LA Dodgers excited to get Clayton Kershaw back Friday

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “I caught two (of Kershaw’s) bullpens,” Ruiz said. “That was fun to catch him. He was throwing a lot of strikes. I can’t wait for the opportunity to catch him.”It’s stunning to consider how much 75 days can shift the course of a baseball season. Then again, all Kershaw has to do is look to his left.On June 26, the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Dodgers 4-3 at PNC Park. Kershaw suffered his second loss of the season. Three days later he was diagnosed with a mild disc herniation in his lower back and he hasn’t pitched in a major league game since.That will change Friday in Miami, when Kershaw starts the Dodgers’ series opener against the Marlins.“We’re excited for us as a team, but I think that we’re excited for Clayton too,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s been a season of highs and lows. For him to watch his teammates the last two and a half months, it’s been very difficult. So the anticipation to get him back on Friday, yeah, we’re very excited.” Kershaw was 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA at the time of his injury. The Dodgers’ resiliency in the meantime has been well-documented. They trailed the first-place Giants by eight games in the National League West after the June 26 loss in Pittsburgh. Now they lead the division by a season-high five games.For a pitcher who’s started an average of 32 games the last seven seasons, the waiting was the hardest part. Kershaw alluded to that Sunday, when he told reporters “I didn’t really learn anything other than it’s not fun to not play.”Privately, Kershaw tried to put on a good face for his teammates, but Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen said “you could tell that he felt that pain for two months.”Physical or emotional?“He’s an emotional guy,” Jansen said. “He tried to hide it. You could tell he wanted to be out there so bad to help us win.”This weekend offers the Dodgers a preview of their likely postseason rotation. Kershaw will start opposite another ace, Marlins right-hander Jose Fernandez, followed by left-hander Rich Hill on Saturday and Kenta Maeda on Sunday.That’s a formidable top three — one the Dodgers haven’t been able to use in the same series all season. For more than a month, their three best pitchers lined up only in the imagination. Now they’re lined up to pitch consecutive games for the first-place team in the NL West.Said Roberts, “it’s starting to shape up the way we envisioned.”center_img LOS ANGELES >> The last time Clayton Kershaw appeared in a game for the Dodgers, Brock Stewart had yet to make his major league debut. After recording his first career win Wednesday night, Stewart stood at his locker in the Dodgers’ home clubhouse, the one to Kershaw’s left. “I’ve seen him on TV all the time,” Stewart said of Kershaw. “It’s something special to see it in person. I can’t wait.”One stall down, to Stewart’s left, stood catcher Carlos Ruiz. He was playing for the Philadelphia Phillies when Kershaw pitched last, long before he swapped spots with A.J. Ellis in a stunning August trade.last_img read more

Five keys to Real Madrid v Barcelona

first_imgYet, the pace offered by Bale and Marco Asensio, who has scored in his last three matches against Barca, could prove decisive in the second-half.Ronaldo and Suarez back in formBetween them Ronaldo and Barca’s Luis Suarez had a pitiful return of a combined four goals in La Liga until mid-November as age appeared to be taking hold of both now in their 30s.However, Ronaldo and Suarez now look like their old selves to add plenty more firepower to a fixture never short on goals.Ronaldo has eight in his last seven games, including the winner in the Club World Cup final last weekend.Suarez, meanwhile is now La Liga’s joint third highest scorer thanks to six in his last five league games.Is Barca’s new defence for real?Ernesto Valverde’s version of Barca may lack the same spark as those coached by Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique over the past decade, but the results are just as good thanks to an exceptionally mean defence backed up by the brilliance of Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal.Valverde’s men have kept 17 clean sheets and conceded only eight goals in total on their 24-game unbeaten run.The real test, though, comes at the Bernabeu, especially with Thomas Vermaelen expected to deputise for the injured Samuel Umtiti at centre-back.Barca have kept just one clean sheet against Madrid in their last 24 meetings.Brazilian brute forceOf all the stars on show, Brazilian international duo Casemiro and Paulinho may not be the most pleasing on the eye but both bring a physical edge to the midfield battle that make them vital components to their respective sides.Casemiro is Madrid’s destroyer who creates the platform for Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Isco to create.However, he will have to keep a close eye on his compatriot, whose ability to time his runs into the opposition area has seen him register six goals in 15 La Liga appearances and quickly quieten the critics who questioned his 40 million euro signing from Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande.Share on: WhatsApp Madrid, Spain | AFP | Real Madrid realistically need to end Barcelona’s 24-match unbeaten run to maintain hopes of retaining their La Liga title when Spanish football’s two behemoths meet in El Clasico on Saturday (1200GMT).Barca lead fourth-placed Madrid by 11 points at the top of the table, albeit Real do have a game in hand.However, it was at the Santiago Bernabeu that Barca last tasted defeat in August as Real cruised to a 5-1 aggregate win in the Spanish Super Cup.Here, AFP Sports looks at five keys to deciding who will end the year victorious.Messi-Alba connectionBarca have overcome Neymar’s departure with relative ease thanks to left-back Jordi Alba’s return to form, in large part caused by the Brazilian’s absence on the left side of Barca’s attack.“I have a lot more room to go forward and in all honesty for me it is much better,” admitted the Spanish international.Lionel Messi has also benefited with three of Alba’s six assists this season setting up the Argentine.The Alba-Messi connection also gave Barca a famous 3-2 win as Messi scored with the last kick of the ball at the Bernabeu in April when Neymar was suspended.Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal has played just five games since September due to a long-term virus and a lack of cover offered by Madrid’s narrow four-man midfield could give Alba plenty of space to exploit.‘BBC’ finally fit to return?Madrid’s famed ‘BBC’ front three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale have yet to play a single minute of action together this season, largely due to Bale’s injury problems.However, the Welshman scored on his return to action to help Real win the Club World Cup last week leaving Zinedine Zidane spoilt for choice with his starting line-up.Zidane is expected to stay loyal to the side that started the Champions League final in May with Bale only featuring from the bench.last_img read more

