WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Packers still searching for return man
GREEN BAY - After cutting Jeremy Ross on Monday, the Green Bay Packers are continuing their search for a new primary kickoff-and-punt returner.
Yesterday, the Packers brought in B.J. Hill of the Indoor Football League's Green Bay Blizzard for an audition. The Pack also gave bye-week tryouts to players at other positions -- running back Orwin Smith of Georgia Tech, defensive back Darren Woodward from Texas-El Paso, and nose tackle Chigbo Anunoby from Morehouse. Hill has been a standout with the Blizzard -- which plays across Oneida Street from Lambeau Field at the Resch Center. The 27-year-old Hill scored touchdowns on 13 of 166 returns over the past four seasons. He also caught 40 passes for a dozen touchdowns. He has never played in the NFL. The Packers are trying to avoid using Randall Cobb too much at the kick return spots. There's still a chance the Packers could look within their roster to somebody like rookie running back Johnathan Franklin.
Aaron Rodgers says his sideline argument with Packers' coach Mike McCarthy last Sunday was two competitors letting their frustrations boil over. That's how both men described their exchange -- which shown on the TV broadcast of last Sunday's Green Bay loss at Cincinnati. On his ESPN-Milwaukee radio show yesterday, Rodgers said both men put the argument behind them right away. It started after Rodgers could not find an open receiver on third-and-goal at the Bengals' three-yard line -- so he rolled out and was stopped at the one, forcing Mason Crosby to kick a field goal with the Pack down 14-0 at that point. McCarthy was visibly upset after the play -- and as the coach argued with Rodgers, B.J. stepped in and pushed McCarthy away. Randall Cobb, meanwhile, kept a check on Rodgers. McCarthy said after Sunday's game that he called a play and Rodgers was frustrated by it. The coach said it didn't happen often and quote, "One every three weeks would be awesome." The Packers are on their bye this week. Their next game is October 6th at home against Detroit.
After a season of injuries, shaky pitching, and Ryan Braun's suspension, the Milwaukee Brewers will not finish last. The Crew locked up fourth place in the National League Central last night, after the Brewers and the last-place Chicago Cubs both lost. The Cubs have secured their third consecutive finish in the Central Division cellar, currently at 65-93. The Brewers are five-and-a-half games ahead of Chicago, as the regular season ends on Sunday. The Brewers have five games left, and the Cubs four. If Milwaukee can win three-of-its-final five, they'll avoid a 90-loss season. The Crew is 70-87, with the third-worst record in the NL at the moment. The Cubs are second-worst, and Miami will be the only National League team with at least 100 losses. They're at the 100-mark right now. Tonight, Kyle Lohse will start for the Brewers as they try to take 2-of-3 at Atlanta. Left-hander Paul Maholm starts for the East champion Braves. Milwaukee Brewers' starter Kyle Lohse has given up the most home runs in the National League this season with 26. He'll tried to be stingier tonight, when the Brewers play the rubber game of their three-game series at Atlanta. Lohse, a veteran right-hander, is 10-and-10 with the Crew this year. His ERA is just over three-and-a-half. Lohse needed 100 pitches to get through five innings last Thursday in a four-run loss to the Chicago Cubs. He's 0-1 in his last two road starts with a bloated ERA of 10.45 in those contests. Like Lohse, Maholm is 10-10. His ERA is slightly lower, at 4.44. Maholm pitched five-and-a-third innings last Friday in a no-decision against the Cubs. That's after he sat out for 12 days with elbow problems. Maholm is 4-11 lifetime against Milwaukee. That includes his years with Pittsburgh. The Brewers would avoid 90 losses if they could win three-of-their-final-five contests. Atlanta is still playing for home field advantage through the N-L playoffs, with a half-game lead over Saint Louis.
Emily Gary of Ripon College is the Midwest Conference volleyball player-of-the-week on offense. Gary, a sophomore middle blocker, averaged three-and-a-half kills per set with a total of 56 in last weekend’s Ripon Invitational. She also had seven digs, 12 blocks, and a pair of service aces as she was named to the all-tournament team. Kylea Weber of Cornell College in Iowa is the player-of-the-week on defense. The Midwest Conference also gave weekly honors to Dakota Pruitt of Carroll in Waukesha in men’s cross country. The senior took first place at the Beloit College Olde English Classic.
Former UW-Stevens Point star Jordan Zimmermann will go for his 20th win of the season this afternoon for the Washington Nationals, when they play at Saint Louis. Zimmermann, a right-hander from Auburndale, is the National League's final hope for having a pitcher with 20 victories. He could join Max Scherzer of Detroit as the only 20-game winners in both leagues. Zimmermann has not had much luck against his opponents today, the Cardinals. He's 0-3 lifetime against Saint Louis with a 9.40 ERA in six starts. But recently, Zimmermann has been solid on the mound. He has won all four of his starts this month, with a 2.25 ERA. He's coming off a two-hit shutout against Miami last Friday, when he struck out nine Marlins. Zimmermann has personal highs this year in wins, innings pitched with 206-and-a-third, and strikeouts with 159. He also has a career-low in walks-and-hits per innings pitched, with 1.10
The National Hockey League has suspended Madison area native Phil Kessel for the rest of his team's exhibition season. The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without Kessel for three games, after he slashed John Scott of Buffalo twice and then gave him a spear in a game last Sunday. It triggered a bench-clearing brawl, in which Toronto's David Clarkson was suspended for 10 games after the regular season begins. NHL vice-president Brendan Shanahan said Kessel had a clean record, and that's why he got off easier than his teammate Clarkson. Shanahan said Kessel was acting in self-defense -- but the league also pointed to a Kessel slashing incident against Philadelphia as previous evidence of similar behavior. Kessel was a high-school star at Verona before he starred for one season in college at Minnesota. The 25-year-old Kessel is starting his eighth NHL campaign, and his fourth with Toronto.
Jim Rollefson of Franklin has been eliminated from the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship in Cashiers, North Carolina. He lost in yesterday's Round-of-32 to David Szewczul of Farmington Connecticut 4-and-3. Szewczul also defeated George Zahringer of New York later in the day, to advance to a quarter-final that was delayed by rain late this morning.