Sports Morning Headlines-Tuesday, 03/01/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Tuesday, March 1, 2011.

Tony to the bench - For the first time all season, the Spurs face an extended stretch without one of their Big Three, and a rugged stretch at that.  Point guard Tony Parker, the team’s assists leader and No. 2 scorer, is projected to miss two-to-four weeks after being diagnosed Monday with a strained muscle in his left calf.  The three-time All-Star suffered the injury late in the first quarter of Sunday’s victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, who are the Spurs opponent again tonight, this time at FedEx Forum. Parker stayed behind in San Antonio to begin rehabilitation work with the team’s medical and athletic training staff.  George Hill, Parker’s primary backup for three seasons, likely will get the start at point guard tonight.   READ MORE

Parker injury leaves door open for Mavericks, Spurs scoring drought, and more - • Does the injury to San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker lead to the possibility of the Dallas Mavericks catching the Spurs for the best record in the NBA?  Does it crack open the door for the Dallas Mavericks (43-16), who despite winning six in a row and 15 of 16 remain six games behind San Antonio (49-10), to make a run at the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference?  READ MORE

Mavericks waiting for options with Pavlovic, Brewer - With the 11th-hour buyout of Corey Brewer, the Mavericks are waiting to see if the former Minnesota swingman might fit their needs heading into the final weeks of the season.  Owner Mark Cuban said that the team is leaning toward signing Sasha Pavlovic, who was with the team for two 10-day contracts in January. However, with multiple players receiving buyouts in time so that they will be available to be on playoff rosters because they were waived or bought out before March 1, the Mavericks have options, although the most high-profile names like Mike Bibby and Troy Murphy are headed elsewhere.  Brewer is among those players as he completed a buyout with the New York Knicks Monday. He was dealt to the Knicks from Minnesota at the trade deadline last week.  The Mavericks should know by early Tuesday whether they would end up with Brewer or Pavlovic, Cuban said.   READ MORE

Sasha Pavlovic Could Be the Last Piece to the Mavs Roster - Currently, the 14 players on the Mavericks roster will make a push for the playoffs. They will do so as the front office never found a trade worth making as the trade deadline passed on Thursday.  With 14 players on the active roster, that leaves one open spot available for the Mavs to acquire a player. Without buyout season winding down, the general belief is if the Mavs bring in an additional player it likely would not be much more than warm body that can be a practice player. That might be the case, but there is one exception to the theory in the form of Sasha Pavlovic.   READ MORE

Rockets:  He's cleared for takeoff - Now a starter, Budinger ready for his chance to shine.  Chase Budinger could not remember the last dunk he threw down on the road. He gets them often enough these days that his having none in recent road games stood out in his memory. He does, however, remember the reaction.  He gets it all the time. He slams on the road, driving past a defender rushing to challenge a jumper or leaping to snare an alley-oop lob from Kyle Lowry, and fans let out a collective "whoaaa" not out of awe but surprise.  He knows what they're thinking.   READ MORE

The Houston Sporting Scene: Fans Should Be Fed Up With the Mediocrity - I'm fed up.  All three of Houston's major sports teams—the Astros, Rockets and Texans—are at the bottom of their divisions.  Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States. We should be able to field winning franchises. Yet it seems like 50 years since we've sniffed greatness in any of our sports.  On top of that, the Rockets' championship seasons in the mid '90s are mostly due to Michael Jordan leaving the game in his prime to explore baseball. How many championships do the larger cities each have since 1995?   READ MORE

 

 

RHP Lance Pendleton living a dream wearing an Astros uniform - Right-hander Lance Pendleton, who was selected by the Houston Astros in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft in December, made his Grapefruit League debut wearing an Astros uniform Monday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium.  Although the Braves routed Houston 13-3, Pendleton had a strong showing and impressed the coaching staff by tossing a scoreless sixth inning.  The 27-year-old Pendleton, a Kingwood High School and Rice University product, admits it was one of the greatest moments in his life Monday to stand on the mound in a Houston uniform for the first time.   READ MORE

Bagwell likes what he sees in Clemens - Koby Clemens was sitting at his locker when Jeff Bagwell walked through the somewhat cramped clubhouse at Osceola County Stadium as the Astros prepared for a bus trip to their first game of spring training.  Knowledge skews the perception, but Bagwell walks like a great player. Clemens walks a bit like his father, who walks like a great player.  When it comes to following footsteps, Bagwell’s trek through baseball might be the walk that best fits the younger Clemens.  Bagwell has been where Koby Clemens is trying to go, where Clemens has been and where Clemens is now.   READ MORE

