Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Quick Hits - 1/18/12

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Not a good start to the year for the Detroit Tigers. The 33 year old Martinez tore his left ACL last week and while he'll be evaluated again next week, the team fully expects him to need surgery. Last year was Martinez's first with the Tigers and he hit a career best .330 while driving in over 100 runs for the 4th time in his ten year career. He also tied a career high by hitting 40 doubles. Used primarily as a DH, Martinez also saw time behind the plate and at first base. His injury leaves the Tigers in need of another bat. I don't suppose they'd be interested in taking Carlos Lee off our hands in Houston? Probably not. Some names that have come up as a potential replacement thus far include Johnny Damon, Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui and Magglio Ordonez. They have also been linked to Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

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The United States will return 19 players from the squad that took 2nd at the World Cup last summer as they get ready to begin Olympic Qualifying this week. Of the group that went to Germany, only goalkeeper Jill Loyden and defender Stephanie Cox were left off the roster. Cox appeared in two games as a sub for Amy LePeilbet while Loyden did not play during the World Cup. Syndey Leroux, the number one pick in last week's WPS draft, was the only player added to the squad that wasn't a part of the World Cup team. The U.S. is grouped with the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Mexico for qualifying. They open with Dominican Republic on Friday in Vancouver. Here's a look at how the roster breaks down:

Goalkeepers -- Nicole Barnhart, Hope Solo

Defenders -- Rachel Buehler, Ali Krieger, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn

Midfielders -- Shannon Boxx, Tobin Heath, Lori Lindsey, Carli Lloyd, Heather O'Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, Amy Rodriguez

Forwards -- Lauren Cheney, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach

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Chris Bosh and LeBron James combined for 63 points tonight in Dwyane Wade's absence as the Heat overcame a 17 point deficit to blow out the Spurs 120-98. But the real story, for me at least, was the return of Mike Miller. Miller, who hadn't played a game all season, came off the bench and drained all 6 of his field goal attempts (all of them from 3 point range) and finished with 18 points and 4 rebounds in just 15 minutes. If Miller has found his shooting touch, something he never really had last year when he shot a career low 40% from the field during the regular season and an even lower 34% in the playoffs, then the rest of the league should be put on notice. A healthy 8-man rotation consisting of Bosh, James, Wade, Miller, Battier, Chalmers, Cole, and Haslem will certainly cause teams problems. The key is just getting to the playoffs in one piece.

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