MLB News and Notes September 25

MLB News and Notes September 25

Notes from Tuesday's games
September 25, 2007

OAKLAND: 1B Daric Barton hit a homer in the first inning and has reached base via a hit or walk in all 14 games he's played since he was called up from Triple-A Sacramento on Sept. 10. ... The Athletics' last eight games of the season are against division leaders. They lost two of three in Cleveland before starting a two-game series in Boston on Tuesday night. They finish the season with three home games against the Los Angeles Angels. ... Oakland made its first error in four games when shortstop Marco Scutaro dropped a popup on the outfield grass as he stood near LF Shannon Stewart.

BOSTON: CF Coco Crisp was a late scratch from the starting lineup because of illness. He was replaced by rookie Jacoby Ellsbury. ... 1B Kevin Youkilis wasn't in the lineup for the eighth straight game after his right wrist was bruised when he was hit by a pitch on Sept. 15 from Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang. Manager Terry Francona said he expects Youkilis to play Wednesday against Oakland. ... Lefty reliever Hideki Okajima, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 14 because of a tired arm, threw 40 pitches in a side session while pitching coach John Farrell watched. Francona said Okajima could pitch on Thursday. ``John Farrell seemed very pleased,'' Francona said.


MINNESOTA: CF Torii Hunter played in his career-best 155th game Tuesday, breaking the mark he set in 2004. ... Hunter and 1B Justin Morneau entered Tuesday's game with 58 homers combined, while Minnesota's other seven starters had just 36 between them. The bottom four hitters in the order - rookies Garrett Jones, Chris Heintz, Brian Buscher and Alexi Casilla - started the game with three homers and 27 RBIs between them. ... The Twins need four wins in their final six games to avoid finishing under .500 one season after winning the AL Central. They have been within three games of .500 in every month this season.

DETROIT:
RF Magglio Ordonez was a late arrival to the clubhouse after having an MRI on his sore heel. The team did not expect results until after the game, which Ordonez started, but Tigers manager Jim Leyland joked that he already knew. ``It's going to say that he can hit,'' Leyland said of his MVP-candidate slugger. ... Ten-year-old Charles Woody of Plymouth was honored as the 3-millionth fan of the season, a mark the Tigers reached for the first time. Woody got a four-seat season-ticket plan and a framed Tigers jersey with the name ``Million'' and the number 3. ... Detroit entered Tuesday's game needing nine total bases to break the franchise record of 2,548, set in 1987.


TORONTO: RHP Josh Banks, a Baltimore native who attended schools in the nearby suburb of Severna Park, Md., will make his first major league start Thursday against the Orioles. Manager John Gibbons said Banks, who was 12-10 with a 4.63 ERA in 23 starts at Triple-A Syracuse, will not be on a pitch count but will be closely monitored. ``We're conscious he hasn't pitched a lot since he came up, so we'll watch him a little bit,'' Gibbons said. ... SS John McDonald will undergo sports hernia surgery once the season concludes, Gibbons said.

BALTIMORE: RHP Dany Baez intends to undergo elbow ligament surgery and will probably miss the 2008 season. Baez, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 12, finished 0-6 with a 6.44 ERA in his first season with Baltimore. ... Aubrey Huff entered Tuesday's game in an 0-for-11 skid but was batting .350 since Aug. 2. ... LHP Garret Olson (strained left forearm) left for Sarasota, Fla. on Tuesday to continue his rehab program and play in the team's Fall Instructional League program. ... Through Monday, Baltimore's ERA for September was 6.45.


NEW YORK: Manager Joe Torre said he hopes to see owner George Steinbrenner, who lives in nearby Tampa, in person on Wednesday. The pair haven't got together since the Yankees' last played at Tampa Bay right after the All-Star break in July. .. Torre, at the request of Tampa Bay 3B Akinori Iwamura, signed the bat the Yankees manager had umpires confiscate during a game on Sept. 1. The bat, which Iwamura plans to display at home, was ruled to be in compliance by MLB. ... RHP Luis Vizcaino, slowed by a tired arm, is expected to be availble during the three-game series at Tampa Bay. ... Torre said rookie RHP Joba Chamberlain should pitch for the first time on back-to-back days this week.

