Rubio, Roy preach patience to Rose in recovery process

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Rubio, Roy preach patience to Rose in recovery process

Friday nights contest was a typical preseason game, with the Bulls avenging last Saturdays loss in Minneapolis by beating the Timberwolves at the United Center. It may have been more notable, however, by its absences.

No offense to Minnesota All-Star power forward Kevin Love, out for six to eight weeks with a broken hand, but eyes across the league are on the ongoing recoveries of two of the games premier floor generals and elite young players, Bulls point guard Derrick Rose and his Timberwolves counterpart, Ricky Rubio.

Everybody in Chicago knows the saga of Rose, who suffered an ACL injury in the Bulls playoff opener against the 76ers last spring. Rubio suffered a similarly devastating injury in March, but with a couple months head start, hes closer to coming back to the court and therefore, worth monitoring for anybody with even a passing interest in either Rose himself or the Bulls as a whole.

Ive been working every day and Im dying to come back. I want to come back soon, but I know that if I come back early, its hard for me, so I want to make sure everythings fine, said the affable Rubio before the game. Im close to start practicing with five-on-zero, no contact. I dont know how long, maybe a month from that, but I want to come back as soon as possible. But like I said, I want to be healthy, so Im at a stage now where I can do more things, like running and I think Im close to being athletic again.

Im able to jump a little bit, so I can start practicing some jump shots, but only moving forward, not lateral yet, continued the native of Spain, who added that he cant do any cutting yet. I hope in two weeks. I dont know yet. Lets see when I start running harder and longer, and see if I dont have swelling at all. Then I can do more things.

Chimed in Timberwolves head coach Rick Adelman: Hes doing fine. Hes progressing every day. Hes been moving up, as far as his running. Its still just straightaway running; its not cutting or anything. He was just shooting set shots now. Hes jumping a little bit. I talked to him today, this morning, and he said hopefully in the next couple of weeks, hes going to increase his running, his acceleration.

Im sure were just like Chicago. You want to get him back, but you want to be sure theyre comfortable coming back. But I think hes probably just like Chicagos guy. Theyre going to work their tail off to come back and thats what Rickys been doing. Hes been working, hes around the team all the time and were hoping when he does come back, that he can play, but even when he does come back, its going to take some time and hes going to have his ups and downs, and were going to have to find a way to work him in. But its going to be good to have him back.

At the time of his injury, Rubio had established himself as a budding superstar, was challenging Clevelands Kyrie Irving in the Rookie of the Year race and had Minnesotas long-suffering fan base thinking playoffs. But as he said in reference to Loves ill-timed injury We have so much bad luck on this team.

Still, the point guard remains optimistic and expressed high hopes for not only himself, but Rose, as well.

I know its tough. Its a tough injury. Youre six, eight, nine months without playing your favorite sport, and sometimes playing basketball is where you forget about everything and you just enjoy it, so I wish him a healthy recovery, he explained. Ive talked with Spanish guys who have had the same injury like Raul Lopez, who was in the NBA for a couple years and every player is different. Nobody has the same injury maybe a little more meniscus or two ligaments so every player is different, every recovery is different. We dont have to look at somebody else to see where one can come back, so you just take your time, but work hard every day to come back.

Well, in the beginning, it was physical because you were in so much pain and you had to fight every day, and you had to bend the knee, and every day was painful and then, when that pains goes away, you just have to work out and see your teammates, and all your friends playing. Not just basketball games, but basketball in the street, Rubio went on to say.

Added Adelman: I think you have to be a little bit cautious, for sure, when youre bringing him back. Its not like Kevins injury, where its a broken bone. He can still run and everything. But weve got to be careful. Thats why I say, when he comes back, you dont know what the timeframe is going to be, but its still going to be good to have him when he does come back, but we have to be cautious with him and make sure. But thats down the line.

