Wakeup Call: New PED names emerge, but is Gonzalez cleared?

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Wakeup Call: New PED names emerge, but is Gonzalez cleared?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, February 20:

AUTO RACING
19-year-old Darrell Wallace Jr. has a goal: To become the Tiger Woods of NASCAR. (AP)

Speedweeks is normally Tony Stewart's week. But Danica Patrick -- driving one of Wallace's cars, ironically -- is stealing his thunder this year. (AP)
-- Winning the Battle at the Beach Monday night wasn't Kyle Larson's "proudest moment in racing", not when he had to "monster-truck" C.E. Falk III coming out of the final turn to do it. (AP)

BASEBALL
Five new names -- including N.L. stolen-base king Everth Cabrera of the Padres -- emerge in the Biogenesis Clinic PED scandal . . . (NBC's Hardball Talk)

. . . but this latest ESPN investigation may have cleared Gio Gonzalez. (CSN Washington)

Bartolo Colon speaks for the first time since being slapped with a 50-game suspension for PED use last August, though -- except for "I'm sorry" -- he doesn't say much of anything. (CSN Bay Area)

If it's the second week of spring training, it must be time for injury updates. First we have the Yankees' Phil Hughes, out for a few days because of upper-back stiffness. (AP)

Then comes the definitive word on the Cubs' Matt Garza: Out for a week with what's being described as a mild side strain. (AP)

Darwin Barney isn't happy, but also is trying to be quiet, about Brandon Phillips dissing his Gold Glove. (CSN Chicago)

That didn't take long: The Braves are retiring Chipper Jones' No. 10. (AP)

Brady Anderson's climbing that corporate ladder. (CSN Baltimore)

Lance Berkman wasn't a member of the Rangers for more than, like, 10 minutes before he was reminding them that he beat them in the 2011 World Series. I'm sure your new teammates really appreciate that, Big Puma. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
No. 1 Indiana wins the showdown with No. 4 Michigan State, 72-68. (AP)

And the Hoosiers have the injured Victor Oladipo to thank. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

The Spartans, however, didn't get much a contribution from their captain, Keith Appling. (College Basketball Talk)

Miami sure didn't look like the second-best team in the country, but they say beauty's in the eye of the beholder. And the Hurricanes' last-second 54-50 win over Virginia was just gorgeous to them, thanks. (AP)

Missouri gets revenge for its 31-point loss in Gainesville by upsetting No. 5 Florida, 63-60, at home in the rematch. (AP)

If I'm the Gators, I'm a little worried about that bad track record in close games. (College Basketball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
The NCAA finally sends its notice of allegations to Miami, with the deadly "lack of institutional control" being at the top of the list. (AP)

Former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon is hospitalized after suffering a stroke. (CSN Houston)

GOLF
The Match Play Championships being threatened by snow? In Arizona? Hah? (AP)

Steve Stricker thinks all the hand-wringing about the banning of the belly putter is much ado about nothing, since he's sure the PGA will ignore the USGA if the ban is adopted. (AP)

HOCKEY
When is a record-tying win a loss? When you lose Marian Hossa in the process . . . which is what may have happened to the Blackhawks in their 4-3 shootout victory over the Canucks. (CSN Chicago)

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville says Hossa, who has a history of concussion issues, "seemed OK" after the game, but "we'll know more" on Wednesday. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Jannik Hansen, who delivered it, called the hit that took out Hossa a "hockey play". So now elbows to the back of the head are "hockey plays", eh? (CSN Chicago)

The Canadiens really shouldn't get all that excited about their fifth straight win -- a 3-1 triumph over the Rangers -- since New York coach John Tortorella called it "one of the worst hockey games I've been involved in . . . It was two bad teams playing, and we were worse than they were." (AP)

The Sharks finally end their seven-game winless streak . . . (AP)

. . . but they won't get to enjoy it for very long, since a game with the undefeated Blackhawks is up next. (CSN Bay Area)

Andre Benoit and Dave Dziurzynski both score their first NHL goals in the Senators' 3-1 triumph over the Islanders. (AP)

A fine mess: The NHL takes 10,000 from Flames defenseman Mark Giordano for slew-footing Antoine Roussel of the Stars . . . (AP)

- . . . and 8,108.11 (?) from Wild right wing Devin Setoguchi for high-sticking Kyle Quincey of the Red Wings. (AP)

Who would've thought there are Little League dads in the NHL? (Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS
Prosecutors say shouting was heard in Oscar Pistorius' home for an hour before he fired the fatal shots at Reeva Steenkamp -- with one witness hearing the sounds from 1,000 feet away -- further damaging Pistorius' claim that he mistook her for an intruder. (nbcnews.com)

PRO BASKETBALL
There's lots of talk, but no action, as the trade deadline nears. (NBC's Pro Basketball talk)

In the Laker Schadenfreude Department, we have relations between Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant reaching a new low . . . (Pro Basketball Talk)

