Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Bielema says no to recruting PSU playersWisconsin Sports
-- University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema said today he would not try to recruit Penn State’s players to the Badger program, in the wake of Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
CHICAGO - University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema said today he would not try to recruit Penn State’s players to the Badger program, in the wake of Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.
At the annual Big Ten pre-season meetings in Chicago, Bielema said it would go against what he called a conference brotherhood to pull away Penn State’s players. If a player contacted the UW first, Bielema said he would consider him – but he doubted that such a transfer could take place for this fall, with pre-season camp just a few days away. On Monday, the NCAA imposed a host of sanctions on the Nittany Lions, including a ban on post-season play for the next four years. But current players and incoming freshmen were allowed to transfer without having to wait a year – and Penn State coach Bill O’Brien has been battling to keep who he has. Coaches from Illinois were on the Penn State campus this week. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Purdue coach Danny Hope said they would not rule out recruiting Penn State personnel.
The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team announced its non-conference schedule today. Coach Bo Ryan’s Badgers will face five teams that joined Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament this past spring – California, Florida, Creighton, Virginia, and Marquette. The Badgers will play only one exhibition game, November seventh at home against UW-Oshkosh. Their regular season opens November 11th at home against Southeastern Louisiana – and they’ll be at Florida three days later. The Badgers also said they would open against Creighton at the Las Vegas Invitational on November 23rd – and Wisconsin will face either Arizona State or Arkansas the next night. Ryan will face former assistant Tony Bennett on November 28th when Wisconsin hosts Virginia in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The Badgers will also play at Marquette on Dec. 8, UW-Green Bay at home on December 12th, and UW-Milwaukee at home three days before Christmas.
Martin Maldonado will stay with the Milwaukee Brewers as their back-up catcher, now that starter Jonathan Lucroy is about to return. This morning, the Brewers designated back-up George Kottaras for assignment. Kottaras struggled at the plate after having a fine April, and he’s now hitting just .209 with three homers and 12 RBI’s in 86 at-bats. He was rumored to be on the trading block with the Major League trade deadline just five days away – but apparently, nothing’s in the pipeline. The assignment status means the Brewers have 10 days to trade Kottaras, release him, or let him accept a minor league job. Kottaras has been with Milwaukee for two-and-a-half seasons, after he was claimed off waivers from Boston. Maldonado played his way to a continued roster spot with Milwaukee, batting .275 with five homers and 19 RBI’s in 153 at-bats. The Brewers officially recalled Lucroy from the disabled list, after he broke his right throwing hand in late May. He’s expected to start tonight against Washington at Miller Park.
Meanwhile, the Brewers made a move to bolster their bullpen. They confirmed a Twitter report today, and called up right-handed reliever Jim Henderson from Triple-“A” Nashville. It’s his first Major League stint after a decade in the minors, and he’s a strong season for the Sounds with a 4-3 record, 15 saves, and a one-point-six-nine ERA. To make room for Henderson, the Brewers sent infielder Jeff Bianchi back to Nashville. Bianchi was 0-for-12 in his stint with the Brew Crew.
Yovani Gallardo hopes to turn things around tonight, when the Milwaukee Brewers host the Washington Nationals in the opener of a four-game weekend series. Gallardo gave up four runs in the first inning last Saturday, when he took a 6-2 loss at Cincinnati. But the right-hander has won his last three home decisions. And he’s 8-and-7 overall, with a three-point-seven-two ERA. The Nationals will send right-hander Edwin Jackson to the mound. He’s 5-and-6 with a 3.73 ERA. Jackson struck out nine in seven innings last Saturday – and while he took the loss, it was a lot better than his three previous appearances when he had a combined ERA of over 10-and-a-half. The fourth-place Brewers are trying to end a season-long six-game losing streak, while the Nationals are coming off a sweep of the New York Mets. Washington is a season-high 19 games above .500, and they lead the National League East by four-and-a-half games over Atlanta. Milwaukee has won 14-of-its-last-21 at home. But the Nationals are tied with the Braves for the Majors’ best road record at 30-20.
There’s a full schedule in the Northwoods League tonight, as play resumes after a three-day All-Star break. The Wisconsin Woodchucks are 15-2 in the second half, and they’ll host the Green Bay Bullfrogs in Wausau. The ‘Chucks lead the South Division by two games over Madison, and six over both La Crosse and Lakeshore. Madison plays at Wisconsin Rapids this evening. Lakeshore is at Eau Claire. And La Crosse is at home against Battle Creek. In North Division play, front-running Duluth opens a series at Willmar. Mankato hosts Alexandria. Waterloo plays at Rochester. And Saint Cloud is in Canada to face Thunder Bay. Duluth is 12-7, and it leads the South by one-and-a-half games over both Willmar and Mankato.
Green Bay Packers’ inside linebacker Desmond Bishop hurt one of his calves while training recently. And that’s why he didn’t pass his physical yesterday. Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy said the team will be very cautious with Bishop, especially after he had problems with both his calves a year ago. The coach updated reporters on Bishop’s situation, after the Packers held their first practice of training camp this morning. McCarthy said the team had a crisp practice for its debut – and he didn’t catch anyone terribly out of shape. Also, McCarthy said the quarterbacks handled the ball better than normal for a first camp practice – and he didn’t see anyone fumble. Meanwhile, the Packers confirm they’ll go with younger players to replace safety Charlie Peprah, who was cut yesterday. McCarthy said the Packers went over all their options after Peprah met with doctors following his off-season knee surgery. The coach said there would be a lot of competition for the job. Second-year pro M.D. Jennings is among the candidates. McCarthy said Jennings had a strong off-season, and he showed good fundamentals. The coach also said he’s excited about the development so far of first-round outside linebacker Darren Perry.
Packer fans can hear a lot from Mark Tauscher this year. The former long-time Green Bay offensive tackle has been hired by WTMJ Radio and TV of Milwaukee to provide commentary on their statewide network broadcasts. Tauscher will be on the Packers’ pregame and post-game radio shows this season. And he’ll appear on TV before the exhibition games which are produced by WTMJ of Milwaukee and the Packers’ preseason TV network. Tauscher is a native of Auburndale, near Marshfield. He played his college ball at Wisconsin, and he played 11 seasons in Green Bay, ending in the Pack’s 2010 Super Bowl year.