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A-Rod, Granderson still out of lineup for Game 4

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A-Rod, Granderson still out of lineup for Game 4

DETROIT (AP) Alex Rodriguez was benched twice for the same game.

Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson were still out of New York's starting lineup for Game 4 of the AL championship series on Thursday, a day after the game was postponed by rain.

New York trailed 3-0 in the AL championship series against Detroit. Manager Joe Girardi has juggled his lineup throughout the postseason, trying to find the right combination.

The Yankees kept their lineup the same as it would have been Wednesday - with Rodriguez on the bench for the third time in nine postseason games.

``There's really not a whole lot to change because of rain,'' Girardi said. ``Our decisions aren't made on a whim.''

Rodriguez pinch hit for Raul Ibanez in the sixth inning when Jim Leyland brought in left-hander Drew Smyly. A-Rod hit a flyball to center field to end the inning with runners on first and third. He dropped to 3 for 24 with no RBIs in these playoffs.

Granderson joined Rodriguez on the bench after another hitless night in Game 3 dropped the center fielder to 3 for 29 with 15 strikeouts. Granderson hit 43 homers with 106 RBIs this season.

``I wasn't in yesterday. I didn't expect it to change. I'll be ready whenever they need me,'' Granderson said. ``My swing is OK. It could be better, but it is OK. It's hard to get a lot of hits when you are swinging at pitches out of the zone, and that's the big problem right now. It's a lot simpler if you swing at strikes.''

Nick Swisher, benched in Game 3, returned to the lineup in right field and had an RBI double in the sixth inning. Eric Chavez started at third base in place of Rodriguez. Brett Gardner started in Granderson's normal spot.

Chavez entered 0 for 14 in the postseason.

``His at-bats have been OK,'' Girardi said. ``I thought he got the barrel of the bat to (Detroit ace Justin) Verlander three times.''

Rodriguez has looked particularly overmatched against right-handers, going 0 for 18 with 12 strikeouts in the postseason. Detroit's entire playoff rotation is right-handed, including Game 4 starter Max Scherzer.

Rodriguez's rocky postseason - he's also been removed for a pinch-hitter three times - raised questions about his future with the Yankees. He has $114 million and five years left on his contract, which includes a provision that he can't be traded without his approval.

``I feel he can help us. I don't worry about rumors. Any time you have a player of Alex's stature, it's going to be a hot-button,'' Girardi said. ``No one knows what tomorrow holds for any of us.''

New York ace CC Sabathia was slated to take the mound Thursday against Scherzer.

In Game 3, Girardi let Ibanez hit against left-hander Phil Coke in the ninth inning, and Ibanez ended the game by striking out. The switch-hitting Swisher - not Rodriguez - was in the on-deck circle preparing to pinch hit.

``I was ready to hit, and I was just waiting for my number to be called,'' Rodriguez said Wednesday. ``Any time I'm in any lineup, I think that lineup is better and has a better chance to win. ... Any time I'm in the box, the game can change, and everyone knows that.''

Wednesday's rainout also put the Yankees in a tough position with their starting rotation, making it less likely that Sabathia would be able to start Game 7 if the series lasts that long. Phil Hughes left Game 3 in the fourth inning with a stiff back, but Girardi says the prognosis on him is good.

``We believe that he's going to be OK, and he could be available,'' Girardi said.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Sports Illustrated predicts Ravens defense will regress this season

Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Sports Illustrated predicts Ravens defense will regress this season

With training camp just eight days away, here is the latest news surrounding the Baltimore Ravens.

1. The Ravens are expected to have one of the best defenses in the NFL this season, but not the No. 1 ranked. Sports Illustrated's Andy Benoit says he predicts the Ravens defense will actually regress due to the loss of C.J. Mosely and Terrell Suggs in free agency. However, not as much as one would expect, he says.

2. Speaking of defense, Ravens outside linebacker Matthew Judon is entering his contract year. The Athletics' Jeff Zrebiec writes that this upcoming season should be a breakout year for Judon who could make a big impact on defense. 

3. Ravens Training Camp passes are now available. The Ravens have 14 different training camp practices open to the public this season. Claim your tickets and parking pass here or on the Ravens' mobile app.

Looking Ahead:

July 24: Ravens training camp begins. Rookies are set to report a week earlier on Wednesday, July 17. 

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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Andre Burakovsky inks new deal with Colorado Avalanche

Andre Burakovsky inks new deal with Colorado Avalanche

Andre Burakovsky is officially no longer a Washington Capital.

After he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in June for second and third-round picks in the 2020 NHL Draft, Burakovsky inked a new deal with the squad for one year and $3.25 million.

Burakovsky posted 25 points last season in 76 games and had been the subject of trade rumors for the better part of two seasons. The Capitals offered him a qualifying offer but would have had to match his previous cap hit of $3 million per year.

The Capitals, after signing Garnet Hathaway, Richard Panik and Brendan Leipsic, have a touch over $4 million left to sign restricted free agents Jakub Vrana and Chandler Stephenson, and Burakovsky's departure gave them the cap space to sign those deals.

Colorado meanwhile has $19.9 million in remaining cap space and need to sign a host of restricted free agents to new deals, including Mikko Rantanen, J.T. Compher and Vlaidslav Kamenev.

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