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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Brewers in Boston for the Red Sox's home opener

BOSTON -- The Milwaukee Brewers will watch the Boston Red Sox collect their 2013 World Series' rings, before the two teams play each other this afternoon in the Sox' home opener.  Right-hander Marco Estrada will start for the Crew -- and he says it will quote, "stink" watching the Red Sox' ring ceremony.  In Estrada's words, "It's a special moment for them -- but for us, it's just another day."  He says the Brewers will say congratulations, and start pursuing the same thing.  The Crew is not off to go a start, batting just .184 in its first three games while going 1-and-2 at home against Atlanta.  Boston is 2-and-1 so far, after a one-run victory at Baltimore yesterday while the Brewers were off.  Right-hander Jake Peavy will start for the Bo-Sox this afternoon.


Lots of things are driving the Wisconsin men's basketball team as it gets ready for this weekend's N-C-A-A Final Four.  Forward Sam Dekker said one motivator was last year's early exit from the national tournament.  The Badgers were eliminated in their opening game in the Round-of-64, losing to Ole Miss 57-to-46.  Dekker said he and his teammates went to work last summer, to prevent such a fate from happening again.  Now, the U-W is in its first Final Four since 2000, and the first in coach Bo Ryan's 13 seasons in Madison.  The Badgers held a closed-door practice yesterday, getting ready to play Kentucky tomorrow night in a national semi-final.  The winner will face either Florida or U-Conn on Monday night for the championship.  Today, the Badgers will have a three o'clock public practice at A-T-and-T Stadium in Arlington Texas, where the tournament's final three games will be played.  The Florida-Connecticut semi-final is up first tomorrow, just after five p-m.  The Badger-Kentucky game is set for around 7:50 tomorrow night on T-B-S.  It's been an entertaining tournament, as evidenced by the T-V ratings.  Games have averaged almost ten million viewers, the highest in 21 years.


Former U-W Stevens Point stand-out Jordan Zimmermann missed his first start of the year for the Washington Nationals yesterday with flu-like symptoms.  Manager Matt Williams said the right-hander from Auburndale felt fine on Wednesday evening.  But by early yesterday, Zimmermann was vomiting and felt sick to his stomach.  The skipper said he was given recovery fluids, and was sent home to the nation's capital to get some rest.  Zimmermann could start today, when the Nationals play their home opener against Atlanta.  If he can't go, Williams said he would most likely go with a series of relievers.  Tanner Roark started in Zimmermann's place yesterday at New York.  He went six innings, giving up two runs in Washington's 8-2 victory over the Mets.  


Green Bay Packers' players will start their official off-season workouts on April 22nd.  Three sets of voluntary organized team activities will take place May 28th-through-30th, June third-to-fifth, and June 10th-through-13th.  A mandatory mini-camp is set for June 17th-through-19th.  Normally, fans can watch a few of those workouts.  That schedule has not been set yet.  Also, the Packers won't know when they'll start their Training Camp until the exhibition schedule comes out.  Camp normally begins about two weeks before the first pre-season game.


Fullback John Kuhn will return to the Green Bay Packers for an eighth season, with a much smaller salary.  Media reports say he'll get the veterans' minimum of 855-thousand dollars for a one-year deal, plus bonuses which raise his total pay above a million dollars.  Kuhn averaged two-and-a-half million per season in a three-year contract that just ended.  Fullbacks are said to be a dying breed in the N-F-L, but the Packers still use a traditional fullback in many of their offensive sets.  Kuhn averaged 20 snaps a game last year, and he did not allow a quarterback pressure play.  For his Green Bay career, Kuhn has 488 rushing yards, 478 receiving yards, and 20 touchdowns -- plus seven T-D's in the post-season.  


In golf, Steve Stricker of Madison is tied for 18th after the opening round of the P-G-A's Shell Houston Open.  Stricker shot a four-under-par 68 yesterday.  He's three strokes behind co-leaders Bill Haas and Charley Hoffman, on the Tour's final tune-up before next week's Masters' tournament.


Wisconsin men's hockey defenseman Frankie Simonelli has signed a pro try-out contract with the N-H-L's Boston Bruins.  He'll join the Bruins' top minor league affiliate at Providence in the American Hockey League.  Simonelli was the Badgers' captain as a senior this past season.  The blue-liner played in 151 straight games for Wisconsin, while missing only two contests during his college career.  Simonelli scored 16 goals with the Badgers, with 45 assists and 63 total points.