Talking Points: Boyd latest promising Portland player

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In soccer parlance, Kris Boyd is a target player because the forward is a target for his teammates to feed the ball so he can score goals.

With his arrival in Portland this week to join the Timbers, Boyd has a new target on his back. The pressure that comes with living up to a seven-figure contract? Sure, there’s that. But there is an added burden that Boyd likely is not aware of. He needs to somehow avoid the cloud that is hanging over highly-promoted Portland pro athletes.

Injuries have felled the likes of Greg Oden and Brandon Roy.

Kenny Cooper, the highest-profile acquisition for the Timbers last season, didn’t live up to expectations and was traded away. Several other promising forwards have suffered significant injuries.

We’re not suggesting that Portland is cursed. But, let’s be honest: if Boyd can bring to Portland the golden touch that made him the all-time goals leader in the Scottish Premier League, he will be bucking a painful trend.

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Ichiro as a No. 3 hitter?

That’s what Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge announced on Tuesday.

At first this seems like a swing and a miss. The hitter at No. 3 in the lineup is supposed to hit for both power and average, to put a bit of fear into the opposing pitcher.

Ichiro isn’t that kind of a hitter.

Still, he is the M’s best hitter.

So, strange as it will be to see Ichiro hitting third, we can see why Wedge came to this decision.

Ichiro doesn’t have the speed he once did. More significant, the bottom of the Mariners order isn’t exactly productive. At least hitting in the third spot, Ichiro figures to have base runners aboard from time to time and to see some more hittable pitches.

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Talking Points got a chuckle out of this heading on TheOnion.com:

“Knicks Doctors Continue Carefully Reinjuring Carmelo Anthony’s Groin”

As with much of the humor on the spoof-news website, there is food for thought here.

In the real world, Anthony returned to the Knicks’ lineup on Monday and New York lost to the Nets. We’re not suggesting the Knicks are better off without one of their more talented players. Still, team chemistry can be an unstable thing in the NBA, especially in the larger media markets.