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.

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

Kris Bryant's injury looms large as Cubs finish home stand in underwhelming fashion

There are 162 baseball games in a season and some days, you’re just not going to have it. On Sunday afternoon, in a 10-2 loss to the Reds, the Cubs just didn’t have it. 

“It’s already in the trash can...” Maddon said. “... so let’s flush it out and move on.” 

Things were bleak from the very first at-bat of the game, when Kyle Schwarber took a 3-2 fastball looking for one of his three strikeouts on the day. Anthony Rizzo was the only starter not to strike out at least once, as the Cubs’ finished with 11. Reds starter Tanner Roark was responsible for 9 of them, his season-high. 

Things weren’t much better on the basepaths or in the field. Besides making two errors, Anthony Rizzo was thrown out at the plate in the 2nd inning and David Bote got doubled-up at first after drawing a walk in the 6th. The Cubs were playing playing their 13th game in 13 days, and it showed.

“I feel really good about how we’ve been playing until today,” Maddon said. “This whole month we’ve been in almost every game except for this one, and maybe the [7-0 loss on May 10th] against Milwaukee. There’s not a whole lot to be upset about, and I’m not. I just want to make sure everyone’s well moving forward.” 

There was a scary moment in the 6th inning, as Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward collided in the right field gap while trying to make a play on a fly ball from Eugenio Suarez. Bryant was slow to get up and eventually had to leave the game. He’s still being evaluated for a head/neck injury, and the Cubs don’t yet know if he’ll go into concussion protocol. For what it's worth, Bryant was cleared to fly with the team. 

“He’s doing okay,” he said. “He’s still under evaluation. We don’t know exactly what we’re doing with this whole thing yet, but we’re trying to talk with the doctors and find out exactly where we’re at.”

“We collided, and I called for the ball,” Heyward added. “We were both going hard to make a play and ran into each other.”

The loss dropped starter Jose Quintana to 4-4 on the season. Quintana went 5.1 innings while allowing six runs on 12 hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Despite relatively weak contact, the Reds hit well all weekend. Their 42 hits over three games was the most for them in a three-game series at Wrigley since 1976, and they finished the weekend with a .404 BABIP. 

“Yeah, I just had to keep pitching, you know?” Quintana said. “Keeping my focus. It was really tough - too many base hits. In some contests that happens. I just try to stay close in the game.” 

The Cubs finished their 7-game homestand at 3-4, and now hit the road for a two-city trip. Up first comes the 35-19 Astros, who are 20-7 at home. This season Houston ranks first in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and third in home runs. Their closer, Ryan Pressley, has the lowest ERA of all qualified relievers and is fresh off a streak of 40 straight scoreless appearances.

“I’m excited,” Joe Maddon said before Sunday’s game. “Let’s get by today, but I’m excited for the whole week. Look at our schedule - it’s been pretty firm, and it continues to be pretty firm. And that’s the way it should be. I’m looking forward to it.” 

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

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Scott Chagnon/NBC Sports Chicago

Kris Bryant leaves Sunday's game after outfield collision with Jason Heyward

Add injury to insult for the Cubs. 

In the top of the 6th inning, with the Cubs already down 6 runs, right fielder Kris Bryant left the game after colliding with Jason Heyward in the outfield.

You can check out the video right here. 

It's possible that the move was simply precautionary. The Cubs are on their 13th game in 13 days, and being down six runs in the latter half of a getaway game isn't the time to roll the dice. That said, Bryant missing time would be a significant blow, as the Cubs' star is in the midst of a stellar season. Through 49 games, Bryant's slashing .288/.411/.576 with a .987 and a 160 wRC+. As of Sunday afternoon, only Javy Baez has a higher WAR (2.5) than Bryant (2.4). 

There's been no further announcement on the extent of Bryant's injury.