Cubs

Bears waive Sanzenbacher: A bad sign for Conte, Forte?

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Bears waive Sanzenbacher: A bad sign for Conte, Forte?

The best indication of how severe a particular injury might be is usually in the steps the team takes in the hours after it occurs. So when the Bears released wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher on Monday after injuries to running back Matt Forte and safety Chris Conte, the focus went right to concern over whether one or both of those starters would be lost for the Detroit Lions game next Sunday.
Were evaluating still all of the players, coach Lovie Smith said. So we dont have any more information from yesterday.
Conte pulled a hamstring in the Bears 28-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals and was replaced by Anthony Walters. Conte went on injured reserve for the final two games last season with an ankle injury and could finish there again depending upon the true extent of injury.
Hamstrings typically do not heal in a week, as tackle Jonathan Scott and linebacker Brian Urlacher have shown in recent weeks.
The fact that Sanzenbacher was waived mildly suggests that the Bears may be leaning toward adding a player on offense to shore up running back. Harvey Unga is on the practice squad if Fortes injured right ankle does not respond quickly to treatment.
Whenever you have a limited amount of guys time this time of year anyways, and when you have a player that goes down, it makes you shuffle things, coach Lovie Smith said. Hopefully, Matt will be OK. And a lot of these were talking about, hopefully their injuries arent as bad as maybe as most of us think.

Long-snapper Patrick Mannelly already is long-tenured Patrick Mannelly. He is in his 15th season with the Bears and already has played in more career games (230) than any player in franchise history.
Now he can plan on adding to his record after the Bears agreed with him on a one-year extension through the 2013 season. It is the fourth extension the Bears have done with Mannelly, who was the Bears sixth-round pick in the 1998 draft, the last under Dave Wannstedt.
Mannelly most recently signed a six-year extension in 2005 and a two-year add-on on Dec. 27, 2010.

Javy Baez, the Cubs' versatile King of Swag

Javy Baez, the Cubs' versatile King of Swag

Even his teammates are having a hard time wrapping their minds around Javier Baez, the farmer.

Anthony Rizzo asked the flashy infielder before one of the panels this weekend at Cubs Convention, “What is it you do exactly? Feed chickens?”

The exchange garnered a good laugh from the crowd, but let’s be honest: only Baez could make feeding chickens look as cool as feeding a double play ball at Wrigley. Having asked at least 10 different Cubs players this weekend which teammate has the most swag, it was always Baez. And there was never any hesitation. 

Like the bling that hangs around his MLB logo-tatted neck, Baez dazzles on the field as well. His tags are a thing of beauty. You can just imagine young ballplayers around Chicago imitating the swipe, much like a Michael Jordan fadeaway jumper. Whether manning second or short, the 25 year-old All-Star has become a must-see defensive player.

Last season Baez took over at shortstop as Addison Russell dealt with a strained right foot/plantar fasciitis problem. In 30 games Baez thrived at his natural position, so much so he left some wondering if the Cubs would consider flipping Russell back to second base.

Baez has the more traditional, powerful shortstop arm, but Theo Epstein will tell you when you look at Russell’s defensive rankings compared to other shortstops, he’s a special player in his own right as well.

One thing’s for sure: the Cubs are fortunate to have that kind of depth up the middle. Joe Maddon made it clear last September that without the play of Baez, it’s doubtful the team would have been in position to clinch the division.

“We have two legitimate shortstops," Maddon said. "It’s very unusual to have that.”

Sure, a great problem to have. But how does it play out for the Cubs when all is said and done?

Does Baez take over at short with Russell moving to second, or is it Maddon having a tough conversation with Ben Zobrist and plugging No. 9 in as his everyday second baseman? There's Ian Happ, too. Is he the Cubs' second baseman of the future with Russell/Baez being the trade chip that lands a frontline starter?

All viable options, but just for fun in the video above we put Baez on the spot at Cubs Convention and asked him: Are you a shortstop playing second, or a second baseman playing short?”

He flashed a big grin and said a second baseman playing short. In other words, he gets it.

His bling doesn’t blind him from being a team player. "El Mago," the magician, knows his time is coming. A process that will begin in a few weeks when the Cubs report to Mesa.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bears use Jags/Vikes as blueprints and build an elite defense over offense?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bears use Jags/Vikes as blueprints and build an elite defense over offense?

On this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Schuster (670 The Score), Dan Cahill (Chicago Sun-Times) and Jordan Bernfield join David Kaplan on the panel.

The Bulls keep on winning. Should they try to make the playoffs? NBCSportsChicago.com’s Vincent Goodwill joins the guys to discuss.

Plus, with Bortles, Foles and Keenum starting in this weekend’s Championship Games should the Bears prioritize improving their defense this offseason?