First they closed the athletic fields…

first_imgThis communiqué is about how sometimes the same message can be misinterpreted and/or perceived based on the sole premise of who the messenger may be. Just a few days ago it hit me hard, really hard that Schenley High, (alma mater God preserve thee) was really gone. I guess, no, I know that I have been in denial because I could not nor will I ever be able to comprehend why one of the foundations of urban education not only in Pittsburgh but in America was deliberately, unceremoniously and frivolously snatched away from future generations of potential students because of the nature of the political powers that be. There are a few reasons that I am concerned not only by the lack of leadership of the Pittsburgh School Board but by quality of these “stewards” of education.“This whole area, [Western Pennsylvania] years ago, was really redneck.” All right folks this was not a partial and misunderstood quote by the one and only Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the “man of the cloth” who almost declawed and removed all of the teeth from President Barack Obama’s first election. This caustic quote was from an experienced and learned legislator, the late Congressman John Murtha who hailed from and represented the area known by some as the “Confederacy” sitting just north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Schenley was a high school that for many years excelled both academically and athletically; well at least until some school board folks allegedly decided that mesothelioma might be in the near future of students, faculty and the general public if habitation at this potentially infected property was continued.Redneck alert…Now I am not promoting this definition of our beloved and sanctified region, but the words of the late congressman were a sorta kinda motivating force for me. When folks come in and gut a school system like a fattened calf after slaughter, it should leave everyone, parents, teachers and the community-at-large in a very “inquisitive” state of mind.Now closing our schools makes a lot of dough for other segments of our society. According to saveourschoolsmarch.org “The average per-pupil cost in Pennsylvania’s urban schools is $8,985; Pennsylvania’s average per-prisoner cost: $31,900.”How many uniforms and pairs of cleats could be purchased if the funding mechanism was reversed? Could some of the funds dispensed to insure the comfort of those who may be incarcerated be utilized to build better schools and to renovate the antiquated ones and the athletic facilities within? This seems to be a far better option than keeping a fresh coat of paint on the cells waiting for student/athletes after they drop out of school or are expelled from athletics because they fail to meet the minimum G.P.A requirements.When ex-Pittsburgh Board of Education Superintendant John Thompson (an African-American) offered balanced proposals in regards to closing schools in various neighborhoods, not just in Black neighborhoods he was driven out of town post, haste. When Mr. Thompson’s successor Mark Roosevelt rode into Pittsburgh at the crack of dusk on his horse “midnight” not wielding a scalpel but a hatchet, he made the students, parents and citizens of Pittsburgh appear as if they were in a hatchet fight and everyone had a tomahawk but them.On March 11, 2012 Eleanor Chute of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote, “Without a scorecard, it was nearly impossible for an outsider to tell apart the students from Pittsburgh Perry and Pittsburgh Oliver—two North Side high schools separated by just 2-1/2 miles. Seated around a group of tables in the Perry library, 18 students met to talk about the transition this fall [the fall of 2012] when they will all be from one school: Perry. In an effort to save money and offer more classes, Pittsburgh Public Schools is closing Oliver High School, built in 1924, and assigning the students to Perry, which was built in 1901. Oliver received an addition in 1987 and Perry in 1992. Oliver is among seven city public schools being closed this fall.” Listen everyone, competition builds character, character builds self-esteem and self-esteem builds excellence.The juiced up pep rallies that used to be the highlight of the student-athletes week as Perry prepared to face arch rival Oliver or as Schenley readied it’s troops to face Peabody are no more. First they came for the athletic fields and closed them. Then they came for the schools and closed them.Athletics in high schools are often the only shining star at the end of the bleak pitch black tunnel otherwise known as urban education. As most of you who read my weekly “opinions” well know, I dedicate a couple thousand words per year to this very subject and as long as God gives me strength I will stand up and sit up for those who society perceives have no voice; but I will certainly never stand by nor shut up in regards to the Pittsburgh Public Schools and the athletic programs that have been at the heart and soul of their existence. I will never watch these events with indifference as calloused and corrupt “bean counters” dilute and devalue one of the few positive components that inner city youth have to look forward to as some of them leave dysfunctional homes ducking gunfire, drugs and God only knows what just to get to school. See folks oftentimes it is not the message, it is the messenger.Many young student­-athletes feel that sports and or music is their only way out of the “hood” and when those options are removed without opposition; the budgetary allocations to build more jail cells become a bit more feasible. The Pittsburgh Promise will be very easy to keep because just over 50 percent of the Pittsburgh district schools remain open. It is easier to promise four children $100 per week for their allowance than being committed to passing out a “C-note” to 40 kids? See ya later, alligators…(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.)last_img read more

