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Brian McCann Headshot

McCann caught Dallas Keuchel's first bullpen session of spring training Friday.

The Astros are hoping Keuchel and McCann are the battery come Opening Day, so it was encouraging to hear Keuchel talking about a comfort level with Houston's new catcher. McCann's been around and understands what it takes for a catcher to become acquainted with a bunch of new starters. The 12-year veteran has caught 1,372 games since his debut in 2005, so he's learned some about the catcher-pitcher relationship. He also brings a power bat to the position, having averaging 20 homers and 74 RBI with a .799 OPS. McCann will serve as Houston's primary catcher this season with Evan Gattis his backup.
17 minutes ago
Yulieski Gurriel Headshot

Gurriel admitted to getting fatigued at the end of last season, noting the difference in schedules between MLB and Cuba, where players don't play everyday.

The 32-year-old Gurriel, who his making the transition to a full-time first-baseman in 2017, spent the offseason preparing himself for the grind of a full MLB season. He spent 15 years in Cuba's Serie Nacional, but never played more than 89 games since 2005. Gurriel is taking on quite a bit this offseason, learning the positioning of a new infield spot and adjusting to the daily haul of baseball in the United States.
34 minutes ago
Derrick Jones Headshot

Jones made the final round of Saturday's Verizon Slam Dunk Contest, before falling to winner Glenn Robinson III.

The Suns rookie showed some impressive hops during the contest, including an opening-round dunk in which he soared over four people before putting home a one-handed slam. Jones has seen very little action for the Suns this season, not surprising for a skinny 20-year-old who only left UNLV early after he was deemed academically ineligible by the NCAA, but he has the length and athleticism to eventually develop into a useful player.
46 minutes ago
Glenn Robinson Headshot

Robinson defeated Derrick Jones, Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan in Saturday's Verizon Slam Dunk Contest.

With two-time defending champ Zach LaVine (knee) not participating, the field was wide open, and Robinson seized his opportunity with arguably the two most impressive dunks of the night, including a full two-handed pump reverse jam after leaping over three people to cap his final round victory over Jones. Robinson has been in and out of Indiana's starting lineup this season without much to show for it statistically, but Saturday's win could give him the confidence to lock down a starting role down the stretch.
52 minutes ago
Kemba Walker Headshot

Walker made it to the final round of Saturday's JBL Three-Point Contest, losing to eventual winner Eric Gordon.

He came up short, however, as his final-round 17 was topped by Gordon and Kyrie Irving's 20, before Gordon claimed the title in an overtime round. Walker's enjoying a career year for the Hornets, averaging 22.5 points and 2.7 three-pointers per game, but he'll need to get a little more help after the All-Star break from his teammates if Charlotte is going to pull themselves up into a playoff spot.
1 hour ago
Evan Gattis Headshot

Gatts (shoulder) participated in catching drills Saturday, but has not yet resumed throwing, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Soreness popped up in Gattis' right shoulder, preventing him from taking part in baseball activities. Next up, the Astros will get him throwing and taking at bats. Houston starts playing in games Feb. 25, so Gattis will have several days to get up to speed. The Astros view him as the backup catcher, who will serve as designated hitter from time to time.
1 hour ago
Kyrie Irving Headshot

Irving lost in the final round to Eric Gordon in Saturday's JBL Three-Point Contest.

He went down swinging, forcing Gordon to an overtime round when they each scored 20 in the finals, but Irving's 18 in overtime proved to be not quite enough. The 24-year-old is on pace for a career year with the Eastern Conference-leading Cavs, averaging 24.4 points and 2.4 threes per game, and his usage could even increase after the All-Star break due to Kevin Love's knee injury.
1 hour ago
Eric Gordon Headshot

Gordon won Saturday's JBL Three-Point Contest, needing an overtime round to defeat Kyrie Irving.

He and Irving each scored 20 in the final round, topping Kemba Walker's 17, to force the extra set of shots. Gordon finished with a flurry, draining 11 of his final 12 three-pointers, to claim the title. The Rockets' sharpshooter, who's averaging a career-high 3.5 threes per game this season, follows in the footsteps of long range specialists such as Jason Kapono, Jeff Hornacek and Steve Kerr in winning his first Three-Point Contest.
1 hour ago
Gordon Hayward Headshot

Hayward lost to Kristaps Porzingis in the final round of Saturday's Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

He took an impressive path to the finals, though, defeating John Wall and then Isaiah Thomas before falling to Porzingis. Hayward is having a career year for the Jazz, and is on pace to average more than 20 points a game for the first time while leading Utah to the top of the Northwest Division.
1 hour ago
Kristaps Porzingis Headshot

Porzingis defeated Gordon Hayward in the finals of Saturday's Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

For the second straight year, a big man won the competition typically associated with slick guards, as Porzingis followed in the large footsteps of 2016 Skills Challenge winner Karl-Anthony Towns. It's been quite an All-Star Weekend for the 21-year-old Latvian forward, who also dropped a big double-double Friday during the Future Stars game. There's a lot of turmoil surrounding the Knicks these days, but Porzingis gives them a strong foundation for the future,
1 hour ago
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