Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Packers hold final public workout this seasonWisconsin Sports
-- Head Coach Mike McCarthy said the Green Bay Packers ended an “extremely competitive” training camp this afternoon.
GREEN BAY - Head Coach Mike McCarthy said the Green Bay Packers ended an “extremely competitive” training camp this afternoon.
The Packers held their final public workout before practicing behind tarps for the regular season. McCarthy said the team had some quote, “unusual injuries” early at camp, and fatigue was hurting some of the Packers later on. But for the positions that were open, McCarthy called the competition “outstanding.” Players on the bubble will get one more chance to prove themselves on Thursday night, when the Packers host Kansas City in their exhibition finale. Most starters will play just one series, if that – and the rest of the game will be devoted to auditions. McCarthy said he urged the bubble players to quote, “Make a statement,” and “define yourself” against the Chiefs. And the coach told them to quote, “Answer a question that’s out there about you.” McCarthy said running back Alex Green has been on a play-count at practice, as he gets over a torn ACL knee ligament from a year ago. And he said running back James Starks would not play on Thursday along with at least four other injured Packers – corner Davon House, tackle Andrew Datko, tight end Tom Crabtree, and linebacker Rob Francois. McCarthy said Starks was coming along slowly from his injuries – and he has not made a lot of progress during camp.
It appears that the Green Bay Packers have plans for injured offensive tackle Derek Sherrod. He was not one of the 10 players that were cut or placed on an injured status yesterday, when the Packers reduced their roster to this week’s NFL limit of 75. Sherrod is still recovering from a broken right leg he suffered last year. Because he has not passed his physical for this season, the Packers can still place him on the reserve physically-unable-to-perform list. But that means he would have sit out for six weeks at the very least, once the regular season begins. The Packers will make their final roster cuts on Friday, and Sherrod – the team’s first-round draft choice a year ago – could go on the “PUP” list then. But yesterday’s non-move gives Green Bay another four days to decide what to do.
The road has become a lot friendlier to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Crew is 3-1 on its current seven-game road trip, with a combined score of 28-13. Nine of Milwaukee’s runs came in the ninth inning last night, when the Crew hit its first back-to-back-to-back homers in almost five years. Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, and Corey Hart did the honors, as the Brewers pounded the Chicago Cubs 15-4 at Wrigley Field. Game-Two of the four-game Cub series is tonight on Chicago’s North Side – and the Brewers hope to continue to make their 1-14 road stretch after the All-Star break a distant memory. While it’s true that the Brewers have been pounding on a weak Cubs’ roster, they also took 2-of-3 at the home of a Wild Card playoff contender at Pittsburgh. The Pirates are three games back for one of two National League Wild Cards. A pennant run is nearly impossible for the Brewers at this point, but they can still salvage a winning season. Milwaukee is just seven games below .500 at 60-67, with 35 games to go. Brewers’ right-hander Yovani Gallardo will go for his sixth straight win tonight against Cubs’ left-hander Travis Wood – who’s 0-7 in his last eight outings.
Carlos Gomez made Brewers’ history on Sunday, when he homered and stole two bases at Pittsburgh. According to Stats Incorporated, Gomez became the first Brewer ever to achieve the feat twice in the same season – and he almost did it again last night in Chicago. Gomez belted his 14th homer of the year, and stole his 27th base, in Milwaukee’s 15-4 pounding of the Cubs. Hall-of-Famers Paul Molitor and Robin Yount are the only other Brewers to homer and steal two bases in the same game at least twice in their Milwaukee careers.
In women’s tennis, Wisconsin Lutheran is the coaches’ preseason favorite to win the Northern Athletics Conference title this fall. A year ago, Lutheran earned its first berth in the NCAA Division III tournament, while going 17-11 and winning the league tourney. Wisconsin Lutheran brings back four all-NAC players, including Kaitlyn Strehlow – who was the league’s player-of-the-year in 2011. She went 24-3 in singles’ play last season. Edgewood is picked to finish second this year, followed by Concordia-Mequon, Dominican, and Marian.
