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Friday, August 19, 2011

Fickell won't tip hand on QB race-Kimbo Slice Boxing Debut Video - MLB Power Rankings

Fickell won't tip hand on QB race
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio State coach Luke Fickell said there are plenty of starting spots open heading into Saturday's jersey scrimmage in Ohio Stadium, including the replacement for quarterback Terrelle Pryor.
"We'd like to say all of them but there's a lot," Fickell said when asked Thursday how many job are at stake.
He was noncommittal again when pressed if senior quarterback Joe Bauserman and freshman Braxton Miller have separated themselves from the competition. For the second straight practice that was open to the media, they took the bulk of the snaps with the top units ahead of redshirt sophomore Kenny Guiton and redshirt freshman Taylor Graham.
Fickell, who turned 38 Thursday, said the jersey scrimmage is important for all four contenders.
"Every day is a critical moment for those guys; just showing their poise, showing their leadership and showing their competitive nature. But it isn't every day you're completely live," he said. "You don't go as much live as you used to, probably. A jersey scrimmage is when you go live."
Fickell had little to say after practice about Pryor, who had just been ruled eligible by the NFL for the supplemental draft.
"We'll always continue to wish him the best of luck," Fickell said. "I hope it goes well for him."
Redshirt sophomore running back Jaamal Berry had his left upper leg wrapped in ice with an undisclosed injury and did not practice during the session open to the media.

MLB Power Rankings
August 19th, 2011

Last Week: 1 Philadelphia Phillies
Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson have been the Phillies' best two relievers this season. They rank 1-2 on the team in saves, ERA and K/9 among pitchers who have made at least 10 appearances this season, yet both went a week between outings -- pitching Aug. 10 and not again until Aug. 17 ? thanks in part to two off days, a rainout and a complete game from Roy Halladay. Bastardo and Madson remain comparatively well-rested because of how deep Phillies starters go into games; Philadelphia is one of only three teams without a reliever who has made 50 appearances yet.


Last Week: 4 Milwaukee Brewers
Given the inclination of MVP voters to give the award to a player on a playoff-bound team, then the Brewers' Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder are on the very short list of candidates -- Arizona's Justin Upton might be truly more valuable to his team's success because he doesn't have a power-hitting wingman, but Braun and Fielder have simply been the better hitters. Choosing between them, however, is tough. Fielder's OPS is .977; Braun's is .976. Fielder has four more homers and 11 more RBIs, primarily because he hits after Braun, who has scored three more runs. Braun also has 23 steals to Fielder's zero. The verdict? Too close to call.


Last Week: 3 New York Yankees
Call him Captain Comeback. Since going on the disabled list with a calf strain in June, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has been a new man at the plate. He batted .260 and slugged .324 with only 12 extra-base hits in 262 at bats before his DL stint; he is batting .342 and slugging .477 with 14 extra-base hits in 149 at bats since his return. And one thing Jeter has done well both before and after the injury is hit lefties: his .373 average against lefthanded pitchers ranks third in the majors.


Last Week: 2 Boston Red Sox
If there was a preseason knock on the Red Sox' vaunted lineup, it's that it was too lefty-heavy with five of their nine regulars all fulltime lefthanded hitters. A check of the splits after 122 games shows that it hasn't really mattered. The Sox have an .805 OPS against righty pitchers and an .804 OPS against lefty pitchers. Boston is 47-34 (.580) in games when the opponent has started a righthanded pitcher and 27-14 (.659) in games when the opponent has started a lefthander.


Last Week: 6 Texas Rangers
Texas manager Ron Washington recently gave Michael Young an endorsement for MVP consideration, and it'd certainly make for a nice narrative -- good soldier shakes off winter in which team desperately tried trading him -- though he probably hasn't been the league's best player. That said, Young has had an outstanding year ? as detailed by SI.com's Joe Sheehan -- and not just because he recently passed 2,000 career hits. His .342 average ranks second in the AL, as do his 36 doubles (though in a tie); his .879 OPS ranks 10th. His lack of power (only 10 homers) may hold him down in the eyes of voters.


Last Week: 5 Atlanta Braves
Rookie outfielder Jose Constanza is already best known for two things that have nothing to do with his on-field play: He licks the bat after foul balls and his nickname is "George" because his last name is one extra 'n' away from a popular sitcom sidekick. But that only distracts from how productive he's been in his first 18 games as a big-leaguer. He's 25-for-65 (.385) with two homers and five steals, numbers so good that he has temporarily bumped slumping Jason Heyward, last year's NL Rookie of the Year runner-up, out of the lineup.


Last Week: 9 Arizona Diamondbacks
It's the pitching, stupid. Arizona, in the words of GM Kevin Towers, has "lopped off about two runs off our bullpen ERA and probably a run off our starting pitching ERA." Such improvement -- without sacrificing offense -- is how the Diamondbacks have snaked their way into first-place. Coolstandings.com now has the D-backs as a 68.0 percent likely entrant into the playoffs and, heck, they could even prevent the Phillies from sleepwalking through the NLDS.


Last Week: 12 Tampa Bay Rays
In case anyone needed a reminder, the Rays' starting pitching is really good. In five straight games on the road -- all against AL powerhouses Boston and New York -- Tampa Bay's starters threw at least eight innings in four of them, headlined by David Price tossing 16 innings of one-run ball in beating both division rivals. James Shields added a complete-game victory over the Red Sox, and the Rays' rotation improved its ERA to 3.56, second-best in the league.


Last Week: 8 Detroit Tigers
Delmon Young and his Twins teammates were riding the bus to Comerica Park to play the Tigers when he got the call telling him he had been traded . . . to the Tigers. At least the commute was short. Detroit, in need of better production from its corner outfielders, made to move to get Young and batted him third in his first game; he homered his first time up. So far, so good: Young is 5-for-13 (.385) and the rare intra-division trade made sense for both teams.


Last Week: 10 Cleveland Indians
At a time when the Indians could ill afford injuries, both outfielder Michael Brantley, and second baseman Jason Kipnis went down. Mercifully for Cleveland, Brantley only missed four games and Kipnis is expected back Thursday after a three-game absence. Just as importantly has been the return of Shin-Soo Choo from his long DL stint, and he's gone 5-for-18 with two walks, including a three-hit night in a victory over the surging White Sox on Wednesday. With Brantley, Choo and Kosuke Fukudome, the Indians finally have three good offensive outfielders for the first time in the month it's been since Grady Sizemore made his own DL trip.

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