The FoodBank Launches Free Tax Assistance Program

first_imgNEPTUNE – The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties launched a free income tax assistance program aimed at helping low- and moderate-income workers maximize their tax benefits.Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) will be offered at six sites, three in Monmouth County and three in Ocean County, throughout the tax season. IRS-certified tax professionals will help filers complete their state and federal returns.“The FoodBank’s mission is to build food-secure communities in Monmouth and Ocean Counties,” said Carlos M. Rodriguez, executive director of the organization. “As The FoodBank works toward more comprehensive solutions to hunger in our communities, connecting low-income families with tax credits, SNAP and other benefits will provide an opportunity to save and strengthen their families financial health. Ultimately, The FoodBank wants people to shop in our local stores for the food they need and make the purchasing decisions that are right for their families.”To qualify for free tax assistance, households with dependents must earn $51,000 or less, and households with no dependents must earn $30,000 or less.FoodBank representatives and volunteers will ensure that filers who are eligible will receive important tax credits that they are entitled to, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Childcare Tax Credit (CTC).In addition, The FoodBank team will connect people with other critical benefits such as SNAP (food stamps), legal assistance, Super Storm Sandy-related aid and emergency food, if needed.“The EITC is one of the largest and most successful anti-poverty programs in history,” Rodriguez said. “EITC has a proven track record of lifting families out of poverty, putting as much as $5,000 back into the pockets of working families who are living on the edges of poverty. This will not only help families, it will put money back into the local economy at a time when businesses are struggling to recover after Hurricane Sandy.”The FoodBank’s VITA program is run in partnership with the IRS, Cowan, Gunteski & Co, P.A., and the host sites, and is supported by the Robin Hood Foundation and Singlestop USA.VITA is available at the following sites now through April 15:In Monmouth County:SCAN Adult Education Center, Monmouth Mall, Eatontown, from 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. FridaysLunch Break, 103 Drs. James Parker Blvd., Red Bank, from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and ThursdaysHispanic Affairs, 913 Sewall Ave., Asbury Park, from 4 to 8 p.m. Mondays and ThursdaysFilers should bring all required documents including a valid photo ID; copies of previous returns; all income statements including W-2, Social Security and unemployment income; 1099 forms, birth dates and Social Security numbers for all dependents; and a check showing a bank routing number for direct deposit, if applicable.Additional information is available by contacting The FoodBank at 732-918-2600 or visit­ing www.foodbankmoc.org.last_img read more

Schmidt rink breezes to Kootenay Dominion Curling Club Championship

first_imgDesiree Schmidt of Fruitvale breezed through the competition like a hot knife through butter to capture the women’s crown at the Kootenay Dominion Curling Club Championship Sunday at the Nelson Curling Club.Schmidt, third Brittany Palmer, second Courtney Schmidt and lead Sherry Duncan blasted the Calloway rink from Sparwood 9-3 to complete the undefeated romp through the women’s draw. The Fruitvale rink now represents the Kootenay zone at the Dominion Curling Club Championship April 17-21 in Richmond.The Dominion Curling Club Championship is designed to provide club curlers with the opportunity of a lifetime. The road to a Canadian Championship started at the beginning of the curling season at the club level.The Kootenay Championship is the next step before the respective winners advance to the provincial tournament next month in Richmond.On the men’s side, the Barry Marsh rink of Nelson won the right to represent the Kootenays in Richmond.last_img read more

Bombers outlast Wildcats as High School Hoop season tips off

first_imgIt was a tale of two games, but the L.V. Rogers Bombers still prevailed over district rivals Mount Sentinel Wildcats in High School Senior Boy’s Basketball action Tuesday in South Slocan.The Bombers held off a late charge by the Wildcats to score a 74-64 victory as the High School Basketball season kicked off its exhibition season. LVR hit the ground running, using full-court pressure to build a 25-11 advantage after one period.However, the Wildcats kept pecking away at the lead, cutting the margin to 42-27 at recess and 49-46 after three quarters.Mount Sentinel even held a 57-54 advantage before the Bombers went on a 10-0 run to restore the lead en route to the narrow victory.LVR small forward Alan Jin led all scores with 22 points. Dylan Dixon had 12 while Leo Weiss added 10 and Brock Dixon eight.Brandon Sookeroff led the Cats with 21 points while Aaron Abrosimoff added 17 and Kai Miller 11.The Wildcats are back in action Friday when Mount Sentinel hosts the first Senior Boy’s Basketball tournament of the season. Action concludes Saturday.last_img read more