White Sox

Details emerge from Petrino's motorcycle crash

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Details emerge from Petrino's motorcycle crash

From Comcast SportsNet
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Saying he was disappointed Bobby Petrino failed to tell school officials that he was riding with a 25-year-old woman when he crashed his motorcycle, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long placed the football coach on paid leave pending a review. "I don't know what I'm going to find," Long said at a news conference Thursday night, hours after a state police report revealed that the married, 51-year-old was riding Sunday with Jessica Dorrell, a former Arkansas volleyball player who now works for the football program. "I am disappointed that coach Petrino did not share with me, when he had the opportunity to, the full extent of the accident and who was involved," Long said. Petrino broke four ribs and cracked a neck vertebra in the crash, which he blamed on the wind and having the sun in his eyes. He was forthcoming with police, but failed to tell school administrators -- or reporters at a news conference on Tuesday -- about his passenger. "My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public," Petrino said in a statement released by the school. "In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details." Through his agent, Petrino declined further comment Friday. Long set no timetable for his investigation, which could conclude with penalties including suspension or firing for the highly successful coach. "I hope to have a resolution soon," Long said. "I certainly don't have all the answers here tonight, as we meet. But again, I have an obligation and responsibility to obtain the information and then act appropriately on that information." The emerging scandal also could deal a severe blow to the Razorbacks on the field, who Petrino has coached to appearances in the Sugar Bowl (a loss to Ohio State) and the Cotton Bowl (a win over Kansas State) in the last two seasons. Arkansas, which had spring practice scheduled Friday afternoon, is led by a pair of Heisman Trophy hopefuls in quarterback Tyler Wilson and running back Knile Davis. "I will fully cooperate with the university throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my athletic director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks," Petrino said. Petrino just completed his fourth season with the Razorbacks, who have developed into a national contender since he was hired away from the Atalanta Falcons during the 2007 season. He's 34-17 at the school, 21-5 over the last two years, and the Hogs finished last season ranked No. 5 after losing only to national champion Alabama and runner-up LSU. He's in the midst of a seven-year contract under which his salary averages 3.53 million. The coach has been criticized in the past for job hopping -- first from Louisville to the Falcons, then for the in-season jump to Arkansas. He infamously met with Auburn officials in 2003 to talk about taking the Tigers' head coaching job while Tommy Tuberville still had it. But Petrino was greeted as a savior by Arkansas fans, and had given them no reason not to trust him. Long said he didn't hear about Dorrell being on the motorcycle until Petrino called him Thursday afternoon, minutes before a police report was released disclosing it. Dorrell, who did not return calls and messages from The Associated Press, does not appear to have been injured in the crash. Dorrell was hired March 28 by Petrino as the student-athlete development coordinator after serving as a fundraiser with the Razorback Foundation. She is in charge of organizing the recruiting process for the football team, including initial eligibility for each incoming player. Long said he had not decided whether to suspend Dorrell. Petrino, who is married with four children, didn't mention he had a passenger during a news conference two days after Sunday's accident, and a school statement that day quoted Petrino's family as saying "no other individuals" were involved. Petrino said then that he had spent Sunday with his wife, Becky, at a lake and was going for an evening ride. His only mention of Dorrell was vague, and without identification. "When I came out of the ditch, there was a lady there that had flagged down a car," Petrino said Tuesday. "The guy that was in the passenger's seat said, Get in, we'll just take you right to the hospital instead of waiting,' and so I got in the car and they headed toward Fayetteville." In Thursday's statement, Petrino apologized and acknowledged that he had kept quiet about Dorrell. "I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said, I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell's name being revealed," he said. "Today, I've acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration." The police report said Petrino was riding with Dorrell when he lost control of his motorcycle. Dorrell said in the report that she wasn't sure what caused the accident, during which Petrino was unable to maneuver a turn and laid the motorcycle down on its left side while sliding off a rural, two-lane road about 20 miles southeast of Fayetteville. Petrino said in the report that wind and sun caused the accident. The police report said Petrino and Dorrell were taken by a passer-by to an intersection in southeast Fayetteville, where a state police officer took Petrino to the hospital. The police report said Dorrell wasn't taken to a hospital, and that she was dropped off at her vehicle, which was parked at the intersection. State police spokesman Bill Sadler said Petrino didn't try to hide Dorrell's part in the accident when questioned. "Coach Petrino was as cooperative as anybody that we could ever hope to encounter following the traffic crash," Sadler said. Petrino, who wasn't wearing a helmet, was hospitalized but had since returned to practice. Assistant head coach and linebackers coach Taver Johnson has been put in charge of the program in Petrino's absence. The former Ohio State assistant coach was hired in January.

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

Volstad, Santiago show capability as rotation alternatives, but White Sox still have starting-pitching mystery this weekend

Chris Volstad and Hector Santiago combined for one of the best outings by a White Sox starting pitcher this season.

These weren’t the names anyone expected to fit that description when the season began. But with struggles all around from James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Miguel Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, here the White Sox sit as they approach the one-month mark of the 2018 campaign.

Reynaldo Lopez has been excellent, no doubt about it, and Fulmer has turned in a couple nice outings, including in Monday’s win over the visiting Seattle Mariners. But against that same M’s lineup Tuesday afternoon, Volstad — who lasted 4.1 innings in a 1-0 loss — became the first White Sox starter this season not to issue a walk.

It was an important outing for Volstad, as well as for Santiago, who followed him up with 3.1 shutout innings of his own. The duo showed they’re both capable of serving as reliable fill-ins in a White Sox rotation that got a hole punched in it Monday, when Gonzalez went to the disabled list.

