Eagles Notes: Bell Demoted, Kafka Hurt

Eagles Notes: Bell Demoted, Kafka Hurt

So much for a pair of Plan B's, for now anyway. Signed in the offseason to replace the injured Jason Peters at left tackle, Demetress Bell has already dropped on the depth chart in favor of King Dunlap. Meanwhile, backup quarterback Mike Kafka is going to miss time due to a fracture in his non-throwing hand, perhaps opening the door for rookie Nick Foles to swoop in and steal the job.

The Bell news is something of a surprise, despite what has been described as a relatively poor performance in the preseason opener against Pittsburgh. That said, he only participated in six snaps, which is about as small a sample size as there is, and he's learning a new system, so some bumps in the road are to be expected. Reuben Frank theorizes the benching may be an attempt to light a fire under Bell.

Still, the drop-off from Peters was noticeable on Thursday night, especially on LeSean McCoy's first run of the game. Bell looked slow and couldn't find anybody to block as Shady tried to gain the left edge -- he was eventually pushed out of bounds for a loss. As we've noted before, the Eagles excelled in runs off tackle to the left side in 2011.

That's where Dunlap seemingly could hold an advantage over Bell. King seems to be the more athletic of the two, and he already spent a year working under Howard Mudd. Dunlap is often criticized by fans, but he's been a serviceable backup the past couple seasons, starting seven games. Time will tell whether there is a real competition for the job though.

As for Kafka, he too failed to impress in his outing, which may have turned out to be his only chance to shine this preseason. The fracture occurred during the game when his hand was stepped on, and early estimates have him missing three weeks. Kafka can still throw the ball obviously, but he won't be able to take snaps.

The injury elevates Nick Foles to number two behind Michael Vick for the time being, but he looked very impressive in the exhibition. You have to wonder if a strong preseason would be enough to earn Foles that spot, even if he is a rookie. I would have said no chance previously, but Foles suddenly has a lot more opportunities to prove to coaches he can handle the role.

Kafka was 5/9 for 31 yards and an interception on Thursday. Foles was 6/10 for 144 yards and two touchdowns in his debut. Trent Edwards was 12/20 for 106 yards and a score in mop-up duty, but doesn't seem to be much of a factor in the Eagles quarterback equation.

The good news is Michael Vick returned to practice on Saturday after bumping his thumb, but there is legit concern he will miss time at some point this season, so the unsettled situation behind him is troubling.

Best of MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

Best of MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Max Kepler homered and drove in four runs, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco each had a career-high four hits and the Minnesota Twins roared back to beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-7 Monday night.

Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning and 6-2 entering the fifth before cranking up the offense against Ubaldo Jimenez and an ineffective Baltimore bullpen.

A two-run double by Kepler helped the Twins knot the score in the fifth, Minnesota sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth and Sano added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Joe Mauer had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Twins, who reached season highs in runs and hits (21).

Adam Jones hit a three-run drive in the second inning off Kyle Gibson (1-4) for Baltimore (see full recap).

Peacock, Astros 1-hit Tigers
HOUSTON -- Brad Peacock and three relievers combined for a one-hitter and Jose Altuve provided the offense with an RBI double to lead the Houston Astros to 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Peacock was solid moving out of the bullpen to make a spot start for injured ace Dallas Keuchel. In his first start since September, Peacock allowed the lone hit and struck out eight in 4 1/3 innings. He was lifted after walking Tyler Collins with one out in the fifth inning.

Chris Devenski (3-2) took over and pitched 2 2/3 innings for the win before Will Harris pitched a scoreless eighth. Ken Giles struck out two in the ninth for his 12th save to allow the Astros to bounce back after being swept by the Indians over the weekend.

Detroit's only hit was a single by Mikie Mahtook with one out in the third on a night the Tigers tied a season high by striking out 14 times. The team's only baserunner after Collins was Victor Martinez, who was plunked with one out in the seventh. But Houston still faced the minimum in that inning when J.D. Martinez grounded into a double play to end the seventh.

The Astros struck early against Michael Fulmer (5-2) when George Springer drew a leadoff walk before scoring on the double by Altuve to make it 1-0 with one out in the first (see full recap).

Homers help Yankees top Royals
NEW YORK -- Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner and Chris Carter homered, and the New York Yankees once again downed Jason Vargas by beating the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Monday night.

A reversed umpire's call in the seventh inning kept the Yankees ahead and enabled Michael Pineda (5-2) to top Vargas for the second time in a week. The Royals, with the worst record in the AL, have lost five of seven.

Vargas (5-3) began the day with a 2.03 ERA, tied for second-best in the majors. But the lefty fell to 0-7 lifetime against the Yankees when he was tagged by Gardner and Gregorius, the only left-handed hitters in the New York lineup (see full recap).

West Chester baseball wins Atlantic Regional, moves on to national championship tourney

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Photo credit: Ed Mailliard

West Chester baseball wins Atlantic Regional, moves on to national championship tourney

West Chester University baseball is moving on to the 2017 NCAA National Championships.

The Golden Rams won the Division II Atlantic Regional Final on Monday with a 12-7 decision over Winston-Salem State at Russell Diethrick Park.

Sophomore first baseman Jared Melone reached base six times, going 5 for 5 with a walk and four RBIs, while shortstop Nick Ward scored four runs and collected three hits to help West Chester capture its fourth regional title in program history.

Senior right-hander Josh McClain picked up the win in relief with three innings of one-run ball, as the Golden Rams scored five in the eighth inning to win their first regional crown since 2012, the year they won the national championship. 

West Chester is now 40-11 overall and will open national championship tournament play on Saturday at 3 p.m. against North Georgia in Grand Prairie, Texas.

For more details, see below.