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Mets Sign RHP Jeurys Familia to a Three-Year Deal

The New York Mets today announced that the club has signed right-handed pitcher Jeurys Familia to a three-year deal.

“We are excited to bring Jeurys back to Flushing,” Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “Jeurys is a familiar face and an accomplished, elite reliever with experience that will fit well in our clubhouse.”

Familia, 29, has appeared in 343 games across seven seasons in the majors. He split the 2018 season between the Mets and the Oakland Athletics, combining to go 8-6 with 18 saves, a 3.13 ERA (25 earned runs/72.0 innings) and 83 strikeouts in 70 games.

In 2016, Familia represented the Mets in the All-Star Game and ended the year leading the majors with 51 saves. That mark also set a single-season franchise record. He has recorded 123 saves with the Mets, which puts him third on the club’s all-time list.

Among relievers, he has the fourth-lowest home run rate over the last four years (min. 150 innings). Familia was the only reliever over the last four years with a groundball rate higher than 58.0 percent and a strikeout rate greater than 26.0 percent (min. 150 innings). He recorded 23 holds in 2014, which was tied for sixth on the Mets single-season all-time list.

The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native returns to the Mets organization after being dealt to the Athletics on July 21, 2018 in exchange for infielder Will Toffey, right-handed pitcher Bobby Wahl and international bonus pool money. Familia made his major league debut with New York on September 4, 2012 and has appeared in 313 games for the team.

Familia owns a 17-19 career record with 124 saves, a 2.73 ERA (107 earned runs/352.2 innings) with 369 strikeouts and 143 walks. He was originally signed by the Mets as a non-drafted free agent on July 13, 2007.

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Roy Jones, Jr. Boxing inks 18-1 featherweight prospect Ray Ximenez, Jr

Roy Jones, Jr. (RJJ) Boxing proudly announces the signing of Dallas featherweight prospect Ray Ximenez, Jr. to a long-term, exclusive promotional contract.

Riding a five-fight win streak, the 25-year-old Ximenez (18-1, 4 KOs) is expected to make his RJJ Boxing debut in March.

“We’re excited to sign another top prospect like Ray Ximenez to our growing stable of fighters,” RJJ Boxing CEO and co-founder Keith Veltre said. “Ray is an old-school boxer, well-conditioned, hard-working, and we believe he has a very bright future.”

“I’m very excited and very appreciated for Roy Jones Jr. Boxing giving me this opportunity,” Ximenez commented. “I plan on showing everyone that I will be the next world champion from Dallas. “I am ready, willing and able to fight anyone, anywhere, any place and any time.”

Ximenez was a standout amateur boxer, compiling a sterling 120-9 record, highlighted by three gold-medal performances, both in the National P.A.L. Championships and Ringside World Championships. A six-time Dallas Golden Gloves champion, Ximenez started boxing at the age of 10 and he also captured gold at the 2009 Silver Gloves National Championships and Junior Olympic National Championships. He represented and captained Team USA at the 2009 Youth World Junior Olympics.

In 2010, Ximenez made a successful pro debut, winning a four-round unanimous decision versus Cristoval Larrazolo.

Five years later, Ximenez defeated Jesse Angel Hernandez, currently 12-1 and world rated (IBF #14, WBO #15), by way of a six-round split decision in Fort Worth, Texas. Last February on beIN Sports, Ximenez registered an impressive eight-round unanimous decision in Dallas over Eugene Lagos, who in his next fight on ESPN knocked off Golden Boy’s top prospect, undefeated (15-0) Emilio Sanchez, in round two.

Ximenez won a 10-round unanimous decision over 111-fight veteran German Meraz this past July in Ximenez’ last fight.

“I’m also excited and appreciate for this opportunity,” Ximenez’ manager Michael Montoya added. “I’d like to especially thank CEO Keith Veltre and matchmaker Guy Taylor for believing in Ray Ximenez, Jr. and I am looking forward to a long-term relationship with one of the best boxing promoters in the sport of boxing.”

