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Dec 12, 2012 7:54pm
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OAKLAND, Calif. Elvis Dumervil Jersey . – Mike Sweeney will
begin a new chapter in his career with the Oakland Athletics, agreeing Monday to
a minor-league contract and accepting a spring training invitation from the
club. The 34-year-old Sweeney has spent all 13 of his big league seasons with
the Kansas City Royals, the team that drafted him. He has fought injuries in
recent seasons and was limited to 74 games in 2007 because of his right knee and
60 the previous year because of his back. He has a .299 career average with 197
homers. An all-star from 2000-03 and in 2005, Sweeney is coming off a
US$55-million, five-year contract. Derek Wolfe Jersey . The former LSU track
star had his third kick return for a touchdown of the preseason and
Justin Forsett rushed for 114 yards and two more scores in the Houston Texans
28-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the preseason finale Thursday. Shannon Sharpe Jersey . When that will be
still remains to be seen. For now, Matt Hasselbeck should make his fourth
straight start Sunday against Indianapolis, and the veterans play in leading
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. Canada built an 8-1 lead through three innings before Australia fought back to
within one run in the fifth. Canada went ahead 17-8 after six innings before
Australia scored five seventh-inning runs. Peyton Manning Youth Jersey . Confined to
practices and film sessions for the past week—and growing increasingly antsy
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semifinals. Eric Decker Jersey . Votto, from Toronto,
hadnt played since July 15 because of damaged cartilage in the knee that
required two operations. He had a rehab stint in Class A Dayton and Triple-A
Louisville last week. DENVER —Ty Lawson received a stream of text messages
from his Denver Nuggets coach all summer asking the same thing: Are you leading
right now? Leading? The speedy point guard was typically sleeping, since George
Karl fired off most of the messages in the middle of the night. Still, Lawson
understood his point. For the Nuggets to take another leap forward, Lawson has
to step up and take charge. So on Monday at media day, Lawson made sure no one
would sleep on the Nuggets, pronouncing his team the one to beat in the Western
Conference. A rather bold statement for sure, given the rise of the Oklahoma
City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers picking up Dwight Howard and Steve Nash
in the off-season. “Were so deep, so talented, so versatile,” said Lawson, who
was donning the new gold alternate home jersey his team will wear this season.
“You cant just game plan for one person on this team. “I think well be No. 1 in
the West.” To even entertain such a notion, though, Karl first has to figure out
what hes got on the bench. The Nuggets didnt just tinker with Karls team in the
off-season—they overhauled it by shipping key contributors Al Harrington and
Arron Afflalo to Orlando as part of the blockbuster deal that landed Howard in
Los Angeles. In exchange, Denver wound up with All-Star Andre Iguodala, giving
Karl the marquee player hes been missing since Carmelo Anthony was sent to the
Big Apple. “Is he a bona fide star?” Karl jokingly asked. Sure, Iguodala
qualifies—at least as a defensive stalwart. “Well, cool,” Karl said. “I cant
deny that Ive been an Iguodala fan for a long time. Hes not a flamboyant player
as much as hes a consistently solid, committed player at both ends of the court.
He gives us another piece.” Thats the thing: The Nuggets certainly have plenty
of pieces. And once again, Karl will try to meld together this collection of
parts in an attempt to make the playoffs for a 10th straight season. Karl
relishes these kinds of projects. Hes been up at the Nuggets practice facility
practically all summer, eager to get the ball rolling again after being
eliminated from the playoffs last season by the Lakers in a thrilling seven-game
series. Those same Lakers got that much better with Nash and Howard joining
Kobe Bryant & Co. “I cant deny that I just despise the Lakers,” Karl said.
“Ive been beaten by them too many times.” Just recently, Iguodala watched Game 7
against Los Angeles, just to see what transpired. Down big in the second half,
the Nuggets rallied late to throw a scare at the Lakers before falling, 96-87.
“You can see the fight and heart of the guys—they kept getting after it,”
said Iguodala, who helped Team USA to a gold medal this summer at the London
Olympics. “We couldd be down 20 and our intensity wont go down. Peyton Manning Jersey. ” Iguodala isnt
precisely sure what his role will be with the Nuggets. The longtime Philadelphia
76ers guard/forward plans to assess the situation in training camp and mould
himself to whatever the team needs. “Ill fit in just fine,” Iguodala said. “It
shouldnt be hard in this offence. Im just trying not to press too much early on
and not be too unselfish.” Not be too unselfish? “When you come into a new
scene, you dont want to give off the wrong impression early, like being this guy
who doesnt pass,” Iguodala explained. “But at the same time, you want to work
in, kind of want to get your mojo going. ... Let the guys know I can make plays
for them.” Theyre definitely counting on that. “To have him on the defensive end
and offensive end, its huge for us,” Lawson said. So was locking up athletic big
man JaVale McGee, who signed a four-year deal in July. The 24-year-old 7-footer
averaged 11.3 points and 2.16 blocked shots in 61 games last year for the
Washington Wizards and the Nuggets, who acquired him in the Nene deal in
mid-March. McGee came on in the playoffs, showing his potential against the
Lakers. This off-season, McGee took his commitment up a notch as he travelled to
Houston to hone his low-post moves under the watchful eye of Hall of Famer
Hakeem Olajuwon. “He helped me with my confidence,” McGee said. “Taught me a
bunch of moves I can use.” About the only concern Karl has with his revamped
Nuggets is their 3-point shooting. Hes hoping Danilo Gallinari or Corey Brewer
can pick up the slack with two of his best long-distance shooters—Harrington
and Afflalo—now in Orlando. Wilson Chandler could chip in, too, once hes
fully recovered from left hip surgery. “Were ready to go,” Karl said. “Were
stacked all over the place.” Lawson couldnt agree more. Asked if the Lakers and
Thunder were really all that worried about Denver, Lawson just grinned. “Im 100
per cent sure of it,” Lawson said. “I know the Thunder is; the Lakers, too. We
took them to Game 7 and they upgraded a couple of positions, but I think theyre
still definitely afraid of the Nuggets.” Notes: Karl said hes passed all of his
tests. He was diagnosed with neck cancer in 2010. “Im actually feeling pretty
energized,” Karl said. ... Chandler will participate in training camp on a
limited basis until his hip completely heals. Hes hoping to be ready by the
season opener on Oct. 31 in Philly. ... The Nuggets will wear their alternate
home gold uniform 18 times this season. ... Nuggets executive vice-president of
basketball operations Masai Ujiri said talks on extending the contract of Lawson
“have gone good. ... Its very, very positive.” ’ ’ ’