Bears

Barons Roll In Peavy's Rehab Start Against Montgomery

Barons Roll In Peavy's Rehab Start Against Montgomery

Friday April 8, 2011
Posted: 10:10 p.m.

WHITE SOXBirmingham AA
Winning streaks were hard to come by for Birmingham last season. The Barons won 53 games and, for much of the year, flirted with franchise and league futility records. Yet, after defeating Montgomery for the second time in as many nights on Friday, this time by a 7-2 count, Birmingham has laid the groundwork for what could be a much more impressive season away from home.

The Barons won a league-low 23 road games in 2010 but have already won two this year and Friday night they used the long ball to get their point across. Birmingham hit three homers, including a pair in the eighth inning that broke open what had been a close game. Seth Lomans solo homer and Kenny Williams three-run shot increased the Barons lead after Josh Phegleys solo homer in the seventh snapped what had been a 2-2 tie.

Jake Peavy started for the Barons in a rehab assignment and allowed two unearned runs on five hits in 3 23 innings. He was making his first appearance since March 19 as he works his way back from rotator cuff tendinitis. Matt Zaleski earned the win, giging up just two hits over 5 13 shutout innings.

Charlotte AAA
Jeffrey Marquez has had his moments during the previous two seasons while pitching for Charlotte but very few were as impressive as the effort he put forth Friday night in a 5-0 victory over visiting Norfolk.

Marquez tossed six shutout innings, striking out six and allowing only three hits as the Knights won for the second time in as many outings. The performance was a fine way to start the season, erasing the sour note on which Marquez ended his 2010 season. The right-hander won eight games for the Knights last year but was 0-5 with a 5.97 ERA in his last eight starts.

Anthony Carter and Josh Kinney combined to toss three shutout innings in relief.

Gookie Dawkins had three hits, including a homer and three RBIs, giving him a pair of homers and four RBIs through two games. Stefan Gartrell also had a homer and two RBIs to help make a winner of Marquez.
Winston-Salem A
Ron Rivas RBI single in the bottom of the 10th capped a two-run rally and lifted Kinston to a 7-6 victory over Winston-Salem in the season-opener for both teams at Grainger Stadium.

Jared Mitchells RBI single in the top half of the inning had given the Dash a 6-5 lead but an Adam Abraham double combined with Kyle Davis throwing error knotted the score at 6-6 and set the stage for Rivas game-winning hit.

Mitchell was seeing his first game action since 2009. He suffered a severe ankle injury during Spring Training in 2010 that kept him sidelined for the entire season. Mitchell finished with two hits, including a triple, and two RBIs. Ian Gac had a homer and drove in two.

Brandon Kloess was tagged with the loss, allowing both runs. Terry Doyle started and allowed a run in four innings while striking out eight.
Kannapolis A
The Intimidators game against Lakewood was postponed until Saturday because of rain. The game will be made up as part of a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 4:05. Both games will be seven innings.

CUBSTennessee AA
The Smokies put on another hitting clinic Friday night, pounding out 15 more hits en route to another victory at Chattanooga, this one coming by a 6-3 margin. Tennessee has 32 hits in its two victories.

Brett Jackson, Rebel Ridling and Josh Vitters two RBIs each had two more hits while Blake Lalli picked up three hits. It was enough to give Marco Carillo the victory after he pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Rafael Dolis started and left allowing a run on two hits and two walks in four innings.
Iowa AAA
Matt Camps two-run double highlighted a three-run eighth inning as Iowa edged by Round Rock, 6-4, at the Dell Diamond Friday night.

Lou Montanez picked up an RBI single to cap the rally leaving the I-Cubs pen to hold off the Express, which did manage to tack on an eight-inning run. The double was one of two for Camp. Bobby Scales also had a pair of doubles.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx started and allowed three runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out six and didnt walk a batter. Despite allowing a run in 1 13 innings, Chris Carpenter picked up the victory in relief.

In other news, the Cubs recalled RHP Jeff Stevens, who will replace Randy Wells after he was placed on the disabled list. LHP Polin Trinidad will join Iowa from Double-A Tennessee and pitch out of the bullpen.

