Rose a game-time decision for Celtics game

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Rose a game-time decision for Celtics game

Bulls point guard Derrick Rose continues to make progress in his recovery from a strained right groin and is a game-time decision for Thursday night's game against the Celtics.

"I'm feeling better, able to move a little bit more," said Rose, who displayed his familiar competitive spirit while launching jumpers at the end of Thursday morning's shootaround at the Berto Center. "If I feel it when I'm out there, I'm definitely going to play, but if not, be smart."

Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau concurred: "We'll see how he warms up tonight. He's making good progress. It's still a game-time decision."

Rose admitted to feeling some "discomfort" after recent practices and acknowledged that he still isn't able to run at "top speed," but chalked that up to his increased activity level.

"That comes with just coming back. Getting my conditioning, running a little bit more and just getting back active," he explained. "Every day when it's improving, the less I think about it.

"Did the whole shootaround, so I'm fine."

Rose said he "should be" in the Bulls lineup from whenever he returns-which, if it doesn't occur Thursday, could be as soon as Sunday's afternoon matinee at New York, the first in a home-and-home series with the Knicks-through the postseason.

"If not now, for sure next game," he said. "Taking all this rest, all the other injuries that I have-my body was nicked off early in the year-they're gone. Only thing that I'm worried about is my groin."

"I'm not going to hold back at all. You know the way that I play. I'm not holding back. My game is to be aggressive and try to get people going."

In other news Bulls news, the team announced Thursday that they signed veteran point guard Mike James for the remainder of the season, increasing their depth at the position with Rose still on the mend and fill-in starter C.J. Watson banged up.

"It says a lot about him," Thibodeau said of James, who is in his fourth stint with the Bulls this season. "Great veteran, stays ready, so we're glad to have him back."

Fire players to appear at Nando's Peri-Peri in South Loop on July 30

Fire players to appear at Nando's Peri-Peri in South Loop on July 30

Nando's Peri-Peri just launched a seventh Chicago-area restaurant and the Chicago Fire are helping to promote the new location in the name of the Chicago Fire Foundation.

Fire players and general manager Nelson Rodriguez will pay a visit to the Nando's at 1005 S. Delano Court on July 30.

Nando's will donate all sales, excluding alcohol, on that date to the Chicago Fire Foundation. That Nando's location opened on July 24.

Players Matt Lampson, Patrick McLain, Patrick Doody, Drew Conner, Matt Polster, Michael Stephens, Joey Calistri and Alex Morrell and Rodriguez will be at the Nando's. Fire players will be at the restaurant from 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Check out the Fire's release on the event for more information.

Notre Dame unit preview: Is Alize Jones primed for a breakout at tight end?

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USA Today Sports Images

Notre Dame unit preview: Is Alize Jones primed for a breakout at tight end?

With the start of Notre Dame preseason camp approaching fast, we’re looking at what to expect from each unit that’ll take the field in primetime Sept. 4 against Texas at Darrell K. Royal Stadium. 

Depth Chart

1A. Durham Smythe (Redshirt junior)
1B. Alize Jones (Sophomore)
2A. Tyler Luatua (Junior)
2B. Nic Weishar (Redshirt sophomore)
3. Jacob Matuska (Redshirt junior)

Smythe’s Week 2 injury against Virginia thinned this group quite a bit last year. As a group, Notre Dame’s tight ends only totaled 20 receptions for 233 yards and one touchdown (which came when Smythe scored on a fake field goal against Virginia). 

But with Smythe healthy, Jones feeling more comfortable and a dearth of experience at receiver, Scott Booker’s group should be relied on more in Notre Dame’s passing game this fall. The return of Luatua, who was welcomed back to the team this summer after initially deciding to transfer prior to spring practice, will help Notre Dame’s running efforts behind the physical 255-pound California native. 

Weishar could develop into a factor, too, as he enters his third year in the program. The Marist alum has solid receiving skills that could play well this fall, especially in the red zone. 

Biggest question: Is Alize Jones ready to break out? 

