Cubs

Pacman Jones back in court ... again

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Pacman Jones back in court ... again

From Comcast SportsNet
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. Jones entered the plea in Hamilton County Municipal Court just as his non-jury trial was scheduled to begin. A second misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest was dismissed in a plea agreement with prosecutors. Judge Brad Greenberg ordered Jones to serve a year of probation, complete 50 hours of community service and pay a 250 fine plus court costs. Jones, 28, was accused in court documents of being disorderly, shouting profanities and trying to pull away as officers arrested him at a downtown bar in July. At the time, Jones was on probation in Las Vegas in connection with a 2007 no contest plea to a strip club melee that left three people wounded. He was ordered in November to perform an additional 75 hours of community service for violating that probation with the Cincinnati arrest. Jones apologized in court to police for his conduct and said he realized that he should have handled the situation better. The judge told Jones that he did not know how "someone with your ability risks your career with this type of behavior." Neither Jones nor his attorney would comment after leaving the courtroom. Jones will be a free agent after completing his second season with Cincinnati, which gave him a chance to continue his career. Tennessee made Jones the sixth overall pick in 2005. He started 28 games in his first two seasons with the Titans, but repeated arrests scuttled his career. He missed the entire 2007 season with the first of two suspensions from the league. The Titans traded Jones to Dallas before the 2008 draft. An alcohol-related altercation with a bodyguard that the Cowboys provided cost him another six-game suspension. He was out of the NFL for a year before the Bengals gave him the two-year deal in 2010 and a final chance to show he can stay out of trouble and hold a job in the NFL. He excelled as Cincinnati's No. 3 cornerback before a neck injury ended his 2010 season after only five games. Jones had surgery for a herniated disc in his neck. He had another procedure on the neck last summer and opened the season on an injury list, forcing him to miss the first six games. He pulled a hamstring in his first game back, forcing him to sit out two more. Jones played the rest of the way and started eight games at cornerback in place of the injured Leon Hall. He didn't have an interception. Jones had two punt returns for 67 yards. His arrest over the summer made him one of eight NFL players subject to discipline for incidents that occurred during the lockout. Bengals running back Cedric Benson also had an offseason arrest in Texas and got a one-game suspension during the season. The league will review Jones' case and then could impose another suspension should he sign with a team.

Cubs still searching for answers for Tyler Chatwood's puzzling control issues

Cubs still searching for answers for Tyler Chatwood's puzzling control issues

Tyler Chatwood looked to be turning the corner with his control issues, but alas, he and the Cubs aren't so lucky.

After walking only two batters in a solid start in Atlanta last week, Chatwood had taken a big step in the right direction. It was, after all, only the third time he'd walked fewer than 5 batters in an outing this season.

Those control woes reared their ugly heads once again Tuesday night at Wrigley Field in a 10-1 loss to the Indians. Chatwood walked 6 batters and managed to net only 8 outs, getting hammered for 4 runs in the third inning.

"Ugh, it was tough," Maddon said. "The stuff was so good, we just couldn't get a strike."

"It's definitely frustrating," Chatwood said, "because one at-bat, I'll feel really good and the next one, I feel like I'm fighting myself.

"Last time [out], I was able to stay in the rhythm. Tonight, I was kinda battling, rushing rather than staying back, so it's just keeping that feeling and maintaining that."

His season ERA is only 3.74, which looks good until you consider his WHIP is 1.62 and he's walked 40 batters in 45.2 innings with only 41 strikeouts in the process. He now leads baseball in walks per 9 innings.

Chatwood said earlier this month in St. Louis that he's figured out what has led to the startling lack of control and while he didn't elaborate on the mechanical issue, he was working hard at correcting the problem in bullpens.

He's also used the term "fighting myself" at least a dozen times this month alone and it's become a common refrain for his explanation of what's going on. 

"He's got a busy delivery when he throws the baseball," Maddon said. "He's kinda busy what he does with his hands. It's not like he can just change it easily because that's how his arm works, how his body works.

"Sometimes, like you see him the other day, everything's on time and how good it can be and when it's out of sorts a bit, then all of the sudden it becomes shotgun. Ah man, you can see the movement [on his pitches] from the side, how good it is. 

"We gotta harness it somehow. I spoke to him briefly on the bench; I reassured him it's gonna be fine, it's gonna be really good by the end of the year. We gotta figure it out and he knows that. But man, that's good stuff. We just gotta get it in the zone."

Chatwood also admitted part of the problem is mental in that he's trying to force pitches rather than trusting his stuff. He's also gotten into the bad habit of drifting down the mound, though he's not sure when or where he picked up that hitch in his delivery.

Chatwood and Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey are working on slowing his delivery down to get his arm in the same spot on a more consistent basis.

When the Cubs signed Chatwood over the winter, it was easy to see why.

He just turned 28 in December, his peripherals and a move from hitter-friendly Coors Field foretold a potential leap in performance and his stuff is nasty. Plus, he signed a three-year deal at a relative bargain of $38 million.

Once the Cubs signed Yu Darvish in spring training, you could make the case that Chatwood could be among the best No. 5 starters in baseball.

Nine starts later, the honeymoon period is well over with Chatwood, as he threw only 30 of his 74 pitches for strikes Tuesday night and sent catcher Willson Contreras sailing all around home plate for pitches way out of the zone.

Still, it's clear to see there is some intriguing talent there and the season there is roughly 70 percent of the season remaining before the Cubs make what they hope is another run at the World Series.

"I have a lot of faith," Maddon said. "I know we're gonna reap the rewards, the benefits as he figures this thing out."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bulls use Lauri Markkanen as centerpiece of a trade to bring in a superstar?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should Bulls use Lauri Markkanen as centerpiece of a trade to bring in a superstar?

On this episode of SportsTalk Live, Hub Arkush (670 The Score/Pro Football Weekly), Danny Parkins (670 The Score) and Lauren Comitor (The Athletic) join David Kaplan on the panel.

Manny Machado Mania continues in Chicago. Do the Cubs even need to trade for him to win the World Series this year?

Ricky Renteria has to bench another player for not hustling. Is this becoming a problem on the South Side?

Plus, Lauri Markkanen is named to the All-Rookie team. Could he be the centerpiece of a trade if the Bulls want to acquire a superstar or move up in the draft? 

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: