Bears

Williams still looking to add before trade deadline expires

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Williams still looking to add before trade deadline expires

MINNEAPOLIS -- White Sox general manager Kenny Williams was succinct when asked Sunday afternoon if he might possibly make any more trades.

Yes, Williams said without offering anything else.

Even after a wild five-week period where Williams completed trades, which brought Kevin Youkilis, Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano to the White Sox, the veteran GM will continue to try and find ways to further improve his first-place team.

While there are only precious hours remaining before Tuesdays 3 p.m. nonwaiver trade deadline, Williams has plenty of time to make deals. Clubs can also acquire players who have passed through waivers before Aug. 31 and still use them in the postseason.

So with upgrades already made at third base and in the setup role, and Liriano in to bolster a young rotation, where else might the White Sox try to improve the roster? Heres a look at several possible positions:

Middle infield: With Eduardo Escobar gone in the deal for Liriano, the White Sox promoted veteran Ray Olmedo, 31, to the roster. Olmedo has 899 minor-league appearances at shortstop, where he has a .952 fielding percentage in 14 seasons. Olmedo also hasnt been in the majors since 2007, which could make him a temporary fix as Williams looks for a better solution.

Left-handed reliever: Currently the role of left-handed specialist belongs to rookie Leyson Septimo, who has all of 8 13 innings pitched in the majors. Left-handed hitters are just 2-for-16 this season against Septimo, who also only allowed four hits in 42 at-bats to lefties in the minors. But he is susceptible to walks -- he has issued four -- and had a difficult outing against all left-handers in Boston, where Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run homer off him after he walked Carl Crawford and David Ortiz.

Veteran Matt Thornton has limited lefties to a .230 average over his career, but theyre hitting .256 against him this season, which may prompt Williams to add an arm.

Fourth outfielder: Jordan Danks has proven to be a capable defender who can play all three spots in the outfield. Danks 1.2 Ultimate Zone Rating -- a metric which measures how many runs he saves over the average defender at a position -- shows he has contributed in limited playing time. He also has 11 hits in 35 at-bats and can run, as evidenced by 18 steals at Triple-A Charlotte in 2011. But Williams may again prefer a veteran who could fill in if any of his starters are lost to injury.

The White Sox players are happy with the way their roster is currently constructed. The team feeds off a strong core of veteran players. Chemistry is strong this season and players have found a way to brush off bad times and never get too high when things have gone well. But even if Williams adds to the mix and alters the roster, the White Sox are confident they can handle another change or two.

Well welcome anybody at any time and Kenny knows that, pitcher Jake Peavy said. We feel very good about our chemistry we have in this clubhouse and are not in any way concerned about any move Kenny would make affecting that. Weve got a core group of guys who will keep each other going in the right direction.

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

The Bears suffered a heartbreaking defeat (that makes two of those), but the Bulls are days away from the start of a new season and the Blackhawks did something that has never happened before in sports history.

Bears

The Bears had a slow first half, failing to score against the shorthanded Dolphins, but picked things up in the third quarter. It all fell apart late in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime in a 31-28 defeat. Miami went up against the Bears without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. What does that say about the Bears' defense?

Matt Nagy was a bit chippy with the media after the game, but there were still positive signs from the offense.

Plus, Dwyane Wade was there and repped the Bears on the road.

Bulls

The Bulls wrapped up the preseason Friday with a 98-93 loss to the Nuggets. Wendell Carter Jr. and Bobby Portis both showed well in the preseason finale and Jabari Parker flashed his potential as well.

With the preseason complete, Mark Strotman graded each player on the Bulls roster. You may not want to calculate the team GPA.

The roster is being finalized as well, with Ryan Arcidiacono making the team and local product Tyler Ulis getting picked up off waivers.

Blackhawks

Saturday was an eventful day for the Blackhawks. First, it marked the 1,000th career game for Duncan Keith. Keith talked about the emotional night after the game.

As for the game itself, the Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-3 in overtime. That was the second time the Hawks beat the Blues in OT this season, adding to a 5-4 OT win in St. Louis on Oct. 6.

Unbelievably, that was the fifth straight OT game for the Blackhawks. Every game has gone to overtime this season, and not one of those has even gone to a shootout. No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Overtimes are more rare in other sports, but that also holds true for the NBA, NFL and MLB.

The Hawks don't play against until Thursday, when the host Arizona.

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In a game full of pivotal moments, one seemed to irk the Bears in particular following Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Driving on the Dolphins three-yard line, the Bears lined up in a T formation with Jordan Howard, Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen lined up left to right in the backfield behind Mitch Trubisky, who was under center. Burton motioned out of the backfield and to the right, and ran his route into linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Trubisky threw a short pass to a wide open Cohen for a touchdown, with Alonso late getting to the running back after being hit by Burton. But that score was taken off the board for offensive pass interference, with officials ruling what Burton did amounted to an illegal pick play.

“Trey did everything I asked him to do,” Matt Nagy said, sharply.

On the next play, Trubisky forced a pass into double coverage in the end zone, which was easily picked off by Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald. Miami turned that interception into eight points on Albert Wilson’s 43-yard touchdown and an ensuing two-point conversion.

The way Burton understood the rule was that offensive pass interference was only assessed on a pick play if he intentionally ran into a defender without running a true route. That’s what Burton felt he did; the officiating crew disagreed.

“I thought I ran a route and the guy ran into me,” Burton said. “I thought they changed the rule this year or last year — if you run the route, it doesn’t matter if you pick the guy or not, you’re good. Obviously they called it.”

A Rough Return

The conversations surrounding the Bears Sunday into Monday would be awfully different had a number of things happened — Trubisky doesn’t throw that interception, the Bears’ defense gets a stop, Tarik Cohen doesn’t fumble near midfield, etc. In that same group: If Cody Parkey hits what would’ve been a game-winning 53-yard field goal in overtime.

Parkey, instead, missed that kick wide right. His career long is 54 yards, which he hit last year while with the Miami Dolphins (and that was a game-winner with about a minute left against the Los Angeles Chargers).

“I had the distance, I just didn’t kick it straight enough, bottom line,” Parkey said. “But you’ve got to move on. I’ve made game winners, I’ve missed game winners. As long as I keep playing, I’m just going to keep trying to kick my best.

“… I control what I can control, and unfortunately I missed a field goal. I’d like to have that one back, but it is what it is and I’m just going to focus on the next game. That’s all I can do.”