opposite field with effectiveness, and he's doing it with power.

Choo homered on Tuesday night after hitting a long ball on Monday and having another one robbed and pulled back in from the left field fence.

With Josh Hamilton back in the lineup and not skipping a beat in his return Tuesday, a resurgent Choo could really get the Rangers' lineup cooking given the way Mitch Moreland and Prince Fielder continue to swing the bat.

Given the fact Choo is one of the team's highest paid players, that'd be nice to see.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Jones Donates $1M Toward Hope Lodge Houston]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 10:31:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4604723101.jpg

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has donated $1 million toward the construction of an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Houston, answering the call of Texans’ owner Bob McNair, who announced a fundraising challenge through his Robert and Janice McNair Foundation recently: For every $2 raised by the American Cancer Society, McNair will donate $1, up to $4 million.

When completed, Hope Lodge Houston will provide no-cost lodging and other needed amenities, as well as a support system, for those who have traveled to Houston for cancer treatment.

“Cancer is already daunting enough, but worrying about travel, lodging, and other necessities while enduring treatment can be a huge burden,” said Jones, who made his donation through the Jerry and Gene Jones Foundation, per the Houston Chronicle. “Gene and I are proud we can help by joining Bob and Janice McNair and President George and Barbara Bush as they work to bring a Hope Lodge to Houston.”

McNair was recently declared cancer-free after being diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma last year.

“We are grateful to our friends, Gene and Jerry Jones, for recognizing the need and helping us reach our campaign goal this year,” McNair said. “By coming together and supporting a project like Hope Lodge Houston we are able to make a greater impact for deserving cancer patients.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers in Baltimore: Home Sweet Homer]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:57:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/479093384.jpg

The Rangers once resided near Baltimore. They usually have a good time going back.

Last night, it was home sweet home run.

Continuing a long trend of offensive outbursts in Camden Yards, the Rangers hit four long balls in an 8-6 win Tuesday night. Texas, which was born into baseball in nearby Washington, D.C., has a knack for making memories on the Eastern Seaboard.

The Rangers have hit eight homers in the past two nights. Impressive, until you compare it to past accomplishments. They scored 30 runs in a game here in 2007, and Josh Hamilton produced his epic, four-homer night in the same park in 2013.

Last night’s homer hero was Mitch Moreland, who again knocked a couple out of the park. He hit two-run homers in the 2nd and 8th innings, duplicating his two-homer game from Monday. It’s the eighth time in franchise history a player has hit multiple homers in consecutive games.

Moreland now leads the Rangers with 14 homers, all but one of them coming since May 16.

On Sunday Moreland was one of the goats in a loss to Toronto, going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position. Nothing a little trip to Baltimore can’t cure.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hamilton Activated, Gallo to Minors]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:02:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Hamilton-Gallo.jpg

Josh Hamilton is back on the Texas Rangers' 25-man roster, eager to jump-start a season that has been marred by injury.

The 34-year-old slugger was activated from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday and put in the starting lineup against the Baltimore Orioles.

Hamilton was sidelined since May 31 with a strained left hamstring. Earlier this season, while with the Los Angeles Angels, he languished on the DL recovering from shoulder surgery.

He has played in only seven games this season, batting .273 with two homers and five RBIs. In his return, Hamilton was fifth in the lineup and in left field.

"I feel good," Hamilton said. "I'm excited about playing today. I took early BP to knock some of the dust off. It felt good. I'm just trying to get back into a routine."

He isn't 100 percent healthy, but he hopes to be there soon.

"I just want to be myself," Hamilton said. "I want to have fun and be myself. I'll have some good days and be able to contribute to help my team win. I'm not going to play good all the time ... but I can still be a presence and encourage my teammates and have fun and play."

Texas made room for Hamilton on the 25-man roster by optioning rookie Joey Gallo to Triple-A Round Rock. The 21-year-old Gallo had his contract purchased from Double-A Frisco on June 2 and hit .218 with five home runs and 13 RBIs over 25 games in his major league debut.

The third baseman/outfielder ended his stint with a 7-for-47 skid that included 27 strikeouts.

