Bulls

Deja vu: Hamilton injured vs. 76ers, but returns to the game

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Deja vu: Hamilton injured vs. 76ers, but returns to the game

With 3:15 left in the third quarter of Saturday nights Bulls win over Philadelphia, there was suddenly a flashback to last season. Rip Hamilton, in the midst of a strong individual period and raining down mid-range jumpers, leaped in the air to make a pass and when he landed, immediately began limping.
For the injury to occur against the 76ers, the team that ousted the Bulls from the playoffsand against whom Derrick Roses season ended in Game 1 of the first-round series at the United Centerwas eerie enough, but considering Hamiltons injury-plagued debut season in Chicago made it downright terrifying for both the team and its fans.
Hamilton couldnt put pressure on his left foot and was helped off the court by teammates Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, then headed to the locker room, after which the organization informed the media that he suffered a sprained left foot.
In a twist, however, Hamilton not only returned to the bench, but was reinserted into the contestshades of Joakim Noah, who severely sprained his ankle in Philadelphia during the aforementioned series, then briefly returned to play in the same game, though he was out for the remainder of the series afterwardsby Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau as a designated free-throw shooter. Hamilton knocked down three of his four attempts at the charity stripe to close out the Bulls win.
It was a lot scarier than I thought, but well see. Tomorrow Im supposed to get an MRI on it. But the good thing about it, I was able to put a little bit of weight on it and I was able to go back into the game, the veteran recounted afterwards. I didnt get an x-ray. It was just one of those things, its all feeling and there was a lot of adrenaline still in the game. I felt as though I could still move. I know I wasnt 100 percent or anything like that, but I felt as though I could still get out there and help the team.
Hamilton injured himself when I jumped up. As soon as I came up off my feet, thats when I really felt something on the bottom of my foot. I felt something pop.There wasnt anybody around. They always say the worst injuries are when nobodys around and you didnt fall on anybodys foot or anything like that, so it was just one of those things that when it happened, it just scared me and when I felt it, I didnt want to put any pressure on it, but there wasnt a whole lot of pain. So, thats why it was so freaky to me, continued the Pennsylvania nativehe grew up less than an hour from Philadelphiawho admitted his foot was sore afterwards. I would have tried to play even earlier, if asked. Thats why I came back on the bench. They kept asking me, Can you play? and I was like, Man, I wont know until Im actually out there defending somebody live or running down the court, so it was one of those things that if I got there, I was going to see how it was going to feel.
Thibodeau asked me and I told him, Yeah, put me back in the game. He didnt want to put me back in at first and I was like, Im good. As long as my right shooting arm is good, Im good, the shooting guard went on to say. I just told myself, Just figure it out. Whoever Im guarding, just try to run near them and hope they dont get the ball.
I wanted to be back out there. Coach took a chance on me and put me back out there.
Thibodeau, perhaps sensitive to the criticism he received for putting Noah back into the May playoff game, explained that he didnt have an official diagnosisas did Hamilton, who stated, I dont know what it is. We dont know what it is until I get an MRIfor the injury and was simply relying on advice from the Bulls medical staff. Although Hamilton walked with a noticeable limp, he was functional on the floor.
When he came back to the bench, Fred Tedeschi, the teams head trainer told me that we could use him if we needed him, so I thought we needed him, the coach said. Well, Im not a doctor. I just ask the trainer, Can he go? We do have a medical staff here. I know you guys the media are trained that way also, but they have to be cleared by the doctor and the trainer before I get to them. If Fred tells me that he cant go, then hes not going to go. Hes been evaluated so, I trust our medical staff.
The silver lining to the injury is that if Hamilton has to miss any significant amount of time, the Bulls now have the cap space to sign a 14th playera minimum-salary veteranto the roster, something that wasnt imminent as of last week, when it became possible, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. But the organizations front office and player-personnel staff have been keeping a close eye on available veterans if the need arose, which likely wont be known until Monday, as the team is off Sunday.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Do Bulls or Blackhawks have a better chance at making playoffs?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Do Bulls or Blackhawks have a better chance at making playoffs?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, David Kaplan was joined by Ben Finfer, David Haugh and Mark Lazerus to discuss the Bulls not tanking well and the Blackhawks tanking too well.

Plus, Alshon Jeffery is heading to the Super Bowl while the Bears stay home. And is the hot stove league about to heat up with Yu Darvish?

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

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AP

Cubs adding catching depth that may help them out in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes

Chris Gimenez, come on down.

The 35-year-old catcher isn't exactly a household name, but he's been signed by the Cubs to add backstop depth, according to Chris Cotillo and Ken Rosenthal:

The Cubs didn't have much depth in the catching department beyond Willson Contreras and inexperienced rookie Victor Caratini and while Gimenez doesn't light up the stat column, he's a link to Yu Darvish that could give the Cubs a unique advantage in that domain:

Darvish and Gimenez played together with the Texas Rangers in 2014-15 (though Darvish was hurt in 2015) and Gimenez has been shedding some light on what the free-agent pitcher may be thinking this winter. Is this Part II of a David Ross-Jon Lester personal catcher situation?

That may be reading a bit too much into things, as the Cubs were always going to sign a veteran catcher to provide depth beyond the unproven Caratini. They saw how important that was in 2017 when Alex Avila spent roughly a month as the starter when Contreras was hurt.

The link between Gimenez and Darvish is real, but the frontline starter has also made 48 starts over the last two seasons while throwing to a catcher not named Gimenez. And the free agent catching market is pretty thin beyond Avila and Jonathan Lucroy, both of whom should earn starter's money or close to it.

Gimenez has played 361 games in the big leagues over the last nine seasons as a journeyman, with stops in Cleveland, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Texas, Cleveland (again), Texas (again), Cleveland (again) and then Minnesota last year. He played for Cubs manager Joe Maddon and new pitching coach Jim Hickey while in Tampa Bay.

Gimenez turned in a career season in 2017 with the Twins, notching new highs in games played (74), at-bats (186), runs (28), hits (41), homers (7), RBI (16) and walks (33).

He has a career .218 batting average with a .309 on-base percentage, .345 slugging and .654 OPS. 

But Gimenez isn't just a catcher. He's made nine appearances as a pitcher over the last few years, including six in 2017, where he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.

Gimenez will probably compete with Caratini for the backup catcher role in Chicago and can lend a veteran presence. He's also the best bet to take for first position player to pitch in a game in 2018.