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07-10-2018 09:07 AM
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The Minnesota Twins signed first-round draft pick Trevor Larnach just one day before Major League Baseball’s deadline.

For both sides Ryan Dzingel Jersey , the delay was well worth the wait. There were no contentious contract negotiations in the way, only a College World Series championship for Larnach with Oregon State.

”We figured it would go to the end, because I thought Oregon State was the best team I saw all spring,” Twins scouting director Sean Johnson said. ”They were really built to win that series, so we knew it would take a while.”

Larnach’s standard minor league deal, signed on Thursday afternoon, came with a $2.55 million signing bonus. The slot value set by MLB for the 20th overall selection was $3.12 million, so the Twins put some of that savings toward signing other players in their draft class.

Larnach, a corner outfielder who hit .327 with 17 home runs and 65 RBIs this season for the Beavers, batted .417 with five doubles, nine RBIs and 10 runs scored in eight games at the College World Series. His two-run homer in the ninth inning against Arkansas helped Oregon State stave off elimination in the second game of the finals , and the Beavers went on to win the decisive third game the following night.

”I would say it’s probably the closest thing you are going to get to playing here in the big leagues,” Larnach said as he toured Target Field for the first time before the Twins played Baltimore on Thursday night. ”There are a lot of people at every game. You start playing some SEC teams, and you start hearing them pretty well. It’s all part of it. It’s a wonderful experience Quinton Dunbar Jersey , and I wish I could re-live some of it, but you know there are better times ahead.”

The Twins said the 21-year-old Larnach will report to rookie-level Elizabethton of the Appalachian League.

”It’s good to have him in the fold,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ”I told him to enjoy the experience. I couldn’t really relate to him what it was like to sign at this particular point in my life because it was 40-some years ago, but it was nice for him and his parents to come in and have a chance to talk with them.”

Johnson was on a scouting trip in North Carolina, dining at The Cheesecake Factory restaurant with Twins vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff, when they saw Larnach’s dramatic home run. They weren’t exactly sweating the timing of the signing.

”Twenty seconds before he hit the home run, I’m like, `If he hits a home run here to give them the lead, we can wait another day,”’ Johnson recalled. ”Right on cue, he hit it. That was the first time I celebrated in a Cheesecake Factory. That was pretty cool. That was a fun moment to watch.”

For Larnach, too, of course.

”My experience at Oregon State, man , it’s pretty unbelievable. I can’t put that into words,” he said. ”I can’t thank my family at Oregon State enough for what they’ve done for me. I’m always going to come back to them and say hi and give them my love and just give back to them as much as I can, because they’ve developed me not only as ballplayer but as a person, and that’s what they promised when I got there.”

The Washington Redskins shredded the Arizona Cardinals for 182 yards on the ground in their season opener, most of any team in the NFL last week.

Missed gap assignments, missed tackles, insufficient physical play, poor hand work at the line of scrimmage. There were plenty of reasons listed for the downfall by defensive coordinator Al Holcomb.

Now the Cardinals have to face Todd Gurley and the Rams Sunday in Los Angeles, and that doesn't bode well for an Arizona team looking to find itself in a new defensive scheme with a new coaching staff.

"It's a big-time challenge this week again," Holcomb said after Thursday's practice. "We've got to address the mistakes, take the things that we didn't do so well last week and correct those things. We've got to accentuate the positives, the good things that we did and we've got to continue to grow and build on that as a defense."

Gurley carried 20 times for 108 yards and caught three for 39 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown reception in Sunday's 33-13 win at Oakland.

And the Cardinals know Gurley all too well.

Last season Arizona had the sixth-ranked defense overall in the NFL and was sixth against the run, yet Gurley was outstanding as the Rams swept the two-game series with the Cardinals for the first time since 2012.

"We got our behinds kicked twice by this team Kenny Clark Jersey ," cornerback Patrick Peterson said.

The first meeting was in Twickenham Stadium in London, where the Rams routed the Cardinals 33-0. In that game, Gurley carried 22 times for 106 yards and caught four for 48. The Rams rushed for 197 yards that day. Six weeks later in Arizona, Los Angeles won 32-15 as Gurley rushed for 74 yards in 19 attempts and caught six for 84 yards.

Combine those experiences with the team's poor play in last week's 24-6 loss to the Redskins and the Arizona defense is in an ornery mood.

"We're a little salty right now so we have to come out prepared to play," Holcomb said. "It's a tremendous challenge in front of us but a great opportunity at the same time. We have to come out and play our brand of football like we're capable of playing."

First-year coach Steve Wilks wants to build a team centered on tough, physical play, especially up front. That aspect of the opener was what bothered Holcomb most.

"Just not play, as Steve talks about, according to our DNA, the physicality," Holcomb said. "The effort was there. The physicality, playing with our hands and then obviously minimizing the run game and also the tackling aspect of it. It's early in the season but we have to do a better job of tackling."

The Cardinals know they have to avoid one-on-one situations with Gurley.

"Todd Gurley is a great back, one of the best backs in the league," said nickel cornerback/safety Budda Baker. "So we know we're all going to have to swarm to the ball to get him down."

Peterson Marc-Andre Fleury Jersey , a Pro Bowl player in all seven of his NFL seasons has seen a lot of Gurley throughout his career, agrees.

"The biggest point of emphasis for us on defense to contain Todd is just be like flying missiles," Peterson said, "always hitting him and getting 11 hats on the ball."

Of course they also have to contend with the potent passing game of Jared Goff and his group of talented wide receivers.

"We know with this team everything' starts with the run," Peterson said. ' 'You've got thee play-action boot game and they try to take the top off of the defense. We have to make sure we're gap sound this week and don't give up the deep ball.'

It would be a great help to have defensive end Markus Golden, but he could be a week away from returning from major knee surgery. Golden practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday.

"It's definitely going to give us a boost," Holcomb said. "He brings a lot of energy, a lot of juice. He has the ability to hold up and set the edge and also rush the passer, so I can't wait to get him back."

Golden led the Cardinals in sacks two seasons ago with 12 1-2. The other defense end, All-Pro Chandler Jones, led the NFL in sacks last year with a franchise-record 17 and had one in the season opener.

NOTES: Johnson was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday with a sore back. TE Jermaine Gresham also was limited as he returns from surgery to repair an Achilles tendon. Gresham, like Golden, has yet to play this season.
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