"It was a tremendously good experience just to be up here and kind of just see what the big league life is and face the pitchers that we faced," Gallo said. "I had some success and I had some failures. I kind of experienced both things."

He is the first Rangers player to homer in each of his first two games. Gallo, the organization's 2014 minor league player of the year, will be making his initial foray in Triple-A ball.

"Now, I know what I need to work on and what I need to get better at," he said, "so I can come up here and stay next time."

Manager Jeff Banister said: "We are going to need Joey Gallo at some point. I challenge him to go back, take his leadership skills and go to work."

Hamilton, meanwhile, could ultimately return to his accustomed spot in center field after he fully recovers from the hamstring issue. But the Rangers are going to be careful with him.

"It is a hamstring and Josh is a big man," Banister said. "I want to be able to make sure to manage this for the long-term with Josh as opposed to pushing him and taking the risk of losing him."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Beasley Benefits From Practice Battles with Scandrick]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:48:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461029268.jpg

A lot has been made of the positive effect DeMarcus Ware had on Tyron Smith in his rookie year, when Ware beat up on Smith on a daily basis in practice. Now an All-Pro, Smith himself credits the baptism by fire he received from Ware in the summer of 2011, his first NFL training camp, for speeding up his development and ultimately helping to mold him into the player he is today.

Now it’s Smith as the veteran, dishing out similarly tough lessons to rookie defensive end Randy Gregory, and it’s not just in the battle at the line of scrimmage that the Cowboys are sharpening each other in practice.

Discussing his rise in the offense recently, receiver Cole Beasley attributes his ability to beat corners to facing Orlando Scandrick, who he believes is one of the best in the business, every day in practice.

“Well, I like to think the guy across from me is ready cause he’s playing for respect, too. Really I just approach it the same way. Luckily I get to go against one of the best guys to do it at nickel-corner in Orlando Scandrick and he prepares me as well as anybody would for any guy that I’m going to see in the game,” Beasley said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He gives me a lot of looks that nobody will ever give me so I see a lot more in practice than I do in the games and that only helps me improve. Really it doesn’t matter who the guy is. I don’t ever know their names when going against them. It’s always jersey numbers and how they play so really, I’m just going in thinking, ‘I have to kill this guy’ every time.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Cowboy Kyle Knox Suspended Four Games]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:28:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/kyle-knox-cowboys.jpg

Linebacker Kyle Knox was cut by the Dallas Cowboys on June 5, just three days after his signed with the team. A little over three weeks later, Knox has been suspended four games by the league for unclear reasons.

The suspension, for the violation of some unnamed league policy, was reported by Howard Balzer of Sports Xchange on Monday evening.

Knox came into the league with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State in 2012, but never appeared in a game for the team. His first real action came in 2013, when he appeared in four games for the Jacksonville Jaguars but failed to record a tackle.

Last season, Knox went to the Saints and recorded the first three tackles of his career while appearing in 12 games.

<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Eagles' Center Fires Back at Giants' Punter ]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:17:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jason-kelce-talk.jpg

Last Friday in a radio interview, Giants punter Steve Weatherford seemingly ripped the Eagles’ quarterback situation, saying he wouldn’t want Tim Tebow taking snaps for his team and comparing Sam Bradford to a Ferrari that breaks down a lot. This week, Eagles center Jason Kelce responded on Twitter.

"Of course a player who is literally not allowed to be touched is talking s---," Kelce wrote, via ESPN. "Is interviewing punters a thing now?"

In response to Kelce’s response Weatherford returned to radio, this time on 97.5-FM The Fanatic, to argue that he wasn’t really ripping the Eagles quarterbacks at all.

"When you have a quarterback like Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion, I'm going to prefer that he take the snaps for my team than Tim Tebow," Weatherford said. "That's not a shot saying Tim is not good at quarterback. I think it's pretty factual that Eli Manning is better. I gave the guy the greatest compliment that you can ever give anyone, that you would let them date your daughter."


Weatherford also he revisited his comments regarding Chip Kelly and a possible extension for the Ferrari that sometimes doesn’t start, Bradford. In his original comments, he seemingly suggested that the Kelly era in Philly could end abruptly if they extend Bradford and he gets hurt again.

