Tom Bradley officially out at Penn State

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Tom Bradley officially out at Penn State

From Comcast SportsNet
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Longtime defensive coordinator Tom Bradley is officially leaving Penn State. The veteran assistant under former coach Joe Paterno wasn't expected to be retained by new Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien. On Friday, Bradley posted on his Twitter account that he finished packing up his office late Thursday night. "Walked out the doors proud with a lot of great memories and friends and a better man," Bradley wrote. O'Brien named six members of his new Penn State staff on Thursday, with more announcements possible Friday. O'Brien retained two veteran assistants under Bradley from the previous staff, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden. Among the newcomers to Happy Valley is assistant head coach Stan Hixon, the former receivers coach with the Buffalo Bills. The leader of the Linebacker U. defense since 2000, Bradley had served as interim head coach the season's final four games following Paterno's dismissal on Nov. 9. Penn State defenses under Bradley were typically one of the best in the Big Ten, if not the country. Bradley worked 33 seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater. He interviewed to become Paterno's permanent replacement, but his future became cloudy after Penn State tabbed O'Brien on Jan. 7. In an emotional statement released after O'Brien was formally introduced, Bradley wished Penn State's new boss well and pledged his full support to the school. "This is forever my home and forever my family. It is important that we come together to support our players and our university," Bradley said. "Now is the time to demonstrate that we are -- and always will be -- Penn State." Bradley is expected to be replaced by former Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof. An open recruiting contact period begins Saturday, a 16-day window in which the new coaches can try to shore up previous verbal commitments while trying to entice other high school prospects who might be intrigued by Penn State's new direction under O'Brien. He's finishing up his duties as offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots and the position coach for star quarterback Tom Brady. O'Brien has committed to remaining with the Patriots through the NFL playoffs. New England hosts Denver in an AFC divisional game Saturday night.

White Sox first-rounder Zack Collins to start pro career next week

White Sox first-rounder Zack Collins to start pro career next week

ESPN suggested Zack Collins could be the first hitter from this month’s amateur baseball draft to reach the big leagues.

But the first-round pick has been given a few days to decompress before he begins his professional career with the White Sox. Collins spent Saturday morning in the clubhouse, took batting practice with some of his future teammates and threw out the first pitch less than a day after he officially signed with the White Sox. The university of Miami catcher — who received a $3,380,600 signing bonus — will first report to the team’s Glendale, Ariz. facility on July 2 and eventually will start at Single-A Winston-Salem.

“We’re probably going to give him a week or two to catch his breath a little bit,” amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler said. “It’s been a long season for him. We’re probably going to send him to Arizona for a little bit and get his feet under him and then to Winston.”

Collins’ college career ended earlier this week when the Hurricanes were eliminated from the College World Series. He appeared in 62 games and hit .363/.544/.668 with 16 home runs and 59 RBIs. Collins finished the season with 78 walks and 53 strikeouts.

The catcher brought his family with him to Chicago for the weekend and this week he’ll head to Wichita, KS, where he’s one of three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award, which is awarded annually to the nation’s top collegiate catcher.  

“After that I’ll have a couple of days off and head out,” Collins said. “It’s definitely nice (to get a few days off). I pretty much caught every game this year for Miami so it’s nice to get my legs a little rest and get fresh and head out.”

Collins wants to stick at catcher and he thinks he can. But his approach, which ESPN said is the best of the draft, and bat could have Collins to the majors quickly. Of Collins, ESPN’s Keith Law said “he can really hit.”

Collins finished his collegiate career with 177 walks versus 164 strikeouts.

“Patience is key when you’re hitting, Collins said. “Swinging at the right pitches and put the barrel on it and the ball will fly, especially with these big-league balls. Take your walks and get on base and score runs to help the team.”

Zack Burdi, the team’s supplemental first-rounder, also is said to be a fast-mover and potentially could be the first pitcher drafted to reach the majors. Hostetler said the reason Collins and Burdi are ahead of others has as much to do with their mental approach as their skillset.

“They’re advanced from the standpoint not only physically, but mentally,” Hostetler said. “That’s probably the big thing if they can play here. These guys that play here on a nightly basis, they’re wired different between the ears. They have a different mentality about them and both of those kids as well as a couple of the other ones we drafted have that presently and don’t have to develop that. To think you can put it on a 21-year-old kid to pitch here in front of 40,000 a night, it’s a little tough to think about. But I do think they’d be capable of something like that.”

Alex DeBrincat, Chad Krys part of Blackhawks’ draft crop

Alex DeBrincat, Chad Krys part of Blackhawks’ draft crop

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Chad Krys couldn’t resist the moment.

The defenseman, whom the Blackhawks selected with the 45th overall pick on Saturday, threw his GoPro into the media session of Alex DeBrincat, picked by the Blackhawks six selections prior to Krys.

“Excuse me, Alex: what would you think if you got drafted to the same team as fellow World Junior teammate Chad Krys?” Krys asked.

For two more American players, it was one more reason to smile.

DeBrincat and Krys were two of the Blackhawks’ three second-round picks as the NHL Draft wrapped up in Buffalo on Saturday. Other selections included forward Artur Kayumov of Russia (50th overall), goaltender Wouter Peeters of Belgium and defenseman Lucas Carlsson of Sweden.

“It was good to have a nice mixture and you don’t always know how it’s going to work out with what you get,” general manager Stan Bowman said. “We did a lot of work last night planning for the picks we had in the second round. I know everyone says this but we’re really excited for the guys that we got.”

About two weeks ago the Blackhawks were short on 2016 draft picks and their first wasn’t until the third round. They ended up with nine, including those three second-round selections.

“When you’re at that point of the list, there are a lot of players that are probably at an equal value. So what we’re discussing is what we’re trying to get out of with those three picks,” said Mark Kelley, the Blackhawks’ director of amateur scouting. “I don’t think we stuck verbatim through the list in the order that it was, all close. The two wingers were very, very high skilled, and the defenseman he’s just a smart, puck-moving. He’s just a mature player.

The Blackhawks' 39th overall selection, DeBrincat is a small but offensively gifted player with the Erie Otters (Ontario Hockey League). DeBrincat, who played one season with Connor McDavid, had consecutive 51-goal seasons with the Otters.

“I don’t know the exact number of guys that scored 50 goals back-to-back in the OHL. It’s a very small list. He certainly is a competitive kid and really knows how to find the back of the net,” Bowman said. “People talk about his size but he did something that is rarely done. So really impressive performance with him and we’re excited.”

Given the Otters’ proximity to this year’s draft host Buffalo, there was a pretty sizeable cheer when DeBrincat’s name was announced.

“It’s pretty hard to put into words. I’m really excited to be a part of this organization,” DeBrincat said. “It was a long day [Friday.] I didn’t really know if I was going to go or not, but I’m really happy now and glad it’s over.”

Krys, who is headed to Boston University this fall, was part of Team USA’s U20 team with DeBrincat. For Krys, who hopes to develop his game more in college, the possibility of playing for the Blackhawks one day is enticing.

“I think they like skating defensemen who can move the puck quickly, get the puck up to their forwards and handle the puck well and be involved,” Krys said. “So it’s great to be part of an organization that has defensemen who play like that.”

BLACKHAWKS’ SELECTIONS

No. 39: Alex Debrincat, F, Erie Otters

45: Chad Krys, D, committed to Boston University

50: Artur Kayumov, F, Russia

83: Wouter Peeters, G, Belgium

110: Lucas Carlsson, D, Sweden

113: Nathan Noel, C, Saint John

143: Mathias From, D, Sweden

173: Blake Hillman, D, University of Denver

203: Jake Ryczek, D, Waterloo Black Hawks

White Sox closer David Robertson will remember 100th save 'for sure'

White Sox closer David Robertson will remember 100th save 'for sure'

It’s very unlikely David Robertson will ever forget how he recorded his 100th save.

To earn it, the White Sox closer had to endure a wild Friday night. Kansas City aside, Friday’s was one of his more chaotic innings of the entire season. Not only did Robertson put himself in a difficult position, he then had to endure against the heart of the Toronto Blue Jays lineup in a one-run game. But somehow Robertson managed his way out of what seemed like an impossible jam to escape to convert his 19th save in 21 tries.

“It’s a high-stress position and I think guys that are able to do that and get numbers like that are very unique,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “At the end it’s whether he got it done or not. Last night he got it done. It’s not the situation he wants to get in, but you have to be able to have the stuff to get out of it. And he has that.”

Robertson needed every ounce of his escape-ability.

Working for the fifth time in six days, Robertson’s inning was disrupted twice by lengthy delays, one for a 3-minute, 20-second replay review and another for a disputed foul ball off Darwin Barney’s bat. Robertson eventually walked Barney and proceeded to load the bases with consecutive singles, including an infield hit by Josh Donaldson.

All of a sudden, Robertson found himself staring down Edwin Encarnacion with red-hot Michael Saunders on deck and only one out.

“You couldn't ask for better guys at the plate,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

But in an instant, Robertson found his way out of trouble. He struck out Encarnacion on 3-2 pitch and Saunders harmlessly popped out to shortstop on the first pitch. Instead of lamenting a missed opportunity, Robertson received a congratulatory text from his wife, Erin, who notified him the save was the 100th of his career.

In 21 save opportunities this season, Robertson has a 0.82 ERA as he has allowed two earned runs and 14 hits in 22 innings. He has walked eight, struck out 26 and converted 19 tries.

“I definitely made it exciting out there,” Robertson said. “I wasn’t helping myself out much. It was a tough one, it was a grind. I was giving them everything I had and I felt like I was very fortunate to escape that inning without giving up a run.

“It would have been a lot of nicer if it was 1-2-3. I’ll remember that one for sure.”