Wakeup Call: Kobe has A-Rod's back

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Wakeup Call: Kobe has A-Rod's back

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, October 11:

BASEBALL
Are these A's a great story, or what? (CSN Bay Area)

They're even overshadowing the Giants, and that's not easy. (CSN Bay Area)

But this great story may be coming to an end. (CSN Washington)

This one, too. (CSN Baltimore)

So how about it, Joe Girardi? You're not still thinking of keeping A-Rod in the No. 3 spot, are you? (NBC's Hardball Talk)

You'd better, if you don't want Kobe Bryant mad at you. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

It may be the 167th -- and potentially final -- game, but NBC's Hardball Talk's Matthew Pouliot says it's time for the Tigers to change closers. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The NCAA is knocking on Myck Kabongo's door down at Texas, and that's never a good thing. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Speaking of the NCAA, its standing by its sanctions against Boise State. (AP)

Jerry Sandusky's lawyer says the state of Pennsylvania has no legal grounds for revoking his client's pension, and he believes "they are just going through the motions to try to throw some red meat to the public". (AP)

GOLF
Tiger Woods channels his inner NHL skater and looks to play in Europe. (AP) He'd still stay on the PGA Tour, though.

HOCKEY
But it looks like some of the hockey players who went over -- or at least the Russians -- may stay there all year, even if the lockout ends. (CSN Washington)

Apparently, the NHLPA -- at the urging of the league -- is working on a new proposal. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk) What, so the owners can say "no" again and then cry the players are being unreasonable? Or put their own laughably one-sided offer back on the table and claim they made a "legitimate counteroffer"? Sorry to be so cynical; just can't get the phrase "past actions are the best indicator of future performance" out of my mind.

And why does the phrase "crocodile tears" leap into my head at this one? (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Looks like the Warriors are going to have to start the year without Andrew Bogut. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Judging by last night, the Lakers better hope they don't have to start it without Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard. (AP)

Cross David Stern at your peril. Just ask Stan Van Gundy. (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
R.I.P., Alex Karras. (AP)

Using capital letters to make sure everyone gets the point, the done-for-the-year Brian Cushing assures his Facebook friends -- and Texans fans, I would imagine -- that "WE are STILL winning THIS year's Super Bowl". (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The NFL is reviewing Matt Slauson's hit on Cushing, though nothing's expected to come of it. (Pro Football Talk)

Rex Ryan's support for Mark Sanchez is getting a little weaker. (AP)

The NFL says former Vikings defensive lineman Jimmy Kennedy was the original whistle-blower on BountyGate. Kennedy, ah, denies it. Strongly. (Pro Football Talk)

Don't invite Scott Fujita to a party with Roger Goodell. (AP)

Hasn't been much of a year for Ryan Kalil. First there was the Super Bowl guarantee, then the Panthers' 1-4 start, and now he's out for the season. (AP)

To paraphrase Gordon Gecko (sort of), Jim Harbaugh says paranoia is good. (CSN Bay Area)

Terry Bradshaw continues to audition for the lead role in Grumpy Old Men III. (Pro Football Talk)

Brady Quinn's getting ready, since it looks like Matt Cassel's a no-go for Sunday. (AP)

Old friend Mark Anderson's out indefinitely in Buffalo. (AP)

T.O. won't take 'no' for an answer from the Jets. (Pro Football Talk)

TENNIS
Roger Federer says he forgot all about those death threats once the match started. (AP)

Reports: Koji Uehara agrees to one-year, $4.5 million deal with Cubs

Reports: Koji Uehara agrees to one-year, $4.5 million deal with Cubs

It appears Koji Uehara’s tenure with the Red Sox has come to an end.

The former Red Sox closer has reportedly agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the World Series champion Chicago Cubs. The details of the deal were first reported by Nikkan Sports in Japan, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag reported the agreement.

Uehara, 41, had 79 saves and a 2.19 ERA in four seasons in Boston. He served as the Red Sox closer from 2013 to 2015 before Craig Kimbrel took over the role in 2016.

The Red Sox acquired bullpen help earlier in the week when they obtained righthanded reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers

Mitch Moreland fancies himself an ideal fit with Red Sox

Mitch Moreland fancies himself an ideal fit with Red Sox

Mitch Moreland put up mediocre numbers and won a Gold Glove in a walk year. For his efforts, he received a one-year, $5.5 million contract on the open market. 

That’s not a lot. Maybe his .233 average stood out to teams more than his 22 homers, but either way it’s somewhat surprising that a one-year deal on low money is the best he could do given the fact that his career average was .258 prior to last year and he’d hit .275 or higher in two of his previous four seasons. 

The contract might not be a major score for Moreland, but he said choosing Boston was. 

“I had a couple options, but really just the whole fact that it’s place that I really wanted to play,” he said of Boston. “Getting an opportunity to come here and be a part of a winning environment, being part of a winning environment and having a chance to go out and play for a championship is huge to me, personally, and this is a great option. 

“What they were able to do last year, you know you were in for a fight when you were playing these guys. It was a gritty group of guys that had a ton of talent. I like to think of myself as that type player, as a gritty type player and hopefully I felt like I could fit in here and move forward and try to help out and make that goal happen of winning a championship. 

“That’s the main goal as far as playing this game for me. I feel like we’ve got a great opportunity here, and that was before the [Chris] Sale news broke, too, you know? So seeing that also, it just shows you that we’re in it. We’re in it and trying to go all out to make that happen. I’m happy to be a part of it.” 

It doesn’t hurt that his batting average is higher at Fenway Park than it is in any other stadium in which he’s had at least 30 at-bats. Moreland has hit .341/.378/.683 with four homers and eight RBI in 41 career at-bats at Fenway. Asked to explain his success in Boston, he noted that “comfortable” was the only word that came to mind. 

So what is the Red Sox’ plan for the former Rangers first baseman? To play him at first against righties and let Hanley Ramirez DH, John Farrell said. 

Farrell did also point to Moreland’s recent work against lefties. Last season was one of two in his career (the other being 2013) in which Moreland had a better average against lefties than against righties. Moreland hit .277/.320/.479 against southpaws last season, with .221/.293/.407 marks against righties.

“Against right-handed starters, Mitch will be the first baseman,” Farrell said. “That gives us the flexibility to DH Hanley in that spot. One thing I also mentioned to Mitch is we’re certainly open to his at-bats growing in number against left-handers, last year was his best year against left-handers in his big league career.

"With Mitch, getting everyday at-bats against right-handed starters at first base and Hanley moving to the DH slot, that alignment, we also have the ability against quality left-handers, where Hanley would go back to first base and then we’ve got the ability to rotate some guys through the DH slot. 

Added Farrell: “His strengths as a player are many, but we feel this is a very good fit in a number of ways, and positionally first and foremost.”