Connect with us

Sports

Blue Jays officially sign right-handed pitcher Tanner Roark – Sportsnet.ca

Published

 on


TORONTO — Tanner Roark wasn’t dissuaded by the small ballparks and big hitters of the American League East when he signed with the Blue Jays in free agency.

The veteran right-hander should be fine in Toronto, he said, as long as he can keep the ball out of the air.

“Pop-ups, they go out for home runs. It is what it is,” Roark said with a laugh Wednesday in his introductory conference call with Toronto media. “The Blue Jays were the ones who were most interested in me and I want to go to a team that wants me.

“With the young core group of guys coming up and what we have at the big league level, maybe (I can) give some knowledge, teach them some things, answer any questions they want to know. I’m here for them.

“As for the AL East part, just make your pitches. Don’t hang a pitch or else it’s going to go far. That goes for any league, any division.”

The Blue Jays officially announced Roark’s contract Wednesday — a two-year deal worth US$24 million. The move was first reported at last week’s MLB winter meetings.

Roark, who turned 33 in October, will be stepping into a leadership role by default with a Blue Jays team stocked to the brim with young talent.

That youthful core is part of what attracted Roark to Toronto in the first place.

“They’re up and coming and they’re really young. I’m 33 years old, I don’t think I’m that old, but I’m one of the oldest guys on the team,” Roark said. “I know what kind of future this team can hold and these guys can hold within themselves just going through their first year, getting a taste of what the big leagues are about, learning from last year … I’m intrigued to see what these guys are all about.”

Roark, who entered free agency for the first time in his career this off-season, was 10-10 with a 4.35 earned-run average in 31 starts through 2019 for Cincinnati and Oakland, which acquired him at the trade deadline.

He is 74-64 with a 3.71 ERA over seven seasons, spending the first six of those with Washington before being dealt to Cincinnati last December.

Roark said the Blue Jays were the first to initiate contact with him this off-season.

He signed with the team after having conversations with pitching coach Pete Walker and bullpen coach Matt Buschmann and said he was intrigued by the prospect of working with young Blue Jays catchers Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire.

“Tempo for me is key and last year both (Toronto’s) catchers were rated great defensively and they’re young guys which is great too. …. that drew a lot of interest for me.” Roark said. “Now we’ll get to work together in spring training and we’ll to talk (about) how I pitch to certain guys and once we get on that same page and the rhythm gets going there’s nothing better.”

Toronto was 67-95 last season, with starting pitching being a major weakness. The Blue Jays also acquired right-hander Chase Anderson from Milwaukee last month to beef up their rotation.

Roark, who has one career start at Rogers Centre — a forgettable four-inning performance that saw him allow four runs on eight hits in an 8-6 loss for Washington in 2018 — provides some stability to Toronto’s currently thin rotation.

He pitched over 200 innings in 2016, winning 16 games for Washington that year with a 2.83 ERA, and has pitched at least 165 innings in four other seasons.

“I think what keeps me on the field is I work hard,” Roark said. “It can be a long arduous season, repetitive travel-wise, the mental part of it can just crush you. But I think working hard and doing what you need to do to prepare yourself for every fifth day, that’s the biggest thing.

“The stuff in between the starts is the real work and the fifth day is enjoyment of it all. All the work you’ve put in for four days and then you’re rewarded with a start to go out there and hopefully kick some butt.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

The Flames' warmup was a complete trainwreck – Yahoo Canada Sports

Published

 on


Milan Lucic’s face says it all.

There’s warmup, warmies, warm-ups, and whatever the hell this is.

It’s been anything but smooth sailing the past couple weeks for the free-falling Flames, and it looks like we’ve officially reached the almost-comical stage of Calgary’s struggles as evident by the team’s absolutely ridiculous performance in their pre-game twirl on Monday.

Hoping to avoid getting pounded by the lowly Ottawa Senators for the second time in three games — which, spoiler, didn’t happen — the Flames hit the ice in body but never really in mind, as an absurd and unfortunate sequence of brain farts, errors and bad luck soiled the team’s warmup and set the tone for another embarrassing L.

