Visit to McCarthy's Hometown...........Kenny Mayne

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sheets Intends to Test Free Agency

Ben Sheets confirmed Tuesday that he has every expectation of testing the free-agent market this winter.

“That’s the direction I’m headed right now,” Sheets said. “You can’t invite yourself back.”

The Milwaukee Brewers’ staff ace referred to the club’s decision not to try to negotiate a new deal before or during the 2008 season. General manager Doug Melvin has said on more than one occasion that he preferred not to address Sheets’ contract status until after the season.

That decision was based in large part on the series of injuries Sheets suffered during the first three years of the four-year, $38.5 million deal he signed before the 2005 season. Melvin figured it was in the best interests of all involved to see how Sheets fared this season first before broaching a new deal.

Sheets is having the kind of year that every free agent-to-be covets. After tossing a complete-game four-hitter Monday night against Atlanta, he is 9-1 with a 2.59 earned run average through 15 starts, with a league-best three complete games.

Now, even if the Brewers came calling with a new offer, Sheets admitted that he probably wouldn’t listen.

“In all honesty, that would be pretty tough (not to test the market),” he said. “We’re getting pretty deep (into the season). It would be hard not to (test the market), especially when you start putting together a (big) year.”

The Brewers became skittish about another long-term commitment because Sheets has had so much trouble staying healthy. Beginning with a torn muscle behind his pitching shoulder in August 2005, it had been one thing after another, including various shoulder ailments, inner ear disorders and a finger injury.

After making 34 starts each year from 2002-’04, Sheets was limited to 22 in 2005, 17 in 2006 and 24 last season.

Asked how he felt about the decision not to negotiate, Sheets said, “You got it from the main man. My mind is always open to anything. That’s all I can say about it.”

Reported by Tom Haudricourt JSOnline

Friday, June 20, 2008

Taylor to Green Bay???

Green Bay Packers news has recently centered around the possibility of the trading for Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor.

General manager Ted Thompson has apparently been in contact with the Miami Dolphins about their interest in dealing the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

"Packers general manager Ted Thompson recently discussed Taylor with defensive coordinator Bob Sanders and defensive tackles coach Robert Nunn, who both coached Taylor with the Dolphins," reports Greg Bedard for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Both assistants have a fondness for Taylor and would undoubtedly be in favor of acquiring the 2006 NFL Defensive Player of the Year."

It's been an interesting offseason for Taylor and the Dolphins. After reports the contrary, the Dolphins have more recently said they're interested in having Taylor play for them in 2008. However, all signs point to the Dolphins having interest in trading him despite a recent press conference in which Taylor denied making trade demands. And none of the craziness even touches on Taylor's appearance on Dancing with the Stars.

The Dolphins were reportedly asking for a first round draft choice before April's draft, but reports seem to indicate that they're willing to trade Taylor for a second round choice now.

But will the Packers be willing to part with such a high draft choice?

"Thompson wouldn’t offer Oakland any more than a fifth-round pick last offseason for receiver Randy Moss, so it’s probably a long shot that he’d be willing to offer much more than that for a one-year player with a high salary," suggests Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

The Packers do have a little bit more need at the position now that Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is injured and Cullen Jenkins has been working more at defensive tackle due to injuries on the interior of the defensive line.

Perhaps the best case scenario for the Packers would be a mid-round draft choice and a player. With great depth, the Packers could afford to trade away one of their fringe players, but who could help the Miami Dolphins.

Bush Flirts with No-Hitter through 7 in Brewers Sweep of Jays

Say "Dave Bush" and "no-hitter" in any sports bar that was overwhelmingly occupied by Milwaukee Brewers fans and you would get laughed at before being forcibly removed from the establishment for mocking their team.

It's not as if those fans didn't want Bush to do it. It's just that he wasn't the likeliest candidate.

But that seemed to change around the end of the fourth inning Thursday afternoon as Bush continued to retire the Toronto Blue Jays in order. A rumble emerged with every out from the 35,173 fans at Miller Park who witnessed the Brewers' 8-7 victory to sweep the Blue Jays.

The magic disappeared in the eighth, when former Brewer Lyle Overbay broke up Bush's no-hitter, but it all became secondary when Milwaukee allowed six runs in the ninth inning to put the outcome in real jeopardy. Closer Salomon Torres was forced to enter the game and close Bush's third victory of the year.

But before that almost complete collapse, thoughts of a no-hitter were in everyone's head as the eighth inning got under way.

That's when Overbay, the man Bush was traded for in 2005, stepped to the plate and hit a 1-0 fastball toward leftfielder Ryan Braun.

