The Miami Heat put the New York Knicks one more defeat from extinction Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, winning Game 3 87-70 under the fourth-quarter brilliance of LeBron James and guard Mario Chalmers.James rang up 32 points — including eight straight to start the fourth — and the unheralded Chalmers added 19, including back-to-back three-pointers to break open the game. The defeat was the 13th straight for the Knicks in the playoffs, an NBA record.Dwyane Wade added 20 points for the Heat, up 3-0 in the series. Miami goes for the sweep in N.Y. on Sunday afternoon.Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points but shot just 7 of 23 for the Knicks, who played without Amare Stoudemire, who cut his hand after the Game 2 loss in Miami.
Quarterbacks who remain unsigned as of March 29, 2017 Last season, Kaepernick posted a QBR of 55.2 — which is not great (he ranked 23rd out of 30 qualified passers) but also not terrible. (The NFL-wide average QBR was 61.3.) You can see on the chart that Lee’s theory is credible: It’s hard to find a recent free-agent QB who played at Kaepernick’s level and lasted so long on the market the next offseason. Matt Leinart (2012) and Kyle Orton (2014) signed nearly 50 days into their free agency, but neither had played much the year before. Michael Vick wasn’t signed for 169 days in 2015, but he was also older and coming off a season (39.4 QBR) far worse than Kaepernick’s 2016.There are an unusual number of unsigned QBs at this stage of the offseason, though, and some with comparable résumés to Kaepernick’s. That’s in part because Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo may move teams this offseason and begin a QB carousel in the league. Steve Walsh199428220Benched Shaun Hill373863.6 T.J. Rubley199325225Benched Charlie Batch200127197Benched PLAYERAGEPLAYSQBR Colin Kaepernick2945455.2 Ed Hargett197124199Benched Greg Cook196923614Injury Jay Cutler3417033.2 Ed Rubbert198723361Unsigned Blaine Gabbert2721860.3 Three weeks into the NFL’s free-agency period, Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have a job. Ordinarily, an NFL veteran who is having difficulty finding a team isn’t exactly newsworthy. But NFL talent is scarce at quarterback, and Kaepernick’s situation is far from ordinary.After Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem last season as quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, the question has become whether it’s the reason that teams are avoiding him. Some arguments regarding Kaepernick’s worth to a team are easily put aside (the obsession over “distractions” in sports is always tired but loses all meaning when we have proof that the supposed distraction had the opposite effect), though that wouldn’t necessarily stop a team from considering them. But others are more credible, or at least invite more investigation. Could it be that Kaepernick just isn’t good enough, or that he plays a style that makes him difficult to accommodate?The evidence suggests that those factors alone don’t explain Kaepernick’s unemployment. Kaepernick’s current employment status looks less like a natural result of the supposed NFL meritocracy and more like something unusual is going on (even by the standards of an unusually complex situation). His play is good enough to have attracted interest from teams by now. That it hasn’t suggests that he’s being punished on at least some level for his political outspokenness.Other QBs as good as Kaepernick usually get signedThere are a couple of ways we can judge whether it’s unusual that Kaepernick is still waiting for NFL teams to call. One is to see how long into free agency it usually takes for a quarterback of Kaepernick’s quality to find a new team. Director Spike Lee implied in an Instagram post a week ago that similar QBs are usually signed by now. He’s right.To investigate Lee’s claim, we started with a list of all free-agent QBs who changed teams since 2012 (the first free-agency period under the NFL’s current collective bargaining agreement), courtesy of our friends at ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. Then for each quarterback, we plotted his Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) from the season before his free agency — to get a sense of how well he played — against the number of days that elapsed between the start of his free agency and his signing: Gary Danielson197827341Injury Steve Walsh199125436Benched Vince Ferragamo198026987Rival league Sam Bradford201326254Injury Many of the absences were injury-related (remember Trent Green?), some QBs simply lost their starting roles and stayed on the bench, and others were lured away to join rival leagues.Kaepernick, though, isn’t injured, has not yet secured even a spot on the bench, and an excursion into a rival league is a far steeper fall off for a player today than it was in the past.Kaepernick can fit into different offensesThat doesn’t mean