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Hawaii football exodus continues as DB Michael Graham, son of coach Todd Graham, enters transfer portal

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The upheaval within Hawaii’s football program under coach Todd Graham continued on Thursday when Graham’s own son, defensive back Michael Graham, became the 14th Rainbow Warriors player to enter the transfer portal since the season ended. Michael Graham’s entry into the portal came just two days after Todd Graham and Hawaii athletic director David Matlin issued public statements in response to the mass exodus from Hawaii’s roster.

The elder Graham came under scrutiny in early December following a report from SFGate that outlined cultural issues within the program stemming from the coach’s alleged mistreatment of players. The 57-year-old was formerly the head coach at Arizona State, Pittsburgh, Tulsa and Rice

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One anonymous Hawai’i player told SFGate that, “I would go as far to say it’s verbal abuse the way he talks to guys.”

“As a staff, we realized that the transfer portal would bring challenges to our team,” Graham said in his Wednesday statement. “The portal has been a challenge to many teams this season. We are disappointed to lose any member of our Warrior family to the transfer portal. We appreciate the contributions they have made to the team and wish them the very best in their future. We are grateful for all of our players and thank them for their contributions to our program. Moving forward, we are continuing to listen, learn, and improve daily. We are focused on developing the players on our 2022 squad and growing closer as a team. We are supplementing our roster through recruiting and the addition of players through the portal. We want our fans, supporters, and the University of Hawai’i family to know that we are working tirelessly to build a championship team that they can be proud of.”

Hawaii finished the with a 6-7 record in Graham’s second season at the helm. The Rainbow Warriors were scheduled to play in the Hawai’i Bowl on Dec. 24 against Memphis but ultimately could not due to COVID-19 issues within the program. Among those who have also entered the transfer portal from Hawai’i are starting quarterback Chevan Cordeiro and leading rusher Dae Dae Hunter.

“Unfortunately the transfer portal has become a reality of college football and we’re no strangers to it,” Matlin, the Hawai’i athletic director, said in a statement. “The amount of transfers is disappointing however not unusual compared to many other schools around the country, and even within our own conference. We can’t ignore that there are areas we need to improve on. Coach Graham and I are in constant contact and are always looking for ways to make the program better. To all of our supports and future, current, and past Rainbow Warriors, keep the faith because we’re working tirelessly to maintain a program that you can be proud of. To our transfers, we wish you the very best. You will always be part of the Hawai’i football family.”

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Mike Trout injury: Angels star returns from IL, records hit in first start since July 12 vs. Tigers

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USATSI

The Los Angeles Angels reinstated outfielder Mike Trout from the injured list and slotted him in as their center fielder and No. 2 hitter on Friday against the Detroit Tigers in what served as his first game since July 12. Trout, for his part, delivered a hard-hit single in his second at-bat as part of a 1-for-4 effort with two strikeouts. The Angels won by a 1-0 final all the same (box score) with lefty Patrick Sandoval throwing his first career shutout.

Trout had missed more than a month because of a rare back condition. In a corresponding move, the Angels optioned outfielder Steven Duggar to Triple-A.

Trout, now 31 years old, batted .270/.368/.599 (169 OPS+) with 24 home runs over the course of his first 79 games this season. His contributions earned him election to the All-Star Game (which he did not appear in) and were worth an estimated 3.9 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference’s calculations. 

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Trout was dealing with what the Angels’ trainer described as “costovertebral dysfunction at T5.” It’s a condition that he’s expected to deal with for the rest of his career, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be limited in availability or output. 

It should be noted that Trout did not partake in a rehab assignment. Usually, players who miss more than a couple of weeks are sent out to the minors as a means of rebuilding their rhythm through the use of low-pressure in-game repetitions. Clearly, Trout and the Angels did not think that was necessary in this instance.

The Angels began a three-game weekend series in Detroit on Friday night, the first step of a 10-game, three-city road trip. Trout’s next opportunity to play in front of his home crowd won’t be until Monday Aug. 29, when the Angels welcome the New York Yankees to town for a three-game set.

Duggar, for his part, was claimed off waivers from the Texas Rangers earlier this month. In nine games with the Angels, he went 1-for-19 with a triple and 10 more strikeouts than walks. 



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Gausman continues to shine as Blue Jays shut out slumping Yankees

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NEW YORK – Kevin Gausman is having a tremendous season, despite regularly encountering dumb luck. Consider that the Toronto Blue Jays right-hander headed into his outing Friday against the New York Yankees worth 4.4 wins above replacement, as calculated by Fangraphs, third among all big-league pitchers. Yet his ERA of 3.16 more was more than a run above his FIP of 2.08, and then of course there was his batting average on balls in play, or BABIP, of .372, highest by a wide margin among qualified pitchers.

The way the Cleveland Guardians bled him for five runs last weekend in a 7-2 victory, finding holes on pitches that beat them, was a prime example of why the Blue Jays went 11-11 through his first 22 starts.

“It’s weird,” interim manager John Schneider said before the game. “When you put his stuff in a vacuum, he’s like, really, really, really good. So part of it is I think everyone goes through those fluctuations of up and down, lucky, unlucky, whether you’re a hitter or a pitcher. We like his stuff. Obviously, we trust it and I’m sure things will turn in his favour.”

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In start No. 23, they certainly did, Gausman dominating over seven shutout innings in pushing the Blue Jays to a third straight win, 4-0 over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

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Initially, it looked like he could be on for a night of struggle when DJ LeMahieu rocked his first pitch of the game, a get-me-over fastball at 91.2 m.p.h., 404 feet to centre where Whit Merrifield tracked it down on a play that had a 35-per-cent catch probability, and Aaron Judge followed with a walk. But Gausman escaped that inning unscathed, struck out the side in the second and allowed just three hits over the next frames while striking out seven.

The Yankees, already out of sorts for an extended period, flailed away helplessly at his mostly fastball/splitter mix, with eight of their 15 swings at splits resulting in a whiff. Even with his fastball velocity down a tick, sitting at 94.1 instead of his season average of 95, he was in command from the second inning onwards.

The offence, meanwhile, missing George Springer who fouled a ball off his knee during a five-hit effort in Thursday’s 9-2 win, didn’t make it one-sided in the same way but again posed a steady threat from the jump. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., was robbed of a home run in right by a leaping Oswaldo Cabrera on the game’s first pitch and the pressure was on from there.

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Yankees starter Jameson Taillon kept them in check until the third when Merrifield opened the inning with a single, advanced to third on Cavan Biggio’s double and scored on a Gurriel groundout.

An inning later, Alejandro Kirk opened the frame with a base hit before Teoscar Hernandez launched home run No. 18 over the wall in left-centre, having just missed a shot to centre in the second.

The Blue Jays wasted a chance to bury the Yankees in the sixth, when they put men on second and third with none out, but Lou Trivino came in for Taillon and stranded the runners. They did eventually manage to add on in the ninth when they loaded the bases against Aroldis Chapman before Ron Marinaccio surrendered a sacrifice fly to Danny Jansen that made it 4-0.

Jordan Romano then locked things down in the ninth, ensuring a brilliant night from Gausman didn’t go to waste. He’s now thrown at least six shutout innings in three of his last four starts, surrounded by that one bad-luck outing against Cleveland.

It’s a reminder of how great a season he’s having, one even better than his impressive stats suggest.

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Paul Goldschmidt launches a deep solo homer vs. Diamondbacks

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Paul Goldschmidt helped the St. Louis Cardinals grab an early 1-0 lead against the Arizona Diamondbacks, thanks to his solo homer in the first inning.



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