Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Brewers putting distance on their NL Central rivalsWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Brewers have never had a seven-game division lead this late in the season – until now. The Brewers have won 18-of-their-last-20 contests, including their last five in a row. And they’ve started to run away with the National League Central, after being in third place as recently as July 26th.
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Brewers have never had a seven-game division lead this late in the season – until now. The Brewers have won 18-of-their-last-20 contests, including their last five in a row. And they’ve started to run away with the National League Central, after being in third place as recently as July 26th.
Outfielder Mark Kotsay says the Brewers have found their identity. The veteran backup says the pitching staff is leading the way, and the offense is scoring just enough to win. That’s exactly what happened last night, when Yovani Gallardo kept Milwaukee in a 1-1 tie until the ninth – when Kotsay hit a walk-off single to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Brewers have only scored eight runs in their last four games – but they’ve won all of them, thanks to the pitching staff. Milwaukee has only given up 32 in their last 15 home games – and they won all but one of them. Manager Ron Roenicke says that any time a game is close, his team believes it’s going to win. The Brewers have the Majors’ best home record at 46-15. They’re playing the Dodgers again tonight. Right-hander Zack Greinke faces LA rookie right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.
Brewers’ minor league right-hander Mark Rogers is done for the season. And he’s expected to undergo surgery for carpel tunnel syndrome in his right wrist. The Brewers were hoping to put off the matter until the end of the minor league season in early September. But he was shut down after another recent rough outing for Class-“A” Brevard County. Rogers will see a hand specialist on Friday before making a final decision on his possible surgery. Carpel tunnel has been a problem for Rogers since May. He threw just 44-and-a-third innings in the minors this season with a bloated ERA of nine-point-five-four. The right-handed Rogers was Milwaukee’s first-round draft pick in 2004. But his development has been held up by two shoulder surgeries, among other injuries. Rogers’ only appearances with the Brewers were in September of last year. He appeared in four games and started two, with no record, 11 strikeouts in 10 innings, and a one-point-eight-oh ERA. He was a candidate to be in the Milwaukee rotation if a starter got injured like Zack Greinke did. But Rogers couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity, because of a stiff shoulder. He was at Triple-“A” Nashville when he developed his carpel tunnel. He was then sent down to Brevard County to try and work out his problems.
Green Bay Packers’ defensive end Mike Neal is considered day-to-day after hurting his left knee at practice yesterday. Neal underwent an MRI this morning, and McCarthy said the second-year pro seems to be doing fine. The Packers have practiced with full pads the last three days – and they’ll lighten things up tomorrow before playing the Arizona Cardinals on Friday night in the Lambeau Field exhibition opener. The emphasis is expected to be on the younger players in tomorrow’s workout. McCarthy said the coaches were still deciding on playing time for the year’s second pre-season contest. But he expects about the same ratio as in the past – with the starters perhaps going into the second quarter.
Packers’ backup offensive tackle Chris Campbell will be out for about two more weeks, after he had surgery for a torn meniscus in one of his knees. Campbell has been out since the Packers’ Family Night scrimmage on August sixth at Lambeau Field. He was on Green Bay’s practice squad last season. Campbell’s agent, Joe Linta, did not say when Campbell had his knee operation.
The Class-“A” Midwest League returns to action tonight after taking yesterday off. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers open a series at Peoria. And the Beloit Snappers play at Western Division-leading Kane County. The Cougars have a one-game lead over Quad Cities in the second half, with Beloit at seven games back and Wisconsin at nine off the pace. Dayton leads the East by five games over Lansing, Fort Wayne, and Great Lakes. Quad Cities plays at Clinton tonight. Burlington hosts Cedar Rapids. Dayton is at home against Great Lakes. Lansing is at Bowling Green. Fort Wayne hosts West Michigan. And Lake County opens a series at South Bend.
Yahoo Sports said Green Bay Packers’ corner Sam Shields was one of 72 University of Miami football players to get improper benefits from a booster convicted in a Ponzi scheme. Nevin Shapiro’s activities are the focus of an NCAA investigation into the Miami football program. Shapiro is serving 20 years in prison after being convicted in June of running a 930-million-dollar Ponzi scheme. According to the Yahoo report, Shields received a 42-inch flat-screen TV from Shapiro – along with VIP access to night-clubs, and food-and-entertainment at Shapiro’s six-million-dollar mansion in Miami Beach. Yahoo Sports quoted Shapiro as saying he struck a friendship with Shields after he and Javarris James visited his mansion. He said Shields loved the booster’s big-screen TV’s – so he arranged to give the player a 42-incher from his step-brother, who’s a representative for Toshiba. Meanwhile, the AP said University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez and his family had filed claims totaling a million-dollars against an investment firm operated by Shapiro. The University of Miami and the Miami Heat pro basketball team also filed claims for large amounts of money. Shapiro reportedly had a 10-year relationship with the school, led by former UW-Madison Chancellor Donna Shalala.