Erik ten Hag unhappy with ‘sleeping’ Manchester United after Cadiz defeat

Erik ten Hag was unhappy with his “sleeping” Manchester United side after they slumped to a 4-2 defeat against Cadiz in their first warm-up game ahead of the Premier League’s restart. Ten Hag’s side were 2-0 down within the opening 15 minutes at the Estadio Nuevo Mirandilla in Spain as Carlos Garcia headed past Martin Dubravka with just eight minutes on the clock, before Choco Lozano fired a second six minutes later. Victor Lindelof, Scott McTominay, Donny van Beek and Antony Martial were among the players to start the game,…

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The highs, lows and superstitions driving the inaugural MLB Draft lottery

SAN DIEGO — The future of baseball appeared as numbered ping pong balls rattling around a glorified popcorn popper Tuesday at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings. Millions of dollars were at stake. And for the first time in the game’s history, the league determined its No. 1 draft pick with a secretive and conspiracy-resistant lottery. As an accounting official from PricewaterhouseCoopers oversaw every step in a back room of a hotel, with cell phones banned and participants locked inside, MLB drew a series of balls from the hopper to determine…

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Arkansas’ Trevon Brazile out for season with ACL tear: What it means for Razorbacks’ title chances

Arkansas sophomore forward Trevon Brazile will miss the remainder of the season with an ACL injury, the school announced Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know: Brazile injured his right knee in the first half of Tuesday’s 65-58 win over UNC Greensboro. Brazile was averaging 11.8 points and six rebounds this season. Arkansas ranks No. 9 in the nation after an 8-1 start to the year. What this means for Arkansas This is a crushing blow for Arkansas, a team that has the talent to at least be in the…

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Rams’ Aaron Donald out; QB Baker Mayfield could be active vs. Raiders

The Rams won’t have star defender Aaron Donald when Los Angeles plays the Raiders on “Thursday Night Football,” but newly acquired quarterback Baker Mayfield could be active for the game, coach Sean McVay said Wednesday. Here’s what you need to know: Mayfield was claimed by the Rams off waivers Tuesday with starting quarterback Matthew Stafford on injured reserve with a spinal cord contusion and likely missing the rest of the season and backup John Wolford questionable with a neck injury for Thursday’s game. McVay said he “would lean toward” Mayfield…

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Law: In signing Willson Contreras, the Cardinals find their Yadi replacement

SAN DIEGO — The Cardinals have tried to develop a number of catcher-of-the-future candidates over the last few years of Yadier Molina’s career, but they chose instead to replace him via free agency, giving former Cub Willson Contreras a five-year, $87.5 million deal that will fill the spot in a completely different way from how Molina did. Contreras is a bat-first catcher, which is a big shift from Molina, whose value over the last nine years has almost all been in his glove — he had just one above-average season…

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Tennessee’s offense, in the eyes of those who run it and try to defend it: ‘It’s hell to stop’

Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Bennett saw Alabama receivers coach Billy Napier walk into the high school in Shreveport, La.. He had an immediate question: “Is Nick here?” Nick Saban was, in a car in the parking lot. And he wanted to talk to Bennett, a friend since they were running Big Ten defenses in the 1980s — Bennett at Purdue, Saban at Michigan State. It was early 2015, checking-on-recruits season, but Saban had also been thinking about Baylor’s field-stretching, hyper-pacing, record-breaking offense. “He wanted to get together to talk about…

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The Giants didn’t land Aaron Judge, and fans are right to be impatient

SAN DIEGO — We’ll always have the arson. There was a span of seven minutes in which Aaron Judge was on the Giants. Jon Heyman tweeted “Arson Judge appears headed to the Giants,” Tuesday before deleting and tweeting a corrected version. Then he finally clarified that he “jump(ed) the gun,” but for those seven minutes, the arson was real and Giants Twitter was burning to the ground. After years and years of coming in second place, from Bryce Harper to Giancarlo Stanton to Shohei Ohtani, the Giants finally had their…

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Bills All-22 film review: Has Josh Allen regained confidence in his arm?

Facing a daunting three-game stretch in 12 days, the Bills successfully finished it with their third straight victory on Thursday. The win over the Patriots was the Bills’ first divisional triumph, which helped them back atop the AFC standings after Week 13. Next up, the Bills head back home to Orchard Park, hoping to avenge their loss to the Jets with another matchup on Sunday. But before that game, first is a detailed look back at the Patriots game. Each week using the coaches’ film, The Athletic grades every individual…

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Inside Cincinnati’s covert coaching search, stealth hiring of Scott Satterfield

CINCINNATI — Shortly after 1 p.m. on Monday, Cincinnati athletic director John Cunningham and president Neville Pinto walked into Fifth Third Arena with the pep band striking up the school’s fight song. Trailing close behind was Scott Satterfield, the new football head coach of the Bearcats. In the wake of Luke Fickell’s unexpected departure for Wisconsin on Nov. 27, Cunningham embarked on a self-directed, coast-to-coast coaching search that Cincinnati’s AD was committed to keeping as discreet as possible. Less than 10 days later, that national search ended roughly 100 miles…

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NCAA grants UVA football players in final season of eligibility another year in wake of shooting

The NCAA will grant any University of Virginia football player whose college eligibility expired this past season an extra year to play, a UVA spokesperson confirmed to The Athletic. UVA initiated and submitted the request, athletic director Carla Williams told The Richmond Times-Dispatch. The decision comes following a shooting in Charlottesville last month that left three UVA football players dead. Receivers Lavel Davis Jr. and Devin Chandler and linebacker D’Sean Perry were shot and killed, allegedly by a former UVA walk-on football player, after returning from a field trip in…

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