Fire travel to Houston Tuesday

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Fire travel to Houston Tuesday

The Fire thought it had cleared up Sebastian Grazzinis playing status last week, but maybe not.
Grazzini missed three days of practice last week, then was left off the travel roster for Fridays 1-0 win at Sporting Kansas City. Coach Frank Klopas said the lack of practice time kept Grazzini from playing against SKC.
Though Grazzini trained with the team in Bridgeview on Monday, he also didnt make the trip to Houston, where the Fire (8-5-3) visit the Dynamo (6-5-5) on Tuesday night. A club spokesman said Grazzini is staying home to tend to "personal matters in Chicago.
The club also has made it known that, contrary to the Major League Soccer Players Union website, Grazzini is not among the Fires lowest-paid players. The accuracy of the Players Union salary figures was discredited as they pertained to non-U.S. players.
Even without the Argentine midfielder, the Fire has been cruising. Klopas club will seek its fourth straight win against the Dynamo and also bid to be the first MLS team to win at the new BBVA Compass Stadium, the Houstons team home since May 12. The Dynamo is 4-0-2 there, and the Fire will get its first look at the facility on Tuesday.
Not since the 2005 season has the Fire won four straight. That year the Fire built a winning streak of the same size in late June and early July.
Tuesdays meeting comes in the middle game of a three-games-in-10-days stretch. The busy period concludes when the defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles Galaxy, struggling with a 6-9-2 mark now, visit Toyota Park on Sunday. Los Angeles visit ends a streak of six straight Fire matches against Eastern Conference rivals.
In addition to Grazzini, the Fire will be without midfielder Rafael Robayo (shoulder injury) at Houston and striker Federico Puppo and goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi wont be available for the second straight game because of ankle injuries. Puppo, though, went through training on Monday.
Veteran defender Arne Friedrich, who left the Sporting Kansas City match with cramps after 72 minutes, and striker Chris Rolfe, who finished that one hobbling on a sore ankle, were deemed available to face the Dynamo and defender Gonzalo Segares returns after sitting out a one-game red card suspension.
In addition to visiting a new stadium the Fire will be challenged by a new star. Honduran international Boniek Garcia, Houstons newly-signed Designated Player, made his debut with the Dynamo in Sundays 2-1 home win against the Philadelphia Union. He looked good in that match, and Houston was rolling even before he arrived. The Dynamo was 4-0-1 in MLS play in June.

Jimmy Butler puts Benny the Bull on blast after draining trick shot

Jimmy Butler puts Benny the Bull on blast after draining trick shot

We have definitive proof Jimmy Butler can do anything on a basketball court.

And now, if Benny the Bull is ever injured, the Bulls have a backup in house.

Butler mimicked Benny's half-court, behind the back shot at practice Tuesday morning and called it before he even nailed it.

The Bulls All-Star then walked off the court, talking smack to Benny in the process (though Benny was nowhere to be seen in the video). 

"Benny F. Bull."

Cubs release Munenori Kawasaki and keep the door open for his return

Cubs release Munenori Kawasaki and keep the door open for his return

MESA, Ariz. – The Cubs released Munenori Kawasaki on Tuesday, allowing the popular, high-energy Japanese infielder to see what's out there while still keeping the door open for his return.

The timing would also allow the Cubs to avoid paying the $100,000 retention bonus to Kawasaki, who's played parts of five big-league seasons with the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and last year's World Series team.

"Hopefully, we get a chance to sign him back," manager Joe Maddon said at the Sloan Park complex. "A guy like him needs to take advantage of how well he's playing and possibly see if there's a chance to get a major-league job."

With that move, the Cubs cut the roster to 30 players on their second-to-last day in the Cactus League this spring. Between Addison Russell, Ben Zobrist and Javier Baez – and prospects like Ian Happ and Chesny Young – the Cubs would appear to be covered up the middle for now. 

"You can never have enough middle infielders," Maddon said. "I'd love to have him, no question. Hopefully, he's going to be back. Again, this is one of those things where the word 'release' is a very harsh word, but I think it can be rectified possibly. I hope he comes back to us."