Vikings WR Harvin unhappy with team

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Vikings WR Harvin unhappy with team

By Danny Moran
CSNChicago.com
The Minnesota Vikings were dealt a significant blow when their most dangerous weapon, running back Adrian Peterson, tore his ACL and MCL during the last game of the season. Now the team's second-most explosive player has publicly expressed his unhappiness with the direction of the team.

Wide receiver Percy Harvin said he is dissatisfied with the team during their first day of mandatory minicamp.

While he did not comment on specifics, Harvin has multiple reasons for his frustration. He is still playing with his rookie contract and will make less than 1 million in 2012.

The former first round pick out of Florida had career highs last season in receptions (87) and receiving yards (967), as well as hauling in six touchdowns. He also took on a greater role in the backfield, carrying the ball 52 times for 345 yards and three touchdowns.

But Minnesota has regressed over each of Harvin's three seasons with the team. The Vikings stumbled to a 3-13 record in 2011, the team's worst record since they drafted Harvin in 2009. They have missed the playoffs for two consecutive years after reaching the NFC Championship the previous season before falling to the eventual champion New Orleans Saints.

Getting back into the playoff hunt may be tougher now then ever as the NFC North is arguably the strongest division in the NFL. The Chicago Bears were 7-3 before Matt Forte and Jay Cutler both went down season-ending injuries. The Detroit Lions reached the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons. And the Green Bay Packers are coming off a 15-1 season to follow up their Super Bowl victory the year before.

Minnesota's opponents in 2012 had a combined .512 winning percentage in 2011, giving them the eighth toughest schedule in the league.

Wake-up Call: Miggy gets the boot; Rodon's rocky debut; More bad news for Cubs?

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AP

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White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

White Sox willing to overlook 'rough' patches as healthy Carlos Rodon returns

The two fastballs that soared to the backstop on Wednesday night should give you a strong indication that Carlos Rodon was far from perfect.

But in making his first start of the 2017 season, the White Sox pitcher also offered his team plenty of signals that his health isn’t going to be an issue.

Rodon returned to the mound for the first time since last September and brought the goods that made him one of baseball’s top pitching prospects several years ago. Given he’d missed three months with bursitis in the left shoulder and the potential value he offers to a franchise only half a season into its first rebuild in 20 years, that was plenty for the White Sox to overlook the rust Rodon showed in a 12-3 White Sox loss to the New York Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field.

“He started a little rough early obviously, got some high pitch counts,” manager Rick Renteria said. “And then he kind of settled down.

“Having him back in the rotation and getting him back out there on the big league field, coming out of there feeling good, healthy. I'm sure he will continue to get better as he continues to get out there and move forward.”

Renteria said he wasn’t surprised that Rodon struggled with his command as much as he did against the Yankees. The issues the pitcher displayed in uncorking a pair of wild pitches, walking six batters and throwing strikes on only 41 of 94 pitches were also present during Rodon’s four rehab starts in the minors.

But as long as the stuff was there, the White Sox would be OK with any issues that accompanied the performance. Rodon began to alleviate those concerns immediately when he earned a called strike on the game’s first pitch with a 93-mph fastball to Brett Gardner. Featuring a four-seamer with an absurd amount of movement and a nasty slider he struggled to control, Rodon checked all the boxes the White Sox hoped for from a pitcher they believe will be a frontline starter for years to come. Rodon also was pleased by how he felt before, during and after the contest.

“I was pretty excited,” Rodon said. “I was going a little fast in the first. But it was good to be out there. Next time out, it’ll hopefully be a little better. Arm feels good, body feels good, all you can ask for.”

Well, it’s not ALL you can ask for, but it’s pretty damn good out of the gate given how slow Rodon’s return took. His four-seam fastball averaged 94.9 mph according to BrooksBaseball.Net and touched 97 mph. His two-seamer averaged 94.4 mph and touched 95. And his slider, though he couldn’t control it, nor locate it for a strike, averaged 86 mph.

“You could see (Omar Narvaez) going over to try to catch some balls that were having tremendous run,” Renteria said. “That's (Rodon). He's got some tremendous life, he's just trying to harness it the best that he can and being able to execute where he wants to get as many strikes as possible.”

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The strikes were about the only thing Rodon didn’t bring with him. He walked Gardner to start the game and issued two more free passes after a Tim Anderson error allowed a run to score and extended the first inning. Rodon threw 37 pitches in the first, only 15 for strikes.

He also reached a full count to each of the batters he faced in the second inning. Rodon walked two more with two outs in the third inning after he’d retired six batters in a row.

And there were those pesky first-inning wild pitches that resembled something out of ‘Bull Durham.’

But all in all, Rodon and the White Sox ultimately saw enough in the first outing to be pleased.

“Great stuff, great life, but the goal is to put it in the zone and let them swing it to get guys out early,” Rodon said. “That’s not what happened. I’ll get back to that.”

“It’s a tough loss, but it’s better to be with the guys out on the field grinding than sitting on the couch and watching, for sure.”