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Cavan Biggio begins finding himself at the plate in valuable role for Blue Jays

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TORONTO – Since returning from COVID-19 and a stint at triple-A Buffalo, Cavan Biggio is showing signs of finding himself at the plate, in turn demonstrating how valuable he can be for the Toronto Blue Jays as their long sought super-utility player.

A .286/.464/.429 batting line with four RBIs, seven walks and nine strikeouts in 28 plate appearances over eight games is just the start of what the 27-year-old has brought to the table.

He’s played first, second and left field in those outings, allowing manager Charlie Montoyo to provide a regular with some rest. This is especially important with the Blue Jays plodding through 40 games in 41 days.

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To make the days off work, avoiding a cliff-dive in production is essential. As a left-handed hitting on-base threat at the bottom of the order, Biggio is providing the offensive profile the team hoped to get from him earlier this season, when he batted .044/.214/.044 through his first 13 games.

“Just being able to go down (to Buffalo) and get some consistent at-bats and start to get a feel for my swing and the zone and everything was big,” says Biggio. “Being back here, I’m still working on some things. But whether or not I get out or get on base, I’m seeing a lot of pitches, I’m going deep into counts. It seems like I’m in a 3-2 count pretty much every at-bat. That’s huge for our ballclub, especially when I turn the lineup over (batting) ninth. It’s been good and I’m seeing the ball a lot better.”

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A key question between now and the Aug. 2 trade deadline for the Blue Jays is whether Biggio can sustain a level of production along the lines of his past week. If he does, perhaps even regaining some of the power he showed during his rookie season of 2019 or the pandemic campaign in 2020, when he slugged .429 and .432, GM Ross Atkins will be able to focus more on adding swing-and-miss to a bullpen that even when healthy feels one dominant arm short. Atkins will also be able to keep an eye on bolstering a rotation that will be without Hyun Jin Ryu for weeks, at least.

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Biggio was part of the offensive revival at the bottom of the Blue Jays order and more will be needed from that group to maintain the club’s recent flourish. Getting on base has always been a calling card for Biggio, but he delivered a handful of key hits last week, too.

“As hitters we go through a bunch of hot and cold stretches and sometimes it’s hard to go back to something and try to find the feeling you once had,” Biggio says. “I feel like in a way, just push forward and those feelings start to come back. Confidence has been pretty big this past week or so, getting the knowledge of the zone that I know I have, and just finally seeing the ball longer and earlier out of the pitcher’s hand. That just opens up the zone so much more for me and allows me to try and do damage early on.”

The more damage he does, the more he’ll force himself into the lineup as one of only three left-handed bats currently on the roster. And his growing competence at first, second and the outfield gives him more pathways to the lineup, which Montoyo can pencil him into with more confidence about what he’ll be getting in the field.

“Coming up playing second base, I feel like every possible play you can get at that position I’ve done and at the other positions, there were some that I really hadn’t done and when it happened in a game, you’ve got to learn on your feet,” says Biggio. “Right now with my experience, it’s helped me be more confident at those positions. I know we’ve got a great team here, not a lot of openings in our lineup or whatnot, but whenever I can provide a day for say Vladdy (Guerrero Jr.) to get off his feet and DH will be huge for our team in the long run. I’ve always wanted to just play one position but doing what I can do now is a great feeling. It’s a role that I’m fully embracing and I’m loving every minute of it.”

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MISSING MAYZA

Barring a setback, the Blue Jays should have lefty Tim Mayza back from the injured list after some elbow inflammation Friday when they begin a series in Detroit, a boost for a bullpen that misses him.

Through his first 15 appearances, he’d already accumulated 0.5 WAR as calculated by Baseball Reference, tied for second among the club’s relievers. He last pitched May 14, throwing a 12-pitch scoreless inning with two strikeouts in a 5-1 win at Tampa Bay, underlining his impact.

The plan is for him to pitch at triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday before rejoining the Blue Jays against the Tigers, which make it about a month lost.