Rodriguez's success key to club's hopes - Wandy Rodriguez made his spring debut on Monday, and though the results are not what he wanted, neither he nor the club doubt that this could be a big year for the lefty.    READ MORE

Kirkman may be season's surprise for Rangers - It never hurts to ask. Particularly if you ask the right people.  One spring ago, while relaxing after-hours at a local sports bar, a surprising answer to a question turned out to be almost prophecy for the 2010 season.  The answer: Mitch Moreland.  The question: By the 2012 season, the starting first baseman for the Texas Rangers will be Chris Davis or Justin Smoak?  A couple of uniformed personnel types for the Texas Rangers, with ballplayer backgrounds and an understanding of the minor league system, hijacked the process by going with the still under-the-radar Moreland over the much higher profiles of Davis or Smoak.  When I wrote their answer, the text response to his followers from a national baseball dot.com guy was "that's crazy."   READ MORE

Prospect Profar displays leadership skills - Rangers pitcher Yhency Brazoban gave up a leadoff home run in the ninth inning on Monday, cutting the Rangers' lead to 12-11. Then he walked the next batter. When he threw ball one to the next hitter, his shortstop came in to give him a few words of encouragement.  Brazoban is 30 and has pitched in 116 Major League games and two playoff games. The shortstop is 18 and was in his first ever Major League Spring Training game. But after Brazoban walked a second batter with two outs, moving the tying run into scoring position, Jurickson Profar went to the mound again to settle down his pitcher.  "That's him," manager Ron Washington said. "He's locked into the game. He loves to play the game. He is not afraid."   READ MORE

Lewis feels good after spring debut for Rangers - The Rangers scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh and rallied for a 12-11 victory over the Royals on Monday at Surprise Stadium.  Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, who tied for the lead among all Minor Leaguers in 2010 with 36 home runs, went deep for the first time this spring, hitting a three-run bomb in the top of the seventh. One of Kansas City's other top prospects, Eric Hosmer, added a solo shot in the ninth.  The game turned into an Arizona sloppy spring slugfest only after both starters got their work done and exited the game.   READ MORE

 

 

Free agents, prospects on Cowboys' mind - The Dallas Cowboys spent the weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine analyzing prospects for the upcoming draft but also making decisions on some of their own veteran free agents.  The Cowboys plan to tender restricted free-agent contracts as early as today to tackle Doug Free, defensive ends Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen and safety Alan Ball, a source said. Free-agent deals are also being considered for linebacker Leon Williams and receiver Sam Hurd.  The Cowboys haven't decided at which level they would tender the players. Free could get the highest tender, one that would bring first- and third-round draft pick compensation in case he is signed by another team.  The moves are administrative in nature, considering the labor impasse and possibility of a lockout.   READ MORE

Cowboys open door for Marcus Spears and Gerald Sensabaugh to move on - The Cowboys have not closed the door on Marcus Spears and Gerald Sensabaugh to return, but they have left it wide open for both starters to explore the free agent market.  The two will be unrestricted free agents in whatever system is adopted going forward. The club's stance should come as no surprise.   READ MORE

Cowboys retain Bryan McCann - Cowboys officials sent a letter to cornerback Bryan McCann saying they will retain him as an exclusive rights free agent. The team had until March 3 to designate McCann or risk losing him without receiving compensation from another team.  McCann will not sign any deal until the new collective bargaining agreement is completed.  In his rookie season, McCann, a SMU product, returned an interception 101 yards for a touchdown and averaged 20.6 yard per punt return. McCann also had 23 kick returns for 507 yards.   READ MORE

Texans open talks with players with expiring contracts - Texans general manager Rick Smith met with Ralph Vitolo, the agent for fullback Vonta Leach, at the Indianapolis scouting combine, but no deal was done.  Leach, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery after playing in the Pro Bowl last month, said he's hopeful a deal can be reached before the current collective bargaining agreement expires Thursday at 11:59 p.m.   READ MORE

Texans zero in on drafting a top-quality cornerback - Team may have to trade up if it wants Amukamara.  If the Texans want to fill one of their most glaring needs and select a cornerback in the first round of the draft, Nebraska's Prince Amukamara is the most likely candidate.  To get Amukamara, the second-best prospect at his position behind LSU's Patrick Peterson, the Texans probably will have to trade up from the 11th spot. Trading up far enough to get Peterson - a top-three candidate - seems out of the question.  "I love the defense the Texans run, and if I get to play there, I'll do everything I can to help them win," Amukamara said Monday at the scouting combine.  Dallas has the ninth pick, and the Cowboys also need a cornerback like Amukamara.   READ MORE