Braun, knowing what was at stake, sprinted toward the sinking liner and dived - something he admitted he wouldn't have done if a no-hitter wasn't on the line - but he was well short. The ball bounced to the wall and Overbay ended up on third to break up Bush's unthinkable "no-no."

"I thought I had a chance off the bat, but it was slicing away," Braun said. "I did everything I could to try to get close. Obviously, with that situation I'm diving every time."

Bush reacted by slapping his glove with his bare hand. The crowd reacted by giving Bush a standing ovation.

"I knew if Braun was going to make the catch, it was going to be an outstanding play," said Bush, who took a no-hitter into the eighth during his rookie season with the Blue Jays in 2004. "I guess I'd rather give it up on a nice, clean line drive than maybe a ground-ball single."

Bush also lost the shutout later in the inning thanks to a single by Alex Rios that scored Overbay, who also received a standing ovation in his final at-bat in the ninth before he smoked a two-run homer over the center-field fence.

Bush was perfect through five innings until he walked Gregg Zaun to start the sixth. He had some nice plays behind him but none of those only-in-a-no-hitter anomalies.

Bush finished with eight innings pitched, two hits and one run allowed and just one walk, avoiding some of the wildness that has plagued him throughout this season.

While the no-hitter was still intact, it was not talked about in the dugout. Bush came in after every inning and retreated up the tunnel into an equipment room, as he always does when he pitches, and his teammates and coaches didn't speak a word about what was happening.

"When a guy's on a roll, you just leave him alone," pitching coach Mike Maddux said. "Anytime a guy's on a roll, you don't want to do anything to distract him. The baseball gods all say don't talk to a guy when something like this is happening.

"You got to listen to the gods."

For Bush, it was a thrill.

"It was exciting," Bush said. "I was obviously disappointed in the way it came out.

"I always know if I have guys on base or if I'm giving up hits. I'd say probably after the sixth that I actually started thinking about it, when the game's starting to wind down."

The offense gave Bush an eight-run cushion after five innings. Russell Branyan hit his 10th home run of the season, a three-run shot, and Prince Fielder picked up an odd one when he hit a ball into right that came to rest under the padding of the fence. Rios threw his hands up, looking for a ground-rule double, but Fielder kept running and made it home without a throw as the Jays objected that the ball should have been ruled dead.

But that lead evaporated in the ninth. After Overbay's home run cut the lead to five, Toronto loaded the bases before Joe Inglett crushed a grand slam to right off David Riske, who was making his first appearance since being activated from the disabled list.

"You have to trust your stuff and be aggressive," said Riske, who walked David Eckstein to load the bases. "That's what got me in trouble. I wasn't aggressive enough."

Even with those late follies, the day belonged to Bush, who pitches to contact, which typically doesn't translate to no-hit bids.

"Usually guys like that aren't (good candidates)," Bush said. "More often than not it's the guys who have overpowering stuff where they can get strikeouts when they need them and maybe have a better chance at it.

"But it's still hard to do. There aren't very many no-hitters, regardless of your stuff."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Redd Picked for Team USA for Beijing Olympics

Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Redd will be part of the U.S. Olympic basketball team, to be named Monday at a news conference in Chicago.

Olympic and National Basketball Association sources have confirmed that Redd will be named to the 12-man roster for the Beijing Olympics. The 28-year-old Redd has played with the Bucks for his entire career, after being chosen with the 43rd overall pick in the 2000 draft.

Redd earned his Olympic spot with a stellar performance last summer in the FIBA Americas tournament in Las Vegas, as the U.S. team qualified for the 2008 Games. Redd came off the bench to average 14.0 points, the fourth-highest mark on the team, and he shot 53% from the field and 45.3% from three-point range.

Jerry Colangelo, managing director of the U.S. senior national team, was impressed with Redd from their first meeting in 2005, when the Columbus, Ohio, native showed up in his sweats at Colangelo's hotel room and asked where he could change clothes. Redd then emerged in a suit and tie for his interview with Colangelo, who was charged with forming a deep pool of players for the three-year cycle leading up to the Beijing Olympics.

Bucks general manager John Hammond said today he had "no official word yet" but "it sounds like he has a great opportunity to make the team."

"It would be great for the city of Milwaukee, Bucks basketball and Bucks fans to have Michael on the team," Hammond said.

Redd will fill a role as a knockdown, three-point shooter, something the U.S. squad was lacking in the 2004 Olympics and the 2006 World Championships. The U.S. finished third in the Athens Olympics, posting a 5-3 overall record while Argentina won the gold medal.

