ST. LOUIS (AP) — Coach Jeff Fisher said on Thursday that St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford will play at least a quarter in the second preseason game.
Bradford is coming off knee surgery that sidelined him the final nine games last season.
Fisher said Bradford could run the offense into the second quarter Saturday night against the Green Bay Packers. Fisher said there were no concerns about Bradford’s left knee.
“None whatsoever,” Fisher said. “He’s our starting quarterback and he’s healthy. He’s going to play in a preseason game, that’s it.”
Left tackle Jake Long, also coming off knee surgery, will be held out until the third preseason game. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins returned to practice from a hamstring injury, but Fisher wasn’t sure whether he’d play.
“Jake’s doing a great job out here, but we’re going to wait another week and that’ll be the case with a couple other guys,” Fisher said.
Fisher said rookie Michael Sam’s playing time could hinge on how well the defense plays.
Sam got 32 snaps at left defensive end in a 26-24 loss to New Orleans, many of them on two long drives early in the game, plus six snaps on special teams.
Rookie offensive lineman Demetrius Rhaney was carted off with a left knee injury during a special teams drill, but Fisher didn’t believe it was serious. Rhaney was to undergo an MRI, but Fisher thought Rhaney, a seventh-rounder taken one pick after Sam, was going to be “OK.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Oakland Athletics placed shortstop Jed Lowrie on the 15-day disabled list after a 7-3 loss Thursday to the Kansas City Royals with a hairline fracture of his right index finger.
Lowrie suffered the injury on Aug. 4 and attempted to play through the pain. He is hitting .238 with five home runs and 42 RBIs in 110 games, including starting 103 at shortstop. He hit .308 with 10 multi-hit games in his past 29 games.
The A’s recalled infielder Andy Parrino from Triple-A Sacramento, where he was hitting .286 with seven home runs and 52 RBIs. He has a .152 average in 19 games with the A’s, including five this season.
MIAMI (AP) — Prosecutors in Miami have dropped battery and disorderly conduct charges against St. Louis Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar in a fight outside a South Beach nightclub.
Dunbar attorney Howard Srebnick said Thursday that prosecutors told a judge that the case will not be pursued.
Dunbar and NBA free agent Donte Green were both charged following a July 20 altercation outside the Dream nightclub. The charges are still pending against Green. Dunbar had claimed he was only defending himself but has not commented on the circumstances.
“Definitely excited to have that news,” Dunbar said after practice. “I’m happy that it’s over.”
Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he’d been confident Dunbar would be cleared, but added that the veteran player needed to act more responsibly.
“I did allude early on that it didn’t appear to be what it was portrayed to be, because we had good information,” Fisher said. “Still, players have to be mindful of not putting themselves in those potential situations.
“Even though the charges were dropped, I’d like to see him make better decisions and not be in those types of situations at that time of the year.”
“I’m still just going to let it die, move on,” he said. “I’m just fortunate that it’s going away and it’s in my favor, I guess.”
The 29-year-old Dunbar was signed in 2008 as an undrafted free agent out of Boston College by the New Orleans Saints and has played for the Rams since 2012. The NFL suspended Dunbar four games in 2013 for violating its substance abuse policy.
CAMP TONTOZONA, Ariz. (AP) — Chip Sarafin watched the others before him break down the barriers, athletes like Jason Collins and Michael Sam who let the world know they were gay.
The Arizona State offensive lineman had already told his teammates and coaches long before, without causing so much as a ripple.
But when Sarafin finally took his turn to pass through the door, he was a little surprised to find what was on the other side.
“I was a little nervous when it came to my attention what a big influence this was having,” Sarafin said Thursday. “I did not intend for it to get to the magnitude that it did.”
Sarafin became the first active openly-gay Division I football player when he talked to Compete, a Tempe-based magazine for gay sports, about his sexual orientation for a story in its August issue.
The fifth-year senior follows in the footsteps of Sam, the St. Louis Rams linebacker who came out after his playing days at Missouri were over. Sam became the first openly-gay player to be drafted in the NFL and is competing for a roster spot with the Rams.
Collins set the original precedent, becoming the first openly-gay athlete in the four major U.S. sports when he came out to Sports Illustrated in April 2013. He broke another barrier when he played for the Brooklyn Nets late last season.
Numerous other athletes have come out since then, including Massachusetts sophomore Derrick Gordon, the first active openly-gay player in Division I basketball.