TAMPA BAY: Manager Joe Maddon said the team will shut down All-Star LF Carl Crawford for the rest of the season. Crawford has missed seven straight games since straining his left groin Sept. 16 at Seattle. ... INF Brendan Harris was out of the lineup for the seventh game Tuesday with strained left calf muscle. Harris took batting practice and is available to pinch run.


LOS ANGELES: Manager Mike Scioscia gave regulars Garret Anderson and Vladimir Guerrero a second straight off day Tuesday as the team points toward the playoffs. ``They need to recharge,'' Scioscia said. ``Garret will be out there tomorrow and we'll see when Vlad will be back out there. We're trying to win every game, but you have to balance that. It doesn't do us any good to win every game and have those two guys not in uniform for the playoffs.'' Guerrero threw before batting practice for the first time in more than two weeks to test his inflamed right triceps. The Angels need to find out if Guerrero, whose last 13 starts have been at DH, can play RF in the playoffs. Scioscia said he won't announce his weekend rotation until Wednesday.

TEXAS: Manager Ron Washington is still undecided on Sunday's starter for the season finale against Seattle. RHP Brandon McCarthy is among the contenders. McCarthy, who has been slowed by a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade, threw on the side on Tuesday and wants to get in one more start. ``I'd like to see if I'm healthy going into the offseason,'' McCarthy said. RHP Scott Feldman will be added to the Rangers' Arizona Fall League team because management wants him to get in more innings.


KANSAS CITY: Before Tuesday night's game, DH Mike Sweeney is 15-for-43 since being activated from the disabled list. Sweeney was placed on the disabled list June 19 with right knee inflammation and had surgery. He returned to the Royals on Aug. 31 and has played in 69 games this season. Sweeney only played in 60 games in 2006 with a bulging disc in his back. ... Rookie 3B Alex Gordon is in a 1-for-15 slump.

CHICAGO:
OF/INF Josh Fields leads AL rookies with 22 homers in 94 games and was named AL player of the week on Monday. He was 11-for-24 with one triple, three doubles and three home runs during the week. He is the first White Sox rookie to hit 20 or more home runs in a season since Ron Kittle hit 35 in 1983. ... White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said the club chose to skip LHP Mark Buehrle's final start of the season to take a look at rookie right-hander Lance Broadway. ... Guillen said he will remember this season more than 2005, when they won the World Series. ``You are not going to forget this one. A lot of people say 2005 was great, you're not going to forget that one,'' he said. ``Yes, you will forget about 2005. I never thought we would be in this situation in 2007.''


CHICAGO: SS Ryan Theriot was back in the lineup Tuesday at Florida after sitting out one game with back spasms. ... Ron Santo returned to the broadcast booth after missing three games because of a respiratory ailment. ... RHP Steve Trachsel is scheduled to start Thursday at Florida, but that plan may change, manager Lou Piniella said. There may also be changes in the starters at Cincinnati this weekend. ``We'll probably tinker with the pitching between now and Sunday,'' he said.

FLORIDA: RHP Daniel Barone (1-3) will start Wednesday for Florida against the Chicago Cubs. ... LF Josh Willingham's back trouble has been diagnosed as a herniated disc, and he may not play again this season. ... Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he was surprised by the departure of pitching coach Rick Kranitz. ``I would love to have him back,'' Gonzalez said. ``I thought our relationship was outstanding.'' The Marlins said they offered Kranitz a contract for next season, but he wanted to explore other options. ... RHP Ricky Nolasco, limited to 21 1-3 innings this season because of elbow trouble, will pitch in the Arizona Fall League.


ARIZONA: Manager Bob Melvin still isn't ready to say who will start possibly key games Saturday and Sunday against Colorado. Because Arizona may have clinched the NL West title by then, Melvin may use the final two days to set the postseason rotation. ... Arizona's three top winners - Doug Davis, Livan Hernandez and Brandon Webb - are starting in the Pirates series. ... The D-backs began their second trip to Pittsburgh this season trying for their 17th victory in their last 22 series.