Former Texan RB Ahman Green Says He’s Playing in the CFL Next Season - Former Houston Texans running back Ahman Green, 34, recently told the Associated Press that he agreed to play in the Canadian Football League next season for the league’s top team, the Montreal Alouettes.  The team previously announced he received a tryout contract on February 11.  Last season the Alouettes won the CFL’s heralded Grey Cup, and they will start defending it in June.   READ MORE





Football Kicks Off Spring Drills - Bears scheduled to conclude the spring with a controlled scrimmage April 2.  Baylor head football coach Art Briles and the Bears began spring drills Monday afternoon with a 140-minute workout in helmets and shorts at its on-campus practice fields at the Highers Complex.  "It seems like we've only been gone a weekend. We're right back in midseason form like it's October and that's because of the extra workouts during the bowl game and playing in December.  "Our players are excited and excitement will take you a long way. We were ready to go and very energetic on both sides of the ball."    READ MORE

Horns in a slump, not a meltdown - At least we can quit talking about a No. 1 seed now.  Before Monday, the Texas Longhorns held an outside shot at earning one of those four elite spots in your office pool, but those hopes went down the tubes on a Senior Night gone wrong.  Kansas State loves playing Texas in Austin, and once again the Wildcats came up with the money plays when they needed them. The 75-70 loss — Texas' third straight home defeat to the Wildcats — is the latest in a head-scratching 11 days that included bad road setbacks to unranked Nebraska and Colorado.  The Horns have real problems, despite the praise given them by the opposition.   READ MORE

A&M keeps knocking - It was a good Sunday for the Texas A&M women's basketball team, but it could have been even better.  The Aggies beat Texas for the 10th straight time, 68-65, and on the way back from Austin the team kept track of the Baylor-Oklahoma game. Oklahoma's Danielle Robinson missed a shot at the buzzer, allowing third-ranked Baylor to escape with an 82-81 victory and virtually assuring the Lady Bears of an outright Big 12 title.  Had the Sooners won, the Aggies would have climbed into a first-place tie, needing to beat Kansas State and Nebraska to be assured of a co-championship. A championship ring would be nice since the program hasn't won the regular-season crown since 2007, which was before any of the current players stepped foot on campus. But it would have been somewhat hollow because the Aggies had their chance to beat Baylor and didn't. Not once, but twice.   READ MORE

Lady Raiders Hit the Road for a Game at Texas on Wednesday - Texas Tech and Texas are meeting for the 85th time in the series.  Texas Tech is 20-8 overall and 7-7 in the Big 12 after getting a 57-48 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday in Lubbock. On the year, junior Kierra Mallard paces the team in scoring with a 12.4 average followed by senior Teena Wickett at 10.0 and sophomore Casey Morris at 9.9. Mallard is averaging a team-best 7.3 rebounds per outing, while Wickett is averaging 6.1. Wickett is shooting 51.6 percent from the field. Morris is shooting 37.2 percent from behind the arc, and sophomore Chynna Brown has a team-best 88.2 percent from the free throw line. Sophomore Monique Smalls has team highs of 103 assists and 71 steals. Mallard is the top shot blocker with 52 blocks. The Lady Raiders are averaging 65.9 points per game, while allowing their opponents 55.8 points per contest. Tech is shooting 42.3 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from three-point range and 67.8 percent from the charity stripe.   READ MORE

Crabtree named C-USA Pitcher of the Week - UH senior pitcher Amanda Crabtree was named the Conference USA Pitcher of the Week by the league office on Monday. It was the second consecutive week that Crabtree earned the honor.  She went 4-0 for the week, posting a 0.28 ERA and striking out 40 batters in 25 innings of work. She allowed just one earned run in those 25 frames and threw a no-hitter on Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe.   READ MORE

Owls Travel To Arizona For Games On Tuesday & Wednesday - Rice Plays In Houston College Classic At Minute Maid Park This Weekend.  Owls Travel To Arizona For Two-Game Series; Play At Minute Maid Park This Weekend.  The Rice baseball team, 5-3 this season and ranked as high as 15th in the nation, is on the road to face Pac-10 power Arizona in a two-game series Tuesday and Wednesday (Mar. 1-2) in Tucson, Ariz. The start time for both games against the Wildcats, 5-1 and ranked No. 11 in one poll, is 7 pm (Central Time)... Rice then plays three games downtown at Minute Maid Park this weekend (Mar. 4-6) as part of the annual Houston College Classic Tournament. The Owls are the final game on the first two nights of the College Classic, one of the elite regular season tournaments played at the home venue of the Houston Astros.   READ MORE

