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Alvin Kamara dismisses the notion that his approach to his second NFL camp should change because of the four-game suspension looming over fellow Saints Pro Bowl running back Mark Ingram.

Whether Kamara and the running game are as effective without Ingram when the regular season opens remains to be seen. But Kamara expresses confidence in New Orleans’ plan to deal with it.

”We work hard regardless. If Mark was in the first four weeks D.J. Fluker Color Rush Jersey , I’d still be working the same,” Kamara asserted after the Saints’ second practice of training camp Friday. ”Of course, (Ingram) wants to be playing, but he’s got to take his four weeks – and we’ve got playmakers.”

Those playmakers include two new veteran running backs acquired in free agency to ensure depth at the position.

In the weeks leading up to training camp, the Saints signed 29-year-old Shane Vereen and 27-year-old Terrence West.

”We feel like those are two young candidates, two backs that, be it they’re a little different in what they do, but we felt that they could help us and then with regards to Mark’s snaps,” Saints coach Sean Payton, who missed Friday’s practice to attend former colleague Tony Sparano’s funeral, said this week. ”Shane’s got a lot of versatility, is someone that we feel like is very good in protection. Also, he’s a very good receiver. With Terrance, you see a physical runner. So Jordan Poyer Jersey , both of those players we felt like would help us.”

The Saints ranked fifth in rushing last season, but that ranking alone doesn’t do justice to the contributions Ingram and Kamara made to the offense overall.

Ingram had arguably his finest season yet with 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing to go with 416 yards receiving. Kamara, the 2017 NFL offensive rookie of the year , had 728 yards and eight TDs rushing to go with 826 yards and five TDs receiving.

Yet, while Ingram’s absence would appear to be a tough blow, the era of Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has produced highly effective offense with a wide range of personnel getting the ball.

Brees also uses high-percentage short passes to augment the running game. That made New Orleans an attractive destination for Vereen, who has a history of helping offenses as a receiver out of the backfield more than as a rusher.

”It’s a great opportunity for me,” Vereen said. ”What really brought me here was the culture that they built around here. Definitely this is an offense that a lot of guys want to play in.

”The way they use their backs is pretty similar to what I’m used to and it’s the type of system that I feel like I can fit into,” Vereen continued. ”Just the way they spread the ball around and the points that they put up, it seems like a good place to play.”

As a member of New England’s 2014 championship squad, Vereen had 391 yards and two TDs rushing to go with 447 yards and three TDs receiving during the regular season. He also had 64 yards receiving in a Super Bowl victory over Seattle.

”I’ve admired him from afar – really respected what he was able to do in New England and then obviously in New York” with the Giants, Brees said. ”He’s got a great skill set, so I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Terrence West comes to the Saints after an injury plagued 2017 with Baltimore. But two seasons ago Jason Spriggs Jersey , he had 774 yards and five TDs with the Ravens.

Meanwhile, Ingram, who can participate in camp and preseason games, said he is committed to striving for his best season yet over the 12 games for which he will be eligible.

”I’m here every day busting my butt, preparing myself to have another great season, to have my best season of my career. That’s how I approach it,” Ingram said. ”Of course, you want to rush for 1,000 yards. It’ll be more of a challenge in 12 games, but it’s attainable.

”I’m going to do everything I can to be in the best shape, the best condition – the best me – so I can help this team.”

When Brewers pitchers went over the strengths and weaknesses of Cincinnati’s hitters to prepare for their series, they included reliever Michael Lorenzen in the mix.

They need to do more studying.

Lorenzen hit the second grand slam by a Reds pitcher in a week – and his third homer in his last three at-bats – as Cincinnati pulled away to a 12-3 victory Saturday, ending a seven-game losing streak against Milwaukee.

Lorenzen’s pinch-hit grand slam off Jacob Barnes in the seventh inning completed an eight-run rally, Cincinnati’s biggest of the season. Lorenzen’s fifth career homer drew a curtain call from the crowd of 24 Rasheem Green Color Rush Jersey ,640.

