Braun Named NL Rookie of the Month

There's a reason the Brewers trusted a rookie who spent the first two months in the Minors to be their everyday No. 3 hitter while in the heat of a pennant race.

That rookie is heralded to former Stars third baseman Ryan Braun, whose first full month in the Majors earned him National League Rookie of the Month honors for June as well as consideration for the NL Player of the Month award.

Braun, the club's first-round pick (No. 5 overall) in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, led all NL rookies with 21 RBIs and tied for the NL rookie lead with six home runs in June. He also hit .382 (39-for-102) and scored 27 runs (second best in the entire NL and tops among rookies) to go with 12 doubles, two triples, four steals, a .716 slugging percentage and a .435 on-base percentage.

"He can hit -- I don't know what to say," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He showed that he could hit in college. He showed that he could hit in the Minors. He showed that he could hit in Spring Training. I wouldn't have put him right in the three-hole if I didn't think he could."

Greg Olsen deal sets early parameters for Beason

The contract agreed to on Tuesday by tight end Greg Olsen of the Chicago Bears could impact how the Carolina Panthers structure the deal of their first-round pick, Jon Beason.

Beason was the 25th player selected inApril's NFL draft; lsen was 31st overall.

Olsen, the first first-round pick to sign this year, will get a five-year contract with a maximum value of $10.696 million, according to ESPN's website. The contract will pay Olsen a signing bonus of $250,000 and a $720,000 roster bonus in the first year, with a 2007 base salary of $285,000. ESPN 's website also reported that there is an option bonus of $3.545 million, and there are reporting bonuses of $100,000 in 2009, $140,000 in 2010 and $125,732 in 2011. The base salaries in the deal, after the first season, are $370,000 (2008), $460,000 (2009), $550,000 (2010) and $650,000 (2011). Olsen can earn an additional $2.921 million in incentives and escalators and a one-time playing time incentive of $578,700, the website reported.

Beason, of course, will make more than his former college teammate at Miami given he was taken five spots ahead of him. However, the structure of the deal could be similar.


James Jones talks

James Jones, who is headed to Portland once a Suns draft night trade is finalized, spoke about the deal for the first time Tuesday to KTAR-AM.

"The last two years have been the greatest years of my basketball career," he said, later adding, "The fans (in Phoenix) are phenomenal. They can't be replaced or they can't be compared with anyone in the country."


Happy 4th of July!

Here is to a Happy, Healthy and Safe 4th of July to all 'Canes fans from all of us at


Turning the Corner (Philip Buchanon Update)

“[Buchanon] came in late last season, and he and Ronde and Brian Kelly give us three really good corners that we’re excited about,” said Head Coach Jon Gruden. “He’s probably the one guy on the perimeter that has really caught my eye as a newcomer. They’re have been some other guys doing well, but Buchanon’s making a lot of plays. He’s worked extremely hard.”

Buchanon attributes his good showing on the practice field to the work of Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin and Defensive Backs Coach Raheem Morris. According to the former first-round draft pick, Kiffin and Morris have designed his role to fit his talents – speed, smooth feet, quick play-recognition – and maximize his impact. However, Buchanon is more reluctant to predict what that will mean for the Bucs’ defense in 2007. Perhaps because his stops in Oakland and Houston ended in one trade and one release, he isn’t one to talk himself up in the offseason.

“For me, it’s just talk,” he said. “I’m more of a person who wants to prove it during the season. It’s too early to be talking about that. Yeah, everything sounds good, but I would prefer to wait until the season and then do my thing. Right now, this is just practice, so it doesn’t really count.”

But it does make an impact on the coaching staff’s planning and on the confidence of his teammates. Barber, for one, has been impressed with Buchanon’s development in the Bucs’ system.

“It’s hard to see why a guy like that hasn’t been on anywhere,” said the four-time Pro Bowler. “I don’t know why he fell out of favor in Houston last year, but we’re happy to have him. He can help us, definitely. He showed a little bit last year and this is an opportunity to show more.”

Added Gruden: “He looks like the Phillip Buchanon that came out of the Miami Hurricanes a couple years ago. He’s quick, he’s got a quick trigger, he jumps patterns, he’s a very instinctive guy and I’m very pleased with what he’s done, very pleased.”

Buchanon took the starting spot opposite Barber from Bolden late in the 2006 season. Bolden was then released prior to the start of free agency after two seasons as, essentially, the nickel back in Tampa. During the four games he started, the Bucs recorded five of their 11 interceptions and 10 of their 25 sacks on the season and dropped their yardage allowed average a bit to 190.0 per game.

If that represents improvement with Buchanon, then the Bucs are doubly pleased to have his return (he re-signed with the team at the start of free agency) and Kelly’s comeback.


#18: Will Kevin Everett Contribute More?

