WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Brewers beef-up pitching staff by signing Garza
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly bolstered their starting pitching in a big way. Multiple reports say the Brewers have agreed to sign starter Matt Garza to a four-year contract.
Fox Sports Wisconsin says it's believed to be worth $52-million. The Brewers had not announced the deal by early this afternoon. The 30-year-old Garza was said to be one of the top available pitchers on the free-agent market this winter. He went 10-6 last year with the Chicago Cubs and Texas, with a 3.82 ERA in 24 starts. The Rangers did not make a qualifying offer to keep Garza, after they traded for him last July. That means the Brewers -- or any team that signs him -- would not have to give up a draft choice. Milwaukee went down that road a year ago, giving up a first-rounder to sign starter Kyle Lohse. The Minnesota Twins drafted Garza in the first round in 2005. He's 67-67 in eight Major League seasons with Twins, Cubs, Rangers, and Tampa Bay.
Seven minor leaguers in the Milwaukee Brewers' farm system will be invited to Spring Training next month as non-roster players. The Brewers said today that they added pitchers David Goforth and Dustin Molleken to the spring list of invitees -- along with outfielders Kevin Mattison, Kentrail Davis, and Mitch Haniger, and catchers Adam Weisenburger and Cameron Garfield. Haniger and Goforth are among Milwaukee's top prospects. The Brewers now have 17 non-roster invitees to Spring Trianing, including a couple of veteran first-base candidates -- Mark Reynolds and ex-Brewer Lyle Overbay.
Marquette University men's basketball freshman JaJuan Johnson was expected to return to practice today or tomorrow. But coach Buzz Williams could not say when Johnson could play again, after the freshman sprained an ankle last week at practice. He has played sparingly as a back-up so far this season. Marquette has not lost a Big East Conference home game since 2011 -- and they'll have a tough challenge in keeping that record intact on Saturday against fourth-ranked Villanova. The Golden Eagles are 3-3 in the Big East and 11-8 overall.
The UW-Milwaukee women's basketball team will open a four-game home-stand tonight when it takes on Wright State. The Panthers are 1-2 in the Horizon League and 5-11 overall. They're coming a 16-point loss to Youngstown State last Saturday, in which the Panthers allowed the Penguins to shoot 50-percent. Ashley Green scored a season-high 25 points in that game. Wright State is 14-5 overall, and 3-1 in conference play after victories over Oakland, Detroit, and Valparaiso. Wright State has the nation's 16th-highest scoring average, with just over 85 points a game. Kim Demmings, the Horizon pre-season player of the year, averages 21 points a night for the Raiders. Also tonight, the Wisconsin women play at Minnesota. The UW-Parkside women-and-men host Bellarmine.
None of Wisconsin's touring PGA pros are taking part in the Farmers Insurance Open which began this morning at Torrey Pines near San Diego. Jerry Kelly, Mark Wilson, and Steve Stricker are all taking the weekend off.
The University of Wisconsin men's hockey team will host Ohio State tomorrow and Saturday nights. And the Badgers are asking fans to wear white to the Kohl Center on Saturday, to create a "White Out" effect. They'll get white pom-pons to help with the occasion. It's the first time Wisconsin is playing Ohio State in the new Big Ten men's hockey conference. The Buckeyes have played in Madison before, but not since 1969. Ohio State is 1-2-1 in conference play. The ninth-ranked Badgers are 4-2.
University of Wisconsin junior Brittany Ammerman has been named the WCHA women's hockey player-of-the-week on offense. Ammerman had three goals and an assist last weekend, when the second-ranked Badgers swept a pair at Bemidji State. She had two goals and an assist on Friday, and the game-winning score on Saturday.
