Rays player gets hit by pitch, faints on the field

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Rays player gets hit by pitch, faints on the field

From Comcast SportsNet
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- A scary situation involving Tampa Bay second baseman Will Rhymes overshadowed another strong outing by Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson. Rhymes left in the eighth inning of the Rays' 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night after being hit by a pitch near his right elbow. While standing at first base he gestured that he wanted to come out of the game, took a couple of steps and collapsed into the arms of first base coach George Hendrick. Trainers worked on Rhymes in the coach's box before he was assisted to a utility cart and left the field. The Rays said Rhymes briefly fainted, but that he is fine, remained at the ballpark for X-rays on his arm and was not taken a hospital. "He got kind of rubber-legged right there," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "That stuff hurts. I know it's in the arm, but that can definitely take your breath away. It was described to me as kind of an adrenalin rush that caused that reaction." X-rays were negative and the team said Rhymes is day to day with a bruised right forearm. Hellickson pitched six solid innings and Luke Scott had a tiebreaking sacrifice fly as Tampa Bay snapped the Red Sox's five-game winning streak. "Hellickson's change up made that fastball look like it's a 100 (mph)," Boston manager Bobby Valentine said. Hellickson (4-0) allowed one run and five hits en route to winning a career-best sixth consecutive decision, dating to Sept. 4. He struck out six and walked two. After Jake McGee and Joel Peralta both threw a scoreless inning, Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 12th save. Clay Buchholz (4-2) gave up two runs and six hits over five-plus innings for Boston. Buchholz, who took a grounder off his foot during the sixth, had allowed four or more runs in all seven of his previous starts this season. "No," said Buchholz when asked if the foot was an issue. "I think it was more after I came out. It's a little sore. It's nothing (to worry about)." Matt Joyce opened the sixth with an infield single that went off Buchholz's leg. He went to third on a single by Carlos Pena. Andrew Miller replaced Buchholz and gave up Scott's sacrifice fly that put Tampa Bay ahead 2-1. Red Sox right fielder Cody Ross appeared to have problems with the roof on Scott's shallow fly. "I wasn't really planning on going until I saw Cody Ross kind of backpedal," Joyce said. "The Trop can be tough sometimes for outfielders. It's hard to see the ball when you're not used to it. He started backpedaling. As an outfielder, I know it's hard to get a lot on your throw and make a really good throw when you're on the heels of your feet and backpedaling. I took a shot and it worked out." The Rays, winners of four straight, loaded the bases with two outs later in the sixth, but Miller struck out Elliot Johnson on a 3-2 pitch. Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the second when Buchholz was called for a balk on a pickoff move to first with runners on the corners and two outs. Pena, who had a leadoff single, scored on the play. "I was going to go third to first, and my cleat sort of got caught," Buchholz said. The Red Sox wound up with three balks overall. "Crazy," Valentine said. Daniel Nava's fourth-inning RBI single got Boston even at 1-all. Valentine said left-hander Felix Doubront, who was hit on the ear by a ball during batting practice Tuesday, was cleared to make his start Thursday. Meanwhile, Boston left-hander Rich Hill left the field after being struck by a ball in batting practice before Wednesday night's game. The team said Hill is OK. NOTES: Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey (right thumb) is set to resume throwing next week. ... Boston 3B Kevin Youkilis (lower back) started a rehab assignment as the DH with Triple-A Pawtucket and could play in the field Friday. ... Valentine doesn't believe RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (right elbow), scheduled to start for Pawtucket Thursday, is close to pitching in the majors. ... Rays 3B Evan Longoria (left hamstring) took batting practice, but has not started running. ... Red Sox LF Carl Crawford (left wrist) could start swinging a bat next week. ... The Rays acquired OF Rich Thompson from Philadelphia for minor league OF Kyle Hudson.

Dennis Rasmussen looks to build off experience

Dennis Rasmussen looks to build off experience

The Blackhawks’ offseason moves have once again left holes, especially among the forward lines. Considering the experience Dennis Rasmussen gained last season, he could certainly grab the third- or fourth-line center spot.

But Rasmussen isn’t going to pencil in anything yet.

“I don’t really think that way. I always think I have to play as good as possible to earn a spot, and that’s what I think this year, too,” said Rasmussen on Day 3 of Blackhawks training camp. “But it’s really up to me. I have to play well to earn my spot here. That’s what I’m trying to focus on.”

After trading Andrew Shaw, Teuvo Teravainen and Bryan Bickell this offseason, the Blackhawks will be looking for several players to step up and fill voids. Center is one of those spots, and Rasmussen played 44 games there with the Blackhawks last season. Rasmussen spent the long offseason prepping for this campaign, focusing on one thing in particular.

“I always try to work on getting faster, that’s the part of my game I can really improve,” he said. “I can improve everything. But especially getting quicker, that’s what I’m trying to focus.”