Kaepernick’s case is open and shut, though. There are other factors that may be at play, such as his reported desire to compete for a starting job (and earn a low-starter to high-backup salary). That would encourage him to wait and see what happens with Romo and the ripple effects that Romo’s move could have on the rest of the league.But there is also a belief that the delay in finding Kaepernick a team is because of his particular skillset: that any team that signs him would have to run an offense built for a quarterback who isn’t a pocket passer. But Kaepernick’s reputation for being a bad QB in the pocket is somewhat overblown. There are in-depth film reviews for Kaepernick that show his ability to make reads and handle pressure, such as Doug Farrar’s at Bleacher Report. The stats confirm as much.Last season, Kaepernick completed 61 percent of his passes from the pocket, for 14 touchdowns and two interceptions, according to data from ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. Elite quarterbacks tend to complete something in the mid-to-high 60s, so it’s not like Kaepernick is being shunned despite being elite. The league median completion percentage since 2010 is 63 percent. Still, considering that San Francisco receivers dropped 6.3 percent of all targets thrown their way in 2016 — the highest rate in the league — Kaepernick’s accuracy is likely a bit better than the percentages show.3Many of the drops were short-to-intermediate routes, so Kaepernick wasn’t losing massive chunks of potential yardage to drops the way, say, Cam Newton was. But for offenses that struggle to gain big chunks of yardage, drops on short passes have a compounding effect.It was Kaepernick’s out-of-pocket stats that weighed down his numbers: He completed just 49 percent of his passes from outside the pocket in 2016, with a raw QBR (total QBR before adjusting for strength of opponent) of just 16.5 on those plays. So it’s probably a good thing that the share of Kaepernick’s plays that came outside the pocket were at a career-low last season, dropping from a high of 23 percent of his plays in 2012 to 17 percent in 2016. That 17 percent is still fairly high relative to the league (the median since 2010 is 11 percent), but his game is trending toward staying in the pocket.Despite Kaepernick’s flaws, QBs at his level are still worth something in the NFL, in part because its quarterback marketplace is driven by scarcity. The Denver Broncos were prepared to give up a fourth-round pick for Kaepernick last year because there aren’t that many people in the world who can do what Kaepernick can do, even if what Kaepernick does is far from perfect.For instance, Kaepernick’s raw QBR for in-pocket plays has not been very good the past few seasons. Among 232 qualified passer-seasons since 2010, Kaepernick’s 2016 ranks 208th. But then look at Sam Bradford, whose 2015 season ranks four spots ahead of Kaepernick, at 204th. When Minnesota starter Teddy Bridgewater went down just before the 2016 season, the Vikings traded a 2017 first-round pick and a 2018 fourth-rounder for Bradford’s services as an emergency starter. Kaepernick is only a year older than Bradford was last season, but his value has dipped from a fourth-round pick in Denver to seemingly nothing at all.It is impossible to prove the precise mix of factors that have gone into Kaepernick’s free agency to this point. The market remains paralyzed by Romo, and teams are run by fallible owners and executives who may simply disagree on Kaepernick’s football value. But given what we know about how the quarterback market has worked historically, and about Kaepernick’s value as a player, the commentariat is right to be suspicious. If Kaepernick begins the season without a team, history says it’s unlikely to be for football reasons. We aren’t there yet, but every day further into free agency makes that scenario harder to ignore. Ryan Fitzpatrick3448145.4 Chase Daniel30199.6 Colin Kaepernick201629202? PREVIOUS SEASON Why Kaepernick-caliber QBs missed a season Bobby Hebert198929444Holdout Trent Green199828458Injury Doug Williams198227409Rival league Ed Luther198427396Rival league In other words, Kaepernick’s absence from the NFL may be a quirk of circumstance in a league where there are only so many landing spots during the offseason. You don’t hear talk radio obsessing over where Blaine Gabbert will end up, for example.Our free-agency data set has a blind spot, though — it only shows QBs who were ultimately signed. Another way to try to evaluate why Kaepernick hasn’t been is to spin a hypothetical: Imagine Kaepernick doesn’t throw a single pass next season — is he like other QBs who fall off the map?Not really. Since 1966, only one under-30 quarterback has had as good a year as Kaepernick’s 20161According to yards above replacement, which takes into account passing and rushing value over a backup-level QB. yet gone unsigned the next year.2Congrats to Ed Rubbert, who went unsigned in 1988 after playing as a scab during an NFL player’s strike for Washington the previous year. Other young quarterbacks who follow relatively good seasons with no passes the next tend to be out of the game for different reasons: Neil Lomax198829829Injury Case Keenum2938843.4 Craig Nall200425224Benched Steve Beuerlein198924226Benched PLAYERYEARAGEYARDS ABOVE REPLACEMENTREASON FOR ABSENCE Robert Griffin III2721145.0 Minimum one action play in the previous season. Ages are as of Dec. 31, 2016.