Sports Morning Headlines - Tuesday, 2/28/12

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Tuesday, 02/28/12.

Odom Still Absent; What's The Mavs Hope? - Lamar Odom’s dad was, like, dying on Wednesday ... Er, wait. It was a stomach virus that was cleared up by Friday. ... Um, wait. L.O. still isn’t back at Mavs HQ on Monday, six days after his excused absence from work? ‘The hope,’ coach Carlisle says, ‘is that he will join us soon.’ Er, um, wait again. Is it? At this point, is that really the hope?  I will continue to exercise some restraint regarding the odd case of Lamar Odom, who ditched the Dallas Mavericks last Wednesday morning hours before his new team was to play his old team, the Lakers.  The reason given for his emergency departure? None, beyond the vague “family matters’’ excuse.  We all would like the right to mourn in our own way and our own time. Except ... what is it, exactly, that Odom is mourning?  Only two days after Lamar's emergency depature did TMZ inform us, via a video visit with Lamar’s dad, that the reason the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year jetted to LA was due to concern for Dad’s health. What was that "family matter'' that caused Lamar Odom to jet to LA instead of playing against the Lakers last week?  Pops isn’t dying. His dad had a stomach virus, as Dad Odom explains on camera.  Um ... oh.  I have said this before and I think it’s fair: I put the kibosh on sarcasm as best I could last Wednesday, when L.O.'s absence was announced. Yes, his behavior is unusual and yes, his commitment is worthy of question.   READ MORE

Rodrigue Beaubois is back, should get chance - Rodrigue Beaubois returned to practice Monday and showed a hint of a smile as he knocked down 3-pointers at the end of practice.  Beaubois missed the last five games following the death of his father.  His return is important to the Dallas Mavericks, who continue to be without Delonte West (fractured right ring finger) as they embark on nine games in 12 nights. Eating up minutes behind Jason Kidd will be critical.  "We’re going to continue to watch [Kidd's] minutes real close," coach Rick Carlisle said. "And getting Roddy back is big for us because we’re really in a tough bind without him."   READ MORE

Rockets F Morris cited with misdemeanor
- Houston Rockets forward Marcus Morris was cited with misdemeanor battery early Sunday morning, Lawrence city prosecutor Jerry Little said Monday.  Morris, who played three seasons at the University of Kansas, was in Lawrence to watch the Jayhawks beat Missouri on Saturday. According to the Lawrence Journal-World on Monday, a Lawrence police spokeswoman said that an employee of The Cave, a Lawrence nightclub, alleged he was punched by two men after a verbal dispute turned physical early Sunday morning.   READ MORE

Budinger falls to Evans in slam dunk contest - Utah's Jeremy Evans won the Slam Dunk Contest at the NBA's All-Star Saturday night festivities.  Evans, who got into the competition as a replacement for injured New York guard Iman Shumpert, earned 29 percent of 3 million text message votes cast by fans.  This was the first year that fans had total control of voting, a major tweak from past competitions.  Evans earned the win over Houston's Chase Budinger, Indiana's Paul George and Minnesota's Derrick Williams.   READ MORE

Project Spurs:  Ginobili having a hard time; Tim and Tony getting some recognition - San Antonio Spurs fans hate to see Manu Ginobili sitting out games with yet another injury. Everyone knows how important he is to the team and how much better they are with him in the lineup. But as much as it’s killing the fans to see him in his street clothes at game time it sounds like it’s hitting Ginobili even harder.  “As competitive as he is, it’s just killing him,” said Coach Pop. “He was just beginning to get in shape again — finding a little rhythm. He’s pretty depressed.”  I doubt that there are many things more frustrating than coming back from an injury only to find yourself back off the court only a short time later. It’s been a very tough year for Manu. Hopefully he comes back from his latest injury well rested and ready to help the Spurs compete in the playoffs.   READ MORE

Waiting for Manu and Splitter to Return - I am pretty content.  Actually, given the context, content represents a rather facetious statement. If I'm being completely honest, the word that better describes my state is ecstatic because the Spurs have managed to build another legitimate championship contender. And, if I can continue with the Full Disclosure™: I didn't expect the Spurs to hold the No. 2 seed and a 24-10 record before the All Star break.  I'm an unapologetic Spurs fan, one who vehemently believes in PATFO, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and the endearing monastic persona of the team to endure even the most onerous hardships. Yet, I still wasn't ready for this season.   READ MORE












Early impressions positive for Darvish, Feliz - Newcomers to Rangers' rotation settling in quickly.  Rangers manager Ron Washington was shaking his head after he finished watching Yu Darvish throw live batting practice on Monday morning.  "He's got some serious stuff," Washington said as he walked from one practice field to another. "He can run his fastball inside, he can run it outside. He can sink it to the left and sink it to the right. He can hang you up with his breaking ball ... he's got the splitter. He can bring heat."  Washington, like everybody else, still isn't sure how many different kinds of pitches Darvish throws.   READ MORE

Neftali Feliz pleased with development of his changeup - Neftali Feliz's changeup is coming along nicely.  It's a pitch that will help Feliz transition from closer to starter, and it got an early test on Monday at the Surprise Recreation Complex. Feliz threw it to Josh Hamilton, David Murphy and Nelson Cruz in a live batting practice session, and was pleased with his results.  Hamilton didn't make contact with it, although Murphy sent one over the right-field fence.  "I feel comfortable throwing it," Feliz said. "I worked on it a lot this off-season. It's a pitch that's going to help me this year."  As a closer, Feliz relied mostly on his fastball and rarely threw a changeup. That will change this year, and he's been working on keeping it down in the zone in the early going of spring training.   READ MORE