Ironically, Minnesota also has former All-Star Brandon Roy on its roster. Roy was one of the elite shooting guards in the league before his recurring knee issues got to the point where it was bone on bone and he temporarily retired, before launching a comeback and signing with the Timberwolves during the offseason, over interest from the Bulls, among others.

Just going through the mental grind of being back in the league, the ups and downs. Some nights feel great. Some nights, not so great, so physically, I feel really good. Right now, mentally, Im just trying to learn the team, learn the system and then get used to playing the game day in and day out, said Roy about his own progress, before giving some advice to be passed along to Rose.

The biggest thing for him that I would say is just to be patient. Hes a young guy, hes got his whole career ahead of him and again, being patient and being mentally tough I think is the biggest challenge.

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

Veteran outfielder Peter Bourjos eyes role with White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- As he surveyed the landscape this offseason, Peter Bourjos thought he and the White Sox would make for a good fit.

Adam Eaton had been traded and Austin Jackson departed via free agency, leaving the White Sox with Melky Cabrera and several young players to man a thin outfield. Bourjos, who lived in Chicago until second grade, pursued the White Sox and last month agreed to terms on a minor-league deal in hopes of earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Last season, Bourjos, who was born in Chicago, hit .251/.292/.389 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 383 plate appearances for the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I always liked playing in Chicago,” Bourjos said. “It was a good fit and then spring training is here. I have two young kids. So packing them up and going to Florida wasn’t something I wanted to do either.

“We definitely look at all those options on paper. Evaluate what might be the best chance of making a team and this is definitely one of them. It seems like a good fit on paper.”

If he’s healthy enough, Charlie Tilson will get the first crack at the everyday job in center field. Tilson, who missed the final two months of last season with a torn hamstring, is currently sidelined for 10 days with foot problems. Beyond Tilson, the White Sox have prospects Adam Engel and Jacob May with Cabrera slated to start in left field and Avisail Garcia pegged for right. Leury Garcia is also in the mix.

But there still appears to be a good shot for Bourjos to make the club and manager Rick Renteria likes his veteran presence for the young group. Bourjos has accrued six seasons of service time between the Phillies, Los Angeles Angels and St. Louis Cardinals.

“Bourjy has been around,” Renteria said. “He knows what it takes. He understands the little nuances of major-league camp and how we have so many players and we want to give them all a look. We want to see Bourjos, we want to see him out there.”

Bourjos, who turns 30 in March, has an idea what he wants to do with his chance. A slick defensive outfielder, Bourjos wants to prove he’s a better hitter than his .243/.300/.382 slash line would suggest. He said it’s all about being relaxed.

“Offensively just slow everything down and not try to do too much,” Bourjos said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself and it hasn’t translated. I think last year I got in a spot where I just tried to relax in the batter’s box and let everything go and what happened happened. I had success with that.

“I now realize what that feels like and it doesn’t work. Just take a deep breath and be relaxed in the box and good things are going to happen.”

Why Brett Anderson called Cubs fans ‘f------ idiots’ and loves the idea of pitching at Wrigley Field

Why Brett Anderson called Cubs fans ‘f------ idiots’ and loves the idea of pitching at Wrigley Field

MESA, Ariz. – On an October night where you could literally feel Wrigley Field shaking, Brett Anderson fired off a message on his personal Twitter account: "Real classy cubs fans throwing beer in the Dodgers family section. Stay classy f------ idiots."
 
The Cubs had just clinched their first National League pennant since the year World War II ended, beating Clayton Kershaw and playing as close to a perfect game as they had all season. Anderson kept up the entertaining commentary during the World Series, previewing Game 7 – "We can all agree that we're happy it's not Joe West behind the plate tomorrow" – and tweaking his future manager: "Aroldis (Chapman) might puke on the mound from exhaustion." 
 
In another generation, a veteran pitcher might walk into a new clubhouse and wonder about any awkwardness with a hitter he once drilled with a fastball or some bad blood from a bench-clearing brawl. But overall today's players share the same agents, work out together in the same warm-weather offseason spots and understand the transient nature of this business. When pregame batting practice is filled with fist bumps, bro hugs and small talk between opponents, it becomes trying to remember what you said on social media. 
 