Jones accounted for most of Notre Dame’s tight end production last year (13 catches and 190 yards) but wasn’t satisfied with his first year on campus. It was an eye-opening experience for him: “I didn’t take enough time and I don’t think I took it too serious last year,” Jones said during spring practice. 

But even through some of that first-year turbulence, Jones showed glimpses of the outstanding athleticism and receiving skills that made him a sought-after recruit out of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. His 45-yard catch in the fourth quarter against Temple set up DeShone Kizer’s game-winning toss to Will Fuller, and he also had a 37-yard reception against UMass an a 35-yarder against USC. 

Whether Jones stays at tight end is another question. Notre Dame tried him out at its “W” receiver position this spring, and if he winds up sticking there, he could follow the Devin Funchess-like career arc plenty of Notre Dame fans prophesied when he signed with the Irish in February of 2015. But however the 6-foot-4, 240 pound Jones is used, he’s primed to develop into a key part of Notre Dame’s offense this fall. 

Youthful impact

Notre Dame didn’t sign a tight end in its 2016 recruiting class, but has two highly-touted players verbally committed to its class of 2017. Both Brock Wright (Cypress, Texas) and Cole Kmet (Arlington Heights, Ill.) are rated by Rivals as four-star recruits. 

They said it

“I know what it’s like to play Clemson and Ohio State and teams like that, playing against elite guys. Now going into my sophomore year, I’ve already done it. It’s just getting comfortable with everything, which I am. So I really feel like all the pieces are coming together.” — Alize Jones

White Sox like short- and long-term payoff from Tim Anderson's battle with Jake Arrieta

White Sox like short- and long-term payoff from Tim Anderson's battle with Jake Arrieta

What arguably was the best at-bat of Tim Anderson’s nascent major league career ended with a strikeout. 

Anderson led off the sixth inning of the White Sox 5-4 win over the Cubs on Monday with a 10-pitch at-bat against reigning National League Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. He fouled off four consecutive pitches, three of which came on a 3-2 count, before taking a sinker on the black for strike three. 

What happened after Anderson’s at-bat was where the payoff from it came: Melky Cabrera drew a walk and Jose Abreu lined a single to right. After Justin Morneau struck out looking on a high curveball — the pitch was out of the strike zone, according to BrooksBaseball.net — Todd Frazier launched a three-run home run.

 

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

“I kind of felt like that got us some momentum, even though I did strike out,” Anderson said.” It kind of got him (Arrieta) flustered a little bit, got him off rhythm and we were able to capitalize on that.”

The 23-year-old Anderson hasn’t made a living on patient, lengthy at-bats since being promoted to the majors in early June. Anderson entered Tuesday’s Crosstown date with the Cubs seeing an average of 3.56 pitches per plate appearance, ranking 278th out of 310 players with at least 150 plate appearances this season (former White Sox and current Atlanta Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski is last with 3.09 P/PA, while the Cleveland Indians’ Mike Napoli leads the majors with 4.59 P/PA). 

Anderson also has the lowest walk rate (1.2 percent) of any player with 150 plate appearances, which would explain why he only has a .281 on-base percentage despite hitting a relatively healthy .273. 

It’s relatively rare for a player to have a walk rate as low as Anderson’s and have an above-average season at the plate. The lowest walk rates for players with a wRC+ over 100 (100 being average) over the last three years: Adam Jones (3.6 percent walk rate, 119 wRC+ in 2013), Dee Gordon (3.8 percent walk rate, 113 wRC+ in 2014) and Jones (2.8 percent walk rate, 116 wRC+ in 2015).

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Eventually, Anderson will have to become more patient at the plate to maximize on his outstanding contact skills. The battle he had with Arrieta showed he can fight off plenty of pitches from one of baseball’s best hurlers, which manager Robin Ventura saw as a positive long-term sign. 

It didn’t hurt things in in the short-term view of the sixth inning Monday, either. 

“He’s getting a taste of some good pitchers,” Ventura said. “I think that’s part of his process going through the league, seeing these guys. He doesn’t back down, he’s a very confident kid. You learn something as well as be productive. You like to see a kid fight like that at the plate.”