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Sports Morning Headlines-Tuesday, 7/5/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Tuesday, July 5, 2011.

The disappointing lockout state of the Houston Rockets: In more Morey we trust? - The NBA Draft is gone, the lockout has come and the Houston Rockets are still looking to improve a team that's been entirely mediocre over the past few seasons. They're in the hands of general manager Daryl Morey who has become a very polarizing figure amongst Houston sports fans.  When he first started, he made shrewd and somewhat innocuous decisions that turned out great — people loved him. "In Morey We Trust!" was born.  But recently, people are growing discouraged with his Moneyball tactics. We are not going to pretend that we know the ins and outs of the system Morey uses to evaluates players. (Nor will we pretend to have the same kind of access or time he does to do it, either.)  That being said, the Morey Way is that each player has a value based on advanced statistics — and you don't spend money on players that aren't worth it. The book The Extra 2% talks about the way the Tampa Bay Rays were able to add wins without adding money. That's not to say money can't buy wins — because it can — but in basketball where there's salary cap restrictions (which are likely to become even more severe after this lockout), it becomes a bit more difficult.   READ MORE

Donatas Motiejunas might not join Houston Rockets until next season - The Houston Rockets first round pick Donatas Motiejunas has decided to stay in Italy for the duration of the lockout. The player was taken by the Rockets with the 20th overall pick. However, as it turns out, he won’t be unloading his stuff in Houston any time soon.  The NBA’s lockout is affecting the plans of many young players drafted from Europe this season. The option of spending time in their current league’s is starting to become a popular choice, now that the lockout has begun and there is a real danger of NBA games being lost and the season shortening or being called off altogether.  Donatas Motiejunas has taken a look at the situation and decided to stay with his current team Benetton Treviso rather than come over to the United States and stay idle until the lockout is over, which could be a long time.   READ MORE

Other free agent priorities for Mavs - It might seem a bit silly and honestly, somewhat of a waste of time to talk about which players the reigning NBA champion Mavericks should re-sign heading into the 2011-12 season with the lockout currently going on and all. But anything to take the mind of the sports fan off the mere possibility that there might not be an Association season next year or at best, an abbreviated version of the 82-game schedule can't be a bad thing.  Of course, re-signing big man Tyson Chandler is the top priority for Donnie Nelson and company but even Tyson could test the free agent waters once this whole thing has been reached.   READ MORE

Dallas Mavericks: Rudy Fernandez Leaving NBA for Spain? - Rudy Fernandez could be on his way out of the NBA. According to, Fernandez was offered a six year, $26.1 million deal with Real Madrid of the Spanish ACB league. This would make him the highest paid player ever in Spain.  The deal works like this, Fernandez would play with Real Madrid if the lockout goes into the NBA regular season and once the season is back on, and Fernandez would finish out his “last” NBA season and head back to his homeland of Spain.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs Report: Brazilian Basketball Confederation to pay Splitter's insurance - The Brazilian Basketball Confederation will pay the insurance for San Antonio Spurs' Tiago Splitter for the upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament in Argentina reports  With the NBA lockout in full swing, insurance issues have come up for foreign NBA players hoping to play for their home countries over the summer. Case in point, Spurs' Tony Parker who recently said he will not play for France should he not get insured.  However, it would appear Splitter is in the clear and will be taking part in three friendly exhibition games for Brazil when they face Mexico twice, and Team USA made up of college players leading up to the tournament in Argentina.   READ MORE

Spurs were interested in Casspi until the lockout shut off transactions - The Spurs apparently were active right up until the cutoff point before the lockout as they attempted to swing a late trade.’s Marc Stein tweets that Spurs and the Knicks both were interested in 6-for-9 forward Omri Casspi, who eventually ended up in Cleveland in the J.J. Hickson trade.  Casspi remained with the Cavaliers and the Spurs couldn’t get the deal done before last Thursday’s shutoff point.  Does that mean they may still try to trade for Casspi as an answer to their jumbled rotation at small forward?  We’ll have to wait until after the lockout to see about that.   READ MORE







Washington still not happy about ejection - One day after first-base umpire Angel Hernandez ejected Rangers manager Ron Washington and first-base coach Gary Pettis from Sunday's game, Washington was still steaming.  "[Hernandez] told me that my job is to get [Pettis] off the field," Washington said. "You don't tell me what my job is. You can't talk to Angel. Angel's the smartest umpire in baseball."  On Sunday, Washington said in the postgame that Hernandez is "just bad." While he said on Monday that he expects to be fined for those comments, he is not repentant about making them.   READ MORE