“Maybe a little longer than I anticipated but I’m glad I took those extra days,” says Mayza. “There was some weird stuff with the diagnosis. We knew there was some inflammation in the elbow and just wasn’t sure how long it would take to get it out. I feel great and the arm feels great.”

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Unclear is the cause of the injury, but it showed up after that outing against the Rays.

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“Talking to doctors it could have been related to some structural changes that took place since the (Tommy John) surgery, and two years after the surgery, some inflammation had just built up,” says Mayza. “I just know that day in Tampa, I came in after the game feeling pretty sore and abnormally sore for the number of pitches I’d thrown.”

Once back he expects his workload will be “back to normal,” including back-to-back days.

“I’ll just have to monitor some stuff in the throwing program, do some extra things to try to warm up, along those lines,” he says. “In terms of limiting action on the field, I don’t anticipate that happening.

BYE BYE BORUCKI

Over 10 years of spring training together, Danny Jansen and Ryan Borucki kept a running tally of how they fared against one another, be it in live batting practice or intrasquad games.

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“He’s broken a few of my bats. I’ve squared him up maybe one time, just this past spring,” says Jansen. “We joke about it often.”

There will be more on the line the next time the two close friends meet after the Blue Jays dealt Borucki, who was designated for assignment last week, to the Seattle Mariners for A-ball infielder Tyler Keenan over the weekend.

“It stinks because I basically grew up with him,” says Jansen. “He was drafted in ‘12, I was ‘13 and we were at every level of the minor-leagues together, pretty much, so it’s tough, man. But at the end of the day, excited for him and the opportunity that he’s going to have in Seattle. Excited to see him and not face him.”

Keenan was assigned to high-A Vancouver.

AGELESS SMITH

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As Joe Smith, now with the Minnesota Twins, scanned his former team over the weekend, a quizzical grin hit his face when asked which of his teammates from the 2017 Blue Jays remained the club.

“Tim Mayza,” he replies before a long pause. “And … Tim Mayza? It’s just him?”

Indeed it is, as Teoscar Hernandez, the only other player to appear in 2017 still with the Blue Jays, was acquired from the Houston Astros just as Smith was getting traded to Cleveland for Thomas Pannone and infielder Samad Taylor, currently impressing at triple-A Buffalo.

Joe Biagini and Casey Lawrence are also at Buffalo but both left and returned to the organization after signing minor-league deals.

Otherwise, it’s total turnover.

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“Our team was really old that year. I get it,” says Smith. “They went back-to-back to the ALCS in ’15 and 16 so I knew that signing there, too. My agent wanted me to come to Minnesota, but they had just lost 100 games. And I was like, ‘Dude, I can’t do that. I know myself. I’ll go nuts.’ He’s like, ‘I don’t know, man. That Blue Jays window might be closed.’ And I was like, ‘It might be, but it might not be. I know the feeling when I walk into camp is going to be let’s win the World Series. I want that feel.’ And that was the only reason I picked Toronto as opposed to coming here or going to Tampa. It didn’t work. The window closed.”

The Blue Jays considered reacquiring Smith last summer, but they ended up getting another sidearmer, Adam Cimber, from the Miami Marlins instead. Smith went from Houston to Seattle and then signed with Minnesota this winter, finding success at 38 with a sinker averaging 83.6 m.p.h. and a fastball at 85.9.

He has a 2.00 ERA in 18 innings over 22 outings for the Twins, continually finding new ways to remain effective.

“You have to,” he says. “Along the course of your career, you’re not going to be able to do everything that you’ve always done. The technology that’s entered our game, it can get overwhelming and sometimes I think it’s too much, but it’s also a great tool if you understand how to use it. Even though I throw slow now, I understand if I get certain movements out of my pitches, I can still be successful at this level. Am I going to go out there and face the best hitter every time? That’s probably not going to happen. But if I can get them in the right situations and the right matchups, I can still help. I know that and have proven that. It’s definitely weird, but if you want to keep playing, you’ve got to figure out something.”

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Mike McDaniel told Dolphins’ GM to ‘trade everything’ when he heard Tyreek Hill was available for trade

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Mike McDaniel was planning to take his first afternoon off since becoming the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins. McDaniel had surprised his wife by telling her he was already heading out the door and would be home to spend some quality time with her and the couple’s young daughter. 

Things quickly changed, however, when Dolphins general manager Chris Grier came into McDaniel’s office to deliver news that the team had possible interest in Tyreek Hill, the six-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro wideout with the Kansas City Chiefs

“This is why I’m not a GM,” McDaniel said during an interview on “The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz.” “I’m like, ‘Tell them they can have everything.’ … I thought he was untouchable.”

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An early day at the office turned into McDaniel spending the next five hours consuming footage of Hill, a member of the NFL‘s most recent All-Decade Team who in 2019 helped the Chiefs end their 50-year championship drought. McDaniel said he watched every pass that was thrown Hill’s way since the 2019 season. McDaniel, who eventually went home after getting himself out of the black hole of Hill’s tape, left the office needing, not wanting, the Dolphins to acquire Hill. 

McDaniel and the Dolphins then went through the ups and downs that come with trying to acquire an elite player. At one point, Grier told McDaniel that things weren’t looking terribly good, as several other teams were also in play. At one point during the process, McDaniel began to go into recruiting mode, watching more tape in order to possibly convince Hill to choose the Dolphins. 

Not too long later, McDaniel was handed the phone, with Hill on the other side of the call. McDaniels didn’t waste any time trying to convince Hill that Miami was the place where he needed to continue his career. 

“I’m shooting every shot that I have,” McDaniel said. “Deep into it, and like 20 or 30 seconds of me not giving him an iota of time to speak, then all of sudden he said, ‘Oh coach, I’m coming.’ It was already done. I was like, ‘What!’ I just freaked out. I think I yelled. It was the only time I yelled in the office. It was a cool time, (but) I just would have liked a little forewarning before I just went straight recruit mode to seal the deal.”

The Dolphins didn’t trade everything, but they did give up quite a bit to land the talented wideout. Miami ultimately acquired Hill after sending five draft picks to the Chiefs that included the 29th and 50th overall picks in the 2022 NFL Draft. The haul was more than worth it for McDaniel, who is chomping at the bit to roll out an offense this season that will feature Hill, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, wideout Jaylen Waddle, tight end Mike Gesicki, and a stable of running backs that includes Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel and Myles Gaskin

“I quite honestly thought he was one of the untouchable guys that you couldn’t get,” McDaniel said. “When (Grier) comes in and tells me that the Chiefs have talked to him, I said, ‘Chris, that’s one of the only non-quarterbacks where you do whatever it takes.’” 

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Watch Tottenham vs. Wolverhampton: How to live stream, TV channel, Saturday’s Premier League game start time

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The Premier League is back in action on Saturday.

Who’s Playing

  • Wolverhampton @ Tottenham Hotspur
  • Current Records: Wolverhampton 0-1-1; Tottenham Hotspur 1-0-1

Paramount+ is the only place to watch every minute of every Serie A match this season, not to mention select games in Italian. Sign up now with offer code ITALY to get a special one month free trial. A subscription also gives you access to other sports content including every UEFA Champions League and Europa League match, the NFL on CBS, and countless movies and shows. Get it all free for 1 month with promo code ITALY.

What to Know

Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton are meeting up for their first leg of the season at 7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The teams split their matchups last year, with Tottenham winning the first 1-0 on the road and Wolverhampton taking the second 2-0.

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On Sunday, Spurs and Chelsea ended up with a point apiece after a 2-2 draw.

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton and Fulham tied 0-0, good for one point each.

