Chicago Cubs

With Hinrich hurt, Teague ready for his moment

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With Hinrich hurt, Teague ready for his moment

Bulls starting point guard Kirk Hinrich exited Saturday nights home win over the Timberwolves with 1:18 left in the second quarter, never to return. Hinrich suffered a strained right hip and while his status moving forward is uncertain, the veterans absence from the starting lineup isn't a huge concern as of yet.
Thats because backup point guard Nate Robinson once again stepped up with a stellar performance in reliefsans his five turnoversscoring 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting and sparking a Bulls team that struggled offensively in the 89-80 victory. But Robinson is unlikely to play all 48 minutes of games until Hinrich returns, meaning 19-year-old rookie Marquis Teague must see some action in reserve.
The little-used Indianapolis native scored his first regular-season NBA points Saturday, on an aggressive driving layup immediately after checking into the game late in the third quarter, so he has that milestone out of the way. Now, assuming Hinrich has to miss any amount of time, hes tasked with having to be a productive contributor in non-blowout situations.
If hes in that locker room, he can play and Ive been very pleased with what hes done in practice. He gets there early, hes been working hard, hes practicing well, so I felt that when his opportunity would come, I had a good feeling about him performing well, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game. Hes done a good job, hes got an opportunity to improve, hes been performing well. I thought he had that one drive that was terrific. He attacked the basket, using speed, finished strongly. Hes got to continue to do that.
Added Robinson: "He's young, but he's learning. He has a great group of guys here to help him out. He'll be just fine."
As for Teague himself, he played it nonchalant afterwards, as if hes used to throngs of reporters hounding him for quotes after NBA games. But on a serious note, the former University of Kentucky point guard did try to assert himself on the court and has made real progress since the long-ago days of the preseason, let alone the NBAs summer league in Las Vegas.
I felt pretty comfortable. Its just basketball. Im just going out doing what Thibs asks me to do, just trying to play under control, Teague said. It felt good. Get a bucket in, just to help my team.
Im just paying attention to what Kirk and Nate do, watching everything they do, its helping me out, and I feel like Im developing a lot, he added. I wasnt really overwhelmed. I was comfortable. I felt like I was ready to come out there and play, and help my team win.
The younger brother of Atlanta Hawks starting point guard Jeff Teaguehimself appearing to be on the verge of having a breakout seasonis starting to understand Thibodeaus edict of young players learning how to be a professional, which is reflected in his work ethic. Teague can often be seen at the Berto Center after practice, working on his outside jumper with assistant coachesparticularly shooting guru Ron Adamsor getting advice from his teammates.
A lot of early mornings and late nights, just staying in the gym constantly, trying to show people you can play at this level, he explained. Everybodys been helping, talking to me. Thats why I love this team, such great guys on this team.

Cubs lose Pierce Johnson on waivers

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Cubs lose Pierce Johnson on waivers

The Cubs have parted ways with the first pitcher drafted by Theo Epstein's front office.

The Cubs designated Pierce Johnson for assignment last week when they purchased the contract of Jen-Ho Tseng to make his first MLB start against the New York Mets.

Now Johnson is with a new organization.

The San Francisco Giants claimed Johnson off waivers Wednesday. He was initially selected in the supplemental first round in 2012 with the 43rd pick, 37 spots behind Albert Almora Jr.

Johnson is now 26 and just made his first — and only — big-league appearance May 19 this spring.

In Triple-A Iowa, Johnson had a 4.31 ERA in 43 games, including one start. He struck out 74 batters in 54.1 innings, but also walked 27 batters and had a 1.454 WHIP. 

Johnson spent six years in the Cubs minor-league system, going 29-21 with a 3.24 ERA, 1.305 WHIP and 9.3 K/9, working slightly more than half the time as a starter (74 starts, 56 relief appearances).

With the Cubs taking Johnson off their 40-man roster in mid-September as opposed to promoting him with expanded big-league rosters, it clearly shows he was not a part of their long-term pitching plans.

Why Ben Roethlisberger's perspective on young QBs (like Mitchell Trubisky) is worth keeping in mind

Why Ben Roethlisberger's perspective on young QBs (like Mitchell Trubisky) is worth keeping in mind

If Mitchell Trubisky takes over as the Bears’ starting quarterback this year and has some success, keep Ben Roethlisberger’s perspective in mind: It’ll take a couple of years before he’s solidly established in the NFL. 

Roethlisberger said even after his rookie year — in which he won all 13 regular season games he started — he still was facing defensive looks he hadn’t seen before in Year 2 and 3 as a pro. So saying someone is and will be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL after a productive first season is, for Roethlisberger, too early. 

“I think it takes a couple years,” Roethlisberger said. “That’s why I’m always slow to send too much praise or anoint the next great quarterback after Year 1. I think people in the media and the 'professionals' in some of these big sports networks are so quick to anoint the next great one or say that they’re going to be great; this, that and the other. Let’s wait and see what happens after two to three years; after defenses understand what you’re bringing; you’re not a surprise anymore. 

“I think it takes a few years until you can really get that title of understanding being great or even good, because you see so many looks. In Year 2 and 3, you’re still seeing looks and can act like a rookie.”

The flip side to this would be not panicking if Trubisky struggles when he eventually becomes the Bears’ starting quarterback. For all the success he had during preseason play, most of it came against backup and third string defenses that hadn’t done much gameplanning for him. Defensive coordinators inevitably will scheme to make things more difficult for a rookie quarterback with normal week of planning, and it may take Trubisky a little while to adjust to seeing things he hasn't before. 

“They’re not going to line up in a 4-3 or a 3-4 base defense, they’re going to throw different looks at you, different blitzes to try and confuse you,” Roethlisberger said. “The confusion between the ears part is really one of the biggest keys to it.”

The “it” Roethlisberger referred to there is success as a rookie. The former 11th overall pick was lucky enough to begin his NFL career with a strong ground game headlined by Hall of Fame running back Jerome Bettis, a balanced receiving corps featuring Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress and Antwaan Randel El and a defense that led the NFL in points allowed (15.7/game). Trubisky, as the Bears’ roster currently stands, won’t be afforded that same level of support. 

Roethlisberger, though, had a chance to meet and work out with Trubisky before the draft (the two quarterbacks share the same agent) and, for what it's worth, came away impressed with 

“I thought he was a tremendous athlete,” Roethlisberger said. “I thought he could throw the ball. I thought when he got out of the pocket and made throws on the run, his improvising. I got to watch some of his college tape. Just really impressed with the athleticism. The ease of throwing the ball; it just looked easy to him when he was on the run, when it wasn’t supposed to be super easy. So I thought that those were the most impressive things that I got to see; obviously not sitting in a meeting room and knowing his smarts or things like that, but just the athleticism.”