Wander Franco to Play for Dominican Republic Team for Olympic Qualifing Tournament

Wander Franco is hoping to hit the field at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

The 19-year-old Dominican professional baseball shortstop in the Tampa Bay Raysorganization, the top prospect in Major League Baseball, and longtime star Jose Bautista plan to play for the Dominican Republic as the country tries to qualify for the Olympics later this month, according to ESPN.

Wander Franco

Franco, who turned 19 on Sunday, would strengthen a Dominican team jockeying for one of the remaining two qualifying spots in baseball’s return to the Olympics after a 12-year hiatus. He and Bautista, 39, would round out a roster that faces strong competition at the Americas Qualifying Eventon March 22-26 in Tempe and Surprise, Arizona.

Among the teams vying to win the tournament and its single qualifying spot: The Dominican Republic, the United States, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. 

The winner will join host nation Japan, Israel, Mexico and South Korea, who already have qualified, while the second- and third-place teams at the event will have an opportunity to lock up the sixth spot at the final qualifying tournament. 

Originally scheduled to be held in Taiwan from April 1-5, the tournament was postponed Sunday because of coronavirus fears until June 17-21 — barely a month before the Tokyo Games’ opening ceremony.

The additions of Franco and Arizona Diamondbacksinfielder Geraldo Perdomo, 20, to the Dominican roster will give the team perhaps the most dynamic middle infield in the tournament. Franco is a transcendent talent who evaluators believe could play in the major leagues today — a powerful, speedy, contact-oriented switch hitter whose slick glove and strong arm allow him to patrol shortstop with aplomb.

While not as highly touted, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Perdomo is an elite athlete whose eye and bat-to-ball talents were rare for someone who played all of last season at 19. A natural shortstop, he played about half his games during the Arizona Fall League at second base and will return there for the Dominican team.

Bautista is expected to play first base, a position he manned 30 times in more than 1,650 major league games during which he hit 344 home runs and drove in nearly 1,000 runs. He last played in the major leagues in 2018, though he spent this winter working out as a pitcher in hopes of returning as a two-way player, sources said. Bautista, who represented the D.R. in the 2009 and 2017 World Baseball Classic, may not pitch in the qualifier but is expected to play a significant role as the D.R. faces Puerto Rico, the United States and Nicaragua during the tournament’s round-robin first round. The two best teams from each four-team pool will face off in a final round that awards the winner and keeps the second- and third-place teams alive.

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed last week to allow players who are on teams’ 40-man rosters but not active in the major leagues to join their countries’ qualifying-event teams. The potential infusion of talent could theoretically help a team like the United States, which suffered an embarrassing loss to Mexico at the Premier12tournament in November that prevented Team USAfrom qualifying.

Lizette Salas Named to Team USA at 2019 Solheim Cup

Lizette Salas is ready to represent…

The 30-year-old Latina professional golfer, who currently plays on the LPGA Tour, will represent the United States at the 2019 Solheim Cup.

Lizette Salas

In addition to Salas, Team USAwill consist of Lexi ThompsonDanielle KangNelly KordaJessica KordaMarina Alex,Megan Khang, Brittany AltomareAngel YinAnnie Park,Morgan Presseland Stacy Lewis.

In three weeks, The Solheim Cupwill return to the “home of golf” for the first time since 2000. U.S. captain Juli Inksterand her team of 12 will take on Team Europecaptain Catriona Matthewand her 12 players at the PGA Centenary Courseat Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland on September 13-15. 

Team USA will be on the hunt for a third successive Solheim Cup victory under Inkster. 

Over the course of three days in Scotland, Team USA and Team Europe will go head-to-head in the biggest event in women’s golf. Following the same format as the Ryder Cup, the teams will face off in 28 matches — eight foursomes and eight fourballs over the first two days and 12 singles on the final day.

This will be Salas’ fourth time taking part in the cup. She previously played at the Solheim Cup in 2013, 2015 and 2017, with Team USA winning in  2015 and 2017.

Stanton Returns to the U.S. World Baseball Classic Roster

Giancarlo Stanton is back on Team USA

The 27-year-old part-Puerto Rican baseball star, a right fielder for the Miami Marlins, is among the returnees on the 28-man U.S. World Baseball Classic roster, which also includes Colorado Rockies‘ Nolan Arenado, Arizona Diamondbacks‘ Paul Goldschmidt, San Francisco Giants‘ Buster Posey and Pittsburgh Pirates‘ Andrew McCutchen.

Giancarlo Stanton

The roster, announced Wednesday by USA Baseball, includes 18 All-Stars, two MVPs and nine Gold Glove winners.