"I'm not saying your job is in trouble, but that is a guy you are expecting to be the future of your franchise, the same way it would be if you give a guy a long-term extension and then he ends up injured," he said. "It could happen to anybody. I'm not saying Chip Kelly's job security would be in trouble. I'm just saying if you invest that much money, that much cap space into a franchise quarterback and he's not on the field, then you're in trouble."

<![CDATA[Dez Bryant Non-Catch a Hot Topic at NFL Rookie Symposium]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:54:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461346426.jpg

These days, part of the NFL’s rookie symposium is a visit from VP of Officiating, Dean Blandino, the man most famous in North Texas, probably, for being really outspoken in his (and the league’s) stance that Dez Bryant’s catch in the Divisional Round loss to the Packers in Green Bay was not at all a catch.

But the play remains a hot topic, as evidenced by Blandino’s recent discussion of it with the 2015 class of rookies.

It is well received,” Blandino told SiriusXM NFL Radio, via Pro Football Talk. “I made the mistake yesterday with the rookies of showing the Dez Bryant play too early in the presentation so that was all anybody wanted to talk about.”

Of course, the goal of Blandino’s visit wasn’t to revisit Dez’s catch that wasn’t, but to explain some of the more subtle differences in rules between the college and pro game.

“What we try to do is give the rookie players a basis, a foundation for the rules,” he said. “The rules are different from college to the pros. Some of the basic stuff that everybody knows--two feet vs. one foot and down by contact and those differences--but there are some differences that they have to know in terms of the chop block, what chop blocks are legal in the NFL that are not legal in the college game. We try to give them that background, revolving mainly around protection of the player, things like that, a lot of our safety rules and defenseless players.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cole Beasley Still Feels He Has "A Lot to Prove"]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:39:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460755372.jpg

Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley is in a much more comfortable position than he was at this time three years ago, when he was preparing for his first ever NFL training camp as an undersized, undrafted free agent out of SMU. Going into his fourth season, Beasley has established himself in the Dallas offense, and just a few months earlier he was given a four-year extension worth more around $13.6 million.

But far from content with his body of work to this point, Beasley has maintained the scrappy, underdog mindset that arguably played a significant role in his rise in Dallas.

“It’s easy, because I still feel I have a lot to prove,” Beasley said in a recent interview with the team’s official website, via the Dallas Morning News. “I’m still kind of, I have minimal things that I’m doing right now and it can only increase.

“I’m just trying to do what I can to increase my role and open up the route inventory for me a little more and start getting more stuff down the field. So, I really have to prove myself in other areas so it’s really just all about improving and getting better for me.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gallo Shouldn't Go Down Quite Yet]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:41:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/205*120/Screen+Shot+2015-06-17+at+10.09.11+PM.png

Rookie Joey Gallo, arguably the most hyped Rangers prospect to come along since the days of Pudge Rodriguez in the early 1990s, gave the team and its fans another glimpse of just how special he can be on Monday night in Baltimore.

With the bases full, Gallo roped a shot to the right field wall and raced around the bases for a three-run triple — the first triple of his big-league career. It showed that he isn't only a power phenom, but he's also a tremendous athlete in the mold of a Josh Hamilton in his prime — the build of an NFL tight end with elite baseball speed.

Gallo's month in the bigs has been exciting — full of tape measure homers as well as head-shaking strikeouts.

Gallo was supposed to be up for the duration of Adrian Beltre's DL stint, which has now come and gone. Josh Hamilton's DL stint allowed him to get time in the outfield, as well. With Hamilton set to return on Tuesday, the Rangers could send Gallo down to make room for Hamilton, but that's not what they should do.

Delino DeShields is set to play in the outfield for the first time on Tuesday in a rehab game with Round Rock after he's been the team's designated hitter a couple of times, and the thought is that the Rangers' speedy rookie will be ready to go by the end of this week. That's when Gallo should be sent down to further his progression as a hitter at the Triple-A level, where he's never played.

There's talk the Rangers could keep Gallo up and send struggling vet Leonys Martin down to try to rediscover his swing. But here's the thing: When Hamilton and DeShields are back, they're both starting in the outfield, and so is Shin-Soo Choo.