Websites: http://www.RoyJonesJrBoxing.com

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USA Women’s World Cup Team Honored as USA Basketball Team of the Year

After winning the 2018 FIBA World Cup with a perfect 6-0 record, the USA Basketball Women’s World Cup Team today was named the 2018 USA Basketball Team of the Year.

The USA topped opponents by an average of 20.3 points per game from Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain, and the top finish qualified the USA for the 2020 Olympic Games.

“The FIBA World Cup always is an incredibly intense and competitive event, and what the U.S. team accomplished was remarkable,” said USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley. “The roster was not finalized until just days before the competition, yet the USA played with great teamwork and was a joy to watch on and off the court.”

USA Basketball has presented the Team of the Year award annually since 1996.

Led by USA head coach Dawn Staley  (South Carolina) and comprised of seven athletes with prior Olympic and/or World Cup experience and five newcomers to senior-level international competition, the team earned the USA’s third-straight FIBA World Cup gold medal. 

“We had a very good mix of young players in their first World Cup to experienced players,” said Staley, who was named the 2018 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year. “To see the process work, which was scary at times in that we didn’t know who we would have and when we would have them, and then prepare together as a team, made it very special. They were super motivated to win every time we stepped on the floor. For us to do that time and again is incredible, because the rest of the world is catching up to us, and they’re catching up when we have less time to prepare.”

The USA featured tournament MVP Breanna Stewart  (Seattle Storm), who was named the 2018 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year, and Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) joined her on the five-player all-tournament team. 

The team also included Sue Bird  (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (New York Liberty),  Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun), Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics),  Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Jewell Loyd  (Seattle Storm), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks),  Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Morgan Tuck  (Connecticut Sun), A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces) and assistant coaches  Dan Hughes (Seattle Storm), Cheryl Reeve  (Minnesota Lynx) and Jennifer Rizzotti (George Washington University).

“We came together, because we had the ‘next person up mentality,'” Stewart said. “There were some people who were on the Olympic Team who didn’t come to the World Cup this year, so there were new opportunities for younger players who didn’t have as much experience playing for USA Basketball, but they stepped right up.”

The USA’s well-rounded effort featured five athletes who averaged double-digit scoring, and the USA beat previously undefeated Australia 73-56 in the gold medal contest. 

For more information on Team USA fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:


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Mets Select Kyle Dowdy in Rule 5 Draft

The New York Mets today announced that the club has selected right-handed pitcher Kyle Dowdy from the Cleveland Indians in the Rule 5 Draft.

Dowdy, 25, split the 2018 season between two organizations, the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians. He combined to go 9-12 with a 5.15 ERA (71 earned runs/124.0 innings) in 30 games (20 starts) between Erie (AA-Detroit), Toledo (AAA-Detroit) and Akron (AA-Cleveland).

The Escondido, CA native was originally selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 12th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Houston. He was traded to the Cleveland Indians along with outfielder Leonys Martín in exchange for infielder Willi Castro on July 31, 2018.

Dowdy has appeared in 78 minor league games (58 starts) over three seasons and owns a 27-27 record with a 3.99 ERA (162 earned runs/365.2 innings).

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Shamorie Ponds Named to BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll

 After helping the Red Storm extend its unbeaten streak to nine games to start the season, Shamorie Ponds has been named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll, it was announced by the league office on Monday afternoon.

Ponds, who was named the conference’s player of the week on Nov. 26, has found a spot on the league’s weekly honor roll for the third time this season.  In total, Ponds has garnered recognition from the conference office four times in just five tries this year.

The junior guard from Brooklyn averaged 18.5 points, 6.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals in two victories over Mount St. Mary’s and Princeton, helping St. John’s remain undefeated on the campaign.  On the week, he shot 56.0 percent from the floor and a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line.

