White Sox

Why Pacquiao might never fight Mayweather

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Why Pacquiao might never fight Mayweather

From Comcast SportsNetLAS VEGAS (AP) -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. got almost everything he wanted Wednesday, receiving a boxing license and naming an opponent and a date for his next fight. The unbeaten champion got everything except a showdown with Manny Pacquiao. Mayweather will fight Miguel Cotto on May 5 at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden after Nevada's athletic commissioners granted him a conditional license for one fight before he goes to jail in June. Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) chose Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs), the respected Puerto Rican champion, as his next opponent only after failing to land a date with Pacquiao, the superstar Filipino congressman. The two sides have discussed what's likely to be the most lucrative fight in boxing history for nearly three years without reaching a deal. "I presented Pacquiao with the fight," Mayweather said after meeting with the Nevada commission. "Pacquiao is blowing a lot of smoke. ... He doesn't really want to fight. I gave him a chance to step up to the plate. We're talking about a 10 million fighter that I tried to give 40 million to. We didn't even talk about the back end." While Mayweather once appeared to be uninterested in the bout, he's now very interested -- but Pacquiao's interest appears to have cooled. In recent weeks, Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum repeatedly discounted the possibility of setting up the fight. Mayweather and Pacquiao are boxing's top two stars, and they have taunted each other with jabs including a posting on Twitter on Wednesday in which Mayweather referred to the Filipino star as "Miss Pac Man." They also have a defamation lawsuit pending in federal court in Las Vegas stemming from Mayweather's accusations that Pacquiao took performance-enhancing drugs. "He's ducking and dodging me," Mayweather said of Pacquiao. "He really didn't want to fight from the beginning. He got famous basically by piggybacking off my name. When you mention Floyd Mayweather, man, you mention an all-time great, an icon in the sport of boxing. When you mention Manny Pacquiao, they say, Oh, that's the guy who's trying to fight Floyd Mayweather.' When it's all said and done, all the guy did is just piggyback off my name." Mayweather will take on Cotto at light middleweight (69.9 kilograms, 154 pounds), a move up from the longtime welterweight's past four fights. Mayweather, who beat Oscar De La Hoya at super welterweight in 2007, beat Victor Ortiz last September to win the WBC welterweight title. Before getting his license on a 5-0 vote, Mayweather got a lecture from Nevada athletic commissioners. They told the fighter, his manager-promoter and his lawyer they want a prefight report May 1 to ensure Mayweather abides by conditions set by a Nevada judge in a criminal domestic violence case. He will begin serving 90 days in jail June 1, but is likely to serve only about 60. Commission Chairman Raymond "Skip" Avansino Jr. said it would be a "tragedy" if Mayweather didn't meet the requirements to make the multimillion-dollar Cinco de Mayo bout. Mayweather received a temporary reprieve on his short jail sentence last month so he could fight on a traditionally huge weekend for boxing in Las Vegas. "But we think Mr. Mayweather is certainly going to comply with this," Avansino said. Commissioner Pat Lundvall told Mayweather he can't postpone or delay serving his jail sentence and must stay out of trouble for the 14-plus weeks he's training to take on Cotto. "I'm just happy to be fighting May 5," Mayweather said as he emerged from the hearing room. "They granted me one fight. I need to conduct myself like a gentleman and do everything that the court ordered and then come back in front of them and show them that I deserve to have a license for a whole year." Mayweather, a seven-time world champion in five weight classes, will turn 35 this month. Cotto is coming off of the second defense of his title, a 10th-round technical knockout win over Antonio Margarito in December. Cotto's only defeats are against Margarito and Pacquiao, who stopped Cotto in November 2009 in perhaps the Filipino champion's most impressive victory. "He's the best at 154," Mayweather said of Cotto. In a joint statement announcing the fight, Cotto said he intends to be the first boxer to beat Mayweather. "I am here to fight the biggest names in boxing," Cotto said. "I've never ducked anyone or any challenge in front of me." Both fighters have agreed to Olympic-style drug testing for the 12-round fight handled by Mayweather Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Miguel Cotto Promotions. The May 5 fight date was set before Mayweather pleaded guilty Dec. 21 before a Las Vegas judge to a reduced battery domestic violence charge and no contest to two harassment charges. The plea stemmed from a hair-pulling, punching and arm-twisting argument in October 2010 with Josie Harris, the mother of three of Mayweather's children. Prosecutors dropped felony and misdemeanor charges that could have gotten Mayweather 34 years in prison.

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Micker Adolfo sidelined with elbow injuries

PHOENIX, Ariz. — One of the White Sox prized prospects will be on the shelf for a little while.

Outfielder Micker Adolfo has a sprained UCL in his right elbow and a strained flexor tendon that could require surgery. He could avoid surgery, though he could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

Though he hasn’t received the same high rankings and media attention as fellow outfield prospects Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert, Adolfo is considered a part of the White Sox promising future. He’s said to have the best outfield arm in the White Sox system.

Adolfo had a breakout season in 2017, slashing .264/.331/.453 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs in 112 games with Class A Kannapolis.

Adolfo, along with Jimenez and Robert, has been generating buzz at White Sox camp in Glendale, with a crowd forming whenever the trio takes batting practice. Earlier this week, the three described their conversation dreaming about playing together in the same outfield for a contending White Sox team in the future.

Javy Baez can do anything defensively, but what's next for him at the plate?

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USA TODAY

Javy Baez can do anything defensively, but what's next for him at the plate?

MESA, Ariz. — You don’t need to spend long searching the highlight reels to figure out why Javy Baez goes by “El Mago.”

Spanish for “The Magician,” that moniker is a fitting one considering what Baez can do with his glove and his arm up the middle of the infield. The king of tags, Baez also dazzles with his throwing arm and his range. He looks like a Gold Glove kind of player when you watch him do these amazing things. And it’s no surprise that in his first media session of the spring, he was talking about winning that award.

“Just to play hard and see what I can do. Obviously, try to be healthy the whole year again. And try to get that Gold Glove that I want because a lot of people know me for my defense,” he said Friday at Cubs camp. “Just try to get a Gold Glove and stay healthy the whole year.”

Those high expectations — in this case, being the best defensive second baseman in the National League — fall in line with everything the rest of the team is saying about their own high expectations. It’s been “World Series or bust” from pretty much everyone over the past couple weeks in Mesa.

Baez might not be all the way there just yet. Joe Maddon talked earlier this week about his reminders that Baez needs to keep focusing on making the easy plays while staying a master of the magnificent.

“What I talked to him about was, when he had to play shortstop, please make the routine play routinely and permit your athleticism to play. Because when the play requires crazinesss, you’re there, you can do that,” Maddon said. “But this straight up ground ball three-hopper to shortstop, come get the ball, play it through and make an accurate throw in a routine manner. Apparently that stuck. Because he told me once he thought in those terms, it really did slow it down for him. And he did do a better job at doing that.”

But the biggest question for Cubs fans when it comes to Baez is when the offense will catch up to his defense. Baez hit a game-winning homer run in his first major league game and smacked 23 of them last season, good for fifth on a team full of power bats. But arguably just as famous as Baez’s defensive magic is his tendency to chase pitches outside of the strike zone. He had 144 strikeouts last season and reached base at a .317 clip. Seven Cubs — including notable struggling hitters Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist — had higher on-base percentages in 2017.

Baez, for one, is staying focused on what he does best, saying he doesn’t really have any specific offensive goals for the upcoming season.

“I’m not worrying about too much about it,” he said. “I’m just trying to play defense, and just let the offense — see what happens.”

Maddon, unsurprisingly, talked much more about what Baez needs to do to become a better all-around player, and unsurprisingly that included being more selective at the plate.

“One of the best base runners in the game, one of the finest arms, most acrobatic, greatest range on defense, power. The biggest thing for me for him is to organize the strike zone,” Maddon said. “Once he does that, heads up. He’s at that point now, at-bat wise, if you want to get those 500, 600 plate appearances, part of that is to organize your zone, accept your walks, utilize the whole field, that kind of stuff. So that would be the level that I think’s the next level for him.”

Will Baez have a season’s worth of at-bats to get that done? The versatile Cubs roster includes a couple guys who split time between the infield and outfield in Zobrist and Ian Happ. Getting their more consistent bats in the lineup might mean sacrificing Baez’s defense on certain days. Baez, of course, also has the ability to slide over to shortstop to spell Addison Russell, like he did when Russell was on the disabled list last season.

Until Baez learns how to navigate that strike zone a bit better, it might make Maddon more likely to mix and match other options, rather than considering him an everyday lock like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

But like Russell, Albert Almora Jr. and Willson Contreras, Baez is one of the young players who despite key roles on a championship contender the last few years still have big league growth to come. And Maddon thinks that growth is right around the corner.

“I want to believe you’re going to see that this year,” Maddon said. “They’ve had enough major league at-bats now, they should start making some significant improvements that are easy to recognize. The biggest thing normally is pitch selection, I think that’s where it really shows up. When you have talented players like that, that are very strong, quick, all that other stuff, if they’re swinging at strikes and taking balls, they’re going to do really well. And so it’s no secret with Javy. It’s no secret with Addy. Addy’s been more swing mode as opposed to accepting his walks. That’s part of the maturation process with those two guys. Albert I thought did a great job the last month, two months of getting better against righties. I thought Jason looked really good in the cage today. And Willson’s Willson.

“The natural assumption is these guys have played enough major league at-bats that you should see something different this year in a positive way.”