MBB At UCF On Wednesday At 6pm CT; 2 Games Out In C-USA With 2 Games Left - C-USA Player Of The Year Candidate Papa Dia Leads The Mustangs Into Road Finale.  The SMU Mustangs play at UCF on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT. SMU is 8-6 in C-USA, two games behind first-place UAB (10-4) with two games to play. SMU is 7-3 in its last 10 games, which is tied for the best mark in C-USA over that stretch. The Mustangs have already won eight league games, which is the most for the Ponies since joining Conference USA in 2005-06. SMU has 17 wins (17-11) on the season, which is the most since 2002-03 (17-13).   READ MORE

Troupe Named C-USA Hitter of the Week - UTEP’s Chelsea Troupe was named the Conference USA Softball Hitter of the Week the league announced Monday afternoon. - “We are very excited for Chelsea,” co-head coach Kathleen Rodriguez said. “This is always a great honor for Miner softball when we hear that Conference USA has given this award to one of our athletes. Conference USA is a strong softball conference with many great athletes competing for this award each week. James and I are extremely proud anytime our student-athletes gain recognition for their hard work, commitment and dedication,”  Troupe was the go-to player through the weekend, going 10-for-20 at the plate, as the Miners went 5-1 at the UTEP Invitational.   READ MORE

Mitchell Named MWC Pitcher of the Week - Frogs take honor for second straight week.  TCU freshman pitcher Andrew Mitchell has been named the Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week for his efforts in two starts this past week. TCU has taken home the award each of the first two weeks of the season.  Mitchell pitched 11 2/3 scoreless innings in a pair of outings last week. On Tuesday, the freshman right hander earned the win in a 2-0 victory against Baylor, limiting the Bears to two hits over 6 2/3 innings of action, while striking out four batters and walking three.   READ MORE

Frogs Wrap Up Four-Game Homestand; Host Dallas Baptist - Frogs enter Tuesday's game ranked No. 8.  THE SHINING STAR - Andrew Mitchell has made a splash in the first three appearances of his collegiate career. The freshman from Houston is 1-0 with a miniscule 0.66 ERA. Since surrendering a run in his first inning of work, Mitchell has tossed 13 scoreless innings. Even more impressive is that 11 2/3 of those innings came as a starting pitcher. On Tuesday, he limited the Baylor Bears to a pair of hits in 6 2/3 innings. He faced just one batter over the minimum thanks to defensive plays. Earning a start on Sunday, Mitchell held the Titans scoreless for five innings and gave up just one hit. For his efforts he was named MWC Pitcher of the Week.   READ MORE

Men's Basketball Wins On Senior Night - For its last home game, the North Texas men's basketball team had one of its most convincing wins in a 63-41 victory against Denver on Saturday night at the Super Pit.  The Mean Green improves to 18-10 and 7-8 in the conference, while Denver falls to 13-16 and 9-7 in the Sun Belt. North Texas is now 10-2 at home against Denver and 15-9 overall in the series.   READ MORE





Scouting the enemy (Phoenix)-Coyotes get Klesla - The big news in Phoenix today is the Coyotes landed solid defenseman Rostislav Klesla in a trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets.  Klesla has been bothered by injuries, and the Blue Jackets seem to like Jan Hejda better, so it will be interesting to see if the change of scenery helps the defensive defenseman. What's indisputable is he fits right in with what Phoenix likes to do - and that's defend.   READ MORE

Brad Richards getting closer to return - Now that the question of what would happen with Brad Richards at the trade deadline has been resolved, the next question is when will he return to the lineup?  It won’t be Tuesday’s game in Phoenix, but following game is a possibility.  “I think Brad will hopefully be a player for us on Friday in Anaheim,” Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk said Monday.  Richards, who has missed the last six games with concussion-like symptoms, skated for about 40-45 minutes with assistant coach Charlie Huddy in Frisco Monday morning.   READ MORE

Stars-Coyotes Preview - The Stars won their second straight game, rallying for a 3-2 victory over Nashville Saturday afternoon at American Airlines Center.  “I think it’s a huge win,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski, who scored the game-tying goal in the third period and then assisted on Loui Eriksson’s game-winner. “Trailing going into the third period, a big road trip coming up, this was a big game, and obviously where they were in the standings and where we were, it was a big win, definitely.”  Tuesday’s game kicks off a four-game road trip that will see the Stars play all four of their Pacific Division rivals.   READ MORE
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MVPTEXAS RT @AnwarRichardson: #Longhorns #HookEm coach Charlie Strong said he wasn't pleased with the defense. Said they could play better
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