On The Farm: Charlotte takes a pair from Toledo

On The Farm: Charlotte takes a pair from Toledo

Friday, Aug. 6, 2010
11:15 PMBy Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

WHITE SOX
Charlotte (AAA)
The Knights swept a pair of games from Toledo on Friday, winning the completion of Thursdays rain-suspended game, 5-4, before taking the nightcap, 6-1, at Knights Stadium.

Charlotte rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the opener, scoring two in the eighth inning and then plating the game-winner in the ninth on an Alejandro De Aza sacrifice fly. Jordan Danks hit a pair of solo homers for the Knights, allowing Clevelan Santeliz to earn his first victory of the year.

Danks had two more hits in the nightcap but it was Luis Rodriguez who drove in a pair of runs. Matt Zaleski earned the win after allowing a run in five innings.

Birmingham (AA)
The Barons, powered by a five-run seventh inning, squeaked by Jacksonville on Friday, 8-7.

Sal Sanchezs two-run single was the capper to the big inning. Jim Gallagher had a solo homer in the fourth inning after Christian Marreros two-run homer gave Birmingham a first-inning lead. Despite giving up three runs in 1 23 innings, Henry Mabee picked up the victory.

In other action, Kannapolis and Hagerstown were rained out on Friday and will make up the game Sunday afternoon in a doubleheader at Fieldcrest Canon Stadium beginning at 1:30 p.m. Bristol split a pair with Johnson City, taking the opener, 2-1, before dropping the nightcap, 11-3, at Boyce Cox Field. John Spatola had a homer and two RBIs in the opener while Dan Black duplicated the feat in the nightcap. Winston-Salem also split a twinbill on Friday, losing the opener to Frederick, 6-2, before taking the second game, 10-1, at BB&T Ballpark. Jon Gilmore went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in the second game. SS Greg Paiml joined the team from Birmingham. To make room on the roster, outfielder Jordan Cheatham was sent to Kannapolis. The Dash announced that the White Sox will play an exhibition game at BB&T Ballpark on March 30th, 2011.

CUBS

Iowa (AAA)
The I-Cubs slammed five home runs on Friday night to defeat Tacoma, 11-6, before a season-high crowd of 13,206 at Principal Park.

Marquez Smith paced the barrage with a pair of homers and three RBIs. Brad Snyder, Micah Hoffpauir and Bryan LaHair also went deep. Snyder had three hits and his solo homer gave him a career-high 83 RBIs. Hoffpauir had two hits, including the homer, and two RBIs, extending his hitting streak to season-high 15 games.

Jay Jackson (9-6) earned the victory after allowing five runs in 6 23 innings.
In other action, Daytona topped Jupiter, 3-2, at Roger Dean Stadium to snap a four-game losing streak. Rebel Ridling had three hits, including a homer, and two RBIs. Trey McNutt tossed six shutout innings to improve to 3-0 in the Florida State League. Tony Campana had a pair of hits and three RBIs to lead Tennessee to a 6-1 victory at Montgomery. Jae-Hoon Has three-run homer in the sixth inning lifted Peoria to a 3-1 victory over Wisconsin. Nick Struck allowed a run in 5 23 innings to pick up his seventh win.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Michal Rozsival, Jordin Tootoo extensions give Blackhawks flexibility at expansion draft

Michal Rozsival, Jordin Tootoo extensions give Blackhawks flexibility at expansion draft

The Blackhawks agreed to one-year contract extensions with defenseman Michal Rozsival and forward Jordin Tootoo, the team announced Tuesday.

Rozsival's deal is worth $650,000 while Tootoo's deal carries a $700,000 cap hit, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun.

The move gives the Blackhawks two players eligible to be exposed during this summer's expansion draft.

NHL teams must expose two forwards and one defenseman that have played at least 40 games in 2015-16 or more than 70 in 2016-17, and they must be under contract in 2017-18.

[MORE: The Blackhawks' 9-1 February by the numbers]

Rozsival and Tootoo meet those requirements, which means the Blackhawks can now protect Ryan Hartman, who is also eligible.

They are allowed to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters (regardless of position) and one goaltender. 

