Giants make a surprising free agent signing, add veteran slugger Justin Smoak on minor league deal — Times-Standard

After winning 14 of their last 19 games, the Giants have climbed above .500 and are increasingly considered a legitimate threat to sneak into the postseason. With the club in the midst of a playoff push, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi made a surprising addition to the team’s player pool on Wednesday by signing…Justin Smoak

Giants make a surprising free agent signing, add veteran slugger on minor league deal — Times-Standard

Smoak will report to the team’s alternate site in Sacramento and isn’t yet a member of the 40-man roster, but he’ll need to be added to the club by Sept. 15 to become eligible to participate in the postseason.

Smoak began the season with the Milwaukee Brewers and hit .186 with five home runs in 113 at-bats before being released on Sunday. The switch-hitter posted above-average numbers in 2017, 2018 and 2019 with the Toronto Blue Jays, but struggled to provide the Brewers with any production this year and was ultimately let go after striking out in more than 30% of his plate appearances.

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The timing of Smoak’s signing with the Giants is curious because it’s not immediately clear how he fits the team’s roster.

First baseman Brandon Belt has emerged as a down-ballot MVP candidate and is still in contention to win the batting title. When Belt isn’t in the lineup, infielders Wilmer Flores and Pablo Sandoval have also proven capable of playing at first base.

Smoak doesn’t have much positional versatility as he’s likely limited to first base and designated hitter at this point in his career, so it’s uncertain whether the Giants will end up adding him to the roster. It’s possible Zaidi pursued Smoak with the idea that he could provide some insurance in the event Belt, Flores or Sandoval is injured down the stretch.

The Giants have also had several other players including Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford miss games over the last week due to nagging injuries, so the front office may have viewed the opportunity to add a veteran on a low-risk deal as a move it couldn’t pass up.

Smoak was an All-Star in 2017 with the Blue Jays and is a close friend of former Giants outfielder Kevin Pillar, who won the 2019 Willie Mac Award and is currently trying to help the Rockies push past San Francisco in the postseason race.

Grant Williams, Celtics look for clinching victory — Vols Wire

ORLANDO — When Grant Williams and the Boston Celtics return to the floor Wednesday night, they will look to eliminate the defending NBA champions. Boston, the NBA Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed, holds a 3-2 advantage over the second-seeded Toronto Raptors in the Best-of-7 conference semifinals. Boston, which won the first two games against the […]

Grant Williams, Celtics look for clinching victory — Vols Wire

ORLANDO — When Grant Williams and the Boston Celtics return to the floor Wednesday night, they will look to eliminate the defending NBA champions.

Boston, the NBA Eastern Conference’s No. 3 seed, holds a 3-2 advantage over the second-seeded Toronto Raptors in the Best-of-7 conference semifinals.

Boston, which won the first two games against the Raptors after sweeping the Philadelphia 76ers in the opening round, saw Toronto bounce back to even the series 2-2.

The Celtics have regained an upper hand in the series Monday night with a 111-89 victory in Game 5 at HP Field House.

Williams, a former University of Tennessee power forward played nine minutes Monday. He scored three points and dished out an assist.

He left Tennessee after his junior season in 2019 as the two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.

The former Vol was a first-round draft pick by Boston in last summer’s NBA draft.

The winner of this series will face the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat eliminated top-seeded Milwaukee Tuesday night.

Report: Bucks won’t trade Giannis if he doesn’t sign extension — Portal4News

With the Milwaukee Bucks‘ season over, their focus turns to the future of Giannis Antetokounmpo. The reigning NBA MVP is eligible to sign a super-max extension with the Bucks this offseason, and multiple sources have been “adamant” that Milwaukee won’t trade Antetokounmpo if he doesn’t ink a deal, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. An Antetokounmpo […]

Report: Bucks won’t trade Giannis if he doesn’t sign extension — Portal4News

With the Milwaukee Bucks‘ season over, their focus turns to the future of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The reigning NBA MVP is eligible to sign a super-max extension with the Bucks this offseason, and multiple sources have been “adamant” that Milwaukee won’t trade Antetokounmpo if he doesn’t ink a deal, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Says He Won’t Request Trade From Bucks

An Antetokounmpo super-max contract with the Bucks could be worth approximately $220 million – roughly $80 million more than he could get from another team as a free agent in 2021. Those figures hinge on a projected 2020-21 NBA salary cap of $109.1 million.

