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Sonny Gray will get at least one more chance to show he deserves to keep his place in New York’s rotation [url=http://www.raiderscheapstore.com/connor-cook-jersey-cheap]Connor Cook Jersey[/url] , though the Yankees are growing increasingly concerned about the struggling starter.

Justin Smoak hit a three-run homer, Yangervis Solarte reached base four times and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Gray and the Yankees 6-2 on Friday night.

Smoak connected in Toronto’s five-run second inning, when the Blue Jays batted around and put an early end to Gray’s outing.

”I am concerned but we also believe in the stuff,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Gray. ”We’ve got to try and help him right the ship a little bit.”

Gray (5-7) allowed five runs and six hits in two innings, his shortest start of the season and his third straight loss.

”It’s not early in the season anymore,” Gray said. ”This is when you’re expected to go out there and contribute and get in some type of rhythm and put together solid starts back to back. I haven’t even been close to being able to do that.”

Gray lasted just 2 1/3 innings in his previous start, matching a season worst by allowing six runs in an 11-0 loss to the division-leading Boston Red Sox.

Boone said Gray will face Baltimore next week and dismissed the idea of skipping Gray to help clear his head.

”Part of it is right now we feel like he’s our best option,” Boone said.

Solarte went 3 for 4 with a walk as the Blue Jays won for the 12th time in 16 home games.

Aaron Hicks homered and had two RBIs in the opener of New York’s 11-game road trip. Hicks has hit five home runs in his past five games.

Gray retired the first two batters before loading the bases with two walks and a single. He escaped unscathed when Russell Martin struck out swinging.

Things went downhill for Gray in the second, which began with Randal Grichuk’s double. One out later, Devon Travis and Curtis Granderson hit back-to-back RBI singles. Smoak capped the inning with a two-out homer, his 12th.

Hicks hit a solo home run in the third, his career-high 16th, then chased Blue Jays right-hander Sam Gaviglio with a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. Joe Biagini came on and struck out Giancarlo Stanton looking, then got Didi Gregorius to fly out.

New York went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners stranded.

”We just didn’t get that hit to put us over tonight [url=http://www.seahawkscheapstore.com/richard-sherman-jersey-cheap]Richard Sherman Jersey[/url] ,” Boone said.

Gaviglio allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. Gaviglio is winless in seven starts, dating to a May 25 victory at Philadelphia.

Biagni (1-5) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the win, snapping a streak of 10 straight losing decisions.

Five Blue Jays relievers combined to pitch 4 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just one hit.

”Our bullpen did some kind of job,” manager John Gibbons said.

BIG FINISH

Boone said finishing off hitters is Gray’s biggest challenge.

”It’s getting himself into good counts and making pitches when he has a chance to put guys away,” Boone said. ”That’s what he’s really struggled with.”

LONG RELIEF

David Hale pitched 5 2/3 innings in relief of Gray, his longest career outing as a reliever. Hale allowed one run and five hits.

ALL IN THE FAMILY

Sallie Gibbons, the 80-year-old mother of John Gibbons, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to her son. ”It made my night, that’s for sure,” said Gibbons, who got his mom to autograph the ball afterward.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: New York recalled INF Tyler Wade from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He takes the place of 2B Gleyber Torres (right hip) [url=http://www.seahawkscheapstore.com/frank-clark-jersey-cheap]Frank Clark Jersey[/url] , who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday. … RHP Masahiro Tanaka (left and right hamstring strains) allowed two runs and three hits in five innings in a rehab start at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. Tanaka is expected to return to New York’s rotation next Tuesday at Baltimore. … Boone said LHP CC Sabathia will pitch the opening game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Orioles. New York will call up a pitcher from the minors to start Game 2, Boone said, with RHP Luis Cessa and RHP Jonathan Loaisiga among the candidates.

Blue Jays: LHP Jaime Garcia (shoulder) felt good after a bullpen session Friday and will be re-evaluated Saturday. He has yet to begin a rehab assignment. … Utilityman Darnell Sweeney cleared waivers and was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo.

UP NEXT

Yankees RHP Luis Severino (13-2, 1.98) faces Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (10-4, 4.03) on Saturday afternoon. Severino, who leads the majors in wins, will be pitching on extra rest thanks to New York’s off day Thursday. Happ lost to Detroit last Sunday, matching season worsts by allowing seven runs and 10 hits. The defeat snapped Happ’s streak of six straight winning decisions.



The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t take an inside linebacker in the NFL draft.

That doesn’t mean they didn’t want one.