. . . and Phil Jackson, though he's not willing to come back and coach them, ragging on them for running the wrong offense. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Quiet down, you cynics. Andrew Bynum's going to play this season, definitely, for sure. Just not now. Or next week. Or . . . (CSN Philly)

Can anyone stop the Spurs? (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Old friend David Thomas is out of a job. (AP)

So's old enemy Bart Scott. (AP)

The NFLPA is singing the "We don't trust Goodell" blues again. (AP)

TENNIS
Victoria Azarenka's not going to get the chance to built on the momentum of her victory over Serena Williams in the finals of the Qatar Open; she withdraws from the Dubai Championships because of a bone bruise in her right foot. (AP)

Some days, John Isner looks like an up-and-coming star. And other days, like yesterday . . . (AP)

Drellich: Red Sox could have delivered better message on concussions

Drellich: Red Sox could have delivered better message on concussions

BOSTON — The right thing for a player to do, if a player has concussion-like symptoms, is report them immediately. For the player’s own health. 

Red Sox manager John Farrell on Saturday afternoon was not critical of Josh Rutledge’s apparent choice to keep the symptoms to himself. Rather, he praised Rutledge’s competitive spirit. 

Farrell was backing up his player, which is his job — to an extent. Concussions, minor as they can sometimes seem, are not the arena where a major league manager should deliver anything but a uniform message to the public: tell someone what you’re feeling.

Rutledge was in Friday’s lineup before he was scratched late because of what was announced as left hip soreness. On Saturday, the Red Sox announced he went to the seven-day disabled list with a concussion that is believed to have occurred May 29 in Chicago, almost a month ago.

“There was a play, when Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] came out of the game on Memorial Day in Chicago, Rut replaced him,” Farrell said. “There was a diving play that he made in center field and that’s the one event that he can pinpoint to that might have been the cause for it. So while he was dealing with some symptoms along the way, felt like he was going to be able to manage them but they really manifested themselves yesterday to the point where he had to say something. 

“The lack of focus, the loss of spin on certain pitches while he was hitting, that became more evident. And then when he went through the ImPACT [Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test] and the assessment, there were a number of fields that they test for that indicates he’s got a concussion.”

Asked if in a perfect world, Rutledge would have said something about the concussion symptoms right away, Farrell said Rutledge would have done so within a couple days.

“But again, the fact that he can’t — I mean, he pinpoints that one event,” Farrell said. “But feeling like he may get past those. I mean, perfect world is a player who [does] as he did. He’s trying to compete and give you everything he has. But at the same time, particularly with a concussion, we don’t know anything until a player indicates. So I can’t fault him for wanting to stay on the field.”

What manager wouldn’t love a player who wants to stay on the field? But that can’t be the bottom-line message when it comes to head injuries.

Farrell was asked if the amount of time between when the concussion was believed to be suffered and the diagnosis meant there was a hole in baseball’s concussion protocol.

“No. There isn’t,” Farrell said. “This is very much a two-way street. When a player doesn’t want to succumb to some of the symptoms at the time he was dealing with — and I fully respect Rut for taking the approach he did. Here’s a guy that’s dealt with some injuries along the way. Didn’t want to make excuses for the slump that he might have been in offensively. But it grew to the point where he couldn’t continue on.”

The point is to never let it grow in the first place. From May 30 on, Rutledge hit .169 with 22 strikeouts and four walks spanning 16 starts and 19 games.

Rutledge, a Rule 5 pick for whom playing time is extra valuable, won’t be the last player to attempt to play through a concussion. He has a responsibility to speak up. Publicly, Farrell did not hammer home that message Saturday.

Eduardo Rodriguez slated to start in Double-A Thursday; could return early July

Eduardo Rodriguez slated to start in Double-A Thursday; could return early July

BOSTON — Helped by a custom knee brace, starter Eduardo Rodriguez could make an early July return to the Red Sox if all goes right from here.

The lefty threw a sim game Saturday at Fenway Park, his first time facing hitters since a right knee subluxation at the start of June. He’s to stay on a five-day schedule and is slated to start for Double-A Portland on Thursday if he comes out of Saturday feeling well.

Rodriguez threw 68 pitches Saturday, manager John Farrell said, and is to throw 75-80 for Portland.

"The key for me is seeing the height of the leg kick,” Farrell said. “The brace that he's wearing now gives him such a greater feeling of stability in the knee that he can be more assertive with the lower half, so the delivery is much more Eddie-like than when he had to adjust in that game in Baltimore.”

One rehab start would be ideal, Farrell said. Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said on Friday that Doug Fister could theoretically move to the bullpen upon Rodriguez's return. That’s still a few steps away, though. 

One, Rodriguez needs to get all the way back. Two, Fister needs to perform well enough that the Sox feel he’s worth holding on to. Fister’s first start is to come Sunday.

Rodriguez's progress has been encouraging to the Sox since he began to rehab. Without a setback, he'd return before the All-Star break, setting the team up well for the second half.