First, we have defenceman Juuso Valimaki and goaltender David Rittich just unnecessarily bumping into each other and carrying on with their respective days. Then, the camera ever-so-subtly spots Milan Lucic taking a seat in the corner after catching a rut and bailing head-first into the boards.

Rasmus Andersson and Nikita Nesterov then brainlessly collided in the neutral zone, with both hitting the deck and landing in a pile of mildly scattered pucks, before a scary incident capped a nightmarish 12-minute stretch for Calgary with Johnny Gaudreau launching a careless backhander straight into the face of bucketless linemate Sean Monahan, who was shaken up and had to leave the ice.

The complete circus predictably carried over into the game as the Flames laid an egg straight from the get-go, losing 5-1 while producing a plethora of defensive blunders and getting chewed up in battles all over the ice.

The Flames, who have dropped six of their last eight contests, including a pair of brutal losses to the Sens and a 7-1 L to the Oilers, need to figure it out pretty, pretty soon.

More from Yahoo Sports:

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Hutchinson's performance, defensive effort lead Maple Leafs to another shutout vs. Oilers – Toronto Sun

Published

 on


Article content

Morgan Rielly figuratively grabbed the mic late on Monday night.

“I just want to open it up with comments about our goalies,” the Maple Leafs defenceman said, before taking questions from media, after Toronto beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 at Rogers Place. “The last two (games) they have been outstanding. I don’t think they get enough credit.

“Soup and Hutchy have been outstanding for us all year, and two games in a row against a good team has been a huge boost.”

Who would argue?

Michael Hutchinson made 31 saves for his sixth shutout in the National Hockey League, two nights after Jack Campbell stopped all 30 Oilers shots in a 4-0 Leafs win.

The Leafs blanked the same team in back-to-back games for the 10th time in franchise history (including playoffs) and for the first time in the regular season since November 1954, when they shut out Detroit in consecutive games.

The two victories marked the first time since Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2018, that the Leafs registered back-to-back shutouts.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

This time around, it was all the more impressive considering it came against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the top two scorers in the NHL.

“We’re getting to the point where we’re proving that we’re a team that can defend well, and I think that’s a big part of our success as a team,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said.

“Given the injuries and the adversity we’ve faced, especially in these two games, it really calls upon the team to step up and and play a good team game and, in particular, defend.”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

The Leafs (17-4-2, 36 points) opened a six-point lead on the second-place Florida Panthers for first overall in the NHL and an eight-point lead on the Oilers for first in the North Division.

The Leafs again stuffed the Oilers without Auston Matthews, who missed his second game in a row with a wrist/hand injury, and without No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen for a fourth consecutive game with a lower-body issue.

Both remain day-to-day, but it’s not clear whether either will play on Wednesday night when the Leafs and Oilers finish their three-game set.

“We’re just waiting for the strength to come back,” Keefe said of Matthews. “It is a little bit of a different situation he’s dealing with than what it was previously for him. That was just a nagging thing, this is a little bit of a different situation. But he is progressing.”

Campbell on Saturday aggravated the lower body injury that had kept him out since Jan. 24.

“You go through your practice sessions and he was feeling really good, but game conditions are a whole different beast and it didn’t respond,” Keefe said. “We’re taking it a day at a time.”

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Hutchinson improved to 3-1 with a .943 save percentage. Combined, Hutchinson and Campbell are 6-1-0.

The Leafs figured the Oilers were going to have some initial fire after getting nothing on Saturday night, and they were right.

Hutchinson made a point-blank save on Dominik Kahun and then denied a streaking McDavid, who blew past Justin Holl with ease, before the Leafs had registered a shot on Oilers starter Mikko Koskinen.

McDavid led the Oilers with six shots on goal but was held without a point in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 18-20, 2019.

“It’s nice to feel the puck early on,” Hutchinson said. “When McDavid came flying down on that one in the first period, it was a good wakeup call for me, seeing how fast he is right off the hop, and trying to be prepared for that for the rest of the game.