”It was a surreal feeling, for sure,” Lorenzen said. ”I love this game and everything about it.”

It was the reliever’s second homer in the series. He also had a solo shot Friday during Milwaukee’s 8-2 win.

”The guy’s swinging the bat really well, that’s for sure,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. ”We treat him as a position player. We covered him in scouting meetings. We’re going to have to make some adjustments.”

One week earlier, Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani hit a grand slam off Cubs left-hander Brian Duensing at Great American Ball Park.

Lorenzen avoided the temptation to swing at a slider, and then hit a fastball deep to left field.

”The Reds have always put together some good-hitting pitchers, going back to Travis Wood and those guys,” Brewers catcher Erik Kratz said. ”You have to know who those guys are and where they want the ball and not throw it there.”

Tyler Mahle struck out a career-high 12 batters in 5 2/3 innings, three shy of the Reds’ rookie record. David Hernandez (3-0) pitched the top of the seventh.

The Reds fanned 18 batters, a club record for a nine-inning game.

The Brewers’ depleted bullpen couldn’t hold a one-run lead in the seventh. Cincinnati’s first eight batters reached safely against three relievers, with left-hander Mike Zagurski (0-1) taking the loss in his first major league appearance since 2013.

The NL Central leaders also were missing two starting position players. Christian Yelich left Thursday’s game with back tightness, and Ryan Braun came out of Friday’s game with the same issue. Counsell said Braun could be available on Sunday.

Eric Thames homered off Mahle, his 14th home run in 22 career games against Cincinnati. Thames hit 10 last year Jacoby Brissett Jersey , the most by a Brewers player against the Reds in one season.

LORENZEN LORE

The last pinch-hit grand slam by a Reds player came from Chris Heisey on April 13, 2014, against Tampa Bay. Lorenzen’s three homers this season are the most by a Reds pitcher since Micah Owings had three in 2009. The last major league pitcher to homer in three straight at-bats was Colorado’s Mike Hampton in 2001.

POWER SURGE

In the last eight days, Reds pitchers have produced four homers – three by Lorenzen, one by DeSclafani. For the season, Lorenzen is 4 for 6 with three homers and six RBIs.

MAHLE’S STRIKEOUTS

Mahle’s 12 strikeouts were the most by a Reds pitcher since Amir Garrett also fanned 12 Orioles on April 19, 2017. The club record for strikeouts by a rookie is 15 by Gary Nolan on June 7, 1967, against the Giants.

TRADING PLACES

With the game out of hand, Kratz moved to the mound for the eighth inning – his third career pitching appearance – and gave up a pair of runs.

”I’d rather catch nine innings and do high-fives,” he said.

REDS DEAL

The Reds sent minor league catcher Joe Hudson to the Angels for cash. The 27-year-old Hudson has never played in the majors. He batted .235 with no homers and three RBIs in 16 games for Triple-A Louisville this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Brewers: RHP Zach Davies had a setback in what was expected to be his final minor league rehab assignment as he recovers from a sore shoulder. He lasted only three innings and gave up 10 runs and three hits for Class A Wisconsin on Friday night, leaving after just 48 pitches because of a sore back.

Reds: RHP Homer Bailey will make his fourth rehab start Tuesday for Triple-A Louisville. He’s been sidelined since June 2 because of a sore right knee. Bailey is 1-7 with a 6.68 ERA.

UP NEXT

Brewers: Freddy Peralta (3-0) makes his fifth start. The Brewers are 4-0 in his starts. Opponents are batting .093 against the right-hander.

Reds: Matt Harvey (3-5) makes his 10th start for the Reds, who got him from the Mets in a trade for catcher Devin Mesoraco on May 8. Harvey has allowed six runs in his last three starts spanning 17 2/3 innings.



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