Stanton, a three-time Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star, won the Silver Slugger Award and National League Hank Aaron Award in 2014.

Stanton was the Home Run Derby champion in 2016.

Hernandez Throws Acrobatic First Pitch at New York Mets Game

Laurie Hernandez is flipping for the New York Mets

The 16-year-old Puerto Rican gymnast, who helped lead Team USA to the gold medal in the Women’s Gymnastics team competition at the 2016 Rio Games, tossed out the first pitch on Saturday at Citi Field.

Laurie Hernandez

But Hernandez, who took home an individual silver medal on the balance beam during the 2016 Summer Olympics, wasn’t about to throw a traditional first pitch before the Mets’ game against the Washington Nationals.

Instead, the soon-to-be competitor on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars went for a little extra style, throwing in aerial cartwheel on the grass before tossing the ball to home plate.

“As soon as I found out I was throwing the first pitch, I was just like, ‘Oh, I’ll throw a flip in there,’” Hernandez told SportsNet New York.

Hernandez to Compete on Season 23 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”

Laurie Hernandez is heading from the beam to the ballroom…

The 16-year-old Puerto Rican gymnast, who helped lead Team USA’s Women’s Gymnastics team to gold at the 2016 Rio Games, has joined ABC’s Dancing with the Stars for Season 23.

Laurie Hernandez

Hernandez, who won an individual silver medal for her balance beam routine at the 2016 Summer Olympics, will be paired with professional dancer Valentin Chmerkovskiy.

But Hernandez isn’t the only Hispanic celebrity hitting the dance floor this season…

Controversial Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, will compete this season. The 32-year-old half-Cuban American swimmer and 12-time Olympic medalist, who said he made a “very big mistake” when he claimed to have been held up at gunpoint during the Rio Games, will be paired with professional dancer Cheryl Burke.

Meanwhile, former The Fosters star Jake T. Austin will also make a bid for the Mirror Ball trophy. The 21-year-old part-Puerto Rican, Argentine and Spanish actor will be paired with professional dancer Jenna Johnson.

Other celebrity competitors set to foxtrot their way onto the show include Former Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, Indy race car driver James Hinchcliffe, Brady Bunchs Maureen McCormick, actress Marilu Henner, Amber Rose, rapper/reality star Vanilla Ice, R&B singer Kenneth “Babyface” EdmondsLittle Women: LA’s Terra Jole, and country music singer/actress Jana Kramer.

Season 23 will see the return of pros Derek and Julianne Hough, who last appeared in 2015. Derek, a six-time Dancing champ, will be back as a dancer, while Julianne will serve as a judge.

Also returning is pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy, He last appeared in 2014 when he and Olympic ice dancer Meryl Davis won the mirror ball trophy in Season 18. And Burke is back, after leaving the show in 2014.

Julianne Hough, a former pro dancer on the show, is expected to be joined at the judge’s table by Carrie Ann InabaBruno Tonioli and Len Goodman, who judged with Hough the past two iterations of the ballroom dance competition series.

Here are the new season’s dance pairings:

Cheryl Burke with Ryan Lochte
Maksim Chmerkovskiy with Amber Rose
Valentin Chmerkovskiy with Laurie Hernandez
Emma Slater with Rick Perry
Derek Hough with Marilu Henner
Artem Chigvintsev with Maureen McCormick
Sasha Farber with Terra Jole
Witney Carson with Vanilla Ice
Lindsay Arnold with Calvin Johnson
Jenna Johnson with Jake T. Austin
Allison Holker with Babyface
Sharna Burgess with James Hinchcliffe
Gleb Savchenko with Jana Kramer

The new season of Dancing With The Stars premieres on Monday, September 12.

Anthony Leads Team USA to Third Straight Olympic Gold in Men’s Basketball

2016 Rio Games

Carmelo Anthony is basketball’s golden boy…

The 32-year-old half-Puerto Rican basketball star helped lead Team USA to a 96-66 win over Serbia at the 2016 Rio Games, to give the United States the gold medal in Men’s Basketball.

Carmelo Anthony & Team USA

It’s Anthony, who has won his third gold medal in four tries, says he’s done with international competition.

The New York Knicks star first represented the United States at the 2004 Athens Games when Team USA won bronze under Larry Brown.

“I knew this is the end,” Anthony told Ros Gold-Onwude on NBC moments after the team’s big win. “This is it for me. I committed to something …” Anthony then paused for 21 seconds, soaking in the cheers from the crowd. “I committed to this in ’04. I’ve seen the worst and I’ve seen the best. And I stuck with it. And we stuck with it. And I’m here today, three gold medals later. I’m just, I’m excited for me but also for the other guys who never experienced anything like this.”