Daytona A
The Cubs connected for a pair of first-inning homers Friday night and romped by Brevard County, 7-3, at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Justin Bours three-run shot gave Daytona the early lead after the Manatees had taken a 1-0 lead in the top half of the inning. Wellington Castillo followed with a double before Mike Burgess went deep for the second consecutive evening. The Cubs tacked on runs in the fifth and seventh innings as Jae-Hoon Ha picked up a pair of hits, scored twice and drove in a run to contribute to the offensive outburst.

Nick Struck allowed one unearned run over five innings to pick up the victory. He was 1-2 in three outings for Daytona last season after winning eight games in Peoria.
Peoria A
The Chiefs split a pair of games with Cedar Rapids, dropping the completion of Thursdays season-opener, 7-3, before taking the regularly scheduled contest, 8-2.

The Kernels scored five ninth-inning runs to break open what had been a 2-2 game when the rain forced play to be halted Thursday evening. Jeff Antigua allowed all five runs on four hits and a walk.

The Chiefs rallied in the nightcap, jumping out to a 5-0 lead and tacking on three runs in the eighth as Cedar Rapids struggled to find its offense. The Kernels managed only three hits, none of which came off starter Austin Kirk, who tossed four no-hit innings though he did walk a pair. Kirk, a third-round pick in 2009, was 1-1 in three relief appearances for the Chiefs last year.

Juan Serrano earned the win, allowing a run on one hit in three innings. Elliott Soto had three hits for the Chiefs while Rubi Silva drove in a pair.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

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USA TODAY

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

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AP

Wendell Carter Jr. survives gauntlet of centers to begin career

Don't tell Wendell Carter Jr. the center position is a dying breed.

The 19-year-old rookie hasn't exactly been able to ease into the NBA, finding himself up against a handful of All-Stars and powerful frontcourts just five days into his career.

It culminated Monday night with a date against Mavericks center DeAndre Jordan, and once again the seventh overall pick held his own. It was much of the same as it was against Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Detroit's Andre Drummond last week (and Nikola Jokic in the preseason finale): some good, some bad, plenty of poise and zero backing down. The NBA is unforgiving, but this could very well be the toughest stretch Carter faces all season.

"He’s playing against top level centers now," Fred Hoiberg said before Monday's game. "It’s a great experience for him. He’s going to learn and get better and he plays within himself, we will continue to look for him to be more aggressive."

He was as aggressive as the Bulls have seen him against Jordan and the Mavericks. He blew by the 20 and 18 minutes he played in the first two games of the year, totalling 32 minutes. His final line won't tell the story - 4 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a block - of a Carter who defended well at the rim, picking and choosing his spots on when to attack shots and when to simply use his verticality.

He wasn't credited for a block but he contested a Jordan dunk that turned into a Bobby Portis dunk on the other end. Plus-minus isn't always a good indicator of a player's worth, but Carter was a +5 in a 14-point Bulls loss. He even attempted a corner 3-pointer early in the shot clock, showing no hesitation. Carter's had his moments, but it's also apparent he's got a 19-year-old body going up against veterans each night. That'll come with time in the weight room. For now the experience is 

"I appreciate the fact I’m able to play against these very talented bigs early in my career," Carter said after the loss to the Pistons. "What I need to work on is I have to get stronger; that’s the first thing I recognize; just being up against the best. I love the competition. It’s always a great feeling going against the best."

What the Bulls are finding out is they have a player mature beyond his years. As he progresses he'll continue to get more difficult assignments. He had his rookie moment late in Monday's loss, committing a turnover in the backcourt after the Bulls had cut the deficit to five with 35 seconds left. The fouls are also an issue, as Carter has committed 10 in three games (after committing 17 in five preseason games).

That doesn't necessarily seem important for a Lottery-bound team, but considering the continued struggles of Robin Lopez (and Cristiano Felicio is entirely out of the rotation) it is. Lopez had 2 points and 1 rebound in 10 minutes while committing five personal fouls. In three games he has 11 personal fouls and 11 points, and also has more turnovers (five) than rebounds (four). If the Bulls are going to compete until Lauri Markkanen returns, Carter will need to hover around the 32 minutes he played Monday.

He'll get a much easier test on Wednesday when the Charlotte Hornets arrive in town. Cody Zeller doesn't exactly have the credentials of a Jokic or Embiid, meaning Carter may have a little more room to work. 

The Bulls know they have something in Carter. It'll be abother month until they can deploy him alongside Markkanen, but if the first three games are any indication, Carter won't have any problems matching up with some of the league's best.