PITTSBURGH: New club president Frank Coonelly told The Associated Press the Pirates won't necessarily have one of the majors' lowest payrolls if they turn themselves around and can pursue players who might make a difference in winning a championship. The Pirates' opening day payroll this season was less than $40 million. ... OF Jason Bay, the club's most durable player since arriving in a 2003 trade with San Diego, will be used as a pinch-hitter the final week of the season. He has been bothered by a sore right knee. ... RHP Ian Snell, who complained recently of being tired, made his final start of the season Tuesday. He would have been in line to start the final game of the season Sunday. LHP Tom Gorzelanny, who has failed three times to get win No. 15, will make one more start.


ATLANTA: Mark Teixeira slammed a three-run, first-inning homer, giving him at least one RBI in 29 of his 50 games since he was acquired from Texas before the trade deadline. ... Andruw Jones could be entering his final week with the Braves. The 30-year-old Jones will be a free agent after this season and is coming off the worst offensive year of his career. ... Tim Hudson (16-9, 3.34) makes his 13 career start against the Phillies on Wednesday. He's 4-4 with a 4.10 ERA lifetime against Philly.

PHILADELPHIA:
Jimmy Rollins hit his 30th homer in the first inning to become the second Phillies player to have 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in the same season. Bobby Abreu did it in 2001 and 2004. Barry Larkin and Alex Rodriguez were the only other regular shortstops to have a 30-30 season. ... Struggling right-hander Adam Eaton (10-9, 6.33) didn't lose his turn in the rotation this week, but he will be pushed back to Saturday against the Nationals instead of staying on his regular turn and facing the Braves. Ace Cole Hamels will stay on course and pitch on four days' rest Friday night. If there's a one-game playoff next Monday, Kyle Lohse would be in line to start.


WASHINGTON: RF Austin Kearns hit a three-run homer at Shea Stadium for the second consecutive night. That gave him five homers and 14 RBIs against the Mets this season. ... LF Wily Mo Pena's run-scoring single in the third inning gave him 20 RBIs in 33 games with Washington. ... 3B Ryan Zimmerman doubled in the third to push his hitting streak to 12 games, a team high this season. ... RHP Shawn Hill will undergo surgery on his right forearm Wednesday in Washington to have a radial nerve decompressed. About two weeks later, he is expected to have surgery on his left shoulder, but that operation had not been scheduled. ... C Jesus Flores (bruised left elbow) took batting practice and was available to play. Brian Schneider started behind the plate.

NEW YORK:
RF Shawn Green singled in the fifth for his 2,000th hit. ... With the struggling Mets trying desperately to hang onto first place in the NL East, RHP Philip Humber is scheduled to make his first major league start Wednesday night against Washington. ``When he's on, he's got pretty good stuff,'' manager Willie Randolph said. Humber, the third overall pick in the 2004 amateur draft out of Rice, went 11-9 with a 4.27 ERA in 25 starts at Triple-A New Orleans this year. His most recent outing was a one-inning relief stint for the Mets on Sept. 11 against Atlanta. ``In the ideal world you would rather have a proven guy, but that option is not available,'' GM Omar Minaya said. ``I believe that he's going to do well because I think he believes that he's going to do well.'' Ex-Met Mike Bacsik starts for the Nationals. ... Minaya said he wouldn't be disappointed if the Mets lost their division lead but made the playoffs as the wild card. ``We're striving to win the division, but to me the goal is to get to the playoffs,'' he said. ... Minaya gave Randolph an impromptu vote of confidence, saying his experience in pennant races makes him the man for the job right now.


HOUSTON: Craig Biggio made the last road start of his career at second base Tuesday at Cincinnati. He won't start Wednesday or Thursday before starting at catcher on Friday in Houston, interim manager Cecil Cooper said. ``He'll play every game over the weekend,'' Cooper said of Biggio, who reached 3,000 career hits this season and is retiring. He hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning on Tuesday. ... Biggio will catch RHP Roy Oswalt on Friday. RHP Brandon Backe will pitch Saturday and RHP Felipe Paulino on Sunday, Cooper said. ... RHP Brad Lidge's job isn't in danger, even after giving up three runs in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss at St. Louis on Sunday. ``There's nobody lurking,'' Cooper said. ``That story's over.''