Redd did not play in 2006 (he was married that summer) as the U.S. went 8-1 in the World Championships, losing in a semifinal game to Greece. But he got his chance in 2007 and immediately bonded with veteran point guard Jason Kidd and shooting guard Kobe Bryant as the U.S. posted an unbeaten record and claimed the gold medal in the FIBA Americas tournament.

Kidd confirmed his participation on the team on Wednesday.

"I have talked to Jerry Colangelo and I think they're announcing that on Monday," Kidd said. "I'm not supposed to say anything, but I talked to Jerry and I'm looking forward to participating. I think everybody who is participating has gotten a phone call in the last couple of days from Jerry Colangelo. I think it is pretty much set."

It is believed the final spot on the roster comes down to a decision between Detroit's Tayshaun Prince and New Orleans' Tyson Chandler. Others expected to be named on Monday are: Bryant, Kidd, Redd, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Earlier this week, Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups withdrew from consideration.

The team will be announced at 10 a.m. Monday at the National Italian Sports Hall of Fame in Chicago, the same place where Colangelo convened a meeting of basketball greats three years ago to discuss the future of the U.S. program.

The Bucks will have three players in the Olympic Games, with Redd being joined by China's Yi Jianlian and Australia's Andrew Bogut.

Hammond said he and Bucks coach Scott Skiles are planning to attend the Beijing Games to show their support for the team's players.

The Cleveland Cavaliers recently denied permission for center Zydrunas Ilgauskas to compete for the Lithuanian team in the Olympics, citing injury concerns.

"Of course you'd be concerned for the health and well-being of your players, but we're not in the same position as some other teams," Hammond said. "You have a healthy Mike Redd, and you have two younger pieces in Andrew and Yi, who can physically take the wear and tear of the Summer Olympics and be ready to go 100% once the season starts."

Despite the differences in rules between the NBA game and international brand of basketball, Hammond said the experience can benefit the Bucks players.

"I really believe this, anytime you're on the floor with the ball in your hand - whether an individual workout, team practice or game situation - and with something with the magnitude of playing for an Olympic team, it can only help you improve as a player," Hammond said.

The members of the U.S. team will participate in a mini-camp in Las Vegas on June 27-29. The team will reconvene in Las Vegas from July 20-25 and will play the Canadian national team on July 25 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The U.S. team will play tune-up games against Russia and Australia in Shanghai in early August and will open Olympic play on Aug. 10 against host China at the 18,000-seat Wukesong Indoor Stadium in Beijing.

Story from Charles Gardner, Bucks Blog JSOnline

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Report: Fielder Behind on Taxes

According to the Detroit News, Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder owes the Internal Revenue Service $409,149.

The report says the IRS filed the lien on Oct. 6, 2005, for unpaid income taxes. According to the lien, which you can read here, Fielder owes the money from 2003, the year after he signed his first contract with the Brewers and after he received a $2.4 million signing bonus.

Fielder and the Brewers were unable to agree on a salary for this season, so his contract was renewed at $670,000, up from $415,000 a season ago.

Fielder is not eligible for salary arbitration until next winter. The Brewers use a system to determine salaries for all players with less than three years of service time, including incentives for winning awards and placing high in the balloting.

The Brewers referred a call for comment to Scott Boras, who is Fielder's agent. Boras could not be immediately reached for comment.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ex-Packer Walker Found Unconscious in Las Vegas

Former Green Bay Packer wide receiver Javon Walker was found unconscious on a Las Vegas street, the victim of a robbery and brutal assault.

Walker was taken to a hospital and has what's been described as "significant injuries" including a fractured orbital bone. He told Las Vegas police that he was beaten and robbed early Monday of $3,000 in cash and $100,000 worth of jewelry in an incident along the Vegas Strip.

Walker told investigators that he was approached by at least two people, who put him into a car and beat him. Walker said the robbers took a watch, a necklace and other jewelry worth an estimated $100,000.

Walker was a first-round draft choice of the Packers in 2001 and had a big season in 2004, when he caught 89 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns.After a contract dispute with the Packers, Walker was traded to Denver in 2006. In that season, Walker caught 69 passes for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns.Walker, 29, has had three operations on his right knee. The last surgery was performed early last season.

It's been mostly downhill for Walker ever since leaving the Packers after threatening to hold out prior to the 2005 season. He enjoyed one good season with the Denver Broncos since, but has been injury-plagued for the most part.

He's now a member of the Oakland Raiders, and his status is unclear until more reports begin to trickle in regarding his incident in Las Vegas.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Twins Baker Strikes Out 4 in 1 Inning Against Brewers

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Minnesota starter Scott Baker struck out four in the third inning of Sunday's game with the Milwaukee Brewers, becoming the first Twins pitcher to accomplish the feat.

Baker started the inning by striking out Ryan Braun swinging, then got Prince Fielder to strike out, but the ball bounced far away from catcher Mike Redmond.
That allowed Fielder to easily reach first on the wild pitch. Baker then struck out Russell Branyan and Mike Cameron looking on three pitches apiece to end the inning.

"Somebody told me about it when we got in here. It's pretty crazy," Baker said after the game. "Those guys are pretty free swingers and that's the way it was. There's a first time for everything."

The last pitcher to accomplish four Ks in an inning was Brad Penny on Sept. 23, 2006, for the Dodgers against the Diamondbacks.

Baker was the first AL pitcher to do it since Kazuhiro Sasaki on April 4, 2003. Sasaki, pitching for Seattle, struck out four in a row in the ninth against Texas.

The Brewers won the game 4-2.

Story Courtesy of AP.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Ryan Gets His Raise

After winning a Big Ten title and advancing to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin basketball head coach Bo Ryan is getting a raise.

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents gave the go ahead on a pay raise that will increase Ryan’s salary from $950,000 to $1,175,000 beginning next season.

Wisconsin’s season ended with a 73-56 loss to the Davidson Wildcats in the Midwest Regional Semifinal at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich.

In addition to Ryan’s raise, UW-Madison athletic director Barry Alvarez will see his current salary of $600,000 increase to $750,000 for the 2008-09 school year, officially starting July 1.

Both raises will not be funded by the state, but rather from additional compensation agreements.

Story courtesy of Jon McNamara, Publisher

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Brewers Hanging Around in NL Central

Coming off an 8-1 homestand, the Milwaukee Brewers gained some ground trying to battle back to the top of the NL Central. After there hot homestand, the Crew dropped 2 out of 3 in Colorado and now face Houston tonight, who they previously swept at home.

The Brewers are 33-30 and 6.5 games back of the Chicago Cubs. Not a bad position to be in right now. The Brewers also have 10 games left against the Cubs with 7 of them at home.

Rickie Weeks was recently put on the 15-day DL with a sprained knee, after a collision with Colorado's Jeff Baker and a questionable take-out slide into second base. Weeks also has been the talk of recent trade rumors with Baltimore's Second Baseman Brian Roberts. Weeks is hitting .210 in 59 games this year and has battled injuries his whole career in Milwaukee.

Brewers recalled infielder / outfielder Hernan Iribarren from Class AAA Nashville to take Week's spot on the roster. Iribarren spent a brief time with the Brewers earlier in the season. In five games, he collected two hits in six at-bats (.333), including a double. In 49 games with Nashville, he was batting .273 with 15 RBI and 14 stolen bases.

Interim closer Salomon Torres, has been pitching great for the Crew, filling in for Eric Gagne who also is on the 15-Day DL. The question is what to do with Gagne once he's ready to come back. Torres is 4-1 with a 2.5 ERA and 7 Saves while filling in.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Green Bay RB Herron Foils Burglary With Bed Post

Green Bay Packers running back Noah Herron thwarted a would-be burglar by hitting him with a bed post during a break-in at his home.

Brown County Sheriff Dennis Kocken said Tuesday that the break-in happened late last Friday and the injured the intruder remained hospitalized but is expected to recover.

"Noah Herron used necessary, reasonable and justifiable force in protecting his life and property," Kocken said in a statement. "Herron, the victim in this random home invasion, is cooperating with law enforcement."

Herron, 26, missed all of last season with a knee injury.

Chief Deputy John Gossage said Herron called police at 11:19 p.m. Friday after he heard glass breaking in the lower level of his suburban Green Bay home. He said an unknown number of people had entered the house.

One of the intruders entered Herron's bedroom, and Herron hit the person with a post he had unscrewed from his bed, Gossage said. Herron was not injured.

The injured burglar was taken to a hospital, and a second suspect was arrested outside the home, Gossage said.

Stolen property and a vehicle believed taken earlier Friday from another home were found near Herron's home, Gossage said. The two people in custody are suspects in numerous burglaries and home invasions throughout Brown County, he said.

Pittsburgh took Herron in the seventh round of the 2005 draft out of Northwestern. The Packers signed him off the Steelers' practice squad in 2005.

Packers general manager Ted Thompson released a statement Tuesday, saying the team knew about the break-in and had no comment.

Story Courtesy of AP

Bill Hall Wants Out of Milwaukee

Hall's agent, Terry Bross, said Monday that he believes it would be best for both the Milwaukee Brewers and his client if Hall is traded to another club where he could play regularly.