It simply means when it came time to pick, they looked at their internal draft board, they looked at the players available in a position where there – at least on the surface – appears to be a serious depth issue and decided they didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks.

”We’re not going to reach,” general manager Kevin Colbert said.

So the perennial AFC power didn’t. Whenever the Steelers found themselves on the clock, coach Mike Tomlin would urge Colbert to ”respect the board.”

Translation: pick the players we think are the best, not necessarily the ones that check off a box just to do it.

The result? Seven selections that focused on versatility not availability.

First-round pick Terrell Edmunds did a little bit of everything in the defensive backfield for Virginia Tech. Tomlin believes wide receiver James Washington – taken in the second round – can line up anywhere on the field.

Third-round pick Chukwuma Okorafor is considered a swing tackle who could thrive under Hall of Fame line coach Mike Munchak.

Safety Marcus Allen was a proven sure tackler during his time at Penn State. Fullback Jaylen Samuels could be a tailback, a fullback [url=http://www.billscheapstore.com/jordan-poyer-jersey-cheap]Jordan Poyer Jersey[/url] , a tight end or even a slot receiver depending on what’s required. Seventh-round pick Joshua Frazier was part of the defensive line rotation at Alabama who could press for a roster spot.

”We believe these guys can not only help us in the future but they’re capable of helping us this year if they earn it,” Tomlin said. ”These guys will be given an opportunity to carve out roles for themselves this year and if they do and it’s significant, great.”

HEIR APPARENT? Colbert pointed out the Steelers aren’t old at any position other than perhaps quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger turned 36 last month but has been telling teammates he could play several more seasons.

That’s fine by the Steelers. It also, however, didn’t stop them trading up to make sure they landed Oklahoma State star Mason Rudolph in the third round, just 16 picks after they drafted Washington, his college teammate.

”We valued (Rudolph) as much as the rest of the quarterbacks that were drafted (in the first round),” Colbert said.

A sentiment that could be telling about Pittsburgh’s intentions with the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Rudolph, the first quarterback drafted before the fourth round by Pittsburgh since the Steelers took Roethlisberger 11th overall 14 years ago.

The five quarterbacks taken in the first round are all projected as future starters. Read between the lines and the Steelers perhaps feel the same about Rudolph.

IMMEDIATE IMPACT: Washington, who won the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in the FBS last season, reminded Tomlin of JuJu Smith-Schuster, whom the Steelers took in the second round last season. All Smith-Schuster did was lead all rookies in touchdown receptions in 2017 with seven while also developing a reputation as a big-time blocker.

”He’s probably not the fastest but he’s as good a deep receiver that played college football this year,” Colbert said of Washington. ”We think James can play outside and we think he can play inside and he may even have a chance to work as a return guy.”

SAFETY DANCE: The previous time the Steelers took a safety in the first round [url=http://www.saintscheapstore.com/morten-andersen-jersey-cheap]Morten Andersen Jersey[/url] , they used the 16th overall pick in 2003 to draft Troy Polamalu. It’s heady territory for Edmunds, though Pittsburgh didn’t hesitate in part because of the many different roles Edmunds filled in for Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster’s scheme with the Hokies. Free safety. Strong safety. Linebacker. Edmunds can do a little bit of everything.

Allen wasn’t required to do quite as much with the Nittany Lions but both safeties head to the NFL with solid reputations as guys who can wrap up and not let go, a valuable commodity these days.

”To be able to add some guys that not only play the safety position but are physical tacklers … I think it’s been a good weekend for us from that perspective,” Tomlin said.

WHAT’S INSIDE: Ryan Shazier created the indelible moment of the draft when he walked to the podium in Texas to announce Pittsburgh’s first-round pick, his first public steps since injuring his spine in a game against Cincinnati in December. The Pro Bowler has already been ruled out for the 2018 season. Still, Pittsburgh didn’t use the draft to search for Shazier’s possible replacement.

Maybe that’s because they already like what they have in Jon Bostic, who signed as a free agent in March. Bostic started 14 games for Indianapolis in 2017 and given his productivity and former seventh-round pick Tyler Matakevich’s potential, they didn’t feel a sense of urgency to find a marquee name.

STILL NEED: Regardless of Colbert’s spin, inside linebacker remains a bit of a question mark. The Steelers have bodies but not much proven talent beyond Bostic and Vince Williams. Running back is still a bit of a question mark considering Le’Veon Bell’s uncertain future. He could be gone after next season if the team can’t sign him to a long-term deal and Stevan Ridley and James Conner are the two options behind him on the depth chart.



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