The ties rounded out Tottenham’s record to 1-0-1 and Wolverhampton’s to 0-1-1. Three points is up for grabs, so we’ll see if either team can snatch them up this time.

Craving even more coverage of the world’s game? Listen below and follow ¡Qué Golazo! A Daily CBS Soccer Podcast where we take you beyond the pitch and around the globe for commentary, previews, recaps and more.  

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How To Watch

  • Who: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wolverhampton
  • When: Saturday at 7:30 a.m. ET
  • Where: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
  • Online streaming: Catch select Premier League matches on fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Caesars Sportsbook odds: Spurs -260; Draw +375; Wolves +750

Featured Game | Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wolverhampton

Series History

Tottenham Hotspur have won four out of their last eight games against Wolverhampton.

  • Feb 13, 2022 – Wolverhampton 2 vs. Tottenham Hotspur 0
  • Aug 22, 2021 – Tottenham Hotspur 1 vs. Wolverhampton 0
  • May 16, 2021 – Tottenham Hotspur 2 vs. Wolverhampton 0
  • Dec 27, 2020 – Tottenham Hotspur 1 vs. Wolverhampton 1
  • Mar 01, 2020 – Wolverhampton 3 vs. Tottenham Hotspur 2
  • Dec 15, 2019 – Tottenham Hotspur 2 vs. Wolverhampton 1
  • Dec 29, 2018 – Wolverhampton 3 vs. Tottenham Hotspur 1
  • Nov 03, 2018 – Tottenham Hotspur 3 vs. Wolverhampton 2



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Jacoby Brissett shares funny story about Eagles’ Nick Sirianni trying to fight fans when two were with Colts

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Nick Sirianni has showcased himself as a passionate head coach since being hired by the Philadelphia Eagles a year ago. Sirianni demonstrated how passionate he can be toward his team when a bouquet of flowers was thrown at him after a November loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last year, a moment he doesn’t like to reminiscence about. 

Turns out, Sirianni has unleashed his passion towards his team prior to his days in Philadelphia. Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was the signal-caller for the Indianapolis Colts when Sirianni was the offensive coordinator, shared a good story regarding his former coach and his encounters with fans ahead of the Browns-Eagles preseason matchup Saturday night.

“Remember he was trying to fight fans one time they were booing us,” Brissett said with many laughs from the media in attendance. “A lot of good memories. A great friend. A great coach obviously. I am extremely happy for him and the opportunity that he has been presented. I think he did a great job last year. Excited to see where he goes. I am a big fan of him.”

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Sirianni’s second year as the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis was the year Andrew Luck shockingly retired (2019), forcing Brissett into the starting role. Brissett started 15 games for the Colts that season, going 7-8 in his starts while completing 60.2% of his passes for 2,942 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions for an 88.0 passer rating. Brissett didn’t throw a touchdown pass, nor did he throw for more than 200 yards in his last three games played in 2019, finishing with a passer rating lower than 70 on all three occurrences. 

Brissett and Sirianni were together in Indianapolis for three years before the Eagles hired Sirianni and Brissett signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2021. Sirianni was flattered Brissett shared those fan stories, going into detail why he’s ultra passionate toward his players. 

“He’s teasing and making that up a little bit,” Sirianni said with a laugh. “I think one thing that, to a fault, maybe, even with me is — and I’ve been this way since I was a little kid with my brothers, we’re a family. My brothers and my dad and my mom were a family and I’m the youngest. One brother is nine years older than me and one is six years older than me. When they would have a bad game or say something bad about them or talk bad about them, I was quick to be defensive of them because I love them.

“Now as a coach, I feel like I have that. I was like that as a teammate I would like to think. As a coach, I definitely know I have that, like, protective (instinct) — like I know these guys are the biggest, strongest men in the world and they can protect themselves, but I love these guys. 

“That’s just an instinct that you have. That’s how I was raised, and I was like, this is our family, and I just have that protective instinct to defend them, and that’s been like that with every team I’ve ever coached.”

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