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Dellin Betances, Jeurys Familia struggle in first 2021 action

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Two veteran Mets relievers endured rocky first spring training outings Thursday.

Dellin Betances wasn’t helped by an inning that got extended on a misplay in left field, but he still was far from spectacular in allowing four earned runs on two hits and two walks in the Mets’ 8-4 victory over the Nationals.

Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless third inning but allowed two walks. The right-hander’s troubles finding the strike zone have defined his recent seasons.

Betances topped out at 94 mph on the radar gun, according to manager Luis Rojas, who said he liked what he saw.

“I was more focused on arm angle, and everything was where we want it as far as release point and arm angle,” Rojas said.

After Betances reached 23 pitches, the inning was called.

“Too bad we had to roll it before getting the third out, but I thought it was a good outing,” Rojas said.

Familia, entering the final year of his contract, was asked if he’s under pressure this spring to show something. After a dismal 2019 season, he was better last year, but still far from trustworthy with a 3.71 ERA and 1.463 WHIP in 25 appearances.

“I wouldn’t say there is pressure, but I do want to prove to [fans] that I am still the Familia from back then and I feel healthy right now, so I feel very good going into the season,” he said.


Pete Alonso blasted a fifth-inning grand slam, dubbing it a “birthday bomb” for his mother, who attended the game. Last season, Alonso did not homer in the Grapefruit League.

“After the ball went over the fence, I went, ‘Yeah, it’s my mom’s birthday today,’ ” Alonso said. “It was fun. I am really happy I got to hit a home run on her birthday when she got to see me play.”


Team president Sandy Alderson, appearing on ESPN’s broadcast, was asked for his impressions of new owner Steve Cohen.

“How about affable? Does that describe a master of the universe?” Alderson said. “My experience with him has been great. He’s really smart and has been really successful. He’s curious about the game. He wants to learn more. He doesn’t pretend to know a great deal about it at this point, but he’s a knowledgeable fan.”

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Bulls’ Zach LaVine called cops on ‘obsessed’ fan at his home

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Zach LaVine had an unwanted visitor.

The Chicago Bulls star had to call the police after an “allegedly obsessed” woman showed up to his Chicago home and refused to leave on Thursday night, according to TMZ. 

The woman reportedly traveled from out of state, demanding to speak with the first-time All-Star, who was home at the time.

Police took her a local hospital for mental evaluation, and she has not been formally arrested or charged with a crime.

LaVine, 25, wrapped up first-half action with the Bulls on Wednesday and was drafted to Kevin Durant’s All-Star side for Sunday’s festivities in Atlanta.

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Blake Griffin a free agent after Pistons buyout

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Blake Griffin will be free to sign with the Nets or another interested NBA team after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons.

The six-time All-Star forward “has interest from most of the NBA’s top playoff contenders and is expected to make a decision on his next team after conversations with prospective teams,” ESPN reported.

The Nets, Lakers, Heat, Warriors and Clippers – his former team — are among those that have expressed interest, according to the New York Times. ESPN.com added that the Blazers are interested

The 31-year-old Griffin hasn’t played since Feb. 12 while the Pistons attempted to trade him before the March 25 deadline, but they found no takers due to the remainder of his $36.6 million salary for this season and the $39 million he’s owed for 2021-22.

Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
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Griffin is averaging a career-low 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 20 games this season. He was dealt by the Clippers to Detroit in 2018, during the first season of a five-year extension worth $171 million.



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Broncos send a pretty strong warning to Drew Lock

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Drew Lock is no lock to remain the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2021.

General manager George Paton and coach Vic Fangio both said Thursday that the team expects to bring in competition for Lock, possibly with the ninth pick in the NFL Draft.

“Obviously we’re always looking to bring in players at all positions that can raise the level of competition, and the quarterback is no different in that regard,” Fangio said, according to the team’s website.

“Until we get or until Drew proves to be the next great quarterback, like the ones that the Denver franchise has been used to in years past or certain teams around the league … are used to, we’re going to always try and bring in competition. But I have confidence that Drew can continue to improve.”

Lock made 13 starts in 2020 and tied with Carson Wentz for the league lead with 15 interceptions. He finished 32nd in the league among qualifying quarterbacks with a 75.4 passer rating, ahead of only Dwayne Haskins, Wentz and Sam Darnold.

Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
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“Very talented, was inconsistent at times, has a lot to work on,” Paton said Thursday. “But I’ve spoken with Drew, I see him every day. He’s here early. He’s working. He really wants to be great. And we’re always going to try to bring in competition at every position, and quarterback as well. But I like the track that Drew’s on.”

Lock, the Broncos’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Missouri, had started five games as a rookie, winning four of them. Denver went 4-9 with him as the starter last season.

“I’m confident that Drew’s going to continue to improve,” Fangio said. “Drew’s had a great offseason up to this point. There’s not a lot you can do, but he’s working hard on his own, coming over here and getting workouts, and I know he’s doing a lot at home by himself, watching video by himself. He’s got a good setup over there. And he’s doing anything and everything he can to improve, even in February and now in March.”

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