Rangers pound out 18 hits to top Orioles - The Rangers drew back to 2-2 on their 10-game homestand, winning, 13-4, in their Independence Day matchup against the Orioles at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Monday.  The Orioles looked as if they would be the ones to pile on the offense, as Mark Reynolds smashed a long home run into the left-field seats to make it 2-0 in the second, and Matt Wieters followed up with a single.  After a mound visit, Rangers starter Colby Lewis settled down.   READ MORE

Napoli returns to Rangers after rehab stint - Mike Napoli returned to the Rangers on Monday from a rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Round Rock. Taylor Teagarden was optioned back to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for Napoli on the roster.  Napoli was scorching in his rehab stint, hitting three-run home runs in the ninth inning on Saturday and Sunday. The home run on Saturday tied the game and the one on Sunday won it. He hit three home runs in his last 10 plate appearances.  "I had some good at-bats down there," Napoli said. "Hopefully I can carry it over to here."   READ MORE

Slumping Moreland out of lineup on Monday - Mitch Moreland was given Monday off by Rangers manager Ron Washington in an effort to coax him out of his current slump.  "He's just pressing," Washington said. "Mitch is a grinder. The tougher things get, the tougher he grinds, and he just has to learn that sometimes less is best. Every now and then I have to let him step back and clear his head. He takes not getting something done hard. Nothing wrong with that."  Moreland is 0-for-14 in his last four games, and 5-for-38 over his last 11.   READ MORE

Astros Sign Luis Reynoso - The Astros have signed Dominican shortstop Luis Reynoso for $700,000.  Reyonoso, 16, is a 6-foot, 170-pound righthanded hitter who trains with Victor Baez and played in the Dominican Prospect League. Reynoso is the second Latin American shortstop that Baseball America has confirmed signing with the Astros since the international signing period opened on Saturday. The Astros also agreed to terms with Venezuelan shortstop Arturo Michelena for $220,000.   READ MORE

Astros' front office continues trend of signing young Latin American talent - Astros assistant general manager/director of scouting Bobby Heck and director of player development Fred Nelson rely heavily on Felix Francisco, who serves as the organization's director of Latin American scouting, as a means for adding exceptional young talent from Latin America to a rebuilding farm system, in conjunction with the draft picks Houston signs each year.  Francisco discovered Rookie-Level Greeneville outfielder Ariel Ovando, a young phenom out of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, whose $2.6 million signing bonus last season wound up being the largest in club history -- ahead of Delino DeShields Jr. ($2.15 million) and Chris Burke ($2.125 million).   READ MORE

Streaking Bucs square off against hot Wandy -  This week against the Astros, Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle is holding his club to a standard it hasn't reached in a while. But, in doing so, Hurdle is hoping the team can put a stamp on some memorable milestones.  The Pirates, who are suddenly a surprise contender in the National League Central right behind the Brewers and Cardinals, have won nine of their last 13 contests.  It's the club's best standing at this point of the season since it was 1 1/2 games back of first place on July 21, 1997.  "We're holding ourselves to a championship level of execution every day we play," Hurdle said. "We need to finish games. We need to pitch better, hit better, field better. ... We don't change our focus when we play a team with a [worse] record than us, we don't change our focus when we play a team with a better record."   READ MORE

Myers knocked around in loss to Bucs - Astros right-hander Brett Myers went right to the video following his start on Monday afternoon, replaying key pitches over and over. Myers wasn't so much trying to figure out what he did wrong as he was trying to confirm that his eyes hadn't deceived him.  Myers was around the strike zone and didn't have poor location, but he was amazed at how the Pirates continually fouled off pitches with two strikes to keep at-bats alive and build up his pitch count on a humid afternoon.  Myers (3-8) gave up a season-high 13 hits in six arduous innings and allowed five runs against the gritty Pirates, who delighted a sellout crowd of 36,942 on Independence Day by sending the Astros to their ninth loss in 10 games, 5-3, at PNC Park.   READ MORE






NFL retirees file complaint against players, league - While NFL owners and players appear to be inching toward a resolution of the league’s long lockout, a group of retired players is clamoring to be more involved in the discussions.  The group filed a class-action complaint against the owners and current players in federal court Monday, saying they have been excluded from the mediation sessions taking place in an attempt to end the lockout.  Named plaintiffs including Hall of Famers Carl Eller, Franco Harris, Marcus Allen and Paul Krause are asking U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson to put a halt to the mediation she ordered and declare that the current players cannot negotiate on behalf of those who are retired.  Owners and current players have met five times over the last few weeks as they work to put together a new collective bargaining agreement in time to avoid the loss of training camps and games. They met with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan in Minneapolis last week, including for more than 15 hours on Thursday, and will resume meetings on Tuesday in New York.   READ MORE