Hall made it clear he was unhappy when the Brewers called up Russell Branyan from Class AAA Nashville on May 24 to platoon at third base. The right-handed hitting Hall was batting .158 against right-handed pitchers at the time, prompting the Brewers to summon the left-handed-hitting Branyan to share the position.

A .262 career hitter against right-handed pitchers before 2008, Hall felt unfairly singled out after switching positions several times in recent years at the club's bequest. Manager Ned Yost stopped short of calling it a strict platoon, but Hall has not started against a right-handed pitcher since Branyan arrived.

"If Billy's not going to be an everyday player, it's probably best for him and the team to be traded," Bross said. "They could get a pitcher for him that would really help the team. I'm sure there are some teams out there that could use a third baseman or shortstop."

Bross indicated he had not formerly requested a trade from Brewers general manager Doug Melvin. Hall said he preferred to be moved to another club but left it to Bross to do the talking on that subject.

"(Bross) knows how I feel," Hall said.

Melvin said he spoke with Bross after Branyan was called up but did not discuss the possibility of a trade.

"I didn't get the impression then (that he wanted a trade)," Melvin said. "I don't look at it like (Hall should be traded). Billy's still a very helpful player on the club against left-handed pitching. We haven't talked about (a possible trade)."

Hall, 28, filled in for injured shortstop J.J. Hardy in 2006 and had his best season, slugging 35 homers and driving in 85 runs, earning team MVP honors. After agreeing to move to center field last year, Hall was given a four-year, $24 million contract, at the time the biggest deal in club history for an everyday player.

Packers Middle LB Dilema

When the Green Bay Packers are forced with trimming their roster down to 53 players in early September, they could face some tough decisions at middle linebacker.

The Packers currently have four middle linebackers that might deserve to be playing on Sundays, but unfortunately only one can play at a time.

A lot can happen between now and September, but right now the Packers have Nick Barnett, Desmond Bishop, Abdul Hodge, and Danny Lansanah all pushing for playing time.

Barnett is coming off his best season in the NFL at middle linebacker, and there's no reason to think he won't be the starter come opening day. At the very least, there's plenty of competition to keep Barnett sharp once training camp opens. Plus the Packers look to have a viable backup if anything should happen to Barnett.

The top backup as of this moment is Bishop. With Barnett gone from this past Thursday's OTA practice, Bishop has been getting plenty of repetitions with the No. 1 defense too. And according to reports, Bishop has impressed.

"Linebacker Desmond Bishop, who was playing middle linebacker with the No. 1 defense in place of the absent Nick Barnett, got his hands on another pass but couldn't haul it in," reports Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

One of the toughest battles of training camp will be between Bishop and Hodge. It appears Hodge is the healthiest he's been in years, and will be pushing for playing time.

"The former third-round draft choice says his troublesome knees are in their best shape since his junior season at the University of Iowa," writes Mike Spofford of

Fans will remember the impact Hodge made at the beginning of his rookie year before injuries slowed him down. Being a first day draft choice, there's hope that he can regain the form of his college days and early in his rookie year.

Bishop spent a lot of time learning the outside linebacker positions last year in a reserve role. So perhaps the biggest compliment Hodge could possibly get is if the Packers decide to move Bishop to the outside full-time to Hodge could be the primary backup.

Flying in under the radar may be Lansanah who likely happens to be the crown jewel of dozen or so undrafted rookies the Packers signed after the draft. An All-Big East first team selection, it was surprising Lansanah wasn't drafted after a stellar career at Connecticut.

One key for Lansanah, as well as for Bishop and Hodge, will be special teams play. If any one of them is going to secure a roster spot, they're going to be competing with guys like Tracy White who make their living off becoming special teams demons.

If there happens to be an injury to any of the players at the mike linebacker position, the Packers are covered. But it's doubtful the Packers will keep all four of them. It will be a battle to watch in August.

Story Courtesy of Railbird Central

Monday, June 2, 2008

Briscoe takes Milwaukee Mile

It's amazing what can happen in a week. Take for example Ryan Briscoe. Last week he became famous after crashing into Danica Patrick on pit row at the Indy 500. A week later he was in victory lane in West Allis at the Milwaukee Mile.

Briscoe maneuvered his way through an amazing crash sending one car airborne in Milwaukee. "All of a sudden I'm seeing smoke in front of me and I'm seeing cars flying. I think I would have been in tears if I would have been hit."

Briscoe went on to say, "since Indy and the incident . . . the one thing I always said was I wanted to put it in the past and move on. There's no better way to do that than win here on the following weekend."

Briscoe became the 15th Indy-car driver to win for Team Penske, the second of them after the four-time Indy winner Mears (June 1978) to collect his first at the Mile.

Briscoe also gave the team its 300th victory in all forms of racing.