WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Kuhn signs one-year deal with Pack
GREEN BAY - You won't miss the crowd yelling "Koooooon" when the Green Bay Packers play this fall. Free-agent fullback John Kuhn signed a one-year contract today to stay with the Pack.
His agent says the deal is worth just over a million dollars when bonuses are added in. Kuhn will be 32 in September. He's been with Green Bay for seven years as a key blocker, and a short-yardage rushing specialist -- especially near the goal line. Kuhn has 488 rushing yards in a Green Bay uniform, with 478 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns. Last season, he did not allow a pressure on the quarterback.
The Green Bay Packers are the only NFL team not to sign a pure unrestricted free agent from another club since the signing period began over three weeks ago. General manager Ted Thompson has made a little more noise than in past years, by signing defensive linemen Julius Peppers from Chicago and Letroy Guion from Minnesota. Those players were released by their old teams, and the Packers have still not pulled an active free agent from another organization since March of 2012 when New Orleans' defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove signed with Green Bay. Last year's failure to sign other free agents resulted in the Pack getting two additional draft picks for next month -- one for losing Greg Jennings to Minnesota, and another for losing linebacker Erik Walden to Indianapolis. Green Bay now has nine total picks in the May draft.
With 159 games left, the Milwaukee Brewers say it's way too early to panic over their lack of hitting. The Brewers have batted just .184 this week, scoring a total of four runs in their opening three-game series against Atlanta. Milwaukee batters struck out 17 times in 87 at-bats, with a paltry on-base percentage of .237. Aramis Ramirez was the bright spot, with a game-winning two-run double on Opening Day and three of the four R-B-I's in the series. Ryan Braun was just 1-for-11. Carlos Gomez belted a lead-off homer on Tuesday night, but he fanned four times in 10 at-bats during the series. Manager Ron Roenicke says he expects the Brewers to score a lot -- and he'll be disappointed when they don't. Roenicke said the Crew did not hit a lot of balls hard, and they'll have to keep plugging away. Outfielder Logan Schafer says he's certain the Milwaukee offense will click. In his words, "We'll figure it out." The Crew's next chance is tomorrow afternoon, when they provide the opposition for Boston's home opener.
The Milwaukee Brewers are off today, while they get ready to face the defending World Series champion Red Sox in Boston this weekend. Meanwhile, fans are still buzzing about yesterday's 1-0 Brewers' home loss to Atlanta -- in which both starters took no-hitters into the seventh inning. Matt Garza took the hard-luck loss, but he still made history. He was only the second Brewers' pitcher ever to throw at least eight innings in his Milwaukee debut, while giving up two or fewer hits. The other one to achieve that was Steve Woodard, who gave up a hit in eight innings against Toronto in July of 1997. Had Garza completed his no-hitter, it would have been the second of his career -- and the second in the Brewers' 45-year history. Juan Nieves threw the Crew's only other no-no at Baltimore in 1987.
The Class-"A" Midwest League will open its season tonight, with both Wisconsin teams in action. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers continue their affiliation with the Milwaukee Brewers. They'll host Peoria this evening at Fox Cities Stadium near Appleton. The Beloit Snappers, the lower Class-"A" affiliate of the Oakland A's, will host Burlington. Elsewhere this evening, Cedar Rapids will debut at home against Clinton. Kane County plays at Quad Cities. Fort Wayne hosts Great Lakes. West Michigan is at Dayton. And South Bend plays at Bowling Green.
UW-Oshkosh senior Nazar Kulchytskyy (cul-chit-skee) has been named the NCAA Division III's Wrestler-of-the-Year. D3wrestling.com gave the 157-pound grappler its top national honor for the second year in a row. Kulchytskyy was also named the WIAC's wrestler of the year, after he won his third straight title at the recent NCAA meet. He went 41-2 on the season, after pinning Dimitry Boyer of Coe College in Iowa in his national title match. Kulchytskyy was also named the NCAA's Most Dominant Wrestler for the past season. He led the nation with almost five-and-a-quarter points per match.
Madison golfer Steve Stricker is tuning up for the Masters, by playing in the P-G-A's Shell Houston Open which is getting underway. Stricker is scheduled to begin his first round at 12:50 this afternoon. He's only been in a couple of events this year, as he continues the limited schedule he began a year ago to spend more time in Wisconsin with his family and charity work. Stricker is the only Wisconsin golfer in this weekend's field. The Masters begins a week from today at Augusta National.