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WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS: 60 Minutes to report Rodriguez implicated Braun

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NEW YORK CITY - Did “A-Rod” rat on Ryan Braun? The CBS show “60 Minutes” reports that people close to Yankees’ slugger Alex Rodriguez obtained and leaked documents which implicated Braun and a dozen other players for using performance-enhancing drugs from the former Bio-Genesis clinic.

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Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers’ All-Star left fielder, was suspended for the rest of the season after Major League Baseball investigated the Bio-Genesis matter. He’s been heavily criticized for lying, after he denied for almost two years that he took PED’s. Former Brewers’ prospect Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers was suspended for 50 games – and if the Rangers make the playoffs this fall, he can play then. The CBS report released today said Rodriguez’s people leaked information about Braun and the others in February – just days after the Miami New Times published documents that implicated Rodriguez in the Bio-Genesis scandal. In the New Times documents, the names of Braun and one other player were blacked out. “60 Minutes” says members of Rodriguez’s inner circle obtained unredacted copies and leaked them to Yahoo Sports. “A-Rod’s” lawyer denies it. Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games. He continues to play while he appeals the punishment. And if he indeed leaked the documents, that in itself could be a violation of baseball’s drug policy if Rodriguez knew what his staffers had reportedly done.

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The Brewers will try again tonight to lift themselves out of the National League Central Division cellar, when they host the Cincinnati Reds. The Brewers have either been in last place, or a tie for last with the Chicago Cubs, since June 25th. The Crew can move ahead of Chicago tonight with a win over the Reds, and a loss by the Cubs against Saint Louis at Wrigley Field. But not finishing last would only be a moral victory for a Milwaukee team that’s been rocked with injuries, pitching struggles early in the year, and Ryan Braun’s drug suspension. And the schedule does the Brewers no favors the rest of the way. Milwaukee will play 25 of its 41 remaining games against the top three teams in the NL Central – all of whom would make the postseason if it were to begin today. Manager Ron Roenicke says the Brewers can still make some noise if they continue their recent solid pitching, and timely hits against some very good opposing staffs. Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny starts for Milwaukee tonight against Reds’ right-hander Mike Leake. 

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Former Brewers’ first baseman Prince Fielder has filed for divorce. The Detroit Tigers’ slugger filed the request in Orange County Florida on May 28th. The Detroit Free Press learned about it this week, a couple days after his teammate Torii Hunter cited a personal issue for Fielder’s recent lack of production at the plate. On Tuesday, Chanel Fielder asked a judge to make her husband provide temporary support, after he stopped paying bills and expenses at the home where she and their two children live in Windermere Florida. The couple has been married for eight years, and they renewed their wedding vows just a year ago. As of Wednesday, Fielder had only hit .219 in his last 50 games. He went without a home run for almost three weeks before he belted one last night against Kansas City. Hunter said on a Detroit radio show Tuesday that he and his teammates know what’s going on with Fielder, and they appreciate him performing despite an issue he wouldn’t go into. Hunter also said that critics should back off. Fielder later said nothing is affecting him and quote, “Everything’s fine.” The 29-year-old Fielder played more than six seasons in Milwaukee before leaving for Detroit almost two years ago. 

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Brewers’ second baseman Rickie Weeks had surgery yesterday to fix the left hamstring he tore nine days ago at San Francisco. Weeks tripped over his bat as he tried to beat out a grounder. Officially, Weeks is considered out for 4-to-6 weeks, but the Brewers have said he’ll be gone for the season. Weeks batted .209 in 104 games with 10 homers and 24 RBI’s. Brewers’ general manager Doug Melvin says Weeks should be able to recover next year. Melvin notes that Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan have had the same surgery as Weeks. 

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In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will host Peoria again tonight near Appleton. Both teams played 15 innings last night before Wisconsin emerged with a 5-4 victory. The Beloit Snappers are at Cedar Rapids again, on the heels of a 6-5 Snappers’ loss. Also tonight, Burlington hosts Kane County. Clinton entertains Quad Cities. Lansing plays at West Michigan. Dayton hosts Great Lakes. Bowling Green is at Fort Wayne. And South Bend plays at Lake County. Cedar Rapids enters the weekend with a three-and-a-half-game lead over Quad Cities in the Western Division for the second half. Beloit is fifth at 10 games back. Wisconsin is sixth at 11 back. Great Lakes still leads the East by a half-game over both Bowling Green and South Bend.