“We came on strong in the first period. In the second half of it, and we really controlled the play. We were able to score some key goals and go from there.”

The Leafs scored on their first two shots on Koskinen, as Zach Hyman scored on a backhand at 7:19 and William Nylander did the same at 10:20. Rielly, who assisted on Hyman’s goal, scored on a power play at 18:07 of the first when his point shot went off Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse.

Mike Smith replaced Koskinen to start the second, but the change didn’t have an impact on the home team.

Rielly’s two points gave him 17 in his past 17 games.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Toronto was strong on the penalty-kill, going 4-for-4. The Leafs might not have been as air-tight as they were in their win on Saturday, but Hutchinson was sharp when required.

“To have these two results through the first two games of this trip is a positive sign for us,” Keefe said. “I didn’t like our game as much as I did the other night, yet our guys played hard. We defended our net very well.

“It felt like one of those nights, just the way (Hutchinson) was moving in the net, the saves he was making, it gave me the confidence that they were going to have to do a lot to score one. He was terrific. It was fun to watch him.”

tkoshan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/koshtorontosun

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Batherson scores two more as Senators beat Flames – TSN

Published

 on


OTTAWA — Drake Batherson scored a pair of goals for the Ottawa Senators in a 5-1 win Monday over the visiting Calgary Flames.

With seven goals in his last six games, the 22-year-old Batherson matched the franchise record held by Jason Spezza for the longest goal streak.

“I don’t know. Everything I’m just shooting is going in,” Batherson said. “Boys are making some great plays for me. The second one was lucky tonight.”

Colin White, with an empty-net goal, Artem Anisimov and Evgenii Dadanov also scored for the Senators (8-15-1). Tim Stutzle had two assists in Ottawa’s fourth win in its last five games.

Matt Murray, who was pulled in Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Flames, stopped 27-of-28 shots for the win including all 22 he faced in the first and third period.

“He was dialed in right from the get go,” Senators head coach D.J. Smith sad. “He was even better there in the third.

“He gave our team a chance to get our feet going and certainly was the best player on the ice for us.”

Milan Lucic scored for the Flames (10-11-2), while David Rittich made 31 saves in his fifth straight start.

After White’s empty-netter, Dadanov scored with Rittich back in net at 17:47 of the third.

“We didn’t sit back in the third,” Batherson said. “We kept it going so it was perfect.”

Ottawa capitalized on a pair of Calgary mistakes and outshot the visitors 22-6 in the second period to lead 3-1 heading into the third.

Rittich put a clearing attempt on the stick of Batherson at the face-off circle. The right-winger whipped the puck by the Calgary goaltender’s pad at 11:44 for his second of the game and first career multi-goal game.

Lucic had just pulled the Flames within a goal scoring on the power play at 10:20. He collected his own rebound and his shot that went off a Senators skate slid by Murray’s outstretched pad.

Batherson made it 2-0 at 8:26 with a high shot from the high slot.

Anisimov scored his first of the season at 6:22 off a Flames turnover in the neutral zone where Sam Bennett overskated a Lucic pass.

Stutzle dished to Anisimov, whose shot deflected off a stick and by Rittich.

“We shot ourselves in the foot an awful lot,” Flames head coach Geoff Ward said. “I thought our first period was good.”

The Flames outshot the Senators 12-7 in a scoreless first period in which both teams failed to convert a power-play chance.

Calgary’s pre-game warmup was adventurous. Defencemen Nikita Nesterov and Rasmus Andersson collided and went down near the blue-line.

A helmetless Sean Monahan took a puck to the face during warmup, but played in the game.

The Flames capped a 10-day, six-game road trip 2-3-1.

“We had an opportunity tonight to get off the road trip above .500 but we didn’t get it done,” Ward said.

“We’ve got to find the answers. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We’ve got to come up with the solutions ourselves. As a team we’ve got to be more committed to playing the game the right way.”

The Sens start their own six-game road swing Tuesday facing the Montreal Canadiens before heading to Calgary for Thursday’s rematch with the Flames.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending