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Kyler Murray believes he could play in NFL, MLB at same time

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Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders … Kyler Murray?

The Arizona Cardinals quarterback, coming off his rookie season, said he believes he could join a short list of athletes to play professional baseball and football at the same time … just not right now.

“I think I could,” Murray told the Arizona Republic. “Athletically, I think, yeah, I could do it. I’ve been playing both my whole life. I would love to add that to the resume.”

Murray, who was selected by the Oakland Athletics with the No. 9 pick in the 2018 MLB draft and received a $4.66 million signing bonus, was a power-hitting outfielder at Oklahoma, where he won the Heisman Trophy as the Sooners’ quarterback and was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

The A’s still believe Murray will play baseball and continue to hold his MLB rights, but Murray, for now, still is concentrated on his football career.

Down the line? Perhaps.

“I don’t understand why in sports they try to marginalize it,” Murray told the Republic. “They try to make you pick one and I get it, but we’ll see. I think it would be fun. Right now, though, I’m just focused on football.”

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Ex-Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish — Astros should be stripped of title

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MESA, Ariz. — Add Chicago Cubs righty Yu Darvish to the list of those that believe the Houston Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series title.

“It’s like the Olympics,” Darvish said from Cubs camp on Sunday. “When a player cheats, you can’t have a gold medal, right? But they still have a World Series title. It (feels) weird.”

Pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers in that World Series, Darvish previously said he doubted himself after getting rocked in Games 3 and 7. At first, he was told he was the one tipping his pitches but now wonders if the Astros stole the signs.

“Was I tipping, or were they stealing?” Darvish asked last month.

On Sunday, he said he wasn’t angry but felt for opposing pitchers who lost their jobs due to the Astros scandal while telling Houston players it might be better to be quiet right now.

“So they cheat, I think they shouldn’t talk right now,” Darvish said referencing Carlos Correa‘s comments about Cody Bellinger. “Some people lost their job. They have to show more apology. I don’t feel anything from those guys.”

Darvish compiled a 21.60 ERA over his two games pitched just before going to free agency after the 2017 season. He ended up signing a six-year, $126 million contract with the Cubs who admitted they may have taken advantage of other teams being scared off after his World Series performance.

“I know they were stealing signs, but at the same time, I was not good during the World Series,” Darvish said. “I’m better for what I went through. But, yeah, everyone is wondering about (their numbers) pitching against them.”

Darvish is just the latest in a long line of players to criticize the Astros after it was revealed they were stealing signs electronically in 2017. No players were punished in the scandal while Houston’s apologies have been widely criticized as well.

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Buster Olney – How Houston Astros deal with backlash will define their season

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — The camps have opened. Left-handers and right-handers are building their pitch counts. New gloves are being oiled, bent and broken in. Some players are learning new positions. Hitters have worked offseason swing changes into their first rounds of spring batting practice. Opening Day is 39 days away, meaning little more than a month for final adjustments.

But there is really no way for the Houston Astros to prepare for what looms this year when they leave their Minute Maid Park cocoon, and perhaps even in moments when they are in that safe zone of home.

Set aside the question of on-field retaliation for the Astros’ sign stealing that has been raised by Mike Clevinger, Ross Stripling and others, prompting Dusty Baker to push back Saturday on the hints at violence. What the Astros seem destined to experience is a most extreme form of negative reinforcement.

Thousands upon thousands of fans heaping anger, frustration, bitterness and whatever other emotions they care to temporarily eject from their lives at a small group of men in orange uniforms, tearing at whatever mental scar tissue each of the Astros players can construct day to day.

Over the past week, some players on other teams have watched the backlash to the Astros’ repeated public relations debacles and observed the avalanche of fan response on Twitter — undoubtedly fueled by the unprecedented verbal attacks of the Astros’ professional peers — and have wondered about the impact on the players who must try to work within that fan reaction.

And there is no escape. Carlos Correa pushed back against some of the criticism in a series of interviews Saturday, aiming to absolve teammate Jose Altuve while absurdly trying to separate moments when the 2017 Astros cheated from when they did not — a futile exercise.

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Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas misses bullpen session with sore elbow

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JUPITER, Fla. — St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas was scratched from his second bullpen session of the spring because of a flexor tendon issue.

“Best-case scenario is probably just a couple more days before he starts playing catch, starts his bullpens again,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “I can’t say that’s going to happen one way or the other.”

Mikolas said his arm felt “tender from time to time” last season, but he was able to manage it.

“I do not know what the full clinical term is,” Mikolas said. “I can tell you my elbow is a little sore.”

Shildt said the Cardinals hope to have a more concrete time frame for Mikolas return to the mound in a day or two.

“Is he behind? Yeah, he’s behind,” Shildt said. “He’s not being able to get on the mound, but he’s still doing some of the things mentally and physically that he can do.”

Should Mikolas only need a couple of more days of rest, he expects a brief layoff wouldn’t significantly hamper his preparation for the season.

“I’ve already been throwing and throwing bullpens,” Mikolas said. “Once I feel good and get cleared to re-ramp back up, it shouldn’t be a super-long process.”

Mikolas signed with St. Louis prior to the 2018 season following a successful stint in Japan. He was 18-4 with a 2.83 ERA during his first season with the Cardinals and earned a trip to the All-Star Game.

Mikolas struggled last season as he went 9-14 with a 4.16 ERA in 32 starts in the regular season, but he was 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in three appearances in the postseason.

Mikolas received a platelet-rich plasma injection as treatment for his arm soreness after the Cardinals were eliminated from the playoffs.

“It’s been a long couple of seasons for me,” Mikolis said.

Despite last season’s struggles, Mikolas entered this spring as one of four pitchers expected to be in the Cardinals rotation, joining Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson and Adam Wainwright.

Carlos Martinez, Korean offseason signee Kwang-Hyun Kim, Alex Reyes and Daniel Ponce de Leon entered camp as the leading candidates for the fifth starting spot. An extended layoff for Mikolas could allow two of those pitchers to break camp in the starting rotation.

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