It'd be an awful idea to have Gallo as the team's fourth outfielder and as a utility platoon type guy. We saw what happened the last time the Rangers did that with a top prospect, and his name is Jurickson Profar.

Gallo needs to play every day, no questions asked. Martin can be the club's fourth outfielder and actually offers plus defense as a late game defensive replacement in center field. Gallo is still a work in progress in the outfield and is a natural corner infielder. If Martin is sent down, it likely means Hamilton will be the team's everyday center fielder, which he'd be on board with, but it'd likely be another Hamilton injury waiting to happen.

Gallo has made his splash and he'll definitely be back sooner rather than later and be a star for the Rangers for a long time to come, but the time is coming soon for him to go play every day in the minors, so just accept it.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Moreland Spurs Big Offensive Night]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:42:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/212*120/GettyImages-479006288.jpg

The Texas Rangers' offense had been sputtering through much of June, but in their second-to-last game of the month, the Rangers exploded for eight runs in Monday's win over first-place Baltimore to match their run total from their weekend series in Toronto.

The big night at the plate was spearheaded by Mitch Moreland, who continued his hot June. The Rangers first baseman clubbed his 11th and 12th homers of the season, putting him in a tie for the club lead with Prince Fielder. The two home runs give Moreland seven in the month of June.

The Rangers also got long balls from catcher Carlos Corporan and Shin-Soo Choo, who was robbed of his second homer of the night late in the game. The four Rangers homers tied their season-high for home runs in a game.

With Josh Hamilton set to return to the lineup on Tuesday night, the Rangers will be getting another power bat back in the lineup after he hit two homers in one of his seven games back with Texas before hitting the DL at the beginning of the month.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mavs Again Hope to Land a Big Fish]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:26:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mark-cuban2.jpg

NBA free agency begins Tuesday night at 11:01 p.m. Texas time. Where will Spurs’ coach Greg Popovich be?

“I’ll be in bed,” he joked to the San Antonio media on Monday. “And if that’s the difference in someone coming or not coming, then I don’t want them here.”

When you can brandish five NBA championships in the last 16 years, you can make players come to you. The Dallas Mavericks enjoy no such luxuries.

From Deron Williams to Dwight Howard to Carmelo Anthony, the Mavs have swung-and-missed as big and as much as any team in NBA free agency. Beginning a summer in which they have to replace a starting backcourt and bolster an aging roster, they again have their sights set high.

Targets 1 and 1a: DeAndre Jordan and LaMarcus Aldridge.

With their roster ammunition and salary-cap room, the Mavericks have the possibility to sign them both. But, realistically, will they sign one?

While Popovich gets yet another cozy night’s sleep in his bed, Mavs’ owner Mark Cuban plans to be busy. He’ll be in Los Angeles juggling a complex recruiting strategy that employs Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki and even Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant, Tony Romo and Jerry Jones. The Mavs will meet with both Jordan and Aldridge, and will be prepared to do so in either California (both players have homes there) or Texas (Jordan is from Houston; Aldridge Seagoville).

The Mavs may not sign either player. But, again, it won’t be for lack of hard work and effort.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bryant Takes Time to Recruit for Mavs]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:23:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/473792158.jpg

So while his agents frantically try to negotiate his football contract, Dez Bryant is focused on baseball and basketball?

Sure enough. The Cowboys’ receiver played in Dirk Nowitzki’s charity baseball game over the weekend and has promised to the help the Mavericks in their recruitment of free-agent center DeAndre Jordan.

A player unhappy with his contract in Dallas attempting to lure a star to sign a contract in Dallas. This should be interesting.

We’ve seen teams get creative in recruiting free agents. Photo-shopped images. Celebrity endorsements. Rolling billboards driving past the players’ houses. But using America’s Team surely can’t hurt the process.

The Mavs have historically whiffed on landing big-name free agents, but Bryant has a friendship with Jordan and has also said he’ll be willing to recruit coveted free agent and Texas native LaMarcus Aldridge to the Mavs. Owner Jerry Jones and quarterback Tony Romo might also be involved on some level from appearing in a video pitch to making a simple phone call.