Anything else Rasmussen has to do to take that next step?

“I think he’s got to be a little more proactive than reactive out on the ice,” Blackhawks assistant coach Mike Kitchen said. “Kind of be a little bolder in different areas whether it’s in the offensive zone if you’re down between the hash marks, hey, try and take a guy on 1-on-1. But if you’re a neutral zone, you got to be a little more responsible. If you got to pick up the wide winger and come back and play good defensive hockey, that’s what you’ve got to do.”

Rasmussen showed that when he made his NHL debut last season. The Blackhawks recalled him in early December, when they were looking to bolster their bottom six; any offense added was a bonus. He scored three of his four goals in his first seven games – his first came in his NHL debut vs. Nashville.

“He can make more things happen out there,” Kitchen said. “I think he understands that too because he wants to do whatever it takes to make the team.”

Rasmussen wants to be part of this group. He gained some great experience last year, and he hopes it serves him well in trying to get that roster spot this season.

“It was great for me. I got to play a lot, think I played in some important situations sometimes and I was really happy with last year. It gave me a lot of confidence, a lot of experience too,” Rasmussen said. “So hopefully I can bring that into this year.”

Let's speculate: Could Les Miles come back to the Big Ten?

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Let's speculate: Could Les Miles come back to the Big Ten?

Les Miles was fired Sunday after 12 seasons as the head coach at LSU.

Miles has an awesome resume: a 114-34 record with 62 SEC wins, plus a national championship in 2007 and another trip to the national title game in 2011. Seven of his 12 seasons ended with double-digit wins, and two of them ended in SEC championships.

So he's sure to be a hot commodity when teams look to fill not-yet-existent head-coaching vacancies this offseason.

As far as we're concerned here in Big Ten Country, though, will a Big Ten program be able to land the Mad Hatter as a high-profile splash?

Miles is a Big Ten product, remember. An Ohio native, he played for Bo Schembechler at Michigan and later coached under Schembechler and Gary Moeller as a Michigan assistant from 1987 to 1994. He has familiarity with the conference and the recruiting grounds.

It's all pure speculation right now, as it's quite possible there will be no openings in the conference when the regular season wraps in late November. But if we were to project which Big Ten programs might be looking for new coaches this offseason, could we find a spot for Miles?

The obvious team that might be parting ways with its current head coach is Purdue. Darrell Hazell has had almost no success running the Boilermakers, currently with a 8-31 record in three-plus seasons and a grotesque 2-22 mark in Big Ten play. That's usually enough for a tenure to come to an end, but is it too much losing to keep Purdue from being an attractive choice for the free agent Miles? Certainly we've seen high-profile coaches take jobs at less-than-power programs before, particularly after wearing out their welcome at their previous spot of employment. Lovie Smith just surprised by taking a job at Illinois after a long career as an NFL head coach. Perhaps Purdue can use similar tactics — new athletics director Mike Bobinski just started his tenure and would surely like to make a splash — and of course there's all that Big Ten TV money that should make competitive pay no problem at all.

But there will more than likely be other suitors from bigger programs and ones with more storied traditions. Could one of them be Penn State? James Franklin is only in Year 3 in Happy Valley, but the Valley isn't so happy at the moment, with the Nittany Lions getting crushed by Michigan on Saturday to show just how big the gap currently is between the top of the Big Ten East Division and Penn State. Bill O'Brien worked wonders in the immediate years after the Jerry Sandusky scandal had such a big effect on the program, but Franklin's continued reclamation effort isn't going too swimmingly in that ultra-competitive division with 7-6 records in each of his first two campaigns. There's certainly a case to be made for giving Franklin more time, but college football fans (and athletics departments) aren't famous for their patience. The tradition and profile of Penn State would have to be attractive to Miles, who dealt with a high-profile environment at LSU, and if the university is real serious about getting the Lions back to the top of college football's heap, bringing in Miles — and his track record of recruiting success — would do it, at the very least from a public-relations standpoint.

And then there's the obligatory mention of Michigan. Michigan? Jim Harbaugh is just in the second year of his tenure and seemingly has a lifelong title set up as the King of Ann Arbor. But should Harbaugh, who's had great success turning the Wolverines around in lightning-quick fashion, head back to the NFL, that would create an opening. Who better to fill that hypothetical vacancy than another Michigan Man in Miles? Miles has had his name linked to Michigan before, of course, with the obvious connection sparking speculation when the Wolverines needed to find replacements for Lloyd Carr, Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke. There's no indication Harbaugh's going anywhere, of course — we're in speculation land, remember? — but because it's Miles, the possibility has to be at least addressed.

It's all a guessing game at this point, and there are sure to be other high-profile openings around college football that will become speculative destinations for Miles, not to mention other job titles that aren't "head coach." But it'd be something to see him join the Big Ten's already-loaded roster of head coaches.