CINCINNATI: 2B Brandon Phillips returned to the lineup after getting Sunday off. Phillips went into Tuesday's game needing one home run to become the only second baseman other than Alfonso Soriano to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in a season. ``I think two days off will help him,'' manager Pete Mackanin said. ... The Reds announced that OF Adam Dunn will have arthroscopic surgery Wednesday morning to clean out his right knee. Dunn has 40 home runs and a career-high 106 RBIs. ... Rookie Joey Votto replaced Dunn in the starting lineup Tuesday and batted as high as third for the first time in 16 starts. He homered in the first inning Tuesday to extend his hitting streak to five games, his second streak of four or more games since joining the Reds earlier this month.


ST. LOUIS: The Cardinals have lost 35 games by at least five runs. The team went 32-38 in 70 games after the All-Star break, but was outscored 291-100 in the losses. The Cardinals outscored opponents 227-85 in the 32 victories. ... RHP Brad Thompson, who will start against the Brewers Wednesday night, has given up a team-high 23 home runs in just 123 1-3 innings. The Brewers went into Tuesday night's game with a major-league leading 221 homers.

MILWAUKEE: RHP Ben Sheets threw a 35-pitch bullpen session Tuesday, but still had some discomfort in his strained left hamstring, manager Ned Yost said. The team still has not decided whether he will start Friday night against San Diego. ... C Johnny Estrada could be available for pinch-hitting despite having a torn medial meniscus in his left knee, Yost said. Estrada left Sunday's game at Atlanta with soreness in the knee and is batting .278 with 10 home runs and 54 RBIs in 120 games. Damian Miller started for the second consecutive night Tuesday in Estrada's place.


COLORADO: MVP candidate Matt Holliday was back in the lineup after missing two games with a slightly strained left oblique muscle. ``I think it probably would have been very difficult to keep him out another day,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ``When you talk about a special player like him, Matt at less than 100 percent is still way good.'' ... The Rockies entered Tuesday with a major league-low 64 errors - 27 fewer than their total last season, when they were tied for second-fewest in the NL. They never had fewer than 84 prior to this year. ``Our coaches have stressed the importance of defense, and they've done it with a passion,'' Hurdle said. ``Two springs ago, we talked about ways we could improve within our division without changing personnel. And one of those ways was for everybody to get a little better defensively.''

LOS ANGELES: The Dodgers began their season-ending homestand against the Colorado Rockies, who basically punctured L.A.'s postseason hopes last week at Coors Field with a demoralizing four-game sweep that included dramatic late-inning home runs by Todd Helton (off Takashi Saito) and Brad Hawpe (off Jonathan Broxton) that turned potential losses into one-run victories. So the Dodgers had plenty of incentive to return the favor and damage Colorado's chances at a wild-card berth. ``What was done last week, there's nothing we can do about that right now,'' Dodgers manager Grady Little said. ``This last week since that series in Colorado there's been a lot of frustration. Everyone realizes that - all of us in the clubhouse, the fans, the front office, everyone. And I don't really want anyone around me who's not disappointed and frustrated with the way things have turned out.'' ... All-Star C Russell Martin entered Tuesday with a team-high 85 RBIs. Only once in the last 14 seasons has the Dodgers' leading run producer finished with fewer than 90 RBIs. Shawn Green had 85 in 2003. ... Juan Pierre needed three more steals to increase his season total to 64, which would be the highest total by a Dodger since Davey Lopes finished the 1975 campaign with 77. Pierre also needed 11 hits in the final six games to become only the third Dodger since 1986 with at least 200 hits in a season. Mike Piazza had 201 in 1997 and Adrian Beltre had 200 in 2004.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 25

Reds' Dunn to undergo knee surgery
September 25, 2007

CINCINNATI (AP) -The Reds announced shortly before Tuesday's game against Houston that left fielder Adam Dunn will undergo arthroscopic surgery to clean out his right knee.