On Wednesday night against the Mountaineers, Ponds netted 11 points to go along with seven assists and five rebounds.  The southpaw’s seven helpers matched a season-high and he surrendered just one turnover in 33 minutes of action.

Four days later in the team’s debut at “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” Ponds dominated the second half to help St. John’s pull away from Princeton.  The BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the latter stanza, helping the Johnnies turn a three-point halftime edge into an advantage that ballooned as high as 19 down the stretch.  On the game, Ponds shot 11-for-18 from the field and 3-for-3 from the charity stripe while also collecting five rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Ponds, who ranks third in the league in scoring average with 21.6 points per game, currently leads the BIG EAST in both assists (4.9 apg) and steals (2.8 spg).

One of just nine unbeaten teams left standing in Division I, St. John’s is off to its best start since 1990-91.  A win on Sunday against Wagner would make this year’s Johnnies just the seventh in program history to start a campaign with at least 10-consecutive wins.

For more information on the St. John’s Athletics Department fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:


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Breanna Stewart Named USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year

After helping the USA Basketball Women’s World Cup Team to a gold medal and a perfect 6-0 record, Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm) today was named the 2018 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year.

This is the third such honor for Stewart, who also was the 2011 and 2013 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year.

“It’s really an honor,” Stewart said. “Each time that I’ve won has had its own special meaning, its own special place.

“This one is special, because I was in a different position than I was with the other ones. I was playing with a lot of younger players and had to perform really well and be at my best at the World Cup.

“It wasn’t a team that had a lot of time together, and we didn’t have a lot of time to work with coach [Dawn] Staley in putting the pieces together.”

At the 2018 FIBA World Cup from Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain, Stewart started in all six games for the USA and averaged a team-leading 16.3 points per game to go along with 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. She shot 58.0 percent from the field and was named FIBA World Cup MVP and to the all-tournament team.

“Breanna has been an important part of our USA Basketball family for many years, and it was impressive this past September to watch her perform with such success at the World Cup,” said USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley. “We are very grateful for her loyalty and dedication, and we are proud to celebrate the tremendous year she had in 2018.”

USA Basketball has presented its Female Athlete of the Year award annually since 1980.

“Stewie played each and every game with all her heart,” said USA head coach Dawn Staley (South Carolina), who was named the 2018 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year. “She probably played more minutes than I should have given her, but she was that good. It was hard to keep her off the floor. What’s always telling about a player like Stewie is although she’s tired, she never asks to come out of a game. She always plays through things. She’s impactful on the floor. She is always sacrificing for the sake of the team. Even when she’s dog tired, she’s fighting through it.”

Among the 16-team field, Stewart ranked sixth for scoring and field goal percentage, eighth for 3-point field goal percentage (.471) and 14 th for rebounding.

For more information on Team USA fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:


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Undefeated Welterweight Champion Keith Thurman Makes Long Awaited Ring Return to Defend His Title Against Battle-Hardened Veteran Josesito Lopez

Undefeated WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman returns to the ring after a lengthy injury layoff to defend his title against veteran Josesito Lopez on Saturday, January 26 live in primetime in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™.

Televised coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and will see a co-feature featuring fast-rising unbeaten Polish heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki as he clashes with former title challenger Gerald Washington in a 10-round battle.

Tickets for the show begin at $50 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets can also be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.

“There is a high level of anticipation and intrigue surrounding the ring return of welterweight champion Keith Thurman, and Josesito Lopez will certainly provide some answers about where Thurman is after nearly two years out of the ring,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “Adam Kownacki and Gerald Washington have the opportunity to show exactly where they stand in the resurgent heavyweight division. Both of them are big heavyweights who love to throw power shots. It’s the kind of night that will have fans on the edge of their seats.”

