WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Brewers try to salvage split with Cubs in afternoon tilt
CHICAGO - The Milwaukee Brewers are resting two big hitters this afternoon, as they close out their four-game series against the Cubs in Chicago.
Manager Ron Roenicke has given both Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez the day off. Braun has reportedly had a recent flare-up of a nerve problem in his right hand. Mark Reynolds was penciled into the lineup at third base -- and with a right-hander on the mound, the Brewers were going with the left-handed hitting Lyle Overbay at first, and Gerardo Parra in left. Veteran Edwin Jackson was the starter for Chicago, and Mike Fiers for Milwaukee in place of the injured Matt Garza. Fiers is 1-1 in two stints with Milwaukee this season, with a 1.80 ERA. He was called up almost a week ago to replace injured starter Matt Garza -- and Fiers responded by throwing eight scoreless innings in a victory over the LA Dodgers last Saturday night. The right-hander Jackson will try to give the Cubs their eighth straight quality start. He's 6-8 with a 5.61 ERA. The Brewers should find out before the game's over whether they can at least maintain their one-and-a-half game lead in the National League Central. Second-place Pittsburgh was playing at Detroit this afternoon, with the first pitch an-hour-and-a-quarter before the Brewers' start time of 1:20 p.m. at Wrigley Field. The Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs are 6-6 against each other this year. The Brewers have dropped three of their last four games, while the Cubs have won 10-of-16.
In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are hosting Clinton again tonight. The Rattlers are coming off a 6-2 loss to the Lumberkings last evening near Appleton. The Beloit Snappers will host Cedar Rapids once more, after falling to the Kernels 6-1.
Green Bay Packers' coach Mike McCarthy says he'll wait until tomorrow to decide how much receiver Jordy Nelson will play on Saturday at Saint Louis. McCarthy told reporters that Nelson is on track to practice tomorrow, after he sat out last week's exhibition loss at Tennessee with an injured hamstring. McCarthy also had words of praise today for second-year center J.C. Tretter. He's pushing for the starting center after Evan Dietrich-Smith left for Tampa Bay. McCarthy said Tretter is off to a great start at Training Camp -- and he played well last week against the Titans. The coach also said he's glad to be playing under the dome in Saint Louis, where it should be easy to evaluate players after last week's downpours in Nashville.
The Packers' safeties coach wants to make it clear that Morgan Burnett still has a starting job. Four other candidates are providing some real competition for the two safety slots. But assistant Darren Perry says Burnett is a leader of the Green Bay defense who provides strong communication to his teammates when he's on the field. Burnett sat out for the better part of two weeks at Training Camp with a bad ankle -- and Perry said his unit's mental errors went up when Burnett wasn't on the field. The coach said Burnett's "standard operating procedure" is to communicate checks-and-coverages to others in his unit. In the meantime, Micah Hyde, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Sean Richardson, and Chris Banjo are competing for spots in the Packer secondary. Hyde has been starting with Burnett, with the others in specific coverage units for passing downs.
Vince Young -- who tried making a comeback with the Green Bay Packers a year ago -- has taken a job with his college alma mater. The University of Texas hired Young this morning for a job in community relations and fund-raising. He'll make 100-thousand-dollars a year in that post. Young was a hero with the Longhorns, winning the national championship at quarterback in his final college game. Young spent five seasons with the Tennessee Titans and played three games with Philadelphia in 2011. He has not played in an N-F-L regular season game since then -- even though he tried with Green Bay at last year's training camp. The Cleveland Browns signed Young in May, but he was cut after the Browns drafted rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel. Last year, Young earned a bachelor's degree from Texas in applied learning and development. He'll work in programs that support first-generation college students, and those from low-income families.
Pewaukee native Mark Wilson is the only Wisconsinite playing in the PGA's Wyndham Championship. It's getting underway this morning in Greensboro, North Carolina, and it's the final event before the Fed-Ex Cup playoffs begin next weekend. Wilson shot a one-over-par 71 in his first round and was tied for 75th as the afternoon groupJerry Kelly of Madison was going to play at Greensboro, but he decided to take a week off to get a little fresher for the playoffs. On the Senior Champions Tour, no Wisconsinites are in the field for the Dick's Sporting Goods Open. That 54-hole tournament begins tomorrow in Endicott, New York.
The University of Wisconsin women's soccer team is projected to finish second in the Big Ten Conference this fall. That's according to a pre-season poll of the league's coaches. Penn State is the favorite to win the title. The Badgers placed fifth last season with a conference mark of 5-5-1. Wisconsin returns ten starters from a year ago, including sophomore Rose Lavelle who was the Big Ten's Freshman-of-the-Year last season. Three Wisconsin players were listed by the coaches as players to watch this year -- Lavelle, Cara Walls, and Genevieve Richard.
Four-time defending champion UW-Whitewater is the pre-season favorite to win yet another WIAC women's soccer crown. That's according to a poll of the league's coaches and sports information directors. Whitewater had a school-record 17 victories a year ago. Junior Jenna Woodson, the league's offensive player-of-the-year from 2013, is one of nine returning players for the Warhawks. They're ranked 19th in a national pre-season coaches' poll. UW-Oshkosh is picked to finish second, and Eau Claire third.
The top yacht racers in the Midwest are competing in Oshkosh. Over 400 sailors and 100 boats are taking part in the Inland Lake Yachting Association's Championship Regatta. The four-day competition began today on Lake Winnebago. Sailors from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana are there. Bill Wyman of the Oshkosh Yacht Club says racers of all skill levels are part of the event -- from the America's Cup level on down.