The surgery is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Dunn didn't start two of the Reds' last three games in San Francisco. He is hitting .264 with 40 home runs and a career-high 106 RBIs this season.

He is the first player in Reds history to hit at least 40 home runs in four consecutive seasons and to produce more than one season of 100 RBIs, 100 walks and 100 runs scored. This is the third season he's reached triple figures in all three categories.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 25

Clemens won't pitch again during regular season
September 25, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -Roger Clemens was scratched from his start for the New York Yankees on Tuesday night at Tampa Bay because of a lingering left hamstring injury and won't pitch for the remainder of the regular season.

The announcement was made about four hours before game time. The team said Clemens will not pitch in the three-game series with the Devil Rays that runs through Thursday, but could throw in a simulated game.

Clemens is ``confident'' he will be ready for the opening round of the postseason if the Yankees qualify. New York started play Tuesday with a magic number of one to clinch at least the AL wild-card spot.

``I fully expect to be out there,'' Clemens said. ``I still think it's improving. A little swelling, but I ran quite a bit in the deep end of a pool to try and get that motion going. They're really going to try and just let it rest.''

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Clemens could have pitched Tuesday if it had been a must-win game.

``We're just playing it smart,'' Cashman said. ``We're looking at the big picture, and giving it more time to heal. The point is he'll be better off with more time, and we'll go from there.''

Kei Igawa was picked to replace Clemens for Tuesday night' start.

Clemens tweaked his hamstring while running Thursday. He has pitched just once since Sept. 3, sidelined at first by a tender right elbow that required two cortisone shots. The 45-year-old right-hander pitched six innings at Boston on Sept. 16, allowing an unearned run and two hits.

``He feels it just a little bit,'' Yankees manager Joe Tore said. ``It's not too bad. It's more of doing everything he needs to do to pitch a game more than the pitching aspect of it. The running, covering first and doing all that stuff. He's still throwing, doing drills. It's feeling better, but I think the frustration comes from the fact that it's not feeling as good as he needs it to. Hopefully it continues to get better.''

Torre said it's not necessary for Clemens to pitch in a game before the regular season ends, but that it probably would be important to at least see him in a simulated contest.

``If it goes backwards at all, then an October date, I would be in trouble for that,'' Clemens said. ``I'll do enough to stay sharp until we really know what's going on as far as the playoff picture is decided.''

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner is 6-6 with a 4.18 ERA in 17 starts and one relief appearances this season.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 25

Boston's Ramirez back in lineup
September 25, 2007

BOSTON (AP) -Manny Ramirez returned to the Boston Red Sox lineup on Tuesday night after missing 24 games with a strained muscle in his left side.

He was put in the No. 2 spot in the order, a place he had occupied just six times in his previous 1,994 major league games over 15 seasons. He has hit fourth in most of those games.

Manager Terry Francona said batting second would allow Ramirez to get an extra at-bat in the opener of a two-game series against the Oakland Athletics before likely being replaced in left field by rookie Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Red Sox have just six regular-season games left and have clinched a playoff spot.

Ramirez was injured on Aug. 28 in a game against the Yankees in New York. The Red Sox were 80-52 after that game with a seven-game lead in the AL East over the second-place Yankees. In the 24 games without him, they were 12-12 and their lead dropped to 2 games.

Francona said Ramirez had a good session of batting practice on Monday, leading to the decision to start him instead of using him off the bench as a pinch-hitter. He is batting .292 with 20 homers and 86 RBIs.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 25

Baseball today - September 26
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD

Wednesday, Sept 26

San Diego at San Francisco (10:15 p.m. EDT)

Ace Jake Peavy starts for the Padres as they try to keep pace in the wild-card race.

STARS Tuesday

-Prince Fielder, Brewers, hit a pair of two-run homers to become the youngest major league player to hit 50 home runs in a season, and Milwaukee beat St. Louis 9-1.

-Brian Giles, Padres, hit a go-ahead three-run homer with two outs in the ninth, and San Diego ended a four-game losing streak with a 6-4 victory over San Francisco.

-Frank Thomas, Blue Jays, had four hits, including his 513th home run, to lead Toronto past Baltimore 11-4.