"I'm kind of a sarcastic ass on Twitter," Anderson said Monday. "I kind of sit back and observe. I'm not a huge talker in person. But I can kind of show some of my personality and candor on some of those things.
 
"You look at stuff (when) you get to a new team. I'm like: ‘Wow, man, did I say anything about anybody that's going to piss them off?' But I think the only thing I said about the players is that Kyle (Hendricks) looks like he could have some Oreos and milk after pitching in the World Series. 
 
"But that's kind of the guy he is. Just the calmness that he shows is something that we can all try to strive for."
 
Anderson essentially broke the news of his signing – or at least tipped off the media to look for confirmations – with a "Wheels up to Chicago" tweet in late January. The Cubs guaranteed $3.5 million for the chance to compete against Mike Montgomery and see which lefty can grab the fifth-starter job. Anderson could max out with $6.5 million more in incentives if he makes 29 starts this season. 
 
After undergoing surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back last March, Anderson made three starts and didn't earn a spot on the NLCS roster.  
 
"I obviously wasn't in the stands," Anderson said. "Supposedly from what I was told – it could be a different story – but there was just some beers thrown on where the families were. I'm going to stick to my family and my side.  
 
"I wasn't calling out the whole stadium. (It wasn't): ‘Screw you, Cubs fans.' It was just the specific (incident) – whoever threw the beers on the family section. Everybody has their fans that are kind of rowdy and unruly.

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"That just happened to be a situation. But you like those people on your side. I played in Oakland, and they had some of the rowdiest fans. In the playoffs, it seemed like ‘The Black Hole' for the Raiders games.
 
"You have your bad seeds in every fan base. When people are rowdy and cheering on their team and have one too many beers, the next thing you know, you're throwing them.
 
"Just visiting (Wrigley), it's a fun crowd, because it's such an intimate setting and you feel like they're right on top of you and it's so loud." 
 
Imagine the matchup nightmare the Dodgers could've been if their pitching staff hadn't been so top-heavy and manager Dave Roberts could've confidently gone to someone other than Kershaw, Rich Hill or closer Kenley Jansen. The Dodgers had made Anderson the qualifying offer after a solid 2015 season – 10-9, 3.69 ERA, 180-plus innings, a 66.7 groundball percentage – and he grabbed the $15.8 million guarantee. 
 
Anderson turned around and did the knock-on-wood motion at his locker, saying he felt good after completing a bullpen session with catcher Willson Contreras at the Sloan Park complex. Anderson is a Tommy John survivor who's also gone on the disabled list for a stress fracture in his right foot, a broken left index finger and a separate surgery on his lower back.
 
"Yeah, it's frustrating," Anderson said. "When I'm healthy and able to go out there and do my work, I feel like I'm a pretty good pitcher. I don't think I've ever been able to put everything as a whole together in one season. I've had some good spots – and some good seasons here and there – but hopefully I can put it all together and have a healthy season and do my part."
 
The Cubs are such a draw that Shane Victorino signed a minor-league deal here last year – even with more than $65 million in career earnings and even after a fan dumped a beer on him while he tried to catch a flyball at Wrigley Field in 2009.   
 
Anderson wanted to play for a winner and understood the organization's pitching infrastructure. He saw his pitching style as a match for the unit that led the majors in defensive efficiency last year. He was even intrigued by Camp Maddon and the wacky stunts in Mesa.  
 
"It's obviously an uber-talented group," Anderson said. "(It's also) seeing the fun that they're having. I'm more on the calm and cerebral side, but I think doing some of the things that these guys have in store for me will hopefully open me up a little bit and break me out of my shell. 
 
"'Uncomfortable' is a good word, especially for me. You don't want to get complacent. You don't want to get used to rehab. You want to go out there and do new things and try new things and meet new people and have new experiences. All things considered, the Cubs offered the best mix of everything."