MLB pitcher nearly throws 2nd career no-hitter

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MLB pitcher nearly throws 2nd career no-hitter

From Comcast SportsNet
CHICAGO (AP) -- One thought kept crossing A.J. Burnett's mind as he made his dramatic push for a no-hitter. He wanted it -- badly. Instead, he will have to settle for a close call and maybe the best performance of his career. Burnett pitched a one-hitter, Neil Walker drove in five runs and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat Chicago 5-0 on Tuesday night, hours after the Cubs traded ace Ryan Dempster. Burnett started thinking about a no-hitter in the third or fourth inning. "I'm not going to lie," he said. "So, it's one of those things that you want to do, you want to take pride in, but at the same time a lot of luck's got to go into it. I had a lot of great plays behind me. ... Bottom line is it's a W' for us." Burnett just about stole the spotlight after the Cubs traded their best pitcher to Texas just before the non-waiver deadline. His bid for a second career no-hitter and the sixth in the majors this season ended with two outs in the eighth. He had already hit Darwin Barney in the helmet with one out before striking out Luis Valbuena, but his no-hit bid ended at the hands of a rookie when pinch-hitter Adrian Cardenas lined a 3-2 pitch to right for a single after two close pitches were called balls. Burnett said he was angry about a 2-2 curve that just missed outside, and he appeared to be yelling at the umpire after the hit. But he struck out David DeJesus with runners on first and third to end the inning. That's probably not much consolation for the veteran, who pitched a wild no-hitter for the Marlins against San Diego on May 12, 2001. He walked nine in that game, two in this one while striking out eight. "I always think about it," he said. "I want to clean that one up. That was a wild one." That a Miami-area native, who was 13-years-old back then, broke it up was a bit of an ironic twist. Not since Sandy Koufax did it to them in September 1965 have the Cubs been no-hit, and the last no-hitter at Wrigley Field came when Milt Pappas pitched one for Chicago against San Diego in September 1972. Burnett sure made it interesting, though. His curve was as sharp as it's ever been, and he just missed the eighth no-hitter in franchise history. "I thought he had a shot," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He was just so efficient, pinpoint command. He pitched the left-handers so extremely well tonight. Fastball gloveside, his curveball was sharp for strikes, for chase. Great tempo -- 25 out of 31 first-pitch strikes. The pitch count was in a great place. That's one of the best games I've seen pitched ever." Cubs manager Dale Sveum was impressed, too. "He probably threw 60, 65 curveballs," he said. "Even his fastball, he kept it out of the middle of the plate. We hit a few balls hard. A couple balls without the wind might have been home runs, but he pitched a heck of a game." He retired the first 11 batters before walking Anthony Rizzo, and as the game wore on, the sense that something special was happening filled the old ballpark. There was a loud gasp when Alfonso Soriano sent a drive to deep left-center in the seventh that Andrew McCutchen caught, and first baseman Garrett Jones then made a sliding stop on Bryan LaHair's grounder to end the inning. The Cubs got some relief when Cardenas finally broke through, but even that was tempered by the reality that they got shut down. Cardenas faced Burnett in late May and didn't do so well, going 0-for-3 with two errors in a 1-0 loss. "I remember him and seeing how he was working throughout that game," he said. "When I was able to get that hit, it was great but it was very short-lived because we lost 5-0. ... It's definitely sweet to break up the no-hitter here at our place. That's something you don't want to be a part of." While Burnett cruised along, Casey Coleman had a rough night after being recalled from the minors. Pitching in Dempster's place, he lasted just 4 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and seven hits. Walker quickly put the Cubs ahead in the first when he drove a 2-1 pitch to right for a grand slam -- the second of his career and second at Wrigley Field. He also had a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Burnett's performance overshadowed the big news before the game, with Dempster going to the Rangers for two prospects. The Pirates were a busy bunch, too. They acquired former All-Star first baseman Gaby Sanchez from Florida and sent third baseman Casey McGehee to the Yankees for reliever Chad Qualls. Notes: Along with Coleman, the Cubs also recalled Cardenas and C Welington Castillo from Triple-A Iowa before the game. ... GM Jed Hoyer said it might not be long before Josh Vitters is called up from Triple-A. He was batting .298 with 15 homers. ... In the Sanchez deal, Pittsburgh also got minor league pitcher Kyle Kaminska for minor league outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and the extra draft pick for 2013 that the Pirates won in the competitive balance lottery for financially weaker teams. ... The Pirates recalled RHP Daniel McCutchen from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Brad Lincoln's spot in the bullpen. Lincoln was dealt to Toronto for Travis Snider on Monday.