“I speak for boxing fans everywhere when I say we are eagerly anticipating Keith Thurman’s return to the ring,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of BSE Global. “He has experienced great success at Barclays Center, so it’s fitting that he will lead off a strong year of BROOKLYN BOXING programming in 2019. I also look forward to seeing local favorite Adam Kownacki, who always comes with a strong contingent of loud fans.”

Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) made a steady rise through the welterweight ranks and reached the pinnacle with hard-fought victories over Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia at Barclays Center, the latter of which earned him a WBC crown in addition to his WBA title. But a string of injuries, including surgery and rehabilitation on his elbow, has sidelined him for nearly two years, calling into question his place amongst the 147-pound elites. The 30-year-old Thurman, who is still the reigning WBA welterweight champion, is looking to regain his top-tier status in the division starting with Lopez. Thurman, who lives and trains in Clearwater, Florida, enters the ring for the first time since a split decision victory Garcia on March 4, 2017.

“I’m extremely excited to step back into the ring,” said Thurman. “It’s a little nerve wracking considering the time off and because I want to have a tremendous performance. I want to speak more with my hands more than my words and quiet the naysayers who think that Keith Thurman has lost his passion and skills in boxing. I believe I’m the best welterweight in the division and in the world and I hope to showcase that on January 26 with a knockout. The best fights in the welterweight division have involved Keith Thurman and that will continue to be the case. I’m looking forward to having a tremendous year and showing why I’m number one.”

The 34-year-old Lopez (36-7, 19 KOs) is looking to thwart Thurman’s plans to regain his lofty position in the 147-pound division. Nicknamed “The Riverside Rocky” because of his all-action style, the Riverside, California-native has stepped into the ring against some of the best boxers of this generation. He has rattled off three straight victories since suffering a TKO loss to former welterweight champion Andre Berto in 2015. Lopez is coming off a unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten Miguel Cruz on April 28 live on FOX.

“I’m approaching this fight as leaving no stone unturned as I prepare to take that world championship,” Lopez said. “I’ve set up training camp with altitude, chasing chickens, chopping wood – really into putting in the work. Overall the layoff will affect him and there could be a little hesitation, but we’ll see come fight night. The improvements that I’ve made with Robert Garcia the last couple of years will come into play. They’ve strengthened my qualities and I can’t wait to show it to the world.”

Kownacki (18-0, 14 KOs) has risen through the heavyweight ranks with a tough-as-nails brawling style that produced a string of knockout victories and exciting showdowns. His knockout streak ended at four in his last fight when he scored a unanimous decision victory over former heavyweight champion Charles Martin on Sepember. 8. Kownacki, who was born in Lomza, Poland and now lives in Brooklyn, will be fighting at Barclays Center for a third straight time and the eighth time overall.

“Living in Brooklyn this is like a home game for me,” said Kownacki.” I’ve had some of my best performances at Barclays Center and I can’t wait to step into the ring against Gerald Washington and showcase myself on PBC on FOX. There is nothing better to start off the year than with a knockout and that’s what I plan on doing on January 26 at Barclays Center. I hope all my fans will come out like they always do and have the arena in white and red.”

Washington (19-2-1, 12 KOs) is a 6-foot-6 heavyweight who has been able to use his athletic ability to power his way past most of the opponents he faces. That athleticism will pose a challenge to Kownacki, who could be facing the toughest fight of his career. The 36-year-old Washington of Vallejo, California is a former college football standout at the University of Southern California and a U.S. Navy veteran who has challenged Deontay Wilder for his championship. He is coming off a unanimous decision victory over John Wesley Nofire in his last fight on June 10.

“I can’t wait to show everything I’ve been working on,” said Washington, “Boxing is a sport of truth. It brings the truth to light and it exposed my truth and what I needed to work on. You have to be able to adjust and be comfortable in every situation. You have to be ready for what’s to come. I’m expecting a hard fight from him. He’s a bruiser. He’s tough and he loves to fight. He’s in his hometown and he’s ready and he’s going to bring it, but I’m ready to position myself to fight again for a world title.”

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