Here’s hoping someday Bryant isn’t having another star trying recruit him out of Dallas.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hamilton's Back, For Now At Least]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:20:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/475421292.jpg

Typical Josh Hamilton.

He’s great. He disappears. He gets injured. He suffers a relapse. He makes a triumphant return. He wows. He frustrates.

Rinse. Repeat. Tuesday …

Hamilton’s much-hyped return to the Rangers lasted all of seven games in May. During that time he flashed his old brilliance, hitting .273 with two homers, two doubles, five RBI and a dramatic pinch-hit, walk-off double. Somewhere along the way he strained a hamstring and, before the healing from his first tenure with Texas fully commenced, poof, he was gone again.

Hamilton is like the weather during a Texas spring. Gorgeous and perfect most of the time. But you’re certain a tornado is just around the corner.

After missing a month with the leg injury – that after missing the first month recovering from shoulder surgery – he’ll be back in the lineup tonight in Baltimore. The Rangers’ offense – slumping before last night’s four-homer outburst – could certainly use him. But at this point in the season, and perhaps his career, Hamilton needs to be used as a spot player.

His season should be about quality of at-bats. Not quantity of games.

Overuse Hamilton or count on him too much and you’re guaranteed to be disappointed.

The babying has begun. Hamilton said he was ready to play Monday against the Orioles, but the team wanted to give him a “recovery day” after traveling. We should all be so lucky.

But with Hamilton there will always be asterisks and conditions and special treatment. He has a babysitter off the court to make sure he doesn’t relapse, and now he needs guidelines on the field to make sure he’s healthy and peaking when the Rangers make a potential playoff push in August.

A return in Baltimore as we slide into July is nice, but Hamilton admitting he’s not yet 100 percent is scary.

“Right now it's comfortable to a certain extent,” Hamilton told reporters in Baltimore last night. “I think for me the biggest thing is going into the All-Star break playing a few games under control – whether it be 80 or 85 percent – then getting a few days' rest. Then coming back and getting after it for the second half. The ultimate goal is to have me for the long haul.”

With Hamilton, we’re never quite sure how long that haul might be.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Prince Will Take On HR Derby if Asked]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:19:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/205*120/GettyImages-478664946.jpg

Prince Fielder isn't officially a 2015 MLB All-Star yet, and he won't be voted in by the fans as a starter, but as the AL's leading hitter, he'll almost certainly be a selection as a reserve and very well could be the Texas Rangers' only representative in Cincinnati.

Fielder told the Star-Telegram that if asked to participate in the Home Run Derby on July 14 — the made-for-TV event — he'll accept, mainly because his two sons wouldn't have it any other way.

Fielder, who is batting .348 this year with 12 homers and 48 RBIs, is a two-time winner of the contest, and the opportunity to swing for the fences at Great American Ballpark would be pretty fun for Fielder, who is a .320 career hitter in the hitter-friendly park with 12 home runs — the second-most for Fielder in any road ballpark over his career.

Fielder would join Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton as Rangers to take part in the contest in recent years. Neither of them won the event, although Hamilton famously put on a show at the old Yankee Stadium before losing in the final round.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Potential Target: Aroldis Chapman]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:08:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_chapman_fotods.jpg

In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at possible free-agent and trade targets for the Texas Rangers this winter.

Target: Aroldis Chapman, LHP

2015 stats: 3-3, 1.95 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 15 saves, 32 1/3 innings, 56 strikeouts, 19 walks, 15.6 K/9 innings

If you're talking about relief help, Chapman would be the equivalent of going all-in. He's going to be the biggest relief name out there as the Reds will be looking to sell their assets. He wouldn't be a true rental, as he's second-year arb-eligible this winter and is a free agent after the 2016 season, so he'd have some staying power.

Chapman would cost a load of prospects — most likely more than the Rangers would want to give up for a reliever. But he'd immediately slide into the closer's role and allow Tolleson to move back to the setup role and push everyone else back to fortify a bullpen that is among the league's worst.

Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[Beltre Still Trying to Find Comfort]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 09:56:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/473527594.jpg

Adrian Beltre is a good enough hitter to be a singles/contact hitter in the big leagues, but that's not who he is and it's not what the Rangers pay him to be.

The Rangers lineup is at its best when Beltre is a threat at the cleanup spot and he serves as some serious protection for Prince Fielder, the AL's top hitter. Right now, Beltre is no threat and it's because he's still trying to find a way to swing a bat comfortably with his thumb injury that he surprisingly returned from after a three-week hiatus last week.

Beltre started with a homemade pad on his bat, but according to the Dallas Morning News, he's shifted away from that in favor of a pad on his thumb. He's still trying to figure out what works, as he's just 7-for-29 since his return from the DL with one extra-base hit — a double in the ninth inning on Monday night.

“Is it comfortable, I don’t know,” Beltre told the Morning News. “I’m just trying to find a better way to [swing].”

Until that happens, Beltre will only be a shell of the hitter he knows he can be.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chirinos, Corporan Producing Under the Radar]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:33:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/chirinos-corporan.jpg

Over the past few offseasons, the Texas Rangers have been linked to some big-name free agent catchers, and they've passed them up each time.

Whether it was Brian McCann or Russell Martin, the Rangers have opted to go the cheap, unheralded route behind the plate, and so far it's worked out pretty well for them.

Not since 2011 and 2012 when Mike Napoli was behind the plate for the Rangers have they had an offensive force at the catcher position, which frankly, is a rarity in the league and a luxury more teams lack than have.

It'd be a huge stretch to call the platoon of starter Robinson Chirinos and backup Carlos Corporan an offensive force, as their combined batting average this year is right at .200, but as far as producing runs, the duo is holding its own.

Taking a look at the top offensive catchers in the American League this year, it starts with Oakland's Stephen Vogt, who's batting over .300 and has 13 homers and 53 RBIs. Then, there are some of those names we discussed earlier in McCann and Martin along with Kansas City's Salvador Perez. They all have between 11 and 13 homers and 34 and 49 RBIs.

Now, aside from batting average, let's look at the run production the Rangers have gotten from Chirinos and Corporan, who homered on Monday night in the Rangers' offensive outburst.

The two have combined for 10 home runs and 40 RBIs, putting them right on par with some of the biggest run-producing catchers in the league.

Want to take pot-shots at Rangers general manager Jon Daniels? Well, that's fine, but try this one on for size. Vogt is making the big-league minimum for the A's, but those other guys are big-money catchers. Perez is making $1.75 million, and that's cheap compared to McCann ($17 million) and Martin ($7 million).

Chirinos is making $518,000 like Vogt, and Corporan is making $975,000.

Seems like pretty good cost efficiency, eh?

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rodriguez Hopes to Rebound After Worst Ranger Start]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 16:23:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476919620.jpg

It's hard to find much wrong with what Wandy Rodriguez has done this year with the Texas Rangers.

The veteran was plucked off the waiver wire this spring to help fill in to an injury-rocked Rangers starting rotation, and heading into his last start against Oakland, he'd been downright phenomenal relative to what could've possibly been expected of him.

Rodriguez entered that start against Oakland with a 3.20 ERA and a 4-2 record, but that ERA took a big hit against Oakland on Wednesday when he allowed eight runs on 11 hits in four innings, putting his season ERA at 4.06.

Frankly, that mark is still pretty solid for a guy of Rodriguez's expectations, and he'll look to get back on his horse on Monday when the Rangers open a four-game series in Baltimore against the first-place Orioles.

Rodriguez has been much better away from Arlington than he has been at Globe Life Park, hearkening back to the days of the horribly inflated offensive numbers in Arlington that have dissipated since some park renovations a couple of years ago.

This year, Rodriguez is 4-0 with a 2.28 ERA away from Arlington and 0-3 with an ERA north of 7.00 at home. Could Monday be the day Rodriguez returns to his surprisingly good form? That little tidbit sure does up the confidence meter on that possibility.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Martin Losing Grasp on Starting Job]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:02:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476281310.jpg

The Texas Rangers have longed for Leonys Martin to take the starting center fielder job and run away with it ever since they gave the Cuban prospect a pretty nice, healthy deal before he'd ever played a big-league game.

