Spencer back but Brown on track to remain LG starter

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Spencer back but Brown on track to remain LG starter

The injury casualties this season may have an unintended but crucial benefit for the 2013 Bears.
 
Veteran Chris Spencer went down with a knee injury in the loss to Seattle. Edwin Williams was moved into Spencers spot at left guard but played poorly enough at Minnesota that undrafted free agent rookie James Brown replaced Williams.

READ: Packers' Woodson out for Sunday
 
Now Spencer is back practicing but strong indications are that the Bears think they have a nugget in Brown, who is expected to start Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
 
We like James, said offensive coordinator Mike Tice. Hes a big guy. When he hits you in the pocket, you stay hit. We anticipate James being in the mix this week.
 
MORE: What's the Bears' record? Don't worry, Lovie's got that information handy.

When a coach specifically alludes to an offensive linemans physicality, consider that a lineup tell.
 
Spencer had lost his job after the first Green Bay game and got back into the lineup as something other than just a short-yardage tight end only when Chilo Rachal failed completely in San Francisco.

MORE: Marshall says it's "personal" this week with Green Bay
 
What Brown also brings is a little more size to the line not weight (306), but height, something coach Lovie Smith wants in offensive linemen. Spencer and Williams are 6-3. With Brown, the Bears have 6-7 JMarcus Webb, 6-7 Gabe Carimi and 6-6 Jonathan Scott starting, with only center Roberto Garza (6-2) shorter than Browns 6-4.

Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft

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USA TODAY

Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft

The Chicago Fire drafted three players in the first two rounds of the MLS draft on Friday and added another two players in the draft's final two rounds on Tuesday.

The Fire selected two players out of Charlotte in the final two rounds. Midfielder Brandt Bronico went with the third pick in the third round, No. 47 overall, and defender Matej Dekovic was picked with the third pick in the fourth round, No. 69 overall.

Bronico was a key cog all four years at Charlotte. He was a three-time First-Team Conference USA selection and Conference USA Player of the Year as a senior. He totaled 25 goals and 23 assists in four years, including nine goals and five assists in 18 matches as a senior. He had eight goals and 10 assists as a junior.

Bronico also scored an eye-catching goal on the final day of the MLS Combine.

Dekovic is a defender born in Zagreb, Croatia. He was a First-Team Conference USA pick this fall while playing at left back. The Fire don't have much depth currently at outside back, but Dekovic's status as an international player will give him an uphill battle to make the team.

The Fire open preseason camp in six days on Monday, Jan. 23.

White Sox prospect Michael Kopech fires a 110 mph max velocity throw

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USA TODAY

White Sox prospect Michael Kopech fires a 110 mph max velocity throw

It's no secret that White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech throws hard.

Acquired in the trade that sent ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox, Kopech was clocked throwing a pitch 105 mph last July while pitching for the Salem Red Sox.

But that's nothing compared to what the No. 4 right-handed pitching prospect in baseball did on Tuesday.

Granted, Kopech was throwing an underload baseball (which he confirmed in a response to the original tweet), but 110 mph is 110 mph.

The White Sox would settle for a few miles per hour less on the mound, but either way it looks like they've got a good one.