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— Tyler Matakevich wants to prove he can handle the job. Jon Bostic just wants to be on the field.
Matakevich and Bostic are competing for Pittsburgh’s opening at inside linebacker after the Steelers did not use a draft pick on the position. The winner gets to start alongside veteran Vince Williams and an opportunity to help fill the massive void left by Ryan Shazier [url=http://www.texanscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-johnathan-joseph-jersey]Johnathan Joseph Jersey[/url] , who is out for the season while recovering from spinal stabilization surgery.
“What happened to Ryan was terrible,” Matakevich said. “But that was an opportunity that not too many guys get, to step in and really step up.”
The Steelers signed Bostic to a two-year contract in March to provide veteran depth at inside linebacker after Shazier got hurt last December at Cincinnati.
“I told (coach Mike Tomlin) that when I came in, I’m coming in to compete,” Bostic said. “I would like to not come off the field and going forward, I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure that happens.”
The Steelers gave Matakevich and Bostic a vote of confidence when they opted not to select an inside linebacker in April’s draft.
“Whether they (selected a linebacker or not), I would have the same mentality,” Matakevich said. “Seeing how everything unfolded, it definitely gives you a little boost knowing that they believe in you, too.”
Matakevich, a 2016 seventh-round pick, has played in 31 games with the Steelers. While he hasn’t made any starts on defense, his impact has been felt on special teams, particularly last season.
Matakevich blocked two punts, including one that was recovered for a touchdown. He also broke up a pass on a fake punt by Minnesota.
Matakevich took the majority of the first-team snaps during spring workouts, but he and Bostic have shared the starting role during training camp practices.
The well-traveled Bostic is currently on his fifth team, having also played with Chicago [url=http://www.ramscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-eric-dickerson-jersey]Eric Dickerson Jersey[/url] , New England, Detroit and Indianapolis. He said it doesn’t matter where he practices, as long as he’s on the field.
“To be honest, it’s important to get the reps,” said Bostic, who was Chicago’s second-round pick in 2013. “Regardless of whatever (group) you’re running on the field, I still have to earn my job.”
Bostic spent 2017 in Indianapolis, finishing with 97 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery in 14 games before a knee injury ended his season.
Matakevich battled a shoulder injury last season, initially getting hurt against Kansas City in October. He left a December game against Cincinnati and was inactive the next week against Baltimore before finishing out the season and undergoing shoulder surgery following the Steelers’ playoff loss to Jacksonville.
“It definitely held me back, playing pretty much the whole year with one arm,” Matakevich said. “It’s hard enough with two, but it’s definitely a little harder with one.”
Now, there isn’t anything holding Matakevich back. The same goes for Bostic.
“When we’re out there, we’re competing against each other, but we’re making the defense better,” Bostic said. “When the defense is better [url=http://www.bearscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-bennie-fowler-iii-jersey]Bennie Fowler III Jersey[/url] , the team is better, and at the end of the day, we just have to make sure we get better on our side of the ball.”
NOTES: Tomlin said OLB Bud Dupree has a concussion. … WR Antonio Brown missed his fourth practice and is considered day to day. … CB Joe Haden, CB Brian Allen, OL Chukwuma Okorafor, OLB T.J. Watt, TE Vance McDonald and CB Coty Sensabaugh all missed Saturday’s practice. … WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster couldn’t finish the workout.
No matter how well he pitches, the New York Mets do not win very often when Jacob deGrom is on the mound.
The Mets do not win very often regardless of the starting pitcher, which is why the phrase “deGrom trade” is an easy search engine term.
The Mets were originally going to start deGrom Friday but scratched him due to a family situation, and the ace will start in the middle game of a three-game series against the Miami Marlins on Saturday at Marlins Park.
On a team with one of the National League’s worst records at 32-47, deGrom is doing his part even if the record does not show it. He is 5-3 with a 1.69 ERA, though three of those wins were when the Mets opened 11-1 and were 17-9 in April.
The Mets are 15-38 since then after stranding 10 and wasting nine walks in Friday’s 7-2 loss to Miami. They are 6-10 when deGrom starts and have dropped eight of their last 10 games when deGrom pitches.
Most of it is due to the sub-par offense as New York owns a .232 batting average. The Mets have scored three runs or fewer in nine of deGrom’s last 10 starts, including last Saturday’s 8-3 loss when he allowed three runs and five hits in six innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“My changeup was terrible,” deGrom said. “My slider was good at times, but other times it wasn’t even close to being a strike. So I had one pitch, my fastball, that I couldn’t really locate. You’re trying to get big league hitters out with a pitch that you don’t really know where it’s going [url=http://www.bengalscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-brandon-lafell-jersey]Brandon LaFell Jersey[/url] , and the other ones were garbage. I just wasn’t very good tonight.”
It is because of the losing that the debate rages on about what the Mets should do with deGrom, who made his major league debut on May 15, 2014, and will not be a free agent until after the 2020 season.
Whatever the decision is on deGrom it will be made by John Ricco, who is filling in along with Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi while general manager Sandy Alderson focuses on cancer treatments. Before Wednesday’s 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, he discussed the possibility of dealing of deGrom.
“We’re going to talk about that,” Ricco said. “We just kind of got into this. Sandy was on the record with one point of view. We’ll get together to discuss it. Obviously, they’re two huge pieces for us. We’ll have to consider. For me, everything has to be on the table. But you have to look long and hard before you move a game-changing, top-of-the-rotation pitcher.”
Against Miami, deGrom is 4-4 with a 3.62 ERA in 14 career starts. This season he allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings in an 8-6 win at Miami on April 10 and pitched seven scoreless innings in a 2-1 home loss on May 23.
While the Mets start their ace, Miami will unveil another prospect when Pablo Lopez starts. After Sandy Alcantra pitched five innings Friday, Lopez will be the sixth Miami pitcher to make his major league debut.
“It’s still very unreal,” Lopez told reporters before the series opener. “It still doesn’t feel real that I’m right here with this field, with these teammates, this scenario. It’s still very overwhelming, but still very exciting as well.”
Lopez is among four prospects acquired from the Seattle Mariners for David Phelps on July 20 [url=http://www.ramscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-brian-allen-jersey]Brian Allen Jersey[/url] , and when he struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings during spring training, the Marlins noticed.
“I remember hearing at the winter meetings in November, I believe, how much our guys liked him and the presence he had,” Miami manager Don Mattingly told reporters. “We were able to see it in spring training. It was impressive, just his whole demeanor, the way he handles himself. You can tell, he’s a sharp kid, well prepared.”
In 12 combined starts for Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans, he is 2-3 with a 1.44 ERA while opposing hitters are hitting .196 (46-for-235). He is ranked sixth among full-season minor leaguers in ERA and WHIP (0.93) and leads all Miami minor league pitchers in ERA.
Lopez started the season at Jacksonville, where he was 1-2 with a 0.62 ERA in eight starts. In his four starts with New Orleans, he allowed seven earned runs in 18 2/3 innings.
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