How Yankees messed with Billy McKinney before giving him the best news

Yankees outfield prospect Billy McKinney was looking forward to the weekend. He planned to leave minor-league camp for a few days to spend Easter with his family in Texas.

But when he arrived at the team’s minor-league development complex in Tampa on Friday morning, several staffers told him it was important to see Vice President of Player Development Kevin Reese before he started preparing for the day.

Reese knew of McKinney’s plans, so he started by telling the 23-year-old that he couldn’t go home. So, McKinney said, I was like,’Oh, what did I do now’

Outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury (strained right oblique) and Clint Frazier (concussion) are also on the DL, forcing the Yankees to call up McKinney, whom MLB.com ranks as the team’s 19th best prospect.

It’s really unfortunate, especially with great players — Jacoby, Clint and Aaron — it’s tough, McKinney said. Obviously, I know Aaron getting hurt, everybody’s been through it. Hopefully they get him back on the field as soon as possible.

Arizona will be one stop of Mayfield’s tour, which will take him to Cleveland, Buffalo, both the Giants and Jets in New York, Miami and Denver, according to MMQB.

He made a season-high 10 receptions for 107 yards in a win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. The former Baylor receiver’s most productive season was 2013, when he caught 94 passes for 1,079 yards with Tennessee. –The Cleveland Browns announced they have agreed to contracts with former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton and former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jeff Janis. Terms were not available, but Stanton’s deal was originally reported to be for two years. He becomes the third quarterback on Cleveland’s roster, with the team widely expected to take another with the first overall pick in next month’s draft.

Janis was a seventh-round pick by the Packers out of Saginaw Valley State in 2014. In 51 games with Green Bay, he had just 17 catches for 200 yards and one touchdown, though he famously caught a Hail Mary from Aaron Rodgers with no time left to send a playoff game against the Cardinals into overtime in 2016. –The New York Jets announced that they signed former Seattle Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.patriots_091-223x223

Smoak lifted Robertson’s 92-mph fastball well over the wall in center field, turning a 4-3 Yankees lead into an insurmountable deficit.

Robertson walked Donaldson to get to Smoak, who was already 2-for-3 with a homer, and got into an intense battle with him that saw several full-count fouls and the Rogers Centre crowd dying with each pitch.

Sueng Hwan Oh closed it out for the Blue Jays, who lose the first two games of the series and then won the next pair.

Sonny Gray had killer stuff but the Jays made him work and he lasted just four-plus innings and 89 pitches. He struck out eight, walked three and gave up seven hits, including Devon Travis’ RBI single in the second inning that put Toronto ahead, 1-0.

Stanton, new to left field, made an excellent play in the sixth. The natural right field, playing out of position to make room for Aaron Judge in left field and because of several hurt outfielders, covered a lot of ground to his right to catch Kendrys Morales’ long fly to the corner, near the wall.

Judge shined on defense, too.

Gift Ngoepe singled to right field with one out in the second inning. Russell Martin, with no outs and the top of the order due up, tried scoring from second base. Judge threw him out at home, the ball hitting catcher Austin Romine’s glove right in front of the plate and beating Martin by a hand’s length.
Taylor Hall, Keith Kinkaid, Kyle Palmieri, Nico Hischier and the New Jersey Devils will aim to inch closer to a playoff spot when they visit Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens at 7 p.m. on Sunday at Bell Centre in Montreal.

Of course, Brady – unlike any quarterback before him – has always been able to defy the odds and achieve peak performance when others failed to do so (look no further than Peyton Manning’s last two years in the league).

Still, the team is aware of his age and what it entails – just ask Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who spoke about New England selecting a quarterback earlier this week: I’m going to put my fan hat on, and obviously at some point we have to, Kraft said, when asked if picking a quarterback in the draft can be seen as a high priority for the franchise right now ( via ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss ). Not just that, the 76-year old continued, but think what happened in the ‘08 season when in the first quarter against Kansas City, Tom goes out. How many people would have said that Matt Cassel would have led us to an 11-5 season I put my faith and confidence in Bill [Belichick]. He knows his responsibilities. Anything can happen, even if Tom comes in tip-top shape.patriots_150-223x223

That sort of track record would send most players to the cutting room or the trade block, but Burfict isn’t most players.

The team shopped Ebron at the trading deadline and he seemed resigned to the possibility he wouldn’t finish out the year in Detroit, but a deal never came to fruition. It proved fortunate for both sides as he had a strong finish to the campaign, nearly doubling his production from the first half with 35 receptions, 379 yards and three scores the final eight weeks.

The Lions picked up the fifth-year option on Ebron’s contract after the season, a one-year deal that would have become guaranteed at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. The team reportedly continued to field offers throughout the week, but never found a taker. Now he’ll have an opportunity to explore free agency a year early, and should draw serious interest given his skill set and age.

That leaves Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tyler Eifert, who has missed most of the past two seasons because of back injuries, and Martellus Bennett, who was unceremoniously dumped by the Packers last year, in the middle of his first season with the team, as the best remaining options.

That’s why Bengals coach Marvin Lewis flatly said no when asked if he’d consider moving on from Burfict. Tobin echoed those sentiments even if the idea of parting ways with Burfict has come up before.

Do we have conversations on that a lot Sure, we have conversations on that a lot, Tobin said. But at the end of the day we are a player-oriented business and the players are the ones that win or lose for us. We try to collect as many players that can help us win. That’s our job. That’s what we do. That’s our responsibility as an organization: To try to put the best football team on the field that we possibly can.jets_056