Green Bay Packers' president Mark Murphy says he would not mind seeing the extra point disappear. He told an Appleton radio station this week that the NFL's been talking about it. One proposal that's getting a lot of play would give teams seven points for a touchdown. They could still try two-point conversions but if they miss, they'd only get six points for their TD. Murphy said former Packers' lineman Justin Harrell suffered a season-ending knee injury on an extra point in 2010 -- and it was an unnecessary risk, because the points-after-touchdowns are pretty much automatic. Packers' kicker Mason Crosby has only missed two PAT's out of 350 in his seven-year career. He went a perfect 42-for-42 in that department this past season. Meanwhile, former Packers' assistant and ESPN commentator Jon Gruden believes the extra point should be kept. He said it forces teams to use contingency plans when someone gets hurt, and that's part of the game. In Gruden's words, "If we are going to concede an extra point, I say give Tiger Woods every putt inside of three-feet, because I haven't seen him miss those either."
Wausau native Jeff Dellenbach showed up at the Senior Bowl practices in Mobile Alabama this week. The former University of Wisconsin and Green Bay Packers' center and Miami Dolphins' assistant is now the head coach at Boca Raton High School in Florida. Dellenbach was an offensive line coach for the Dolphins from 2003-to-'05, and coaching in the NFL is something he'd like to do again. But he's not auditioning for anything at the Senior Bowl -- just seeing some old friends. Dellenbach played on the 1996 Packers' Super Bowl champion team. He said the group was all about the chemistry it had in the locker room. He said there a lot of gifted-and-talented players on that team, but you wouldn't know it from the team's demeanor. Dellenbach said quote, "Everybody was treated the same way, and on the same page. It was just 'show up to work every day' and take care of each other."
The University of Wisconsin women's basketball team will try to do tonight what the Badger men didn't do last night -- win at Minnesota. Bobbie Kelsey's Badgers will try to even their Big Ten record at 3-3. If they can do that, they'll match their conference victory total from a year ago, when Wisconsin went 3-13. The Badgers have lost three of their last four, after dropping a 74-58 contest at Northwestern last Saturday. Junior Michala Johnson scored a career-high 32 points against the Wildcats. Wisconsin is 9-7 overall. Minnesota comes into Williams Arena at 1-4 in the Big Ten, and 12-7 overall. Also tonight, the UW-Milwaukee women are hosting Wright State. And the UW-Parkside women-and-men are at home near Kenosha against Bellarmine. \
Only two Wisconsin schools are in action tonight in Division III college basketball. The Maranatha Baptist men-and-women travel to Dunbar to play Northland International.
University of Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker is among 25 mid-season candidates for the Wooden Award as the top player in men's college basketball. Media members selected the candidates, based on their performances so far this season. Going into last night's loss at Minnesota, Dekker -- a sophomore from Sheboygan Lutheran -- averaged 14 points and over six-and-a-quarter rebounds per game. He scored 20 last night against the Gophers. Dekker was also among 50 pre-season candidates for the Naismith Award.
Reggie Hearn of UW-Whitewater and Sarah Stecker of Oshkosh are the WIAC men's-and-women's basketball players-of-the-week. Hearn, a senior forward, had 16 points in a Warhawk victory over UW-Platteville. He also had 11 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Superior. Stecker, a senior center, scored a career-high 26 points in 26 minutes for Oshkosh in an overtime home win over Stevens Point. She also scored 11 against UW-Stout. The WIAC also recognized Tyler Green of Eau Claire and Ashley Kuechle of River Falls in men's and women's hockey -- Stephen Hanko and Sara Zemanovic, both of La Crosse, in swimming -- Justin Bublitz and Tessa Kahring both of La Crosse, in diving -- and Tyler Schneider of La Crosse in wrestling.
Wisconsin athletes claimed three-of-the-four weekly swimming-and-diving honors in the Horizon League. William Poelmans of UW-Green Bay was the men's swimmer-of-the-week. K.J. Heger and Rachel Margis, both of UW-Milwaukee, were named the men's-and-women's top divers. Poelmans won the 200-individual medley and the 100-breast-stroke against Valparaiso -- and he took first in the 200-and-500-freestyles against Indiana-Purdue-Indianapolis. He also helped the Phoenix win the 400-medley relay against IUPUI. Heger and Margis both won the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events for UWM against IUPUI and Chicago last weekend.
UW-Milwaukee junior Simbi Laaro is the Horizon League women's indoor track athlete-of-the-week. Laaro set a new school record in the 60-meter dash last weekend at the John Tierney Invitational, with a time of seven-point-five-oh seconds. It broke her own mark that she set in 2012.