Astros agree to terms on one-year contract with Rule 5 draftee Marwin Gonzalez - Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow announced on Monday that Houston has agreed to a one-year contract with infielder Marwin Gonzalez.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Gonzalez, 22, was acquired by Houston from the Red Sox last December in exchange for right-handed pitcher Marco Duarte and cash.  He had been selected by the Red Sox in the first round of the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft off the Cubs' Triple-A Iowa roster.  The Astros took Duarte with the first selection in the Triple-A phase of the Draft off the Colorado Rockies' Double-A Tulsa roster.  Gonzalez was then dealt to Houston afterward.   READ MORE

Young trio won't sneak up on teams in 2012 - Martinez, Paredes, Altuve tasked with adjusting in first full year.  When the time comes for opponents to begin breaking down the Astros this season, there's going to be plenty of information available on J.D. Martinez, Jimmy Paredes and Jose Altuve. There will be scouting reports and charts filled with notes about their tendencies and hot zones.  That wasn't the case last year, when all three young players burst onto the scene -- each arrived at the Majors within a few days of each other after being called straight up from Double-A -- and made an immediate impact. With the Astros committed to youth and rebuilding, Martinez, Paredes and Altuve became the offensive face of the team's youth movement.  Entering their first full season in the Major Leagues, the three players will find themselves facing the biggest challenges yet of their baseball careers in 2012. They're trying to prove they're ready to handle the adjustments they'll be required to make to remain in the lineup.   READ MORE















Kubiak: “We think the world of” Cody, Mitchell - As of last week, several mock drafts projected the Texans to take a nose tackle in the first round of the 2012 draft.  Given how the Texans’ coaching staff feels about the play of Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell at the position last season, it doesn’t sound like much of a priority.  “If you look at ‘em, take both of ‘em and say they’re your starter – they basically split time – they played extremely well,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Friday in Indianapolis. “And our defense played well all year long. There’s all kinda ways when you’re running a 3-4 – a lot of people think you need a big nose. Those two guys aren’t very big but they’re very active, and [defensive coordinator] Wade [Phillips] has played with both and obviously was successful with those two guys last year, and we think the world of ‘em.”   READ MORE

Texans shopping list and your combine thoughts - Some teams aren’t clear who they want in the draft. The Texans aren’t one of those teams.  Here’s the quote sheet from GM Rick Smith and Head Coach Gary Kubiak at the combine.  Though the Texans may surprise with the particular guy they pick (their draft boards often look nothing like national Kiper ones), they usually don’t surprise too much in the positions they choose. They draft players in the positions they talk about around draft time or say are deep in that draft and then some other guys they think are great values.   READ MORE

Dallas Cowboys 2012 NFL Draft Quick Look: Dre Kirkpatrick - Dre Kirkpatrick played cornerback for the Alabama Crimson Tide from 2009 - 2012. In 2012, Kirkpatrick and the Crimson Tide won the National Championship by beating top-ranked LSU. Kirkpatrick decided to forego his senior year and enter the 2012 NFL draft. He could be a lock-down cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys. Kirkpatrick adopted the nickname "Swagga" for his attitude and swagger on the field.   READ MORE

Cowboys will tender Tony Fiammetta; still no decision on Anthony Spencer - Team vice president Stephen Jones, who has carefully and artfully managed the Cowboys through salary cap hell and back, said the Cowboys have the financial resources to do whatever they need to do. They are currently $12.6 million under the cap and can restructure several contracts to acquire more room if need be.  According to a source, the Cowboys have already one financial decision given them financial flexibility by choosing to tender a contract to only one restricted free agent, fullback Tony Fiammetta. Of the others, only wide receiver Kevin Ogletree had a chance of returning next year. If he does return, it will be at a minimum deal, rather than the $1.26 million free agent tender.   READ MORE













2012 NHL Trade Deadline: Joe Nieuwendyk Talks Standing Pat - Dallas Stars fans held their collective breath for hours today as trades and speculation rolled in on Twitter and the NHL Network. Steve Ott's name would simply not go away, and some national media members had as many as 10 teams interested in the pesky Stars forward that could be a huge addition for those who feel they're truly contenders.  In the end the man who has at least become one of the biggest faces of this franchise stayed put, and Nicklas Grossman left as the only casualty of the 2012 NHL Trade Deadline.  "No moves today," said Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "Pretty uneventful day league-wide, it seemed. I think our plan has been consistent. We weren't going to do anything unless it made sense for now and for the futture going forward. Nothing in that regard really presented itself."   READ MORE

No deals for Stars as trade deadline passes - The Dallas Stars were quiet as the NHL trade deadline passed at 2 p.m. Monday. The Stars made no trades on what was a pretty quiet deadline day around the NHL.  "No moves today," Nieuwendyk said. "It was an uneventful day league-wide it seemed. I think our plan has been consistent, we weren't going to do anything unless it made sense for now and the for the future going forward. Nothing in that regard really presented itself. I think it's made it challenging in the last few weeks with the way our team has performed, and that's a good thing. They've really stepped up and shown that they are really here for the fight. That's a good thing going forward."   READ MORE






---Staff and Wire Reports contributed to this story

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