-Jorge Velandia, Devil Rays, hit a grand slam for his first career homer and Tampa Bay prevented the Yankees from clinching a playoff berth with a 7-6, 10-inning victory.

-Mark Teixeira and Chipper Jones, Braves. Teixeira hit a three-run homer and Jones added a two-run shot, helping Atlanta keep its slim playoff hopes alive with a 10-6 win over Philadelphia.

-Tony Pena, Royals, homered, tied a career-high with four hits and drove in three in a 9-5 win over the White Sox.

FAST 50

Prince Fielder became the youngest major league player ever to hit 50 home runs in a season, connecting twice in Milwaukee's 9-1 rout of St. Louis on Tuesday night. Fielder and his father, Cecil, became the only father-son tandem with 50-homer seasons. The elder Fielder hit 51 with the Detroit Tigers in 1990. It was the eighth multihomer game of the younger Fielder's career, and the fifth this season.

ONE MORE DAY

Detroit remained in the playoff race when it beat Minnesota 8-0 and the Yankees lost 7-6 in 10 innings to Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. To stay in contention, the defending AL champion Tigers need to win the rest of their games this week and have the Yankees lose all of theirs to force a one-game playoff for the AL wild card.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH

Colorado tied its franchise record for the longest winning streak and eliminated the Dodgers from postseason contention with a 9-7 win over Los Angeles on Tuesday night. The Rockies, who are a season-high 13 games over .500 (85-72), won their ninth straight, matching the mark set from Aug. 26-Sept. 5, 1997.

WHIFFED BY WILLIS

Dontrelle Willis struck out seven to set a Marlins record for career strikeouts in Florida's 4-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night. Willis (10-15) increased his career total to 755, breaking A.J. Burnett's club record of 753. He allowed two hits and two runs over eight innings, winning for only the third time in 15 decisions since May 29.

SLUMP'S OVER

Alex Rodriguez ended his longest homerless drought in more than a year, hitting his major league-leading 53rd in the Yankees' 7-6, 10-inning loss at Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. A-Rod, who had gone 55 at bats since last homering on Sept. 9 a Kansas City, circled the bases to a standing ovation after connecting on an 0-1 pitch off Jason Hammel for a grand slam. The stretch was A-Rod's longest since he also went 55 at bats without a homer from May 27-June 15, 2006.

SPEAKING

''It's not easy, but we're going to get the job done before too long. We're going to get back to the postseason, and we're going to be going on all cylinders.'' - Johnny Damon, who was 5-for-5 and scored two runs in the Yankees' 7-6 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. New York is 8-8 this year against the Devil Rays, who have baseball's worst record.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 25

Ump suspended for rest of regular season
Associated Press

Umpire Mike Winters was suspended by Major League Baseball for the remainder of the regular season on Wednesday because of his confrontation with San Diego's Milton Bradley last weekend.

The Padres claimed Winters baited Bradley, who has a history of losing his temper. Bradley tore a knee ligament when his manager spun him to the ground while trying to keep him from going after the umpire during Sunday's 7-3 loss to Colorado in San Diego.

Winters was suspended because the commissioner's office concluded he had used a profanity aimed at Bradley, a baseball official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the reasoning for the suspension was not announced.

The 48-year-old Winters became a major league umpire in 1990 and worked the World Series in 2002 and last year.

Bradley tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will need surgery, which is expected to sideline him for at least six months. His injury was a blow to the Padres, who began Wednesday with a one-game lead over Colorado and Philadelphia in the NL wild-card race.

Trouble began when plate umpire Brian Runge asked Bradley if he had flipped his bat in the ump's direction after taking a called third strike that ended the fifth inning. Runge indicated that Winters told him that Bradley had.

The dispute escalated after Bradley singled, then asked Winters if he told Runge he threw his bat.

First base coach Bobby Meacham and Black said Winters used profanity. Bradley called it "the most unprofessional and most ridiculous thing I've ever seen."

"It's terrible. And now, because of him, my knee's hurt," he said after the game. "If this costs me my season because of that, he needs to be reprimanded. I'm taking some action. I'm not going to stand pat and accept this because I didn't do nothing wrong."

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