As training camp fast approaches prepares you by trying to answer the top 20 questions facing the Bills in 2007. Monday through Friday until the day before training camp, will present each of the key issues facing the team in an effort to have you the fan primed for all the action at St. John Fisher. Don't stray far from!

In 2005 the Buffalo Bills made Kevin Everett their second overall pick (3rd round) in the draft. Coming out of Miami, Everett was following in the footsteps of other tight-ends. Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow Jr. were all highly-touted first round pick out of Miami prior to Everett.

Having similar skills to that of his three predecessors, Everett was expected to provide the Bills offense with a legitimate receiving threat at the tight end position.

Unfortunately on the first day of Bills mini camp Everett tore a ligament in his knee and was lost for his rookie season. After missing his rookie campaign Everett was still new to the NFL game last year when he appeared in 16 games making four starts. He recorded only one catch for one yard against Minnesota.

Geathers Earns Spot On 2007 AFL All-Ironman Team

SAN JOSE, Calif. (June 29, 2007) - Although the "Ironman" concept that defined the Arena Football League for so many years is nearly extinct, there are still athletes gifted enough to play on both offense and defense including the San Jose SaberCats' WR/LB Jason Geathers.

Geathers, along with 14 other players, was voted to the AFL All-Ironman Team for 2007 league officials announced today.

Geathers (6-2, 202, Miami) started in 6 games at the "Jack" linebacker position and 9 contests at wide receiver for the SaberCats this season. On defense, he registered 24.5 tackles, 3.5 for a loss, a PBU and a fumble recovery. Geathers was the team's 4th-leading receiver, catching 54 passes for 509 yards and 11 TDs in 2007. In his second season with the team, he set career highs in all statistical categories.

"It's an honor to be named the to team and I'm just happy to do what I can for the SaberCats whether it be on offense, defense or special teams," Geathers stated. "As an Ironman-type player, I just have to be focused during the games because my number could be called at anytime."

A premier franchise in the AFL, the San Jose SaberCats have captured two ArenaBowl titles, seven Western Division championships, eight consecutive playoff appearances and own the league's best regular season record this decade. The SaberCats are the top-seed heading into the American Conference playoffs and will host their first postseason game July 7 at 11:50 a.m. on ESPN.

Playoff tickets are available and can be purchased through any Northern California Ticketmaster outlet, by phone at (408) 998-TIXS (8497), online at or by visiting the box office at the HP Pavilion at San Jose.


Burrell must go? Don't be too quick to judge

Here's the situation: Bottom of the ninth, two outs, nobody on, Phillies trail the Reds by three. As Pat Burrell walks to the plate, a very vocal portion of the 15,000 or so fans who have waited out a 40-minute rain delay rise to their feet … and boo as though the devil himself has just entered the building.

It doesn't matter that Burrell is their final hope, the only person standing between the Phillies and another game lost to the first-place Mets. The boo birds hate him. They hate him for striking out looking too often, for not hitting enough home runs and for not even batting his weight. Mostly, though, they hate him for not living up to the six-year, $50-million contract the Phillies gave him four years ago when they pegged the future of the franchise on Pat the Bat.

And those fans don't just hate him a little. They hate him with the intensity of a thousand suns, and they want him out of Philly ASAP, hence the Web site , a site where fans can donate money to put toward Burrell's contract if it would help the Phillies trade him.

Alex Cora Q & A

Diehard spoke recently with Alex Cora for a story on the Red Sox reserves that appears in the August issue of Diehard. In this Q&A, Cora discusses why it’s easier for a bench player to get playing time on a contender, his daily routine and how he’s successful but not satisfied as a reserve. (FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT!)

Diehard: How tough is it to build a cohesive bench with players who can handle their roles?

Alex Cora: I think winning helps a lot [laughs]. People talk about chemistry and all that. Chemistry comes with a three-game winning streak. There’s no magic thing. You win and it’s fun to come to the ballpark.

It’s tough when you’re not winning. You don’t play a lot. It seems like people that run teams, they panic a little bit and they want to throw nine guys out everyday. And it doesn’t work that way.

DH: Why is it easier to get playing time on a contender?

AC: It seems like when you’re winning, I think the way they think is [if] they can get an off-day here [for a starter], you can take it. For me, personally, that’s the way it works. [Teams] don’t want a losing streak and they don’t feel confident in [the] bench. But if you’re winning, it seems like it’s contagious and it seems like everybody helps.

DH: Have you talked to Wily Mo Pena and Eric Hinske, who are each under 30 and not far removed from their days as regular players?

AC: Yeah, we talk about it. It’s not easy, but I think it helps [when] we talk about it. Everybody knows that you don’t have great days everyday. Sometimes, you come to the ballpark and you’re like ‘Wow, I’m not going to play today.’ But we talk about it and we pick each other up and that’s why we have such a good routine going here. It doesn’t give you time to wonder what if, what would happen [if he played everyday].