Keep in mind, Martin's signing with the Rangers in 2011 came before clubs started forking over big money to Cuban players like Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu, Rusney Castillo and more. He was given a healthy, not ridiculous, five-year deal worth $15.5 million and was seen as a toolsy player with just about everything in his bag except for plus power.

Nowadays, about the only thing we can count on Martin for is his power arm in the outfield as he racked up another outfield assist on Sunday to add to his league-leading total.

But Martin isn't stealing bases after he had 36 in 2013 and 31 last year. This year, he has just 13 and has been in a running cold spell as of late. That's probably because he just hasn't been on base. He's 3-for-39 with 15 strikeouts and one walk over his last week-plus worth of games.

It's gotten so bad, the Rangers put Joey Gallo in center field over the weekend in Toronto. The same Joey Gallo who had never previously played center field — at any level — and is in quite a slump of his own at the plate.

Delino DeShields had seemingly moved ahead of Martin in the center field pecking order, but DeShields was injured a couple of weeks ago and is now out on a rehab assignment. Josh Hamilton is set to return early this week from the DL and could play in center after he manned center field during his rehab assignment, even though it's a considerable risk given Hamilton's fragility and his reckless style of play.

Things are getting bad for Martin, and it's starting to get a point of wondering if the Rangers see him in their future at all with him set to be eligible for arbitration this winter.

Photo Credit: Ed Zurga]]>
<![CDATA[Hamilton Expected to Return in Baltimore]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:48:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/475421292.jpg

In his brief second go-around as a Texas Ranger, Josh Hamilton has performed better than anyone could've expected.

The veteran outfielder will make his second return to the Rangers this week — presumably Monday — in Baltimore when he's scheduled to come off the disabled list. His reunion with the Rangers lasted just seven games before he strained his hamstring, and in those seven games, he scored five runs and drove in five with a couple of homers.

But on one day back in May 2012 at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Hamilton clubbed four homers in one game — one of just a select group of MLBers to ever accomplish the feat — and he actually collected five hits on the day. His fifth was a frozen-rope double off the wall, a hit that with a little more lift could've been a record fifth bomb. It was seen as one of the best games at the plate in baseball history and pretty much was the end of a dominant opening month and a half that made Hamilton the leading MVP candidate at that time.

After that, it was all downhill for Hamilton who would then collapse down the second half of the season and sign his big contract with the Angels that following winter.

Now, Hamilton is returning to the site of his greatest game in just the nick of time, with the Rangers searching desperately for offense, especially from their outfield that features struggling versions of Shin-Soo Choo, Leonys Martin and prospect Joey Gallo.

The last time we saw Hamilton on the field in a Rangers uniform, he was hitting a pinch-hit, walkoff double to cap a stellar homestand for the fan favorite. Now, the Rangers hope he can pick up where he left off in a place that has been kind to him in his career.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tyron Named Dirk's Celebrity Game MVP]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:14:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tyron-smith-baseball.jpg

Tyron Smith might be the best left tackle in football. He was definitely the best player in Dirk Nowitzki’s Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game on Saturday night at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco.

Smith fell a home run short of the cycle and took home MVP honors for his three-hit performance for the Blue Sox, who won 17-5 over a White Sox team that featured Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Smith’s Cowboys teammate Dez Bryant.

Smith and Bryant were among a handful of Cowboys playing in the game. Guard Ronald Leary, receiver Cole Beasley, linebacker Kyle Wilber, running back Lance Dunbar and kicker Dan Bailey were also there, though none of them did anything as spectacular as Smith--all 6-foot-5, 305 pounds of him--legging out the last 90 feet of his triple.

The other Cowboys highlights pretty much all revolved around Dez, who (a) threw up the “X” early and often, including when he reached base on an infield single in the first inning, (b) lobbied for fans to help in the effort to bring NBA free agents DeAndre Jordan and Lamarcus Aldridge to the Mavs, while Blue Sox third base coach and current Mavs’ center Tyson Chandler stood maybe 100 feet away and (c) did a back flip after catching a routine fly ball.