Austin Stueck of the Milwaukee School of Engineering has been named again as the men's basketball player-of-the-week in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. It's the second straight time he's won the honor, and the third in the past four weeks. Stueck, a sophomore forward, topped the 20-point mark in all three of his games last week while shooting 55-percent from the floor, and 56-percent from three-point range. Bethany Dorrington of Aurora received the women's honors for the week. The NACC also named Jerome Rhodes of Milwaukee Engineering as the men's indoor track-and-field athlete-of-the-week. Rhodes set a new league record in the high jump at 2.03 meters
Forbes Magazine says the Milwaukee Bucks are the least valuable of all 30 NBA teams. In its annual financial review of the league, Forbes estimated the value of owner Herb Kohl's franchise at $405-million. It listed an operating profit of $11-million dollars. That's not a surprise, after Kohl said the Bucks were making "a little money" when he recently said he was looking for more local investors who would keep the team in Wisconsin. Forbes says the most valuable NBA team is the New York Knicks, worth an estimated $1.4 billion dollars.
Seven members of the University of Wisconsin's football recruiting class are starting their freshman years early. Three linebackers, two offensive linemen, a quarterback, and a safety began their first UW classes yesterday. They'll all be eligible to practice for the Badgers this spring. That includes inside linebacker Chasen Andersen from Logan Utah, son of Badgers' coach Gary Andersen. He missed most of his senior year of high school with knee injuries, and he committed to Wisconsin before taking this past season off. Andersen was released from his national letter-of-intent at BYU so he can rejoin his family, which moved from Utah State after the coach replaced Bret Bielema last year. Of the six other Badger newcomers, three are from Wisconsin -- offensive lineman Jaden Gault of Cottage Grove, inside linebacker Matt Austin of Fond du Lac, and outside linebacker Justin Schweitzer of Silver Lake. The others are quarterback D-J Gillins of Jacksonville, safety Austin Hudson of Tampa, and offensive lineman Michael Deiter of Curtice Ohio.
The Milwaukee Admirals' leading scorer has been promoted to the NHL's Nashville Predators. Taylor Beck was called up by the Admirals' parent club, after Milwaukee's 3-2 home win over Toronto last night. Beck's been hot lately, with three goals and eight assists in his last nine contests. He's had 11 goals and 16 assists in 35 games for Milwaukee this season. Beck played in two games for Nashville last November. He made his NHL debut with the Predators last March, and stayed with them for the remainder of the regular season.
In the NBA... Milwaukee 104, Detroit 101
In men's college basketball... Minnesota 81, Wisconsin 68
UW-Green Bay 83, Oakland 69
UW-Stevens Point 76, UW-Platteville 61
UW-La Crosse 88, UW-Whitewater 83
UW-River Falls 92, UW-Superior 73
UW-Oshkosh 64, UW-Eau Claire 32
Ashford 71, UW-Stout 69
Saint Norbert 76, Beloit 56
Lake Forest 75, Carroll 64
Ripon 95, Lawrence 81
Wisconsin Lutheran 73, Concordia-Wisconsin 69
Lakeland 88, Milwaukee School of Engineering 64
Marian 67, Edgewood 63 in overtime
Elmhurst 73, Carthage 70
In women's college basketball... Carthage 71, Elmhurst 33
UW-Whitewater 84, UW-La Crosse 75
UW-Oshkosh 58, UW-Eau Claire 45
UW-Platteville 67, UW-Stevens Point 63
UW-Superior 58, UW-River Falls 48
Saint Norbert 73, Beloit 48
Ripon 60, Lawrence 36
Lake Forest 65, Carroll 60
In boys' high school basketball... Fond du Lac St. Mary's Springs 49, Omro 42
Kettle Moraine 70, Waukesha West 65
In girls' high school basketball... Milwaukee Destiny 100, Milwaukee Bay View/Lifelong Learning 16
Mequon Homestead 58, West Allis Central 33
Waukesha West 39, Kettle Moraine 36