Cowboys Rookie Arkin Frustrated By Lockout - The Cowboys selected Missouri State offensive lineman David Arkin in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Eager to get his NFL career going, Arkin is getting frustrated by a lockout that is now in its 114th day.  “It’s a little frustrating,” Arkin tells the Springfield News-Leader. “I just have to be ready to hit the ground running when this is settled.”  Dallas has a pair of veteran guards — Leonard Davis and Montrae Holland — under contract for 2011, and may re-sign 32-year-old Kyle Kosier, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. Davis, Kosier, and Holland are all over 30, and only Davis is signed beyond next season, so an opportunity to earn a starting role may be just around the corner for Arkin.   READ MORE

Tony Romo plays football with Sean Payton - Let the speculation begin.  Over the July 4th weekend, Troy Aikman, Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Bobby Carpenter and Saints coach Sean Payton played football in WaterColor, Fla. Now you could say, "Why would Romo and Witten play football with the Saints coach?"  Well, Payton was on the Cowboys' staff when Romo, as well as Witten, first got to Dallas. Carpenter is best friends with Witten and Romo and was a groomsman at the quarterback's wedding.  Yes, coaches can't have contact with players and agents, but sometimes those lines are blurred, especially during social and charity events. No harm.   READ MORE

Lockout analysis: Secondary - ESPN Dallas is providing a daily breakdown on how the lockout has affected the individual position groups.  Position: Secondary.  Depth chart: Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, Bryan McCann, Terence Newman, Alan Ball, Danny McCray, Gerald Sensabaugh, Barry Church, Andrew Sendejo and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah.  Not under contract: McCann, Sensabaugh and Ball.  Player hurt most by lockout: Owusu-Ansah.  Player with most to gain: Sensabaugh.  Analysis: This was one of the weakest areas for the Cowboys in 2010. The entire secondary underachieved, from veteran Terence Newman to Alan Ball. Ball was so bad at free safety, the team is moving him back to corner. If the season started today, the starting strong safety would be Church and the starting free safety would be McCray.   READ MORE

The fallback fullback - Should the Texans be unable to re-sign Pro Bowler Vonta Leach, third-year reserve tight end James Casey has been putting in the work to fill the void.  Tight end James Casey has the most to gain if the Texans fail to re-sign Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach.  During the NFL lockout, Casey has been putting in extra hours in the weight room and on the practice field at Rice Stadium to be prepared in case Leach leaves as an unrestricted free agent.  Casey (6-3, 250) has added about 10 pounds of muscle in case Leach leaves and he becomes a full-time fullback rather than the third tight end behind Owen Daniels and Joel Dreessen.   READ MORE

Kubiak Tells Troops There Will be Football in 2011 - During an NFL-USO tour in the Persian Gulf, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak told the troops that there will be football in 2011, reports John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.  “The question we’re getting the most is, ‘Will we have football this season?’” Kubiak said. “And I tell them, ‘Yes, we’re going to have football this season.’”   READ MORE

Andre Johnson of the Houston Texans Checks in at #7 Overall - Last night on the final episode of the NFL Networks Top 100 Players of 2010 as voted on by the players, wide receiver Andre Johnson was voted seventh best player overall and the number one wide out in the NFL.  This is really a surprise to know one who is a fan of the NFL and a fanatic of the Houston Texans and as we here at Toro Times have written in the past we believe that under all the right circumstances Andre Johnson could at some point make a push for NFL MVP.   READ MORE


Patience key as Jack Campbell builds toward NHL career - Listen to Stars goaltending prospect Jack Campbell talk and you hear a lot about patience these days. Learning to be patient in his game and to be patient in getting to where he wants to be.  Campbell, the Stars’ first round pick (11th overall) in 2010, is coming off his first season of major junior hockey. It didn’t begin the way he was hoping.  “It was a pretty rough start, coming from pro camp and having real high expectations of myself and the team,” Campbell said. “It taught me that you’ve got to live in the moment. You can’t get too caught up in where you want to be because that’s not always going to end up how you write it down.”   READ MORE

Free Agent Frenzy: Winners, Losers and Too Close to Call - July 1 is a day of celebration in Canada. For many it commemorates a national holiday, for a select few it is the day the Gross National Product of Canada jumps by 30%.  The first day in the month of July is the day the next NHL season really begins, Free Agent Signing Day. Twenty four hours that can change the course of a franchise for better or worse. This day is so important that TSN provided 5 LIVE hours of coverage. There are some Canadian TV networks that won’t provide 5 hours of coverage when a new Prime Minister is elected. (The number can vary depending on the schedule for Hockey Night in Canada.) For 2011 several factors fell into place to make this free agency period one of the craziest ever.   READ MORE

---Staff and Wire Reports Contributed to this report.



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