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group Randy Johnson197329345Rival league Charlie Whitehurst353037.9 Matt McGloin271714.5 Timm Rosenbach199024197Injury David Fales2671.8 Top 20 seasons, by yards above replacement, among quarterbacks younger than 30 who threw zero passes the following season, 1966 to 2016. Ages are as of Dec. 31 of the listed year.Sources: Pro-Football-Reference.com, media reports SEASON BEFORE ABSENCE
*Second place in the 2017 AL Central division is currently tied.Excludes strike-shortened seasons in 1981 and 1995.Sources: Retrosheet, ESPN Stats & Info The Indians are on pace to outplay their World Series versionProduction per 162 games for 2016 and 2017 Cleveland Indians 1985NL WestSDPLAD2.08.4-6.4LAD Nobody has secretly dominated like the 2017 IndiansDivision leaders with largest difference between actual and Pythagorean-predicted leads through 82 games, 1969-2017 2017AL CentralCLEKCR*2.08.5-6.5— 201694.691.247.0 201786.992.847.1 So the good news for Cleveland is that it’s badly outplayed both of its would-be division challengers. The bad news is, that’s not always enough. Among the midseason division leaders on the list above, only two-thirds of them ended up eventually winning the crown, despite starting off with an average lead of 3.3 games.Even so, FiveThirtyEight’s MLB Elo ratings give the Tribe a 70 percent chance of winning the Central and an 81 percent shot at making it back to the playoffs, despite what’s shaping up to be a crowded AL wild card picture. You wouldn’t guess it from the standings, but if the Indians just keep playing the way they have been, they should be right in the thick of things again come October.Check out our latest MLB predictions. The biggest factor holding Cleveland’s record back has been a distinct lack of clutch hitting: Tribe hitters have the majors’ third-worst on-base plus slugging (OPS) with two outs and runners in scoring position, and its second-worst OPS in “high leverage” situations. But their vaunted relief pitching — led by do-everything relief ace Andrew Miller — has been as good as advertised, as have starters Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. Although Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Edwin Encarnacion and Francisco Lindor have all been various degrees of disappointing in the first half, third baseman Jose Ramirez has enjoyed a breakout season (he ranks 11th in the majors in WAR). Taken altogether, Cleveland is playing just fine.But the team happens to be caught up in one of the most misleading division races ever, as far as the standings go. Through 82 games apiece, the AL Central-leading Indians’ record was two games better than those of the Royals and Twins.2Cleveland played its 82nd game on July 4, while Kansas City and Minnesota have currently played 83 games. But according to Pythagorean records, Cleveland “should” be 8.5 games up on Kansas City, and 10.9 games up on the Twins, whose -54 run differential is almost exactly the negative mirror image of the Indians’ mark.That 8.9-game difference between Cleveland’s actual and Pythagorean leads over Minnesota is the biggest gap between a division leader and runner-up at this stage of the season3Through 82 games. in the history of divisional play (since 1969): 1972NL EastPITNYM5.013.3-8.3PIT 1989NL WestSFGHOU2.08.6-6.6SFG YEARDIVISIONLEADERNO. 2ACTUALPYTHAG.DIFF.WINNER Just like its struggling World Series counterparts in Chicago, things haven’t been easy for the Cleveland Indians’ pennant defense this season. The team that was one ninth-inning run away from stunning the Cubs last November looked even stronger heading into this season. The core of young talent was intact, a pair of aces missing from its postseason run were healthy, and the normally frugal Indians’ front-office shelled out $60 million for a new slugger. But despite an enormous on-paper advantage in talent, the Tribe hasn’t exactly blown the doors off the American League.Cleveland was trailing in the American League Central as recently as the last week of June; even now, they only lead the second-place Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals by a game and a half each. For a franchise that hasn’t made back-to-back playoff appearances since 1999, the 2017 Indians appear on the surface to be headed for disappointment, just like every other season on the Cuyahoga since 1948.But unlike the Cubs, who’ve mostly earned their disappointing sub-.500 record, Cleveland has played much better this season than their Ws and Ls would indicate. The team’s +58 run differential ranks seventh-best in major league baseball, placing it firmly in the next tier of contenders below the dominant Dodgers/Astros/Diamondbacks/Yankees/Nationals group at the top of the game’s pecking order. According to both the Pythagorean expectation (which converts a team’s run differential into an expected winning percentage) and total team wins above replacement1All mentions of WAR in this story will refer to an average between the competing versions offered at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. (WAR), the 2017 Indians have been superior to the 2016 version that ultimately ended up winning the AL pennant: 2012AL CentralCHWCLE2.08.6-6.6DET 1993AL WestCHWKCR1.06.7-5.7CHW 1971AL EastBALBOS3.09.3-6.3BAL 1992AL WestMINOAK1.08.7-7.7OAK WINS 1997NL EastATLFLA4.09.8-5.8ATL SEASONACTUALPYTHAGOREANWINS ABOVE REPLACEMENT 1970NL EastNYMPIT2.07.1-5.1PIT 1976NL WestCINLAD6.013.5-7.5CIN 1989AL EastBALNYY6.011.2-5.2TOR 2008AL CentralCHWMIN1.07.8-6.8CHW Difference-7.7+1.6+0.1 1969AL EastBALBOS12.018.1-6.1BAL 1985NL EastSTLNYM3.09.1-6.1STL 2008NL EastPHIFLA1.08.9-7.9PHI 1998NL CentralHOUMIL7.013.2-6.2HOU DIVISION LEAD Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs 2017AL CentralCLEMIN*2.010.9-8.9— 1973AL WestOAKANA1.06.3-5.3OAK 2007NL WestSDPARI1.09.3-8.3ARI
Junior left-hander Tanner Tully fires a pitch during a game against Rutgers on April 15 at Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorLast time the Ohio State baseball team matched up against a Big Ten opponent, it did not end well, as the Buckeyes were swept in three games against Maryland.In desperate need of a series win to keep their Big Ten hopes alive, OSU (23-12-1, 4-5-0) managed to storm back and grab the series win after dropping the opener to Rutgers (16-19, 3-6).Game 1Friday’s game started off looking like it would be a back-and-forth battle all night long, but seven runs in the first three innings by Rutgers proved to be too mighty of an obstacle for OSU to overcome.The contest certainly did not start off right for OSU junior left-handed pitcher Tanner Tully, as he surrendered a walk and two hits to load the bases before Rutgers freshman center fielder Jawuan Harris lined a single to center field that scored three runs early.OSU responded quickly, however, as it matched Rutgers’ three-run first inning with a three-spot of its own. After junior center fielder Troy Montgomery lined out to start the bottom half of the first, four straight hits by the heart of the Buckeyes’ order brought the game back to square one.The see-saw battle really ceased at that point, as Rutgers knocked another three runs off of Tully as the Scarlet Knights began the top of the second with three straight hits to plate a run. Following a sacrifice bunt, Rutgers redshirt senior first baseman Chris Suseck drilled a double to right field that drove in two more runs. Rutgers would add one more run in the third inning to expand its lead to 7-3.The Buckeyes would not be held off the scoreboard for much longer, however, as Montgomery would later hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning to bring the game back within three. Montgomery’s blast turned out to be the last run scored by either side, however, as Rutgers senior left-handed starting pitcher Howie Brey would finish off a complete game, allowing only four runs. In spite of the loss, OSU coach Greg Beals said he saw a lot of promise with the way his team played.“We hit a lot of balls hard tonight,” Beals said. “I don’t mind how we played today. We just didn’t get a quality start from Tully. For him to give up seven runs in the first three innings is absolutely uncharacteristic; it just wasn’t his good self tonight.”Game 2A day after only managing four runs against the opposing starter, the Buckeyes’ bats came out in full force and ran away with the game.The first runs of the game came from the Buckeyes in the bottom of the second inning off a bunt from sophomore right fielder Tre’ Gantt that scored senior first baseman Troy Kuhn from third. After a double steal on the basepaths, junior catcher Jalen Washington drove a single into left to make it a 2-0 OSU lead.Rutgers would come back and tie the game in the top of the third inning, however, as junior left fielder Mike Carter singled to left field to plate a pair of runs. Neither of those runs were charged to OSU senior starting pitcher John Havird, as he would have been out of inning if not for an error on shortstop Craig Nennig that likely would have ended the inning.From this point on, it was all Buckeyes. OSU senior third baseman Nick Sergakis drilled a two-run home run in the bottom of the third to make give the Buckeyes a 4-2 lead. The fourth inning saw OSU bring 10 batters to the plate en route to scoring four runs on the strength of five hits. The Buckeyes later went on to add a run in the fifth and another in the sixth to make it 10-2.Following up a start against Maryland in which he went eight innings and gave up no hits, Havird continued his dominant ways, hurling seven innings of two run baseball (with no earned runs) and only three hits and one walk allowed.Over his last five outings, the lefty has thrown 33 innings with an impressive 1.36 ERA. During those starts, Havird has racked up more strikeouts (20) than hits allowed (19). For Havird, part of this dominant stretch has been the resurgence of his changeup, which has been one of his go-to outpitches.“My past couple outings, my changeup has really gotten back to what it used to be,” Havird said. “I struggled with it for the first couple games, I was really just going with the fastball, slider, two-seam away and movement and occasional changeup, but it wasn’t really working too well. But now it’s getting back to what I know it is.”On Zach Farmer Memorial Day, Havird said he did feel some extra incentive to go out there and pitch well for the memory of his teammate and the Farmer family. Farmer died in early August at the age of 21 after a battle with leukemia. Havird said it was important to go out there and get a win in his memory.“I know he was an unreal person, unreal athlete,” Havird said. “I really felt like I had to go do something for him and throw as good as I can.”Game 3Unlike the first two games of the series which saw a combined 25 runs scored, the rubber match of the series would be exactly as its title suggests: a pitchers’ duel.Rutgers was the first to draw blood in this one as its sophomore third baseman Milo Freeman hit a solo home run in the third inning to put the Scarlet Knights ahead 1-0.An inning later, OSU tied things up with an RBI groundout by Sergakis that drove in redshirt junior Jacob Bosiokovic from third.Both teams were then held off the scoreboard until Montgomery led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a triple. It did not take long for the junior to get off the basepaths, as Bosiokovic lined a single into right field to drive in the run and put the Buckeyes ahead 2-1.That one-run lead would be all the home team needed, as redshirt sophomore right-hander Adam Niemeyer cruised through the game. In his first start in two weeks after he was sidelined with a hamstring injury, Niemeyer threw six solid innings of one-run, three-hit baseball with seven strikeouts and only one walk allowed. Part of what helped Niemeyer in his outing Sunday was the stellar defense behind him that committed no errors on the day and came up with some clutch plays in clutch situations.“I’m a pitcher who throws a lot of strikes, I try to work ahead of hitters,” Niemeyer said. “Not really pick too much, just try to attack them, and it’s easy to do that when you’ve got a solid defense behind you. It’s easy to throw strikes, trust the defense and let those guys make the plays.”Coming upOSU’s next contest is set to come on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. at Bill Davis Stadium against Cincinnati. Freshman right-hander Ryan Feltner is slated to take the mound for the Buckeyes as they look to build off the series victory.
The Ohio State women’s basketball team hung on to force overtime play, but lost to Michigan State 71-68 on Sunday.Guard Samantha Prahalis had a quiet first half with only five points, but came alive to give the Buckeyes a burst of energy in the second half.Prahalis drove to the basket and made a layup as she was fouled with 2:50 left in regulation to give OSU its first lead since 11:45 in the first half. The Bucks had trailed by as many as 13 just seven minutes earlier.After a jumper by Spartan center Allyssa DeHaan, freshman guard Amber Stokes made a 3-pointer to give OSU a three-point lead.Another Spartan score and a Prahalis free throw left OSU with a two-point lead with 17 seconds remaining.The ball and the game were given to the Spartans’ leading-performer Brittney Thomas, who nailed a running jump shot from 15 feet away to tie the game with 8 seconds left.A close shot by Prahalis and even closer tip by forward Sarah Schulze did not go in, and the game headed to overtime.OSU started the overtime with a 5-1 run but was surpassed by a Spartan 8-0 run that left OSU down by four.Prahalis made a 3-point shot that brought that lead down to one, but with only 19 seconds left.Thomas converted a pair of free throws, extending the Spartan lead to three.Schulze then launched a 3-pointer that air-balled to the right of the basket and landed out-of-bounds.The difference in the game was OSU’s inability to make outside shots.The Buckeyes are ranked No. 1 nationally in 3-point shooting percentage, but shot only 3-of-14 against MSU.“[MSU] guarded the three well. It was difficult to get open for any shots today,” Schulze said.The Buckeyes also struggled from the free throw line, shooting 17-of-25. Prahalis was 4-of-11 on her own.Center Jantel Lavender scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while single-handedly keeping OSU in the game for much of the afternoon.Prahalis finished the game with 17 points, six assists and four rebounds.Freshman Amber Stokes, who has seen the floor more often in recent games, played 16 minutes, scoring seven points and grabbing three rebounds.“Her ability to get the ball to the basket is something we need from the guard position,” coach Jim Foster said. “We can’t depend on one person to do that all the time.”This loss doesn’t mean much for the Buckeyes, who have already clinched the Big Ten regular season crown and a bye in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Though the Buckeye baseball season came to a close last weekend, some players have more to look forward to this year.Pitcher Alex Wimmers, catcher Dan Burkhart and outfielders Michael Stephens and Zach Hurley should all expect to be selected in the MLB first-year player draft, said Jim Callis, executive editor and Ohio area draft expert for Baseball America.Wimmers, a junior, is all but a guarantee to be selected first among these Buckeyes, Callis said.“I think he’s going to go somewhere in the middle of the first round, between 10th and 25th,” he said.This would make him the first Buckeye to go in the first round since Nick Swisher was selected 16th overall by Oakland in 2002.Though expected to be drafted high, Wimmers “stuff isn’t overwhelming (and he’s) not a high-ceiling kind of guy,” according to a scouting report at MLB.com.Callis said Wimmers might not have the most potential in the draft but added that “he might be about as polished a pitcher as there is.”“There really is no such thing as a ‘safe’ pick in the MLB Entry Draft, but he is as close as you can get because he already has three plus pitches,” said Mike Luchene, from mlbscoutbuzz.com, in an e-mail.This gives him the ability to move up through the minor leagues quickly, an important quality for teams whose front offices need production as soon as possible, Callis said.While Wimmers helped his stock with consistent performance this year, fellow junior Dan Burkhart might have hurt his with a drop in production.“Just from the scouts I’ve talked to, they were kind of hoping he would do more offensively. (They) are not in love with him,” Callis said. “If it’s going to be tough to get him away from his senior year at Ohio State, he could go real low.”‘Real low’ could be as late as the 15th round, according to Callis.Despite underwhelming hitting, strong defense and the ability to call his own pitches — a rare feat for a college catcher — serve as justification for baseballdraftreport.com to rank Burkhart the 26th-best college catching prospect.Burkhart did not want to talk about the draft following the last game of the season. He will make the decision when the time comes but won’t do anything “stupid,” he said.If Burkhart is struggling with his decision to return for his senior season, he can look to a teammate for advice.Hurley was selected on the third day of the 2009 draft as the 1,358th overall pick by the Florida Marlins in the 45th round and elected to return for his final college season.“I don’t think guys are in love with him,” Callis said of Hurley. “He is a 15th to 20th rounder.”Josh Melycher from mlbscoutbuzz.com is less optimistic about the left fielder’s status.“Hurley isn’t a lock to get drafted at all,” he said in an e-mail. “His impressive numbers will probably earn him a look somewhere towards the end of day three.”The third day of the draft consists of rounds 31-50.Hurley, though, isn’t worrying about where he might be selected.“I don’t have any expectations, any rounds or anything like that at all,” he said. “I’m just hoping that someone out there thinks I can play for an organization and gives me an opportunity.”Hurley’s outfield companion Michael Stephens, who was not selected in 2009, may get that opportunity sooner in this year’s draft.“I think he’ll go ahead of Hurley because he is more athletic and has the chance to play center,” Callis said, adding that he predicts Stephens will go between the 10th and 15th rounds.Luchene finds the two outfielders to be quite comparable.“I could see each of them going on and contributing in the minor leagues, but I’m not sure their ceilings are high enough to get them beyond that,” he said. “I like Stephens better, but only by a hair.”When asked about his plans after the season, however, Stephens did not mention baseball.“I’ll graduate at the end of this quarter and be a bum in California,” he said.Callis said Hurley and Stephens are both locks to be drafted, but is not sure they will be the last Buckeye selections, he said.Junior pitchers Dean Wolosiansky and Drew Rucinski could both potentially be drafted, though both would be better off returning for their senior seasons, Callis said.This year’s draft takes place June 7-9.
In his third year of eligibility, former Reds shortstop Barry Larkin was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday. Larkin, who is the only player elected to the Hall of Fame this year, received 86.4 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. A player needs at least 75 percent of the vote in order to be inducted. Larkin spent his entire major league career with the Cincinnati Reds from 1986-2004. In that time, he batted .295 and tallied 198 home runs, 960 RBIs, 2,340 hits and 379 stolen bases. Only Pete Rose has more hits in a Reds uniform. Larkin also won three Gold Gloves, the National League MVP award in 1995 and was a member of 1990 World Series team that swept the Oakland Athletics. Larkin’s nine Silver Slugger Awards, given to the best offensive player in both leagues at each position, is second-most all-time by an infielder behind only Alex Rodriguez, currently of the New York Yankees. The 47-year-old Larkin is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and attended the University of Michigan, where his No. 16 was retired in 2010. Larkin was also recruited by legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler to play football for the Wolverines. Larkin was redshirted his freshman year and thereafter decided to devote all of his time to baseball. It appears Larkin might have made the right choice. Larkin will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 22.
Ohio State redshirt senior guard Kam Williams (15) celebrates after making a three pointer in the second half of the game against Penn State in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals on Mar. 2 in Madison Square Garden. Ohio State lost 69-68. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe No. 17 Ohio State men’s basketball team again fell short in heartbreaking fashion to Penn State, losing by one Friday on a near-last-second shot that sent it back to Columbus after just one game in the Big Ten tournament.But unlike last year, when the Buckeyes fell to Rutgers in their first game of the conference tournament, their season is not yet over. Despite being sent home from the Big Ten tournament after just one game for the second season in a row, the Buckeyes are not dwelling on past failures in preparation for the challenge March Madness presents. Senior forward Jae’Sean Tate, one of only three players on the team when Ohio State last reached the NCAA Tournament, said he expects every potential team the Buckeyes could face to pose a challenge with “multiple great players” on every team.“Everybody who knows about dancing knows that it’s a whole different energy and environment in March. With that, we’ve got to be prepared,” Tate said after the game Friday. “Every team is going to have great scouting and at the end of the day it’s going to come down to tough plays and just the more connected team.” But the Scarlet and Gray have quite a bit of time before their next game. With the Big Ten tournament being moved ahead one week to play in New York and the first round of the NCAA Tournament not beginning until March 15, Ohio State has a near two-week layoff before it plays its next game. This break presents a situation that nobody on this Ohio State team has experienced before. It is rare for a team to have such a drastic layoff, and the players will have to focus on balancing the painful loss to Penn State and the time off, leaving the Buckeyes without a clear plan on how to best move forward.Senior guard Kam Williams said he is expecting a hungrier team that will be ready to get back on its “P’s and Q’s.” “We got to keep our approach consistent because we don’t know who we got to play,” Williams said. “So all we can do is focus on ourselves and just look at everything that we did wrong today and focus on us and what we can do to get better for any situation that’s thrown at us.” Penn State clearly has the answer on how to beat Ohio State, which gives the Buckeyes plenty of film to mull over ahead of the NCAA Tournament if they are matched up with a similar team.Many teams will have star players like Penn State’s sophomore guard Tony Carr, who presents the Buckeyes with a clear matchup problem with his size and top-tier scoring ability and played a big role in their three losses. The Buckeyes will need to be ready to face that level of talent in order to keep their season alive. “Especially in the [NCAA] Tournament, you’re going to play against studs and obviously Tony Carr is a stud for [Penn State],” redshirt senior guard Andrew Dakich said. “That helps us in a sense and obviously you want to play, you want to move on and have the opportunity to make it to the next round. “It’s like win or go home. That’s a cliche saying, but it’s true. We gotta wait like two weeks to play, which kind of stinks. But to have this opportunity, we get a second chance.”
