Bulls

Report: Meyer accepts Ohio State job

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Report: Meyer accepts Ohio State job

From Comcast SportsNet

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)Urban Meyer is coming back to coaching and joining beleaguered Ohio State, ESPN reported Monday.

The sports network did not cite a source for its report, but Meyer worked for ESPN the past year.

Meyer won two national championships in six years as the coach at Florida. He left the Gators a year ago, citing health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family. Now, the 47-year-old Ohioan will be returning to his roots by becoming coach of a Buckeyes team facing NCAA problems.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment. No announcement has been set by Ohio State, although there were reports that a team meeting set for Sunday night has been moved to Monday afternoon.

Meyer takes over a program that has been hit by several suspensions and the forced resignation of coach Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes completed a 6-6 season under interim Luke Fickell with a 40-34 loss to rival Michigan on Saturday.

In 10 seasons as a head coachtwo at Bowling Green, two at Utah and six at Florida - Meyer had a 104-23 record and won three national coach of the year awards. His teams are 7-1 in bowl games, including the Gators 41-14 victory over unbeaten and top-ranked Ohio State in the 2007 Bowl Championship Series title game.

Meyer had consistently and persistently denied all the talk surrounding him and Ohio State. Soon after Tressel was pressured to resign, Meyer said he wasnt interested in leaving ESPN, where he was a college football analyst.

I am committed to ESPN and will not pursue any coaching opportunities this fall, he said in a statement released the day after Tressel lost his job. Just last week he said no job had been offered to him nor was he pursuing one.

But that flew in the face of weeks of speculation that he was Ohio States first choice to take over a program that has a glittering past but has faltered over a troublesome last 12 months.

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.