Cubs

Notre Dame notes: Rees getting backup reps, Pinkett suspended

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Notre Dame notes: Rees getting backup reps, Pinkett suspended

Tommy Rees is back with Notre Dame, reinstated to the team after serving his one-game suspension for Week 1. The junior didn't see many reps during fall camp, but with him in the mix for Week 2, that's no longer the case. Both Rees and Andrew Hendrix were listed as the team's No. 2 quarterback on Notre Dame's latest depth chart.

"Both of them have to get some work, but Tommy probably needs the most work at this time," coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday. "Both those guys will share reps. For me, itll probably be more about making sure we get Tommy up to a level where he can be sharp if hes in a position where he had to go into a game, and I dont know if hes got enough work yet. Hell get work at 2, as well as Andrew, and then well see how that progresses during the week."

When pressed, Kelly said he didn't have either player in mind as the backup in case starter Everett Golson gets hurt on Saturday. After suspending Rees prior to fall camp, Kelly said he could "attempt to climb the depth chart" upon reinstatement. But Rees is already on equal footing with Hendrix, and may have a chance to move ahead of him with a good week of practice.

Rees started all but Notre Dame's season opener in 2011 and five games in 2010, making him the team's most experienced quarterback. He struggled with turnover issues, throwing eight interceptions in Notre Dame's four losses, but Kelly believes Rees has made significant strides since last December.

"Were pleased with it, or we wouldnt move in him a position where he gets some reps as a backup." Kelly said of Rees' improvement. "We saw some of things we wanted in terms of ball security and good decision-making, and well continue to work on that. Tommys a very valuable player to our program. Hes got a lot of experience, and were happy to have him."

Pinkett suspended three games from ND radio

IMG Notre Dame radio announced Allen Pinkett, who came under fire last week for comments about the Irish needing more "criminals" to succeed, was issued a three-game suspension without pay on Tuesday. That ban ncludes Saturday's Navy game, and after Sept. 15's game at Michigan State he'll return to his usual duties. His first game eligible to return is Notre Dame's Sept. 22 night game against Michigan.

Allen has done a great job for the Notre Dame IMG Radio network over the past four years, has a supportive fan base, and most importantly, has expressed deep heartfelt remorse for his choice of words, which were not in the spirit of college athletics, a statement by the Notre Dame IMG Radio Network read. "After careful deliberation and thorough discussion, we believe the right decision is to allow a truly repentant Allen Pinkett an opportunity to return to the booth beginning with the fourth game of the college football season."

Pinkett also issued an apology on Tuesday.

"I love this school as much as I love my kids and would never want to compromise the ethics and morals of my alma mater, Notre Dame,Pinkett said. I would again like to offer my most sincere and heartfelt apology to all those affected by my inappropriate comments, particularly the University, the schools hard-working and courageous student athletes, all Fighting Irish fans and team supporters, our friends at The Ohio State University, and my colleagues at IMG Notre Dame Radio Network. This offering of forgiveness is an extremely humbling life lesson.

"I will work very hard to make the most of this second chance in representing the high standards and proud tradition of Notre Dame football.

Irish move to No. 22, Kelly responds with shrug

The latest AP poll has Notre Dame back in the top 25, slotted at No. 22. No other team made the jump from unranked to ranked this week, but Kelly really didn't care about the recognition.

"White noise," Kelly said. "White noise, yeah."

Lost in translation

Notre Dame employed plenty of two-tight end sets on Saturday against Navy, something the CBS broadcast of the game noted was the result of Kelly studying Stanford's offense. If that was the case, Kelly didn't let on to it Tuesday.

"I dont know where that came from, quite honestly," Kelly said. "I think what I was talking about was I would love to have Andrew Luck. But he was already taken."

Sick bay

Running back Amir Carlisle (ankle) was cleared to return to practice on Tuesday, while linebacker Danny Spond (migraines) could return as early as Week 3, having been cleared for all activities but physical contact. Tackle Tate Nichols (knee) began work in the weight room last week and will go through individual, not team workouts this week and won't be available for the Purdue game.

Running back Cam McDaniel was banged up over the weekend and isn't back to 100 percent, but Kelly expects him to play on Saturday.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Mitch Trubisky jersey sales trending in right direction

Positive press about the Chicago Bears' offseason is having a strong impact on the jersey sales for the team's highest-profile player, Mitch Trubisky.

According to Dick's Sporting Goods, Trubisky's No. 10 is the fifth-most popular jersey among offensive players over the last 30 days. He's No. 6 among all players, regardless of position.

The Bears' offseason has been full of superlatives since their aggressive approach to free agency. The signings of Allen Robinson, Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel put the spotlight on Trubisky and the potentially surging passing game. The second-round selection of Anthony Miller and word of Kevin White's offseason emergence has turned positive momentum into higher-than-anticipated expectations for Trubisky this season.

For Chicago to have any chance at meeting those expectations, Trubisky, who's entering his first full season as a starter with a new head coach and offensive system, has to thrive. Fans must be confident that he will, considering the investment they're making in his jersey.

Trubisky ended his rookie season with four wins in 12 starts, throwing for 2,193 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. He should have a much more productive season in 2018 with his new arsenal of skill players and an innovative coaching staff, led by coach Matt Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich.