Cubs

O'Donnell likely won't return to Hawks, but still wants to play in NHL

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O'Donnell likely won't return to Hawks, but still wants to play in NHL

Its unlikely that Sean ODonnell will wear a Chicago Blackhawks uniform in 2012-13. But the veteran defenseman would still like to play somewhere next season.

ODonnell played in a diminished role for the Blackhawks last season, something he figured would likely happen when he signed with them last summer. And while it appears his time is done in Chicago, ODonnell, who will turn 41 in October, is still hoping to play his 20th NHL season somewhere.

I would like to play; I think I showed I can still play in the right circumstance, ODonnell said on Sunday. Maybe Im not even an 82-game guy or a 20-minute guy. But the right fit, a good system hopefully I can play.

Playing a lot of games was never a problem for ODonnell; prior to last season he played in 70 or more games every season since 2002-03. But ODonnell suited up for just 51 games with the Blackhawks, his lowest games played since his 1996-97 season with Los Angeles (55 games). He had no goals and seven assists, and finished minus-6, in those 51 games.

The Blackhawks are always looking for depth at defenseman, and theyll also look to adding size along the blue line next season. Theyve already re-signed Johnny Oduya to a three-year extension, and Dylan Olsen made good strides in his rookie season. But its unlikely ODonnell is part of the plans moving forward.

There are no hard feelings, but I think its one and done, ODonnell said of his time here. I saw a situation where I thought I could help the Blackhawks. It didnt quite work.

Like other players, ODonnell will be waiting to see what happens with the CBA talks, and if it affects the length of the 2012-13 season. But if there is hockey to be played, ODonnell would like to be a part of it.

July 1 is going to roll around, and maybe something will happen, he said.

Kris Bryant is ready for fatherhood '[I was] put on this earth to be a dad'

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USA TODAY

Kris Bryant is ready for fatherhood '[I was] put on this earth to be a dad'

Suffice to say Kris Bryant is budding with anticipation for becoming a father.

Bryant and his wife, Jessica, are expecting their first child — a baby boy due in April. During Friday night’s Cubs-Padres broadcast, the third baseman shared his excitement for fatherhood with reporter Taylor McGregor

“I think this is really what I’ve been put on this Earth to do, is be a dad,” Bryant said, laughing. “Obviously I play baseball pretty good, but I’m just so excited [for] this new journey with my wife and my family. Honestly, I think this is going to be one of the best years of my life.”

Bryant’s son is due shortly after Opening Day, but the Cubs will play two spring training games in Las Vegas — Bryant’s hometown — on March 7-8. He told McGregor one of Jessica’s last doctor’s appointments is around the same time, so Bryant will get one last visit in before Baby Bryant is born.

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How Dusty Baker inspired former Cub Adam Greenberg after scary head injury

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AP

How Dusty Baker inspired former Cub Adam Greenberg after scary head injury

Adam Greenberg’s baseball career was cut short by a scary head injury 15 years ago. But with the help of Dusty Baker, he found the motivation to transition to his post-baseball life.

Greenberg made his MLB debut with the Cubs on July 9, 2005, and Baker called upon the then 24-year-old to pinch-hit in the ninth inning against the Marlins. On the first pitch Greenberg saw in the big leagues, Marlins reliever Valerio De Los Santos hit him in the back of the head with a 92-mph fastball.

Greenberg was concussed from the incident, suffered from vertigo and vision problems, and battled depression. The Cubs released him in 2006 and he caught on with the Royals and later the Dodgers in 2007 — which is when Baker reappears in the story. From MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart:

A couple of years following the incident, in 2007, Baker got a letter from a fan requesting a baseball card be signed. In the letter, the person told Baker that Greenberg had been released by the Royals and his baseball career was in jeopardy. Baker tracked down Greenberg and left him the voice mail that served as his motivation for a post-baseball life.

“It was so genuine and from the heart,” Greenberg said. “It put me in tears the first time, but it was the motivation and inspiration I needed to get up and keep going. And since then, he’s been somebody that’s been near and dear to me."

It's unfortunate Greenberg couldn’t experience a long big-league career, but Baker inspired him and helped him move forward post-baseball. According to McTaggart, Greenberg started a nutrition company and sold it 10 years later. He also ran for state senate in Connecticut in 2019 and is currently a baseball analyst for the ACC Network.

Greenberg’s career effectively ended moments after it began, but 2005 wasn’t the last time he stepped in a big-league batters’ box. In 2012, fans started an online petition to get him one last at-bat — and his career came full circle. The Marlins signed him to a one-day contract on Oct. 2, 2012, and he pinch-hit that same day against the Mets.

Greenberg struck out on three pitches, but Baker’s voicemail left a mark on his life. Seeing him enjoy success outside of baseball is as heartwarming as it gets.