I’ll get into the NFL a bit later. As for baseball, things have been a bit quiet, so I haven’t written much lately (plus, I’ve been busy). James Shields and Max Scherzer are still free agents and there are no indications yet where either may go.
Yankees prospect Ty Hensley was beaten up during the holiday season. Apparently he was at a bar and a mutual acquaintance introduced him to someone else from his hometown who also was a good athlete and could have gone pro as well. The other athlete was a linebacker from a different high school who later went to Weber St. and then who got cut from an NFL team (Carolina). An argument ensued over signing bonuses and the linebacker (Anthony Morales) beat up Hensley, kicking Hensley in the face repeatedly, and breaking Hensley’s jaw and also breaking some teeth.
Hensley, 21, a RHP, was 1-2, 3.00 in 4 starts and one relief appearance in 2012. He missed all of 2013 with an injury, and was 0-0, 2.93 in 10 starts and one relief appearance (30 2/3 IP) in 2014 between rookie league and short season (Staten Island).
The Yanks announced their AA and AAA coaching staffs for 2015. They are still looking for a hitting and 1B/Infield coach for the big league team. Apparently they had talks with Willie Randolph. It’d be good to have Willie back, but nothing official yet. Marcus Thames will be the hitting coach at SWB (AAA), replacing Butch Wynegar.
Ex-Cowboy DT Jethro Pugh, who played for Dallas from 1965-1978 died recently at the age of 70. Pugh played in the Ice Bowl game (and was the victim of the block by Jerry Kramer that sprung Bart Starr for the game-winning last-minute TD). He was a 2x Super Bowl Champion (VI and XII). Besides the two Super Bowl titles, he played in the NFL Title Games that Dallas lost in 1966 and 1967 (Ice Bowl), and losing Super Bowls V, X and XIII. He also was on teams that lost NFC title games in 1972 and 1973.
As I’m watching the divisional round of NFL playoff games, a quick recap. Carolina beat Arizona last weekend, but then lost to Seattle in the divisional game. In the other NFC game last weekend, Dallas got a supposed gift from the refs for a come-from-behind last-minute win over Detroit. Seattle stopped Carolina to advance to the NFC title game next week. Green Bay is playing Dallas (in the first Dallas at Green Bay postseason game since the Ice Bowl 12/31/1967) as I write this. Seattle, the defending SB champ, will host the winner.
In the AFC, Baltimore beat out my Steelers but then lost yesterday to New England. The Patriots were down twice by two touchdowns to the Ravens, but came back. Indianapolis beat the Bengals, as Cincy did their one-and-done routine again. Their coach is 0-6 in the playoffs, and Andy Dalton is still looking for his first playoff win. The Colts take on Denver at Denver later today, with the winner going to New England to play for the AFC title. It’ll be New England’s fourth straight AFC title game appearance. For Brady and Belichick, their 9th in 14 years.
UPDATE: FROM BRONX BASEBALL DAILY
Ladies and gentlemen, the Yankees finally have a hitting coach.
According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees are slated to hire Jeff Pentland as their hitting coach and for the first time in team history, will have an assistant hitting coach. The Yankees have hired Alan Cockrell as the assistant coach.
Pentland worked as the hitting coach for the Marlins when Joe Girardi was the manager, was the hitting coach of the Royals when Tony Pena was the manager and when Carlos Beltran was a player; and was the hitting coach for the Mariners and the Dodgers. Cockrell was the hitting coach for the 2007 Colorado Rockies and the Mariners. The 2007 Rockies advanced to the World Series that season.
According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees announced Joe Espada is going to be the new infield coach, replacing Mick Kelleher who was fired in October along with ex-hitting coach Kevin Long. Espada was a scout for the Yankees last season but has coaching experience; he was the third base coach for the Miami Marlins. Espada joins Jeff Pentland and Alan Cockrell as the new pieces of the Yankees coaching staff.