Shields, Giolito, Lopez, Fulmer. Those guys aren’t going anywhere. But should Gonzalez remain on the DL for an extended period of time, it doesn’t seem as if the White Sox need to be searching for options.

“Volstad and Hector both did a nice job. I thought they gave us plenty of outs, they gave us plenty of opportunity,” manager Rick Renteria said after Tuesday’s game.

But that doesn’t mean the South Siders are out of the starting-pitching woods for the remainder of this week. Shields will go in Wednesday’s finale with the Mariners. Giolito and Lopez are set to pitch in the first two games of a five-game road series against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

But Saturday presents a mystery, one that doesn’t seem to have an easy answer.

Thanks to that opening-weekend snow-out, there’s a doubleheader Saturday, and while Fulmer is in line to start one of those games, who will start the other? The White Sox will get a 26th man for that day, and that spot is typically given to a spot starter brought up from Triple-A. But given the White Sox current situation on the 40-man roster, there aren’t many options, meaning a player might need to be outrighted in order to make room for a spot starter.

Let’s get this out of the way first: It seems unlikely that Michael Kopech will make his major league debut in a spot start during an April doubleheader in Kansas City. Yes, Kopech has been good in his three starts with Charlotte, sporting a 2.40 ERA with 21 strikeouts. But he’s got just six total starts at the Triple-A level, and the White Sox have made it abundantly clear throughout the last several months that the necessities of the big league team during this rebuilding season and Kopech’s readiness for the majors are independent of one another.

It makes no sense to potentially cut short Kopech’s development at the Triple-A level because the big league rotation needs a spot starter.

The options, however, are limited.

Of the seven players who have started games for the Knights this season, two are on the big league roster right now (Volstad and Chris Beck), one is Kopech and one has a 9.75 ERA (T.J. House). One is on the 40-man roster, Ricardo Pinto, who made his first start at Charlotte on Tuesday. Pinto, though, would be on short rest Saturday.

The other two are Dylan Covey, who turned in a 7.71 ERA with the White Sox last season, and Donn Roach, who has made two career major league starts, most recently giving up four runs in 3.1 innings in a spot start for the Cubs in 2015. Covey and Roach have 2.95 and 1.88 ERAs at Charlotte, respectively. But the White Sox would need to make room on the 40-man roster to bring either up, even just for a day.

While it would be on “short rest,” perhaps the most logical option is just to start Volstad or Santiago on Saturday and start the other on Sunday. Tuesday, Volstad threw 66 pitches and Santiago threw 59 pitches, neither total approaching the qualification of a heavy workload, especially considering both veterans have plenty of starting experience under their belts.

Renteria talked about how well it worked using both guys in tandem Tuesday, but he might have to split them up to staff his rotation this weekend. It would also eliminate the need to remove someone from the 40-man roster. The White Sox could just bring up another bullpen arm as the 26th man, someone like Juan Minaya, who was on the Opening Day roster.

Renteria has already shown willingness to use his pitchers outside of the traditional “every fifth day” strategy. Shields and Fulmer both pitched in back-to-back games just last week. And Fulmer’s turn was moved up when Gonzalez went on the DL, pressing him into his third appearance in six days Monday.

The mystery likely won’t be solved, at least publicly, anytime soon. We’ll likely have to wait a few days to know for sure. Until then, it’s a guessing game.

Even the Indians can't deny the lasting impact Cubs have on Progressive Field

Even the Indians can't deny the lasting impact Cubs have on Progressive Field

CLEVELAND — Even the Indians can't deny the lasting impact Cubs have on Progressive Field.

Namely, the impact the Cubs left on the floor of the visiting locker room.

With 18 months in between visits, one of the first things the Cubs noticed about their clubhouse at Progressive Field was the new carpet.

"It's probably necessary," Joe Maddon said with a smile. "So some good things have come from all that stuff, too, for the visitors. You get new interior decorating."

After the Indians blew a 3-1 lead in the 2016 World Series, the Cubs — and Bill Murray — dumped an awful lot of champagne and Budwesier on the old carpets.

Like, A LOT. 

"Oh yeah," Addison Russell said, "I think we messed it up pretty good."

It'd be hard to fault the Cubs for an epic celebration to honor the end of a 108-year championship drought, especially the way in which they accomplished the feat with maybe the most incredible baseball game ever played.

As the Cubs returned to the emotional, nostalgic-riddled scene of that historic fall, the parallels were striking.

Exactly 18 months before Tuesday, the Cubs walked into Progressive Field for the start of the World Series in 54 degree Cleveland weather with overcast skies and a pestering little drizzle.

Tuesday, the Cubs walked back into Progressive Field in 54 degree Cleveland weather with overcast skies and a pestering little drizzle.

A bunch of Cubs also found their lockers in the same place in that visiting locker room.

Russell, Ben Zobrist, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, Anthony Rizzo and Jon Lester all have their lockers in the same spots this week as they had for the 2016 Fall Classic.

Some clubhouses go in numerical order, some go based on position groups. The Indians don't really seem to fall under either camp, considering Lester was surrounded by all position players in the corner of the locker room, where — before Tuesday —was last seen giving a heartfelt "thank you" to the media for "putting up with him" all season.

"Just walking back into the stadium from the bus into the clubhouse, you get the sense of nostalgia," Russell said. "I see that they replaced the carpet, which is nice. But yeah, the weight room, the food room, I just remember walking around here having that World Series Champs shirt on.

"It's a great memory. I think this is the same locker I had as well. Everything's just fitting like a puzzle piece right now and it's pretty awesome."