TOMBOY: Former Bears DE Alex Brown on raising girls with sports

TOMBOY: Former Bears DE Alex Brown on raising girls with sports

The following is a Q&A with former Chicago Bears defensive end and CSN Chicago Bears analyst Alex Brown on gender in sports leading up to CSN’s original documentary TOMBOY airing on March 13.

What character traits did you develop through sports and how did you pass those on to your daughters?

Being available and always coming with a great attitude whether practice or in a  game.

How can your daughters benefit from sports?

I think all kids can learn that you don't always "win." Sometimes you have to learn how to face defeat whether in the corporate world or in a sports atmosphere.

Was there a female role model in your life that you looked up to?

I have four brothers, so the one female figure I grew up with was my mom. To raise five boys takes a special woman. She is nothing short of special in my book.

Is it tough to see some of the violence against women going on in the NFL, and do you feel like things are worse now with social media? Everything appears to be out there; not just information, but images and video.

I don't think it's worse. I actually believe that because it's out there and no longer hidden within homes. People actually have to take accountability for their actions. Hopefully this helps us move closer to not treating women - or men for that matter - this way.

How is raising two daughters different than raising a boy?

Well for me, raising daughters is all new, I grew up with four brothers, so having to  deal with emotions almost 24/7 is something that I have never been faced with before. Girls are sensitive but they love you like no other. My girls meet me at the door at the end of the day with a huge hug and they are super excited that I am home. My son, on the other hand, kind of throws his hand in the air and says, "Hey, Dad, glad you're home." (laughs) Completely different to say the least.

Do you steer your daughters into playing sports?

I definitely would like for my girls to play sports because of what sports can teach with team building, bonding and being competitive. But it's their choice. What I do tell them is that you don't have to play if you don't want to, but if you do then we are going to be the best that we can be at whatever sport it is that they are doing.

Do you watch women’s sports?

We will watch WNBA, college soccer and softball together, but I think they would rather color and draw sometimes than watch sports in general.

How do you see the future of women’s sports?

I think the future of women's sports will hang on if it can get a superstar that has it all. The way we see the NBA isn't the way it was prior to MJ getting there, even though Magic and Bird were ruling. It took the perfect combination of charisma, talent, likability and marketability; that as we all know now was Michael Jordan, and the sport took off from there. In each sport - whether soccer, volleyball, softball, basketball, tennis (Serena Williams) - they just need that one special person and the fan base will grow and that sport will thrive.

Report: Patriots not expected to trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

Report: Patriots not expected to trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo

The Bears will likely be in search of a new starting quarterback in 2017 after making Jay Cutler available in trade talks last month.

But if general manager Ryan Pace had Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in mind, he'll need to look elsewhere this offseason.

It's an interesting development as the NFL Draft Combine begins today in Indianapolis, and is sure to affect how those quarterback-needy teams like the Bears, Browns and 49ers approach their situations this week.

Garoppolo, who has one year left on his contract sitting behind Tom Brady, has been linked to the Bears this offseason. He started two games for the Patriots last season while Brady was serving his four-game suspension, and he threw for 496 and four touchdowns in wins over the Cardinals and Dolphins, and he posted those numbers despite injuring his right shoulder in the second quarter of the Miami victory.

With Garoppolo seemingly out of the picture the Bears will turn their focus toward the NFL Draft. Holders of the third overall pick, they have options in Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina), Deshaun Watson (Clemson) and DeShone Kizer (Notre Dame).