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The Madison Mallards can win the Northwoods League title tonight with a victory at Duluth in Game-Two of the best-of-three Summer Collegiate World Series. The Mallards won the opener last night, 10-7 in Madison. That ended the Huskies’ nine-game winning streak. If Duluth ties up the series, a deciding Game-Three will be played tomorrow night in Minnesota. Madison is going for its second overall championship, and its first since 2004. Duluth is playing for its first title. 

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UW-Oshkosh has chosen four finalists to replace baseball coach Tom Lechnir, who’s still appealing to get his job back. The university has named former Indiana coach Bob Morgan and coach Kevin Ritsche of Division II Winston-Salem as two of the finalists. The other two will be named on Monday. Interviews will take place next Wednesday and Thursday. The new coach will replace Tom Lechnir, whose contract was not renewed in late June after 25 seasons as the Titans’ coach. School officials wanted a new direction for the program, after Oshkosh failed to qualify for the Division III regionals in each of the last five years. Lechnir said he was let go because the university diverted funds for a stadium project, and they blamed him for a debt that did not exist.

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The Green Bay Packers expect to play their starters into the second quarter tomorrow night, when they play their second game of the pre-season at Saint Louis against the Rams. Coach Mike McCarthy says he wants to see more of quarterback Vince Young, but he won’t play with the No.1  offense just yet. McCarthy says it’s possible that he’ll use the same quarterback rotation as in last Friday night’s loss to Arizona. Aaron Rodgers started that game followed by Graham Harrell, Young, and B.J. Coleman.

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With Donald Driver and Charles Woodson gone, the oldest Green Bay Packer is now nose tackle Ryan Pickett. He’s 33 as he enters his 13th NFL season. Pickett has played more than 200 games as a pro, and he says he wants to keep playing with Green Bay after his current four-year contract runs out after this season. Pickett has been the Packers’ main run-stuffer since joining the team as a free agent in 2006. He gets high praise for handling double-teams on the line, and getting to the opposing running back. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers says Pickett can really be disruptive once he enters the opponent’s backfield. He led Green Bay’s defensive linemen with 75 tackles a year ago. That’s his highest number since Capers started running the defense in 2009 and changed to a 3-4 scheme. Pickett was a first-round draft pick of the Saint Louis Rams in 2001. He played there until moving to Green Bay in ’06. The Packers will play at Saint Louis tomorrow night in their second pre-season contest. Pickett says it won’t be an emotional return for him, since he’s been away from there for so long.

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There’s a report that Milwaukee might be losing its Arena Football League team to Portland Oregon. The Oregonian newspaper says the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers are negotiating with the Arena League to relocate an existing franchise to that city – and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says the Milwaukee Mustangs could be that franchise. The Mustangs are sitting out this season, but they’ve promised to return in 2014. The team’s Web site still says the Mustangs are looking forward to playing in Milwaukee next season – but the group is still looking for potential investors. The team normally plays in the Bradley Center. An arena official says he has not heard from Mustangs’ ownership for some time. 

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Five Wisconsin NASCAR drivers are in suburban Detroit for a pair of races this weekend. Qualifying takes place this afternoon for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Pure Michigan-400. Matt Kenseth of Cambridge, who’s seventh in the point standings, is entered along with Beloit-born Danica Patrick, Paul Menard of Eau Claire, and Travis Kvapil of Janesville. Johnny Sauter of Necedah, who’s ninth in the Camping World Truck Series standings, will race tomorrow in the Michigan National Guard 200 at Dearborn. The Nationwide Series’ drivers are in Lexington Ohio for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital-200 tomorrow. No Wisconsinites are entered in that event.

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Harrison Ott of Brookfield is the winner of the American Junior Golf Association’s All-Star tournament in Medford, Oregon. Ott finished at 13-under-par-203 for three rounds. He defeated Anton Serafini of Lake Mary, Florida by one stroke.

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Edgewood College has named Darcy Kelly as its new women’s golf coach. She currently serves as an instructor for the Nine Springs Golf Course in nearby Fitchburg – and she’s a teacher in the Madison Metro Youth Golf Initiatives. Kelly has 15 years of coaching experience. She takes over an Edgewood program that finished fifth last season in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.   

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