Bulls

Indians pitcher arrested for using false identity

647316.jpg

Indians pitcher arrested for using false identity

From Comcast SportsNet
CLEVELAND (AP) -- From year to year and game to game, the Cleveland Indians never knew what to expect from Fausto Carmona. On Thursday, he stunned them again. Carmona, the Indians' opening-day starter last season, was arrested in the Dominican Republic for allegedly using a false identity. Officials in his native country are contesting his real name and birthdate. Police spokesman Maximo Baez Aybar said Carmona was arrested in Santo Domingo outside the U.S. consulate, where he had gone to renew his visa. Carmona had played winter ball in the Dominican as he prepared to report to the Indians' training camp in Goodyear, Ariz., next month. At this point, his future with the club is uncertain. Aybar said Carmona's real name is apparently Roberto Hernandez Heredia and he's 31, three years older than the pitcher claimed. The Indians list Carmona's birthday as Dec. 7, 1983, in their 2011 media guide. "We were recently made aware of the situation that occurred today in the Dominican Republic and are currently in the process of gathering information," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "We are not prepared to make any additional comment at this time." Carmona's agent said he was caught off-guard by the arrest and that there are Dominican lawyers working on the player's behalf. He did not disclose the names of the lawyers. "This took us by complete surprise," agent Jay Alou said. "What we have to do now is wait to find out the process that has to be done with the consulate with this new identity in order to see if he can get a new work visa." Carmona's arrest is the second involving a major leaguer in four months in a false identity case. Miami Marlins reliever Leo Nunez was arrested in September. Last month, an apologetic Nunez said he falsified his identify when he was young so he could play professional baseball. Nunez's real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo and he's 29, a year older than listed in the Marlins' media guide. Carmona's career in Cleveland has been one of extremes. After going 1-10 in 2006, the right-hander with a wicked slider came out of nowhere to win 19 games in 2007, shocking the Indians who had briefly experimented with him as a closer. Carmona, though, followed up with a disappointing 2008 season, and in 2009 the club sent him to the lower minors to work on his mechanics. Carmona rebounded to win 13 games in 2010 in manager Manny Acta's first season. Although he went just 7-15 last season, Carmona stayed healthy, didn't miss a start and was expected to be part of the starting rotation this season. The Indians picked up his 7 million option for 2012 in October. The Indians signed Carmona to a four-year contract in 2008. The club has options on him for 2013 at 9 million and 2014 at 12 million. Cleveland signed Carmona as a free agent in 2000.

Zach LaVine's conditioning at '70 percent' but still on schedule

0109_zach_lavine_bulls.jpg
USA TODAY

Zach LaVine's conditioning at '70 percent' but still on schedule

Everybody saw the play, that awkward instance where Zach LaVine looked ready for his second dunk of the season but was fouled from behind by Atlanta’s Taurean Prince.

It looked as if LaVine was ready for liftoff but one of his jets misfired, sparking at least the thought of his recovery from his ACL injury being a bit off—but he laughed at the thought.

“I don’t know why everybody keeps talking about it,” LaVine said Sunday at New Orleans’ Smoothie King Center, where the Bulls held practice. “The dude stepped on the back of my foot, so I couldn’t get off the ground. Everybody’s wondering if I’m okay, yeah. I just missed a fouled layup.”

The adrenaline from his first two games have worn off a bit, and he missed his first four shots from the field Saturday before hitting a couple in the start of the third quarter in the Bulls’ 113-97 win over the Hawks.

He looked winded a few times during his stint and admitted his conditioning isn’t where it should be—as expected given he’s missed 11 months of real basketball. He said his conditioning is at about “70 percent”, and you can certainly see it in his jump shot not being as fluid as it was last season in Minnesota.

“It was feeling good in practice but in games it’s seventy,” LaVine said. “Playing defense, getting back, running the break, just getting used to it.”

Add to it, the Bulls cover the most halfcourt ground of any team in the NBA with their set offense and Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg has long said he’s not slowing down his offense while LaVine is in.

The shooting guard will have to catch up to the pace, and it’ll probably be better for him in the long run.

“I think it’s just ‘okay’ and rightfully so,” said Hoiberg about LaVine’s conditioning. “It’s impossible to simulate game action in practices when you’re doing individual workouts. Every time he plays that conditioning will ramp up. As he plays, it’ll get better and better. And he’s such a good and natural athlete, it’ll come back quickly.”

Hoiberg isn’t concerned about the variances in LaVine’s performances. He came out the gate with such force and adrenaline in his debut against Detroit and two days later against Miami, but it’s tailed off against Golden State and then Atlanta.

“I think Zach’s doing great,” Hoiberg said. “You look around the league where players have come back from significant injuries, he’s gonna be up and down. His first two games he’s been unbelievable. A couple games he hasn’t shot the ball great. He played unselfish basketball last night.”

LaVine’s minutes has been extended to 24 from 20, and he’ll still practice in the off-days as the Bulls want to keep his rehab on schedule as opposed to having him play heavy minutes initially.

He’ll be re-evaluated after Wednesday’s game in Philadelphia and could see his minutes rise before the Bulls host the Lakers Friday at the United Center.

“I should just get used to it,” LaVine said. “Just getting used to the swing of things. It takes a second for your body to get adjusted to it.”

Three Things to Watch: Bulls visit Pelicans

1-22_pelicans_matchup_nba_chi_blank.jpg

Three Things to Watch: Bulls visit Pelicans

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Bulls take on the New Orleans Pelicans tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Pregame Live.

1. Anthony Davis

The five-time All-Star just continues to improve. While he's not averaging career-highs in any major category, no one's going to scoff at his 26.7 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 2.1 blocks in 36 minutes per game. He's shooting nearly 56 percent from the field and is on pace for a career-best in 3-pointers made, which is a pretty impressive statistic. Lauri Markkanen will have his hands full, and it may be in the Bulls' best interest to get Nikola Mirotic some early minutes to try and get physical with Davis. There's no real way to slow him down.

2. DeMarcus Cousins

And if the Bulls should so happen to get lucky and slow down Davis, there's another All-Star starter waiting alongside him. Boogie Cousins has been every bit as good as Davis this season, averaging 25.3 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 36 minutes. He's certainly not as efficient as Davis (47 percent from the field, 5.0 turnovers) but is deadly inside. He's shooting a career-best 52.8 percent on 2-pointers this season, and his 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks make him a serviceable defender (although the Bulls could certainly stretch their offense to make him work more).

3. Rajon Rondo

Rondo hasn't been great in his first season with the Pellies, but perhaps he's turning things around. Beginning with his absurd 25-assist game just after Christmas, Rondo is averaging 7.4 points, 8.2 assists and 1.0 steal per game. He's allowed Jrue Holiday to play more off the ball, and while his defense is nothing to write home about he's logging solid minutes for a Pelicans team woefully short in the backcourt.