With the start of the baseball season less than a month away spring training is up and running at full speed. This week 3 teams suffered their first injuries where players will miss regular season time. The defending champion Kansas City Royals lost outfielder Jarrod Dyson for 6 weeks with a Grade 2 strain of his right oblique. Dyson is going into his 7th season with the Royals, but has been used mostly as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. This season the Royals where hoping that Dyson would be part of there right field platoon with Paulo Orlando. With Dyson out Travis Snider might be given the first chance to fill his role at the start of the season. Snider was signed as a free agent this off season. The Detroit Tigers also lost and outfielder as Cameron Maybin was hit by a pitch and suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left wrist and is expected to miss the first couple of weeks of the regular season. After struggling through most of his career Maybin seemed to find something with the Atlanta Braves last season hitting .267 with 10 home runs while stealing 23 bases in 141 games. The Tigers sent 2 pitchers Gabe Speier and Ian Kroll to the Braves this off season for Maybin so he could compete with Anthony Gose for playing time in center field. Gose should be the full time center fielder while Maybin tries to recover from his wrist injury. The first pitcher to go down with a serious injury was Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Brett Anderson. Anderson was found to have a bulging disc in his lower back that will require surgery. The time frame for Anderson return has been set between 3 and 5 months. Anderson has had various injuries tough his career, but stayed healthy during the 2015 season making 31 starts. Anderson went 10-9 with a 3.69 Earner Run Average (ERA) last season. Even with Anderson out and Brandon McCarthy not scheduled to return from his injury until the All-Star break the Dodgers still have some depth in there staring rotation. Of course Clayton Kershaw is at the top of the rotation. Hyun-jin Ryu is returning from injury and looks like he’ll be ready to go for the start of the season. The Dodgers signed Scott Kazmir as a free agent as well as Japanese free agent and Kenta Maeda this off season. The Dodgers also have Alex Wood and Mike Bolsinger as 5th starter options. Will have to see which pitcher ends up filling Anderson’s rotation spot. There are always injuries in spring training you just have to hope that it’s not a key player who gets hurt or that your team has a player who can fill his role on the team.
Have there been two more disappointing teams this NBA season than the Houston Rockets and the Chicago Bulls? The Rockets are 30-31, but are holding onto the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Bulls are 30-30 , but are 1/2 game behind the Detroit Pistons for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. As the schedule would have it these two disappointing teams are the marquee match up for NBA Saturday night. What are we going to get on a national telecast with these two teams playing. Each team has shown flashes of the team people thought they might be at the beginning of the season, but haven’t shown enough to make people think they could be a factor in the playoffs. At this point right now if both of these teams end up as the #8 seeds in their conferences do you think they’d have a shot at all of beating the #1 seed. They better question might be would they even win a game in that series or would they just be swept out of the playoffs. The Rockets where so bad at the start of the season that there head coach Kevin McHale lost his job. The coaching change hasn’t made a whole lot of difference with the Rockets. The Rockets feature James Harden along with Dwight Howard. Harden leads the team in scoring with 28.7 points per game and dominates the basketball. Harden does also lead the team in assists averaging 7 a game. Howard is the team leader in rebounds grabbing an average of 12 a game. Howard can still block shots; he’ll block 1.5 per game on average. Howard is also averaging 14.9 points per game. Harden and Howard are the Rockets top two scorers. The Bulls had been a playoff team under defensive minded head coach Tom Thibodeau, but the front office wanted to go another and replaced Thibodeau with a more offensive minded coach in Fred Hoiberg. As the Bulls attempt t adjust to a new system the defense hasn’t been what it was and the offense isn’t where it’s suppose to be. The Bulls are fighting some injuries, but there’s a chance that their best player Jimmy Butler will return tonight. Butler is the Bulls leading scorer averaging 22.4 points per game. Pau Gasol has shown he can still play offense averaging 16.9 points per game and is the tam leader in rebounding at 10.9 rebounds per game. Derrick Rose has played more this season, but still misses games with injuries that wouldn’t keep other players out. Rose is the Bulls 3rd leading scorer at 16.5 points per game, but does lead the team in assists averaging 4.8 assists per game. Rose and Butler have had some issues working together on the court, but it seems as though one of them has always been out injured; so that hasn’t been a huge issue yet. Will we get a good game tonight or we will get a game where two disappointing teams show up.
Just a reminder Chris Olmstead from http://www.BeyondtheFlag.com will join the Sports Time Radio podcast to preview The Kobalt 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kurt Busch won the pole in qualifying with a speed of 196.328 miles per hour. Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keslowski and Austin Dillion round out the Top 5 qualifiers. Will one of these drivers be in Chris’ 3 drivers to look for in victory lane? You’ll have to listen to Sports Time Radio on BlogTalkRadio.com to find out who Chris is going with.
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