DAILY LINKS: How close are the Padres to contending?

DS Brad Hand

AUDIO: Brad Hand: “I Don’t Think We’re Years Away. We Are Fairly Close”
Padres All Star Brad Hand joined Scott and BR to talk about his hometown Minneapolis, the first days of Spring Training, the veteran pitching staff, signing an extension and how close he thinks the Padres are to making the playoffs.

Submariner Makita realizes Majors dream – Padres.com
The 33-year-old’s role in the Padres’ bullpen has not yet been determined. He spent time as a starter, closer, setup man and long man during his seven seasons with the Seibu Lions. Given his extreme delivery, Makita will be used to face right-handed hitters more often than not.

The Padres’ goal is to maximize his deceptiveness. When they face division rivals in Spring Training, Makita will be held back.

AUDIO: Chris Young: “Either I’m Really Really Crazy Or I Love Playing That Much”
Eight years later, Chris Young is back with the Padres. He discussed the drive that keeps him going, why he want to win so badly and what he learned from Greg Maddux.

Padres sign catcher A.J. Ellis to minor league deal – ESPN
The San Diego Padres announced they have signed catcher A.J. Ellis to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Ellis, 36, would be a backup to starter Austin Hedges if he makes the big league roster.

Ellis, known for his ability to call a game, spent most of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He caught Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter on June 18, 2014, and was Kershaw’s preferred catcher with the Dodgers.

AUDIO: Scott Miller: “Peavy Would Like To Come Back And Write An Ending In His Own Way And Ride Off With A Little More Glory Than He Had”
Scott Miller, MLB Columnist for Bleacher Report, joins The Big Effin Deal Morning Show on Thursday to discuss his latest story on the struggles former Padres pitcher Jake Peavy has had to endure as he attempts to make a comeback to Major League Baseball.

Anthony Rizzo at Parkland vigil: ‘We’re all grieving with you’ – ESPN
“While I don’t have all the answers, I know that something has to change, before this is visited on another community, and another community, and another community,” Rizzo, a 2007 graduate of the school, said Thursday night at a candlelight vigil for the victims of Wednesday’s massacre.

Seventeen people, including students and school workers, were killed when a gunman opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle at the school in South Florida.

Rizzo left Cubs training camp in Arizona on Wednesday and was one of about two dozen speakers who addressed a crowd of thousands who came out to show their support at the Parkland Amphitheater.

SPONSORED: Watch the SDSU men’s basketball team take on UNLV with John Browner!
The Mighty 1090 and John Browner are throwing a party at Social Tap College-4800 Art Street, just off El Cajon Blvd Saturday, Feb 17th from Noon-2pm. Social Tap: Eat, Drink and Be Social…

Happy Hour all day every day and the $7 Value Menu. Get the Mighty 1090 Deal: 2 Burgers and 2 Social Tap Drafts for $10.90!

The Guide to NBA All-Star Weekend 2018 – Sports Illustrated
NBA players from around the country are hopping off the plane at LAX this week as the league’s All-Star festivities hit Los Angeles. Don’t worry, if you aren’t scarfing down an animal-style burger and taking selfies in front of the Hollywood sign, you can still enjoy the party from the comfort of your own home.

Day 7 disaster: No medals for Team USA on a rough day at Winter Olympics – USA Today
Friday in Pyeongchang can’t be classified as anything other than a disappointment for the United States.

Mikaela Shiffrin was supposed to continue her Olympics domination, but instead did not medal in the slalom — which she won as an 18-year-old in Sochi in 2014 — by finishing fourth.

In women’s snowboardcross, American Lindsey Jacobellis was barely beaten out for the bronze, leaving one of the sport’s most dominant athletes with just one rather infamous silver medal in the Games.

And on the ice, things were a disaster once again for U.S. men’s national champion Nathan Chen as he made mistakes on all of his jumps and fell into 17th place in the short program. Saving the Americans somewhat was an electric performance from Adam Rippon and Vincent Zhou becoming the first figure skater in Olympics history to land a quadruple lutz in the men’s short program.

Yuzuru Hanyu Skated Masterfully And Then Winnie The Pooh Bears Rained Down On The Ice – Deadspin
With his short program performance, Hanyu made it clear that not only is he fully recovered from his injury, but that he intends to defend his Olympic title from Sochi. He ended the program with 111.68 points, putting him in first place. If he hits again in the long program, he’ll become the first male skater to defend his Olympic title since 1952 when American Dick Button did it.

And then the Poohs rained down.

Hanyu really likes Winnie the Pooh a lot, so his fans buy Pooh bears of varying sizes and throw them onto the ice after he skates. And for what seemed like several minutes after Hanyu’s sublime performance, the Poohs kept coming.

USA Hockey Rebounds From Slovenia Loss to Beat Slovakia 2–1 – Sports Illustrated
The American men’s hockey team bounced back from a crushing defeat against Slovenia to win against Slovakia in its second group stage game.

The U.S. won 2–1, with both goals coming from Harvard forward Ryan Donato. Andrej Kudrna scored the Slovakian goal.

Bengals QB AJ McCarron wins grievance, becomes a free agent – USA Today
During his rookie year, the Bengals felt McCarron suffered a right shoulder injury away from the team and they put him on NFI. He didn’t practice until late November of that season and wasn’t active to play until early December. As a result, he did not accrue a season toward free agency and was considered a restricted free agent.

A year ago, McCarron filed a grievance to say he was wrongly listed back then and should actually be unrestricted.

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