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Marcus McNeill Caves Reports to Chargers

Chargers GM A.J. Smith may be called the “Lord of No Rings,” but he caused left tackle Marcus McNeill to blink. The two-time Pro Bowler decided to sign his $630,000 tender and report to the team Saturday.

McNeill was seeking a long-term deal with the Chargers and even turned down a $3.168 million tender earlier in the off-season. Because he did not sign, the offer was reduced to that $630k figure. He’ll be forced to sit out three games because he was placed on the roster exempt list but he still should be ready for the week six game at St. Louis.

Between McNeill and fellow holdout, wide receiver Vincent Jackson, it was always thought that the left tackle was closer to agreeing on a deal and playing for the team. However, as recently as this week, Chargers reporter Kevin Acee said he did not expect either player to play for the team the entire year. Apparently that all changed as McNeill decided he wanted to play football and make some money, even it’s much less than what he wanted.

Now that he is with the team, perhaps GM A.J. Smith will be more open to offering the left tackle a long-term deal. McNeill will likely have to show he’s back to top form before a new deal can be reached.

Video: Cardinals Reliever Blake Hawksworth Hit in Face With Line Drive

With the amount of comeback line drives that are hit in the direction of pitchers, it’s amazing there are so few serious injuries.  Unfortunately, scares like this have become part of the game.  St. Louis Cardinals reliever Blake Hawksworth was taken to the hospital Saturday after he was drilled in the face with a line drive off the bat of Cubs outfielder Sam Fuld.  Hawksworth suffered severe lacerations to his face and lip but somehow seems to have avoided a concussion.  He walked off the field under his own power and will reportedly be kept overnight in the hospital.

The video is tough to watch, so I’d only check it out if you have the stomach to watch a baseball hitting someone in the face.  You can also see blood collecting pretty rapidly on his jersey right after he goes down.  Here’s the Blake Hawksworth line drive to the face video:

Between this and Dan Mason’s dislocated knee, it’s been a pretty gruesome few days for the sports world.

Video Credit: YouTube user ggarro6

Tim Lincecum Complains About Juiced Ball B.S. at Coors Field

Giants broadcaster Jon Miller caused a stir when he said the Rockies stopped using humidor baseballs late in innings to give themselves an advantage if they were losing. Tim Lincecum apparently agrees.

The Giants ace was perfect through five innings at Coors Field and wound up going eight innings of two-hit ball for the win on Friday night. Colorado’s only run came in the 6th, the same inning in which Lincecum complained about getting a juiced ball from the umpire.

After getting a ball from the umpire, Timmy threw it back, asking for a new ball. Then, he muttered to himself, “****in juiced ball bull****.”

We don’t know if the Rockies really were juicing their balls, but we do know that Lincecum isn’t headed for the bullpen anytime soon despite what a scout said.

Mark Reynolds Drops Below Mendoza Line, on Verge of Record Worst Year

mark-reynoldsArizona Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds went 0-for-3 on Friday night in a loss to the Dodgers and is now batting just .199 on the season. The notorious whiff king, who’s already been fitted with a golden sombrero, is also on the verge of setting another embarrassing mark. On top of posting the three highest strikeout totals for a hitter in a single-season, Reynolds may be become the first player ever to have a higher strikeout total than batting average.

Yes it’s true.

Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic cites baseball-reference saying that Reynolds can become the first non-pitcher to accomplish this dubious distinction, as Rotoworld shared with us. Reynolds started off the year strongly, cracking seven home runs and driving in 21 runs in April while posting a .909 OPS. Although the power numbers have been steady, Reynolds’ batting average has been low each month since the start of the season.

Unfortunately for Mark and the Diamondbacks, it’s just been a brutal September. Reynolds has slumped going 4-for-57 with only one RBI. The low average is to be expected, but as long as it comes with his usual dose of home runs it’s somewhat excusable. But this slump is as bad as it gets and it now has Mark’s average at .199. If he keeps it up, he could become the first player with at least 500 at-bats in a season to hit below .200 since Tom Tresh in 1968 (from what I can tell).

This season obviously being at the low end of things, would you want a guy like Reynolds on your team? Are his 30 home runs on average worth the 200 strikeouts and career .243 average? Is the power worth the whiffs?

Denard Robinson Out with Knee Injury

Denard Robinson is easily one of the most exciting players in college football. With a choices of games to watch, I elected to park in front of the Michigan/Bowling Green even though I knew there were going to be other, more competitive games on TV. The chance to watch Robinson work was too good to pass up. Unfortunately, that period of entertainment was short-lived.

Robinson left the game late in the first quarter after hurting his knee following a 47-yard run. The Michigan quarterback was 4-for-4 with 60 yards passing and 129 yards on the ground before exiting. He had rushed for two scores and had his team up 14-0 when he left. On the first play of Michigan’s third drive of the game, Robinson sprinted down the left sideline and had his right knee driven into the ground as he was tackled.

The injury did not appear to be serious, but backup Devin Gardner replaced Robinson on the very next play. Denard was off on the sidelines icing his knee and word is he will not return to the game. With the team up 21-0 early, the Wolverines felt comfortable sitting out their stud in an effort to avoid further injury. He’ll likely be fine for next weekend’s game against Indiana.

Josh Cribbs Called His Own Touchdown

The Cleveland Browns are 0-2 and averaging just 14 points per game this season. Perhaps it would be more if they let Josh Cribbs call the plays.

Cribbs already serves as the team’s kick returner, punt returner, wildcat quarterback, occasional running back, and deep threat wide receiver. Maybe they can add offensive coordinator to his job duties. Watching Inside the NFL on Showtime, they showed Cribbs mic’d up for Cleveland’s week two game with Kansas City. During the game, Cribbs kept pleading with the coaching staff to let him run the play “22 X.” Cribbs kept saying that the safety (Eric Berry) was coming up, suggesting that he would be able to beat him deep.

If you go to the 2:10 mark of this video, you’ll hear Cribbs suggest the play 22 X four different times to various coaches, saying it will work. The team finally decided to run the play and called for Josh to enter the game. And guess what happened? He beat safety Eric Berry deep just like he said and scored on a 65-yard bomb to give the Browns a 14-10 lead.

Cleveland wound up losing the game, but it wasn’t for a lack of Cribbs’ ingenuity. A former college quarterback at Kent State, Cribbs knows how to read a defense. I think he proved it on Sunday.

Aroldis Chapman Hits 105MPH Again, This Time in the Big Leagues

This just in: Aroldis Chapman throws hard.  There have been plenty of stories about the Cincinnati Reds’ freak of nature blowing up radar guns and throwing upwards of 100mph.  Back in march, we heard that Chapman regularly hit 102mph on the gun.  Impressive?  Yes, but guys like Joel Zumaya and Daniel Bard have been there and done that.  Then we heard he hit 105mph during a Triple-A game.  That’s insanely fast and would have qualified for the fastest pitch ever recorded if it were thrown during a big league game.  Everyone knows those minor league guns are juiced though, right?

Apparently that’s not the case.  Aroldis Chapman hit 105mph again, this time against the San Diego Padres on Friday night, to give him the record for the fastest pitch ever thrown in a Major League Game.  The previous record was 104.8mph, held by Joel Zumaya.  Chapman’s pitch was actually a 105.1 mph fastball. 

If this kid’s arm doesn’t fall off, I’ll be shocked.