Afternoon Sports Briefs - Braun, Brewers and bruises get day off to healWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Brewers are off today and that gives the team a chance to heal some of its bruises.
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Brewers are off today and that gives the team a chance to heal some of its bruises.
Milwaukee leads the Majors with 37 batters getting hit by pitches. The Brewers are on a pace to be plunked 99 times which would shatter the team record of 82 set in 2006. Only two Major League teams since 1900 have been hit by 100 or more pitches in a season, the 2008 Cleveland Indians with 103 plunks, and the 1997 Houston Astros with 100. Ryan Braun leads the Brewers by getting hit six times including one yesterday from San Diego’s Anthony Bass. The Brewers will open an Interleague series at San Diego tomorrow night.
In the Northwoods League, the expansion Lakeshore Chinooks have taken sole possession of first place in the South Division. The Chinooks, of Mequon, are 8-4 after beating Wisconsin Rapids yesterday 9-5. The La Crosse Loggers are alone in second-place at 7-5. That’s after the Loggers topped Green Bay 7-2. Battle Creek, the Wisconsin Woodchucks, and the Madison Mallards are all tied for third at 6-6. Battle Creek defeated Wisconsin 9-5 yesterday, while Madison edged Eau Claire 4-3. In the North Division, Mankato is now in first place at 9-3. Duluth and Waterloo are tied for second at 8-4. New series begin tonight in the Northwoods League. Lakeshore hosts La Crosse. Wisconsin is at home in Wausau against Madison. Green Bay plays at Wisconsin Rapids. Eau Claire is at Battle Creek. Mankato hosts Alexandria. Duluth is at home against Willmar. Rochester entertains Waterloo. And Thunder Bay hosts Saint Cloud.
The Class-“A” Midwest League is wrapping up the first half of its season this week. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have a four-game lead over the Beloit Snappers in the Western Division. And the Rattlers are scheduled to host the Snappers this afternoon, after winning 5-to-2 in 10 innings yesterday near Appleton. Wisconsin is seven games up on third-place Kane County – which lost to Peoria yesterday 4-to-1. Those two teams play again tonight at Peoria. Lansing has already wrapped up the Eastern Division first-half crown, with a nine-and-a-half game edge over second-place Bowling Green. Lansing closes out a home series with Lake County tonight, while Bowling Green plays at Dayton. Burlington will host Quad Cities tonight, after a 16-to-15 Burlington victory in 11 innings yesterday. Also, Fort Wayne hosts South Bend. West Michigan is at home against Great Lakes. And in the only other matinee today, Clinton is at Cedar Rapids.
The Green Bay Packers appear to have big things planned for second-year running back Alex Green. The front office has not shown an interest in re-signing veteran Ryan Grant – and the Packers did not choose a running back in the April draft. Green is recovering from knee surgery after he tore his left A-C-L in his rookie campaign. By the time the regular season begins, Green will have recovered for about 10 months. He says the Packers have shown they have faith in him – and he hopes he can show his worthiness when training camp begins in late July. If he’s clearly not ready by then, Green could go on the league’s physically-unable-to-perform list – but that means he would have to miss the first six weeks of the regular season. If the Packers don’t have Grant, third-year pro James Starks will be the featured back. They’ve also got second-year pro Brandon Saine, who had 18 carries and 10 pass receptions in his rookie year out of Ohio State. Marc Tyler and Du’ane Bennett have also practiced with Green Bay during its off-season workouts. Both were signed as undrafted rookies. And the Packers also have fullback John Kuhn.
Steve Stricker of Madison is still at No. 11 in the new World Golf Rankings released this morning. Stricker fell out of the Top-10 a week ago – and he spent this past weekend gearing up for the U.S. Open which begins on Thursday in San Francisco. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson is the only other Wisconsin player in the Open. He also took this past weekend off, and he remains at No. 39 in the new World Rankings. Jerry Kelly of Madison dropped four spots to No. 167, after he took a pass on the Fed-Ex Saint Jude tournament in Memphis this past weekend. Kelly is not competing in the U.S. Open. He dropped four spots to 130th in the Fed-Ex Cup season point standings. Stricker also dropped one spot to 22nd in the Fed-Ex point totals. Wilson remains at No. 16. Jason Dufner still leads the Fed-Ex standings, and Luke Donald remains atop the World Golf Rankings.