Olympic tri-athlete Gwen Jorgensen will be inducted next month into her high school alma mater’s “Wall of Fame.” The former University of Wisconsin Badger swimmer and distance runner will be immortalized at Waukesha South High School, where she graduated in 2004. Jorgensen finished 38th in her first Olympic triathlon in London a month ago. She and two others will be honored in an induction ceremony on September seventh. Also being named to the Waukesha South Wall-of-Fame are Doctor Conrad Andringa, the team physician for the 1976 Olympic hockey team – and Lieutenant Alfred Gorham, who graduated in 1938 and became a Tuskegee Airman.
Yovani Gallardo has posted victories in his last five starts – and he’ll go for Number-six tonight when the Milwaukee Brewers play the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The right-handed Gallardo has become the ace of the Milwaukee pitching staff after Zack Greinke was traded a month ago. Gallardo has gone seven innings in each of last five outings, while giving up just two earned runs for every nine frames. He’s 13-and-8 overall with a 3.62 ERA. In his last start, Gallardo gave up two runs on four hits in seven innings of a 3-2 Brewers’ victory over the Cubs last Wednesday at home – and that was after he had just returned from tending to his ill mother. The Cubs will send left-hander Travis Wood to the mound tonight. He’s 4-10 with a 4.76 ERA. Wood also went up against Gallardo last Wednesday, and he gave up three runs in seven innings. He’s been in a major slump lately, going 0-7 in his last eight starts with a 7.09 ERA during that stretch. Still, Brewers’ slugger Ryan Braun has high praise for Wood, saying he throws a good cut fastball that’s tough to hit. Braun had both a homer and a single in the ninth inning last night, when the Brewers scored nine times and crushed the Cubs 15-4.
Despite the hand injury that kept him out for two-and-a-half months, Jonathan Lucroy can still have a banner year for Milwaukee. He’s batting .332 – which ties Bill Schroeder for the highest season batting average by a Brewers’ catcher. Schroeder, who’s now the Brewers’ TV analyst, accomplished his feat in 1987. David Nilsson batted .331 in 1996, and .309 in ’99. Ted Simmons is fifth on the list with a .308 average in 1983. Those numbers are based on a minimum of 200 plate appearances at the catchers’ primary positions.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will close out their Midwest League series at Peoria tonight. The Rattlers lost 7-3 in central Illinois last evening. The Beloit Snappers will wrap up their series at Cedar Rapids, after the Snappers won an 11-to-8 slug-fest. Also tonight, Clinton hosts Quad Cities. Kane County is at home against Burlington. Bowling Green plays at South Bend. West Michigan is at Dayton. Lake County plays at Great Lakes. And Lansing is at home against Fort Wayne. Clinton can win the second-half Western Division crown tonight, after securing at least a tie for the title last evening. With seven games to go, Clinton has a seven-game lead over second-place Burlington. In the East, Bowling Green has a four-game edge over Lake County with seven left. Fort Wayne is five games back in third.
University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema says he expects freshman running back Vonte Jackson to sit out the year with a red-shirt. Jackson enrolled at UW-Madison in January, after he graduated early from Kenosha Bradford High School. Bielema had thought Jackson could be an immediate contributor on special teams. But the coach said on his Madison radio show this morning that he’ll probably delay his first year of eligibility until next season. Jackson would have had a difficult time competing for playing time at running back this year, with four other rushers on the Wisconsin roster – Montee Ball, James White, Melvin Gordon, and Jeff Lewis. The Badgers are getting ready for their season opener on Saturday in Madison against Northern Iowa.
Brittany Groth of UW-Green Bay has been named the Horizon League’s defensive volleyball player-of-the-week. Groth, a senior libero, had 72 digs in nine sets last week. That included a Green Bay school-record 29 digs in a three-set loss to Auburn. That broke Groth’s own record of 26 digs set in 2010. Anna Eytchison of Loyola was named the player-of-the-week on offense.
Ryan Wehking of UW-Green Bay is the men’s defensive soccer player-of-the-week in the Horizon League. The senior goal-tender recorded his 20th career shutout, when the Phoenix blanked Northern Kentucky over the weekend. Wehking broke a Green Bay school record for shutouts. The 20 blanks are the ninth-highest in league history. Also, Ivan Stanisavljevic of Illinois-Chicago is the men’s offensive player-of-the-week. Nora Abolins and Kaitlyn Quarrell, both of Detroit, won the women’s weekly soccer honors.