A judge in the family courts earlier this year ruled that Poppi’s father, Paul Worthington, 48, probably sexually assaulted Poppi before her sudden death. Mr Worthington denies any wrongdoing.Mr Worthington was originally arrested on suspicion of sexual assault in August 2013 but no action was taken against him.The CPS reviewed that decision in the wake of the family court judgment but in July it concluded there was there again insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.On Friday, David Roberts, HM senior coroner for Cumbria, announced the suspension of the scheduled inquest on October 10.He said he was advised on September 20 that the CPS was to carry out a fresh review of the evidence, and a day later was asked to stop his own investigation. Poppi Worthington pictured with her father Paul Credit: He said such a suspension was mandatory when a prosecuting authority requests it “on the ground that a person may be charged with a homicide offence involving the death of the deceased…”.Adjourning the hearing to a date to be fixed, Mr Roberts said his inquiries would be suspended until November 30 “having been advised that the review should be completed in about 56 days”.Poppi was rushed to hospital after she collapsed at home on December 12 2012.A post-mortem examination found she had a fracture to her right leg and suspected acute injuries to her anus.Her death had been shrouded in secrecy, with a 2014 fact-finding civil court judgment by Mr Justice Peter Jackson being kept private so as not to prejudice any criminal proceedings.Cumbria Police conducted no real investigation for nine months as senior detectives thought a pathologist who examined Poppi’s body “may have jumped to conclusions” that the girl had been abused, concluded Mr Justice Jackson.A list of basic errors in evidence-gathering by detectives was also highlighted, which Cumbria Police later apologised for.In January this year during care proceedings in relation to other children in the family, the full damning judgment was finally made public, prompting heavy criticism of Cumbria Police and Cumbria County Council and calls for a public inquiry.The judge concluded that Mr Worthington had, on the balance of probabilities, abused his daughter shortly before her death.An Independent Police Complaints Commission report into Cumbria Police’s handling of the investigation is still to be published.At a preliminary hearing in July for the fresh inquest, lawyers for Mr Worthington argued he should be allowed to give evidence via videolink because of death threats he had received.Leslie Thomas QC, representing Mr Worthington, said the evidence relied upon by Mr Justice Jackson in finding a sexual assault took place by his client would be “hotly and robustly challenged”.A CPS spokesman said: “On 19 September the CPS Appeals and Review Unit received a request under the Victims’ Right to Review Scheme in relation to the death of Poppi Worthington.”The case material will be considered and the review will be completed as soon as possible.” There was an acknowledgement that there are families who share similar histories and presentations as [Poppi] – multiple births, children’s social care involvement with several generations of the same family – and that this is normalised in some communities and amongst some professionalsSerious Case Review report A fresh inquest into the death of 13-month-old Poppi Worthington has been postponed as the Crown Prosecution Service conducts another review of the case.A three-week hearing was scheduled to take place next month after High Court judges ruled the first inquest in October 2014 was “irregular” after it lasted just seven minutes and called no evidence.However the hearing in Kendal, Cumbria, is on hold as the CPS again looks at the circumstances of the toddler’s death at her home in Barrow-in-Furness in December 2012. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Overweight soldiers who face being discharged have been given Fitbit bracelets to help them lose weight.The devices, which cost around £100 each, have been given to troops who risk being thrown out of the Army for failing military fitness tests to help them shape up.One infantry unit is believed to have given every overweight soldier in the battalion one of the bracelets, which track the distance the wearer walks and calculates how many calories have been burned. A Fitbit braceletCredit:AP Photo/AJ Mast, File Civilian fitness instructors have also been hired to help troops who are too fat for the regular training sessions.The Ministry of Defence recently revealed it had sacked a 28-stone soldier for being too big to fight. Around 25,000 soldiers, or 18 per cent of the Armed Forces, are overweight or obese, with a further 1,000 suffering from type 2 diabetes.Between 2011 and 2014, more than 32,000 soldiers have failed the basic fitness test, and 60 troops have been discharged for being obese since 2002.However, some have questioned the expense involved in issuing Fitbits to soldiers.Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, a source said: “It’s part of a soldier’s personal responsibility to make sure he stays in shape. “The Army shouldn’t be spending extra money on fancy pieces of kit to help a soldier lose weight. If he or she is too fat to fight, they should be thrown out.”Senior officers have set up “fat clubs” in units where a number of troops are overweight to encourage them to slim down.Around 300 soldiers have been given diet pills, while more than 20 have had liposuction funded by the taxpayer.The problem has been blamed on the food served in military cookhouses, which includes full English breakfasts and main meals served with chips and puddings.The MoD said: “Over 95 per cent of our personnel routinely pass fitness tests, but a wearable technology device can be a useful tool for those who need to track injury-recovery and fitness.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.