Angels grab All-Star Zack Cozart with 3-year, $38M deal

ANAHEIM, Calif. — After spending his entire career at shortstop in Cincinnati, Zack Cozart was willing to switch positions for the chance to join the Los Angeles Angels‘ promising lineup.

Cozart was even willing to switch twice.

The All-Star infielder agreed to a $38 million, three-year contract with the Angels on Friday, also agreeing to play third base in an infield suddenly packed with veteran talent.

“It’s just going to be a fun team to be around,” Cozart said. “(Left fielder Justin) Upton is already texting me. From what I hear about the clubhouse, it seems like it’s my type of team, a bunch of good grinder guys that want to get after it and win.”

Cozart gets $12,666,666 next season and $12,666,667 in each of the final two years of the deal.

With Gold Glove winner Andrelton Simmons already at shortstop, Angels general manager Billy Eppler initially was interested in signing Cozart to play second base. The free agent said he was amenable to that move, but then Eppler managed to swing a trade to acquire second baseman Ian Kinsler from Detroit on Wednesday.

The Angels maintained their pursuit of Cozart, but now to be their third baseman.

“He said, ‘If this is going to help us get into October, I’m all for it,’” Eppler recalled. “That right there made me feel extremely good that not only did we get the right player from an ability standpoint, but we got the right player from a character standpoint.”

Cozart has already spoken with retired third baseman Eric Chavez, who now works for the Angels, and he plans to consult former teammate Scott Rolen about moving to the hot corner.

“I’ve been on some bad teams lately,” Cozart said of the Reds, who have lost at least 94 games for three straight years. “When I found out the Angels …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

Drummond, Pistons withstand late rally to beat Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS — Andre Drummond finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons withstood a late rally to beat the Indiana Pacers 104-98 on Friday night.

Reggie Bullock finished with 15 points for Detroit, which earned its second win in two nights.

The Pistons had their biggest lead of the game at 95-79 with 9:12 to play before the Pacers put together their late offensive surge. The Pacers outscored Detroit 19-5 during the final eight minutes and had a chance to take the lead on Myles Turner’s 3-point attempt with less than 30 seconds left, but the shot fell short and Detroit grabbed the rebound. The Pistons closed out the game at the free throw line.

Victor Oladipo had 26 points and eight rebounds for Indiana. Turner added 24 points and eight boards.

The Pistons jumped out quickly behind Drummond, who dominated inside with eight points and eight rebounds during the first quarter. The Pistons led Indiana 27-19 at the end of the period.

The Pistons led by as many as 14 points during the first half, but Indiana managed to keep it interesting, closing out the final four minutes of the first half with a 21-9 scoring run that gave the Pacers a 54-52 lead at halftime. The Pacers never led by more than four points.

Detroit opened the second half on a 7-0 run. The Pistons then ended the third quarter on a 13-4 run and entered the fourth quarter with an 86-74 lead.

TIP-INS

Pistons: Avery Bradley was held out of Friday night’s game due to a right adductor (groin) strain. Bradley went through pregame warmups with the team before notifying …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca

Red Wings beat Maple Leafs for desperately needed win

DETROIT — Trevor Daley scored a tiebreaking, short-handed goal midway through the second period and the Detroit Red Wings went on to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Friday night.

Jimmy Howard had 25 saves for the Red Wings. They had won only one of their previous 11 games.

The Maple Leafs lost their third straight, matching a season high. Toronto was without star centre Auston Matthews for a fourth straight game because of an upper-body injury.

Curtis McElhinney stopped 26 shots for Toronto.

The Maple Leafs’ Andreas Borgman opened the scoring 1:58 into the game.

Detroit’s Danny DeKeyser pulled the Red Wings into a tie early in the first. Tomas Tatar’s power-goal goal gave them a two-goal cushion they needed after losing the last two games after having a one-goal lead in the third period.

NOTES: Toronto played its fifth game in a seven-day stretch. … Daley, in his 30th game, scored his first game for the Red Wings and DeKeyser’s had a goal for the first time this season in his 15th game. … The Red Wings have six short-handed goals after scoring just three times short-handed last season. … Detroit won for just the second time in 13 games when an opponent scored first and Toronto fell to 16-5 when scoring first.

UP NEXT

Maple Leafs: Play Carolina on Tuesday night, their only home game in an nine-game stretch.

Red Wings: Begin four-game road trip on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers.

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Source:: Sportsnet.ca