Rozsival, 38, has one goal and one assist in 16 games this season, often serving as the team's extra defenseman. Tootoo, 34, has no points in 36 games.

NFL Scouting Combine represents opportunities — good and bad — for Bears

NFL Scouting Combine represents opportunities — good and bad — for Bears

The NFL Scouting Combine convening this week in Indianapolis isn't really the high point of pre-draft assessing being done by NFL teams. Those evaluations have been going on for many, many months — on college campuses, at bowl games — and will go on with Pro Days and selected visits to team headquarters.
 
But what it does represent is two things: a chance for teams to probe for detailed medical information on some 300 potential draftees, and a case study in savvy brand marketing by the NFL that has become its own hot-stove league on steroids (hopefully not literally for any of the participants).
 
Covering the event 25 years ago, representatives of the three Chicago-area newspapers comprised one of the two largest media contingents (the other being New York's) going about the business of football reporting after the sport had largely moved off the sports-front with the wrap-up of the Super Bowl. No TV, no internet, and the Combine operators really didn't want media around for what was set up as a purely team-centric.
 
Now the NFL has created a media event that keeps it in news prominence at what had always been a dormant calendar nadir for pro football, with not only some 1,000 media members and outlets welcome, but also with fans able to attend events like the 225-pound bench press and 40-yard dashes, whose results were once something that reporters dug around for as news scoops.
 
But beyond the observed events, including group media interviews for the majority of athletes, individual draft stocks will be affected by vertical jumps, cone drills and such. And by interviews with individual teams, which are still private. (For now. Somehow, it's not beyond imagination that someday even those will be televised, in an NFL guise of "transparency" or something, but that's for another time.)
 
Strengths, weaknesses and the QB conundrum
 
One annual refrain are the assessments of the overall draft class, what positions are its deepest, its weakest, an evaluation that carries some weight because invitees to the Combine include underclassmen, which the Senior Bowl does not.
 
But a danger within the process is exactly that — the "weight" assigned to results, particularly the on-field ones. On-field evaluations are the best indicators, but the right on-field ones were there on playing fields and now tape, not inside Lucas Oil Stadium this week.

[RELATED - Which direction will Bears go at pick No. 3?]
 
Combine performance has affected drafts rightly and wrongly over the years.
 
ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio has made an excellent case for players declining that test for reasons of confidentiality. And frankly, if teams have a problem with a player declining the test, then teams and the NFL need to do a better job of keeping the results in-house, particularly given that correlations between the Wonderlic and NFL success are questionable at best.
 
But some player or players will move up or slip down on draft boards because of drill work. That may be unfortunate for the player, and for the teams.
 
QB or not QB
 
It is at this point that the Combine becomes increasingly relevant to the Bears, or at least to those trying to discern what realistic chances exist for the Bears to address their well-documented areas of need (quarterback, tight end, cornerback, safety).
 
An inherent problem at this stage is the difficulty in arriving at a right decision, particularly at the paramount position. NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock did some checking that illustrates the issue.
 
Between 2007-14, teams selected 21 quarterbacks in the first round. Nine of them are no longer even in the league, and only a handful have achieved something close to the coveted "franchise" distinction: Matt Ryan in Atlanta, Matthew Stafford in Detroit, Carolina's Cam Newton, Andrew Luck in Indianapolis and Joe Flacco in Baltimore. Only Flacco has won a Super Bowl.
 
"It gives a pretty good feel for the 'hit' rate of franchise quarterbacks in the first round," Mayock said on Monday.
 
"My message to NFL teams is, 'you've got to keep trying, keep on swinging.'"
 
Whether the Bears take a swing at a franchise quarterback at No. 3 is still many weeks off. But Mayock didn't endorse making that swing at that point.
 
"I don't have any quarterbacks anywhere near the Top 10," Mayock said. "That doesn't mean I think there's no talent there, because I think there are four quarterbacks that have first-round talent. In my order I had for my initial Top 5, it was [DeShone] Kizer, [Deshaun] Watson, [Mitch] Trubisky, [Patrick] Mahomes. All four of them have holes in their games.
 
"I don't think any of them are ready to start Week 1."
 
More to come over the next week. Make that "weeks."