Carmelo Anthony & Team USA

It’s the most emotional Anthony has ever been publicly, and it’s understandable.

Throughout his 13 years in the NBA, he has received all sorts of criticism for his teams being unable to win big. While he has been a terrific playoff performer, he has only been to the conference finals once.

On the international stage, though, Anthony has been more successful than just about anybody.

Anthony is the only male basketball player to win three Olympic gold medals. He is Team USA’s all-time leader in points, games played and rebounds at the Olympics. He can retire from the national team knowing that his dedication to USA Basketball can never be questioned.

That is unless Anthony isn’t convinced to do it all over again at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

LeBron James is around the same age as Anthony, and he has intentionally left the door open to participate, as he would like to play for new Team USA coach Gregg Popovich. Also read: Do you have a friend, kid or relative that you are looking to surprise with a basketball related gift? Well, I understand it’s a confusing and tedious process. Lucky for you I have put together a hand-picked list of the best basketball gifts for players and fans. Roadtoreno helps you to choose best gift. Chances are that they will love whichever product you will choose.

Taurasi & Team USA Win Gold in Women’s Basketball at the 2016 Rio Games

2016 Rio Games

Diana Taurasi is still golden…

The 34-year-old half-Argentinean American basketball player and Team USA defeated Spain in the gold medal game Saturday, 101-72, to give the US its sixth consecutive Olympic gold.

Diana Taurasi

Taurasi, who led the way with a team-high 17 points, two rebounds, three assists and two steals, is now a four-time Olympic gold medalist.

The United States is now a perfect 5-0 against Spain in Olympic play.

This was the first Olympic gold medal for Taurasi’s Phoenix Mercury teammate, Brittney Griner. The reigning WNBA MVP, Elena Delle Donne, also won her first Olympic gold.

The other Team USA star veterans Sue Bird, who sat out with a sprain knee in the semifinal win over France, and Tamika Catchings added another gold medal to their career — matching Taurasi with a fourth in Rio.

Diana Taurasi

This could be the final Olympic appearance for the three WNBA icons.

With the loss, Spain finished with the silver. Serbia won bronze after defeating France earlier Saturday. This marked the first time on the podium for the countries in women’s basketball.

The U.S. women’s basketball Olympic play win streak was improved to an unmatched 49 games.

Lochte Helps Team USA Win Swimming Gold in the 4×200 Freestyle Relay

2016 Rio Games

Ryan Lochte has surpassed a swimming icon…

The 32-year-old half-Cuban American swimmer won his first gold medal of 2016 Rio Games and his 12th overall, swimming the third leg for the victorious U.S. 4×200 freestyle relay team on Tuesday night.

Ryan Lochte

With the gold medal performance, Lochte passed Mark Spitz to become the second most decorated male Olympic swimmer of all time.

Michael Phelps swam the anchor leg, winning his second gold medal of the night, as the U.S. won an event it usually dominates by a substantial margin.

Team USA had the lead at the halfway mark thanks to Conor Dwyer (1:45.23) and Townley Haas (1:44.14), but Lochte and Phelps took the advantage to another level as the Americans beat runner-up Great Britain by more than two seconds.

Ryan Lochte

With the gold in a time of 7:00.66 seconds, Lochte also passed his hero Matt Biondi to become the second-most-decorated American male swimmer in history behind Phelps with 12 Olympic medals — half of them gold.

It’s the 21st Olympic gold medal for Phelps, who continues to build on his seemingly unbeatable medal count of 25.

Team USA has won the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay on 17 occasions at the Olympic Games, a record for most wins by one country in a single swimming event.

Lochte needs a medal in Thursday’s 200m individual medley to pass American women Jenny ThompsonDara Torres and Natalie Coughlin to become the second-most-decorated swimmer behind Phelps and the fourth-most-decorated athlete regardless of sport.

Lochte to Compete for Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Games

Ryan Lochte is heading to Rio de Janeiro…

The 31-year-old half-Cuban American swimmer, an 11-time Olympic medalist, failed for the second time to seal a spot in an individual event after finishing fourth overall (1:46.62) in Tuesday’s 200-meter freestyle final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials in Omaha, Nebraska, but that finish put him on the 4×200 relay team for Team USA.

Ryan Lochte

Lochte, who is swimming with a nagging groin injury, was previously shut out of the 400 individual medley on Sunday.

“I’m just happy that I’m going to Rio,” Lochte said. “You can never go in knowing that you’re going to make the team, just because the U.S. is one of the hardest countries to make the Olympic team.”