Bears

Cubs minor league update

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Cubs minor league update

On the heels of their first three-game sweep of the season the Cubs have finally given their fans something to cheer about, at least for the time being. But the front office focus should not deviate from their plans for the future. Here is how Cubs minor league standouts fared this week.

Anthony Rizzos onslaught on opposing pitching continued this past week as he raised his season average 10 points up to .354 by going 9-for-21 (.429) on the week. Along with hitting for a solid average Rizzo added three more home runs and seven RBIs to his season total. His consistent approach at the plate coupled with unparalleled power produced a ridiculous 1.175 OPS and Rizzo now leads the Pacific Coast League in OPS (1.128), SLG (.713), and HR (17). He is also third in RBIs (46), and top 10 in AVG (.354).

Brett Jackson finally showed signs of improvement last week as he went 8-for-23 (.347) with two triples, a homerun, and five RBIs. This was the first week this month that Jackson has hit over .300. Jackson also swiped two bags showing off some of his great athleticism. The rest of the season is going to be an great challenge for the North Side hopeful, but with a few consecutive weeks of production, no one will ever remembered his rough start to the month of May even happened.

Tennessee AA standout Junior Lake had a rather pedestrian week at the plate as he managed to go 8-for-28 (.285) with a homer and only one RBI. Lake had trouble finding his way on base this week (OBP .283), which did not help a Smokies team in desperate need of wins (1-6 on the week). Although Lakes average still sits above .300 the Smokies are going to need to see better production out of what many consider a top five Cubs prospect.

Smokies right-hander Trey McNutt made one start last week and he tossed five innings allowing two runs on five hits with only one strikeout. McNutt did pitch his way out of a number of jams he got himself into but ultimately the two runs were enough to credit him with the loss. He is now 2-4 on the season with an ERA of 2.88.

Daytona Cubs first baseman Greg Rohan caught fire last week. He was 7-for-19 (.368) with six RBIs. Rohan showed the ability to spray hits to all parts of the field including over the fence as he homered in three consecutive games. This is nothing new for the 26-year-old righty, who has been providing solid run support for the Single-A affiliate all season long. In fact, he is leading the Florida State league in RBIs (45). Rohan can count on a promotion if he continues to produce at this accelerated level.

Matt Loosen made only one start last week but he made the most of it. Loosen was locked in surrendering only one run on four scattered hits. He struck out seven in his six innings of work, and improved his record to 2-1. Loosen also managed to give up no walks on his way to helping his club snap a three-game losing streak.

Last week Javier Baez received a long awaited call. The Peoria Chiefs added the Cubs first round pick of 2011 to their roster and in his first performance he did not disappoint. Baez went 2-for-4 and appeared comfortable both at the plate and in the field. The 19-year-old is ranked by Baseball America as the Cubs number two prospect in the entire organization. This talented youngster will be a solid addition for a Peoria club struggling to find run production and wins.

Joe Musso contributed to this report.

Brian Urlacher misses Top 10 of all-time Bears list

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AP

Brian Urlacher misses Top 10 of all-time Bears list

Brian Urlacher played his way into the pantheon of Bears linebackers and the Hall of Fame over his 13-year career in Chicago, leaving no question he belongs among the all-time greats.

Where he stacks up with the best of the best in team history is still up for debate.

Hall of Fame writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson ranked the top 100 players in franchise history for the team’s official site, and Urlacher fell outside of the top 10.

Urlacher came in one spot ahead of fellow legendary linebacker Mike Singletary, but the greats of pre-merger era earned many of the top spots on the list.

Dick Butkus came in second to only Walter Payton, while old school legends Bill George and Bulldog Turner ranked seventh and eighth, respectively.

It’s difficult to compare linebackers that played 50 years apart, especially when stacking them up with players at other positions.

Urlacher is still near the top of the list of the best Bears ever. They just have so many all-time greats, the likes of Dan Hampton, Richard Dent and Jimbo Covert just don’t have a spot in the top 10.

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Jalen Rose: Fab Five beef squashed with Michigan hiring Juwan Howard

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USA TODAY

Jalen Rose: Fab Five beef squashed with Michigan hiring Juwan Howard

The Michigan Wolverines are hiring former Fab Five star Juwan Howard as the head coach of their basketball team. Aside from being a part of that prolific college basketball team, Howard is a two-time NBA champion with the LeBron James-led Miami Heat.

And he is a former local basketball hoops star at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, where we was named an All-American in 1991.

But the Fab Five have not been on the best of terms over the years, particularly current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose and Chris Webber. With Howard back in Ann Arbor, all beefs are officially over.

“It squashes any drama or any beef because we’re not going to bring that to Ann Arbor’s campus with Juwan Howard as our head coach," Rose told Mike Greenberg when asked about the beef Thursday morning on ESPN's Get Up. "The one thing that we both know is his success turning around the University of Michigan is first and foremost about him and about the players that he’s going to influence. Then it’s about us being there to support him, not being drama, not being splintered, not giving any indication of dysfunction.

"We’re going to move as a family and we’re going to do what we can to build on what John Beilein has established in Ann Arbor.”

Rose reiterated this point later in the day during a segment with fellow Michigan alum Adam Schefter.

Let's wait and see if Howard brings winning ways to Michigan to make this honeymoon period last, otherwise it could be back to business as usual.

Also, does Chris Webber feel the same way? Has Rose already talked to Webber to clear the air? Or is Rose just saying it's over on his side in the hopes Webber follows suit?

Both Webber and Rose made it clear that Howard was their preferred candidate, so they seem to be on the same page.

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