<![CDATA[Manning's Agent Confident a Deal Will Get Done]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:33:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459486282.jpg

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is headed into the final year of his current contract but Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, is confident the team will step up to the negotiating table and pay their two-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback when the time comes.

In explaining his confidence, Condon points out that only in the rarest instances have elite quarterbacks found themselves on the open market in the free agency era of the NFL.

“The interesting part about it is, since 1993, the inception of free agency, has there ever been an elite quarterback hit the open market?” Condon said, per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. “Peyton (Manning did in 2012), but he had four neck surgeries and no idea if he would ever be well enough to play. Drew Brees, when he went to New Orleans (in 2006), he had 15 studs in his shoulder, in his throwing arm (from a hit he took in the final game of 2005). There’s nobody else that’s ever come up. They just re-do you.”

Condon, who also represents Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, was most recently in the news in Dallas when he met with the team for the first time in months over the weekend.  He, Bryant and the Cowboys have until July 15 to get a long-term deal in place.

“The quarterbacks always get done,” Condon said of Manning’s situation. “And the Giants are not a skittish team. So it’s not one of those things where they get nervous or they jump around or anything like that. You know you’re going to go in and it’s going to get done. I’m sure at the appropriate time it’ll happen.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bailey Pretty Sure Dez Could Eat Cookies & Cake, Still Be a Freak Athlete]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:56:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/1042701431.jpg

Asked which of his Cowboys teammates was most likely to impress in Dirk Nowitzki’s Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game over the weekend, Dallas kicker Dan Bailey put his money on Dez Bryant.

His reasoning was simple. Bryant’s an amazing athlete, and he has been since he and Bailey arrived at Oklahoma State in 2007. Now that they’re NFL teammates, Bailey marvels at Bryant’s athleticism as much as ever. Perhaps the most amazing part of it all is that the super-athlete Bryant has said he’s achieved that RoboCop physique while still eating burgers and pizza--a claim Bailey wouldn’t argue.

It wouldn’t surprise me,” Bailey said, per the Dallas Morning News. “I think that guy could eat cookies and cake all the time and still be a freak athlete.”

For what it’s worth, Bryant had an infield single (and threw up the “X” after reaching safely) and caught a few balls in left field. After one of those outfield putouts, Bryant did a backflip in celebration, presumably while all the Cowboys fans at Dr. Pepper Park in Frisco held their collective breath.

But of course, he stuck the landing.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers, Harrison Nearing Decision Time]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:46:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/488824961.jpg

The Texas Rangers have a big decision to make, and it involves a veteran starting pitcher who's looking to make medical history in the sport, but just might not be ready.

Matt Harrison is looking to become the first pitcher to start in the big leagues after a spinal fusion surgery. He's made a handful of rehab starts, is stretched out to around 100 pitches and is working six innings-plus with Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock.

Yet, he might not be ready to return to the Rangers' rotation. Sadly, he might not ever be.

Harrison appears healthy, as seen by the aforementioned stretching out and pitch counts, but he doesn't seem very effective as he's not getting his fastball into the 90s — velocity that won't cut it against big-league hitting and at times isn't even cutting it against minor-league hitting.

“I think he has the opportunity to eventually pitch for us,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister told reporters, via the Dallas Morning News. “Because there is no track record on this injury, I think we’ve got to put him through the gamut of all the rehab.”

"Eventually" is running out, though. The Rangers must activate Harrison from his rehab assignment on July 3 because you get 30 days for a rehab assignment by rule. Harrison threw a bullpen session on Sunday for Banister and pitching coach Mike Maddux and is set to make what will be his final rehab start on Wednesday for Round Rock.

After that, it's decision time.

At this point, you'd have to think Harrison will be given a shot, and it won't be in the bullpen given the understandable concern the Rangers have of Harrison not working on a customary starter's schedule with his unprecedented injury.

You just have to wonder who he'll replace in the rotation, or if the team will go with a six-man rotation for a bit to see how things go for Harrison while also getting some of their starters some needed rest. With Martin Perez seemingly following soon, that's when someone will have to be out of the rotation, and the leading candidates now appear to be Wandy Rodriguez and Chi Chi Gonzalez.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>