Afternoon Sports Brief - Hart is willing but knee could hold him backWisconsin Sports
-- Milwaukee Brewers’ right fielder Corey Hart says he’ll start playing minor league games at Spring Training on Wednesday.
Milwaukee Brewers’ right fielder Corey Hart says he’ll start playing minor league games at Spring Training on Wednesday. That’s nine days before the regular season begins – and Hart conceded that he might not be ready for Opening Day on April sixth at home against Saint Louis. Hart is coming off surgery to fix a torn meniscus in his right knee. If he’s not ready to face the Cardinals in almost two weeks, Hart said he could play in the next series at Chicago unless the weather’s too cold, and then he would definitely be ready for the following series at Atlanta. Today is the first day that teams can back-date players on the disabled list, so the players miss as few regular season games as possible. If Hart misses the opener, he says he could play full games at AAA Nashville to get some at-bats in.
Chris Narveson will start this afternoon as the Brewers play Cleveland in a Cactus League exhibition in Surprise Arizona. Narveson, a left hander, is 0-1 this spring with a 2.70 ERA. He’ll face Indians’ right-hander Justin Masterson, who’s 0-2 while giving up just over seven and a half earned runs every nine innings. The Brewers are 9-12-2 in this month’s exhibitions. And with only a week and a half of Spring Training left, manager Ron Roenicke says he’d like to see the Brewers be more aggressive on base paths. He said it would create more runs, put pressure on the Brewers’ opponents, and build more confidence in his team. So far this month, Milwaukee has had a large number of suicide squeeze plays but they haven’t done much more on the base paths. Roenicke says players are working on their swings in the early part of Spring Training and he wanted them to get comfortable at the plate before starting to do so more things on offense. Roenicke believes his team can steal more bases and advance runners better than a year ago. He says the lineup is deeper and somewhat quicker than in 2011.
Marquette men’s basketball senior Jae Crowder was named this afternoon to the AP’s All-American second team and Wisconsin senior Jordan Taylor was named an honorable mention. Crowder averaged 17 ½ points per game for the Golden Eagles this season, with almost 8 ½ rebounds and just over two assists. Taylor averaged 15 points, four assists, and four rebounds. His honorable mention came after Taylor had been named a second team All- merican a year ago. Crowder and Taylor both led their respective Marquette and Wisconsin teams to the NCAA Sweet 16, but both lost in the regional semi-finals last Thursday night.
The Milwaukee Bucks have only lost two of their last 14 games against New York and a win tonight in the Big Apple is crucial to the Bucks’ playoff hopes. A loss would drop Milwaukee 2 ½ games behind the Knicks for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 17 to play. Knicks’ star Carmelo Anthony says it’s a huge game for his team, as well. New York has had four straight blow out wins at Madison Square Garden since Mike Woodson became the Knicks’ interim coach. But Woodson says the Knicks must cut down on their turnovers. They average 16 ½ giveaways per game , one of the worst rates in the NBA. And the Knicks had 22 miscues on Saturday night but still crushed Detroit 101-79. Meanwhile, Bucks’ point guard Brandon Jennings is still getting used to his new backcourt mate, Monta Ellis. Both players have averaged around 14 points in the five games they’ve played together. The Bucks were blown out at home on Saturday night by Indiana, 125-104. But Milwaukee has won five straight on the road, the Bucks’ longest such streak since February of 2010.
A block in the nation’s capital has been renamed in honor of Green Bay Packers’ legend Willie Wood. The Hall of Fame safety from the 1960’s “Glory Years” teams now suffers from dementia as well as from lingering football injuries. The Friends of Family of Willie Wood has raised funds to cover his medical bills and they asked officials in Washington DC to add Wood’s name to the block on “N”-Street where he grew up. The group is also trying to get Wood recognized for a number of firsts such as being the first black head coach in the Canadian Football League. Wood was a star football player for Armstrong High School in Washington DC. He played his college ball at Southern California and he won two Super Bowl rings with Green Bay in the ’60’s.