Wakeup Call: Powerful start to Braun's comeback

Wakeup Call: Powerful start to Braun's comeback
February 28, 2014, 9:15 am
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Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy and/or interesting tidbits -- for Friday, February 28:


Tony Stewart's 35th-place finish in Daytona had a silver lining: He says it was a great test for his leg, which he broke last summer, and now he's a lot more confident headed into this weekend's race in Phoenix. (AP)


Ryan Braun's first exhibition game after last year's season-ending PED suspension goes pretty well. (AP)

As does Robinson Cano's first game as a Seattle Mariner. (AP)

Better than the first exhibition game of Derek Jeter's last season, anyway. (AP)

Hasn't been a banner spring for the Dodgers. First Clayton Kershaw gets knocked around a bit in the exhibition opener on Wednesday, then Zack Greinke has to come out of Thursday's game after four pitches because of a strained calf. (AP)

And Carl Crawford doesn't even play because of tightness in his right quadriceps. (AP)

Jose Reyes isn't blaming the artificial turf at the Rogers Centre for his myriad of 2013 injuries, but says the hard surface "is going to beat up your body." (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Even though trade rumors have been swirling around Jeff Samardzija for God knows how long, he'd be surprised if the Cubs moved him during spring training. (CSN Chicago)

As for Cliff Lee, he's ignoring all the trade talk involving him. (CSN Philly)

Tim McCarver was such a strong presence in the Fox booth that it'll take two announcers -- Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci -- to replace him. (Hardball Talk)

Jon Niese's shoulder issue may not be that serious. (AP)

Old friend Cody Ross is coming along nicely from hip surgery and may be able to play again in mid-March. (Hardball Talk)

Ah, Joba. You're a pistol. (Hardball Talk)


So much for No. 10 Saint Louis' 19-game winning streak. (AP)

The Billikens weren't the only ranked team to run into trouble last night. No. 17 Kentucky lost at home, in overtime to Arkansas . . . (AP)

. . . No. 20 Iowa lost for the third time since coach Fran McCaffrey kicked his players off Twitter . . . (AP)

. . . No. 21 Memphis lost to Houston . . . (AP)

. . . and Penn State completed a rare season's sweep of No. 22 Ohio State. (AP)

It's all part of the February blahs. But some coaches, like Rick Pitino, have ways to combat them. (Yahoo! Sports)

And that's probably one of the reasons that No. 7 Louisville upheld the honor of the Top 25 last night. (AP)

It was a hat-and-T-shirt night for Gonzaga. (AP)

Even the fans got involved in a wild brawl at the end of the Utah Valley-New Mexico State game. (AP)

Kansas' Bill Self doesn't necessarily want to put Wichita State on his schedule, but he thinks they're good. Good enough, in fact, to be a No. 1 seed. (AP)

Every year, Dayton hosts the First Four, the four games over two days that kicks off the NCAA Tournament. This year, though, the Flyers may actually be one of those four teams. And the NCAA is okay with it, even though it usually frowns on anyone playing tournament games on their home court. (AP)


If Barry Switzer were at all relevant today, this comment would now be a roaring bonfire of controversy. But he's not, so we write it off as the ramblings of a doddering old man. (Yahoo! Sports)

Remember that incredible catch Stanford's Kodi Whitfield made against UCLA last year? If he does it again, it'll be an interception instead of a reception. (AP)

As long as Jim Delany is commissioner, don't expect the Big Ten to embrace Friday Night Lights. (AP)

As recruiting violations go, this one doesn't rank with, say, a suitcase full of thousand-dollar bills or a roomful of hookers. (Yahoo! Sports)


Now that's the Rory McIlroy of old. (AP)


Honestly, I don't know what's more ridiculous: That a high school in Texas would build a double-decked, 18,000-seat football stadium for $60 million, or that the place -- which only opened in 2012 -- would develop cracks so large that it has to be shut down while long, expensive repairs are made. (CSN Houston)


The Rangers open the post-Olympic break by knocking off the Stanley Cup champs in overtime, and they do it without Henrik Lundqvist. (AP)

Not so fast on that Dan Girardi trade talk, by the way. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Should the Caps make a push for Ryan Miller? (CSN Washington)

The Red Wings look like they're getting their act together. (AP)

Hey! Habs and Penguins! It's spelled D-E-F-E-N-S-E. (AP)

The Penguins' response? It's spelled O-F-F-I-C-I-A-T-I-N-G. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Jaromir Jagr is now just one goal away from 700. (AP)

Whatever you think of Tim Thomas' politics, there's no denying he can sure play goal. (CSN Washington)


In case you missed it when it was on TV, click here to watch the fascinating NBC documentary about Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. (nbcolympics.com)


Who was that masked man? And what did he do to the Knicks? (AP)

The more the Knicks lose, the more it looks like they'll lose 'Melo. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Hat tip to the Nets. One night after losing by 44 to the Blazers, they turn around and beat the Nuggets by 23. (AP)

And after the game, Jason Collins meets with the parents of Matthew Shepherd, the University of Utah student who was tortured and murdered in 1998 because he was gay. Collins, the first professional athlete to come out as gay, calls it "one of those cool treats in life." (AP)

Incidentally, it looks like Collins will be staying with Brooklyn for the rest of the season. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Trevor Ariza says the Wizards' triple-overtime win over the Raptors was "the longest game in the world." Uh, let's not go overboard there, Trevor. (AP)

The bill finally comes due for DeMarcus Cousins' choochery: A one-game suspension and a $20,000 fine. (AP)

Jimmer Fredette's available. (AP)

So's Caron Butler . . .  (AP)

. . . though not for much longer, apparently. (Yahoo! Sports)

Looks like Danny Granger-to-the-Clippers is all but done. (Yahoo! Sports)

When there's nothing in your present, you'll pay a lot -- apparently -- to look back on your past. (CSN Philly)

Lamar Odom doesn't wow anyone in his Spanish League debut, but, with all the rust that's built up, it's to be expected. (AP)


Paula Deen compares herself to . . . Michael Sam?? Excuse me? (Yahoo! Sports)

If the Colts are thinking of putting the franchise tag on old friend Adam Vinatieri -- though why they'd want to, I have no clue -- it'll cost them $15 million. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Looks like the NFL will expand the playoff field in 2015. (Pro Football Talk)

Turns out Richie Incognito did all that damage to his Ferrari himself. (AP)

It's termination time in the NFL, and the Ravens say goodbye to Vonta Leach and Jameel McClain. (CSN Baltimore)

The Browns may do the same to Ahtyba Rubin. (Pro Football Talk)

But it's also new contract time, and the Redskins give one to Chris Baker . . . (AP)

. . . the Bears give one to Roberto Garza . . . (AP)

. . . and the 49ers give one to Daniel Kilgore. (AP)

The Eagles, meanwhile, dole out $100 million to three of their own free agents in a span of two days. (Pro Football Talk)

And one of those contracts -- to Riley Cooper -- may determine whether or not Golden Tate returns to Seattle. (Pro Football Talk)

If the Raiders don't pony up on their offer, Charles Woodson may call it a career. (CSN Bay Area)

We have our first scheduled matchup of the 2014 season: Bills vs. Giants in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3. (AP)

Retirement hasn't made Chad Ochojohnson any less delusional. (Pro Football Talk)

Can't put it better than PFT's Darren Gantt: Ravens wide receiver Deonte Thompson is still in trouble with the law. Just not as much. (Pro Football Talk)

Arrest warrants are issued for former NFL safety Darren Sharper and another man, accusing them of raping two women in New Orleans last year. (AP)