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07-10-2018 03:42:59

While Aaron Donald's second consecutive contract holdout drags deep into training camp Ryan Dzingel Jersey , Todd Gurley and the rest of the Los Angeles Rams' offense have identified a silver lining to the persistent absence of the NFL's defensive player of the year.

 

"We were talking about that last night," Gurley said with a grin. "We were like, 'Literally, if A.D. was here, he would (mess) up the whole practice.' Because it's like, you get the handoff and he's right there. A guy like that, you have to sit him back and tell him to tone it down a little bit just so you can get some good reps."

Although Donald's menacing presence looms large in his teammates' minds, he sometimes seems a distant figure to the Rams, who have completed their entire offseason program and all but the final few practices of training camp without their All-Pro defensive tackle. His teammates check Twitter and ask each other for news about the negotiations, but significant updates have been scarce.

Donald is holding out while seeking a contract that would make him one of the NFL's highest-paid players regardless of position. The Rams and Donald's representation have made almost no public pronouncements about the state of their negotiations, and coach Sean McVay dutifully provides daily updates about the talks despite having no new information almost every day.

Something appeared to move last week when general manager Les Snead said the sides were "in the same ZIP Code, area, ballpark Jimmy Howard Jersey ," and McVay expressed optimism about increased momentum.

But until a significant move happens, the Rams will wait: Ndamukong Suh will continue to practice without his new teammate alongside him, while Gurley and Jared Goff will continue to practice without the threat of Donald looming just across the line.

"We've talked about that for two offseasons now," Goff said. "It's not nice not having him here, (but) it's nice being able to get off some good plays and not have to worry about him ruining the play, I think is a better way to put it. Yeah, we miss him and hope he comes back soon."

The Rams have designs on Super Bowl contention after their breakthrough year under McVay, and they downplay the notion that Donald's continued absence will hurt their plans in any significant way. Donald didn't rejoin the Rams last season until the day before their opener, and he still had no problem fitting into new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' scheme once he returned to the field in Week 2.

With a full year of Phillips' coaching behind him, Donald should know what to do from the moment he arrives. McVay also said the Rams aren't worried about Donald being in top physical shape, since they know he is working out aggressively at home in Pittsburgh.

Yet the Rams obviously would prefer to build their defense around several weeks of work and film study with Donald. McVay acknowledged he speaks to Donald regularly, but the coach largely exchanges pleasantries and inquires about Donald's family instead of asking about contract talks.

When Donald reports, McVay laughs at the notion it would disrupt anything about the defending NFC West champions' preparations.

"That would be a disruption that would be more than welcomed right now Womens Ryan Kerrigan Jersey ," said McVay, who had been disappointed with his club's focus in practice earlier in the week.

The Rams have already showed their willingness to ink long-term contracts during this offseason when they signed Gurley and receiver Brandin Cooks to lengthy, lucrative deals.

Donald missed a reporting deadline last week that consigns him to restricted free agent status in the upcoming offseason, but neither side appears to be worried about it. The Rams have always said they would prefer a long-term deal with Donald, but they also have the option of using their franchise tag on him in 2019.

Until Donald and the Rams figure out a way forward, Gurley will continue to burst through the line at practice without worrying about Donald 鈥?and McVay will continue to answer questions about the negotiations in each of his daily media briefings.

"I don't really know anything else," the second-year coach said with a laugh.

The Tigers knew exactly what hit them – the daunting combination of a homer-friendly park and a free-swinging Reds offense starting to come around.

 

Scooter Gennett hit a tying two-run homer , and Eugenio Suarez also connected on the next pitch – a hit originally ruled a double but changed to a homer on review – for a 5-3 victory and a two-game sweep on Wednesday.

The Reds moved ahead in the all-time series 13-11, with two games left at Comerica Park starting July 31.

After managing only a pair of singles through the first five innings, the Reds finally got to Michael Fulmer (3-6). Gennett connected with two outs for his 13th homer, tying it 2-2.

”The way we’re playing right now is how we expected to play all year,” Gennett said. ”It’s a lot of fun.”

Fulmer threw Gennett a slider that was headed for the dirt on a 1-2 count, only to see it sail out to right field aided by the wind.

”I thought it was a great pitch Brendan Leipsic Jersey Kids ,” Fulmer said. ”I’m mad at the results, but I’m not mad at the way I pitched.”

Suarez hit Fulmer’s next pitch to left field, with the ball landing on the top of the wall and bouncing back into play. The Reds sounded their home run siren and shot off fireworks, but the umpires ruled the ball was in play and stopped Suarez at second base.

After a review of 1 minute, 12 seconds, the hit was ruled a homer – replays indicated the ball skipped off the top of the wall and deflected off a railing behind it.

Adam Duvall added a solo shot in the eighth as the Reds out-homered the Tigers 3-2.

”That’s the way it is here,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Tyler Mahle (6-6) overcame a pair of solo homers to remain unbeaten in four June starts. The rookie has allowed a total of four earned runs while going 3-0 in the month. He struck out eight in six innings of his team-high sixth quality start.

”I was more lucky than good today,” Mahle said . ”If I had to give myself a grade today, it would be a `D.”’

Raisel Iglesias gave up a hit in the ninth while earning his 11th save in 13 chances.

INTERLEAGUE

The Reds improved to 6-1 in interleague games. They’ve won five straight against the AL, tying their best all-time mark. The Tigers fell to 1-7.

SWING AND A MISS

Fulmer has little hitting experience in the majors, and it hurt the Tigers in the sixth. With runners on second and third and two outs, the Reds intentionally walked Dixon Machado to bring up Fulmer. He struck out on three pitches, the last one a high 94 mph fastball. Fulmer is 0 for 9 with six strikeouts for his career.

Gardenhire said that’s the big advantage for the NL Ondrej Palat Jersey , where pitchers take batting practice regularly.

”There’s your unfair advantage,” he said.

HARDY APPEARANCE

Left-hander Blaine Hardy relieved in the seventh and gave up a pair of hits and a walk. Hardy has been a fill-in starter for the Tigers’ depleted rotation and pitched into the sixth inning Sunday for a 3-1 win over the White Sox.

VOTTO HONORED

Joey Votto received his 2017 Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s Athlete of the Year, the second time he’s won it. Ferguson Jenkins and Larry Walker are the other baseball players to win it.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: Right-handed reliever Drew VerHagen was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a broken nose suffered Tuesday night when he was hit by a thrown ball while covering first base. Right-handed reliever Johnny Barbato was called up from Triple-A Toledo. He gave up Duvall’s homer in the eighth.

Reds: Manager Jim Riggleman and the training staff are developing a rehab plan for starter Homer Bailey, who has been sidelined since June 2 with a sore right knee. He’s 1-7 with a 6.68 ERA.

UP NEXT

Tigers: After a day off, the Tigers start a weekend series in Cleveland, where they’ve lost 20 of their past 26 games, including their past seven. Mike Fiers (5-3) is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts at Progressive Field.

Reds: Matt Harvey (1-5) makes his eighth start for the Reds, who open a four-game series against the Cubs at Great American Ball Park. Harvey has lost his past three decisions for the Reds, who got him from the Mets in a trade for catcher Devin Mesoraco on May 8.

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