If the Bucks don’t re-sign the superstar or deal him prior to next season’s trade deadline, they risk losing him for nothing as an unrestricted free agent in 2021.

Reports have circulated that the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors are considered front-runners to land Antetokounmpo if he leaves Milwaukee. Those two teams are currently forecasted to hold salary-cap space in 2021, but any trade involving Giannis would change that equation.

Antetokounmpo missed Milwaukee’s season-ending Game 5 loss to the Heat on Tuesday due to a sprained ankle.Tags:Basketball

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Yankees’ Luke Voit lashes out after fifth-straight loss — Empire Sports Media

The New York Yankees lost 2-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday evening, with JA Happ on the mound. Lasting 6.1 innings and logging two earned runs, Happ actually had a fantastic outing. He racked up 10 strikeouts over 113 pitches, giving Michael King and Zack Britton a smooth ride the rest of the […]

Yankees’ Luke Voit lashes out after fifth-straight loss — Empire Sports Media

he New York Yankees lost 2-1 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday evening, with JA Happ on the mound. Lasting 6.1 innings and logging two earned runs, Happ actually had a fantastic outing. He racked up 10 strikeouts over 113 pitches, giving Michael King and Zack Britton a smooth ride the rest of the way. However, the offense couldn’t pick up the slack, despite a solid start from Happ.

Things are seemingly ripping apart at the seams, as the Yankees posted seven runs on Monday but followed it up with a one-run performance on Tuesday. They recorded five hits on the night, with youngster Miguel Andujar furthering his momentum as of late.

Andujar now hosts a .240 batting average, which is much better than it was just two weeks ago. Increased at-bats have given him more time and comfort at the plate, and it is proving to be beneficial. Leadoff hitter DJ LeMahieu has struggled, and I believe he is still dealing with a thumb issue, but it’s simply playing through it.

Nonetheless, the Yankees have lost five straight, including two to the Toronto Blue Jays and three to the Baltimore Orioles. Slugger Luke Voit was angry after the game, and rightfully so.

Yankees’ Luke Voit was brutally honest about the state of the team:

“We’ve got to get back to what the New York Yankees are. I feel like teams aren’t even scared of us now. … We’ve been playing like crap.”“I almost feel like it’s embarrassing for us right now.

Voit is having a solid season, hitting .273 with 14 homers and 29 RBIs. He was the only Yankees to cross home plate and put them on the board on Tuesday, but it simply wasn’t enough. The Yankees are now .500 on the season at 21-21, and desperately need their star players in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton back. Manager Aaron Boone stated that they might not gain the two sluggers until late in the regular season and possibly the postseason, which means the Yankees will have to find a way to win immediately without their help.

Clippers pleased with Ivica Zubac’s effort against Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic — Press Telegram

The last that fans saw of Ivica Zubac on Monday night, the normally mild-mannered center was flinging a towel into the back row of the Clippers’ team seats, frustrated after fouling out with 4:07 left in the Clippers’ 113-107 victory over Denver in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals. Entering Game 4 on Wednesday…

Clippers pleased with Ivica Zubac’s effort against Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic — Press Telegram

Lakers’ Anthony Davis lands on NBA All-Defensive first team — Press Telegram

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — In all the defensive schemes the Lakers have hatched this season, in all their looks and gimmicks, Anthony Davis has been at the heart of them. On some nights, he was the Lakers’ most physical shot blocker and rebounder. On others, he was among their best perimeter defenders, thrown onto…

Lakers’ Anthony Davis lands on NBA All-Defensive first team — Press Telegram