Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Fielder to make over $15 million in final year before free agencyWisconsin Sports
-- Prince Fielder will make $15-and-a-half million in what could be his final season with the Milwaukee Brewers. The big first baseman avoided salary arbitration today by signing a one-year contract – the final year before he’s due to become a free agent.
MILWAUKEE - Prince Fielder will make $15-and-a-half million in what could be his final season with the Milwaukee Brewers. The big first baseman avoided salary arbitration today by signing a one-year contract – the final year before he’s due to become a free agent.
Fielder is getting a five-million-dollar raise, despite hitting just .261 last season with 32 homers and an .878 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. General manager Doug Melvin said he’s gone nowhere in its his efforts to sign Fielder to a multi-year contract – so he focused on a one-year deal instead. Also today, Brewers’ left-hander Manny Parra avoided arbitration by signing a a one-year deal worth one-point-two million dollars. Second baseman Rickie Weeks is also eligible for salary arbitration, along with pitchers Shaun Marcum and Kameron Loe. If they don’t agree to contracts today, each side will propose salary figures in advance of possible arbitration hearings next month. The Brewers have said they’re working on a long-term deal with Weeks.
Green Bay Packers’ corner Tramon Williams is being heralded for his interceptions the last two weeks. He picked off a Michael Vick in the end zone to seal the Packers’ Wild Card victory at Philadelphia. And Williams had two INT’s in Saturday night’s rout at Atlanta – one of which he returned for a 70-yard touchdown which put Green Bay up by two touchdowns at the half. Williams says he’s been watching a lot more film this season, with the help of All-Pro corner Charles Woodson. And it’s helping him out immensely as the Packers get ready to play at Chicago in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. Williams, a fourth-year pro, said about half his picks were the result of film study – and the rest came off his instincts. He said the touchdown was solely based on his film work. Williams said he recognized the situation, and expected Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan to throw to Roddy White. Williams said he baited Ryan for a short time, and then he broke forward in front of White. Williams said he learns more and more about his position each year.
The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team will not see Indiana guard Maurice Creek when the Hoosiers play in Madison on Thursday night. The sophomore Creek is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his right patella. He was injured last Saturday when Indiana beat Michigan at home. Creek was averaging just over eight points a game, after he missed all of last year’s Big Ten season with a broken left knee-cap. Creek was averaging 16-points a contest when that injury took place. Indiana is 1-4 in the Big Ten and 10-8 overall. They’ll play an 18th-ranked Badger team that’s 3-2 in the league and 13-4 overall.
Frank Zombo appears to be the only injury concern for the Green Bay Packers, as they head into the NFC Championship Game on Sunday at Chicago. Zombo, a rookie linebacker, has missed five games with a knee injury. Coach Mike McCarthy said Zombo would get more tests today – and it’s not certain whether he’ll take part in Green Bay’s next practice tomorrow. He was the only player mentioned in the coach’s injury report yesterday. The Packers are taking their normal Tuesday off. But McCarthy said at least 40 players would show up anyway for film study or other preparations for the Bears. Yesterday, the Packers were limited to meetings, and strength-and-conditioning work.
Brett Favre once admitted that he played for the New York Jets to get back at Packers’ GM Ted Thompson for not letting him unretire in 2008. But now, Favre says there’s “no bitterness” – and he tells ESPN’s Ed Werder that the Packers will quote, “win it all” this year. In an e-mail yesterday, Favre said Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the playoffs, and the Packers’ receiving corps is perhaps the best ever. Favre also added that the Green Bay defense and coordinator Dom Capers gets his MVP award at this stage. Favre played 16 seasons in Green Bay before his tense departure two-and-a-half years ago ago. The 41-year-old quarterback played 20 years in the NFL – 16 with Green Bay and his last two with Minnesota – before submitting his retirement papers to the league for a second time.
The Marquette University men’s basketball team will try to recover from a tough loss when it hosts DePaul tonight. The Golden Eagles are coming off a one-point defeat at Louisville last Saturday, in which they blew an 18-point lead in the final five-minutes and 44 seconds. Coach Buzz Williams said he wished his team could cry about it, but they need to learn from the experience and keep going. Marquette is 3-2 in the Big East, and 12-6 overall. They’ll host a DePaul team that’s 0-5 in the conference, and 6-11 overall. The Blue Demons have lost 40 of their last 41 Big East regular season contests. Their only victory came last January 20th against Marquette, when Mike Stovall hit the game-winning jumper with seven-tenths-of-a-second left. DePaul has a new coach this season – Oliver Purnell, who came over from Clemson.
In Division-Three, there’s a full men’s basketball schedule tonight in the Northern Athletics Conference. Concordia-Mequon will try to stay undefeated in league play when it hosts Lakeland College. Concordia leads the North Division at 8-0, with a one-and-a-half-game edge over Madison Edgewood. Edward Newton-Kemp of Concordia and Ben Wisniewski of Edgewood both surpassed the one-thousand-point scoring mark for their careers last weekend. Edgewood plays at Maranatha Baptist. In other NAC men’s games involving Wisconsin teams, Rockford is at Milwaukee Engineering. And Wisconsin Lutheran travels to Fond du Lac to play Marian. In women’s basketball tonight, Carthage hosts North Central in the CCIW. And two NAC teams will have non-conference games. Alverno is at Mount Mary. And Maranatha Baptist plays at Moody Bible College.
The University of Wisconsin men's hockey team is still ninth in this week’s men’s poll from U.S. College Hockey Online.com, even though the Badgers split a pair against Minnesota-Duluth last weekend. A 2-0 loss on Friday night ended Wisconsin’s seven-game winning streak. But the Badgers rebounded the next night, and they’re now 15-8-3 overall. Yale is still at number-one.
The Wisconsin women are still at number-one in their poll, after sweeping a pair from winless Saint Cloud State. The Badgers are 22-2. Cornell is second.
In Division-Three, the Saint Norbert men are still at number-two in their College On-line poll. Oswego of New York still holds the top spot. Both teams are 15-2. UW-Superior received votes, as did Stout and Eau Claire.
In the D-Three women’s poll, UW-River Falls is still second. The Falcons are 13-0-1. Stevens Point and Superior received votes. The Rochester Institute of Technology still leads the women’s poll.