With so many precedent-setters before him, Sarafin figured his announcement would be treated with little more than a shrug.
It wasn’t quite the same fervor as Sam’s announcement, but it still was big news, drawing more than a dozen reporters and cameramen to the Sun Devils’ fall camp retreat at Camp Tontozona.
“I’m hoping that stuff like this won’t be such a big news story, that people will hear stories like this and it won’t be such a big thing,” Sarafin said. “Eventually, players will be who they are and it’s just that, but right now there still needs to be role models for those types of players.”
It certainly wasn’t a big thing for Sarafin’s teammates and coaches.
Sarafin said he began telling teammates in an informal fashion individually and answered questions when people had them, never addressing the team as a group. He told his coaches over a year ago and has had universal support from everyone associated with the football program and the athletics department.
When Sarafin’s sexual orientation became public, it barely registered at Arizona State, other than the increased media coverage.
“I’m really proud of our guys. It’s not something that’s a surprise to us,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said. “Obviously, our guys were aware of that and we’re proud of Chip just like we’re proud of the rest of our guys. Really proud of him and the courage he has. Our guys are behind him 100 percent.”
Reaction to Sarafin’s announcement outside of Arizona State was mostly positive, with Sam and Collins both offering encouraging comments on Twitter. Sarafin hasn’t seen the posts since players are not allowed to get on the Internet or use cellphones at Camp Tontozona, though he appreciated the support.
But attention wasn’t what Sarafin was looking for – at least not the living-in-the-spotlight kind.
Though he hasn’t played a down for Arizona State, he’s given the Sun Devils some needed depth on the offensive line and worked on the scout team.
Sarafin has been exceptionally productive off the field, graduating with a degree in biomedical engineering last spring before enrolling in Arizona State’s master’s program. He has been active in the community, particularly in youth sports, and is a member of ASU’s prestigious Tillman Scholars program.
Sarafin has helped with research on football-related concussions and has worked with numerous groups to end discrimination and bullying in youth sports.
If the attention that comes with coming out sheds more light on those things, Sarafin is all for it, even if he did feel a little uncomfortable talking in front of so many people.
“It (coming out) was something I initially intended to do, but I didn’t intend for it to blow out of proportion like it did,” he said. “I originally did it to get some of the stuff I was working on out into the world, bring attention to some of the issues I thought were important. Obviously, it got to the magnitude that it did and I support this.”
(West Plains) – The West Plains City Employee Advisory Golf Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, August 23 with a 1 PM shotgun start.
The cost to enter the 2 person scramble game is $100 per team, which includes the cost of 2 mulligans. The tournament is open to the public.
For more information or to sign up, call the West Plains Municipal Golf Course at 417-256-9824.
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — The Chiefs broke camp on the campus of Missouri Western on Thursday as they prepared for their second preseason game, and will resume practice at their own facility in Kansas City next week.
Now, the question become whether the Chiefs will ever return to St. Joseph.
This was the final year of a five-year contract to take training camp roughly an hour’s drive north of Arrowhead Stadium. Previously, the Chiefs held training camp in Wisconsin, and the trend in the NFL has been to move camp to the team facility on a permanent basis.
“The university here has been phenomenal. They take care of us like no other, and the fans have been awesome,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Every day we come out, they load it up here and that gives you a little energy, especially going through the dog days of training camp.”
But asked whether Reid would push for a return next season, the old coach punted.
“Listen, I don’t do the business part of it,” Reid said. “And I understand how that works. But we enjoy it here, we do, and from a player-coach standpoint, we enjoy it.”
Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said he anticipates making a decision on training camp by the end of the year, and that he will consider input from Reid and general manager John Dorsey.
“I wouldn’t say at this point that we are leaning any way,” Hunt said. “Coach Reid really likes the setup we have here. Our deal with the university can potentially extend another five years on a year-to-year basis. It’s a decision that we will have to make after training camp.”
One of the biggest considerations is the Chiefs’ fan base.
Sure, thousands made the long trek to Wisconsin when camp was held in River Falls, but the close proximity of St. Joseph to Kansas City makes things more accessible. And if it were to be moved to the team’s training facility, there would not be nearly enough space to invite the public to regular practices – the team would need to have special workouts in Arrowhead Stadium.
“When we were in River Falls, we had a lot of fans make the trip, but I don’t think we ever had 6,200 fans out on a given day, 100 percent of who were Chiefs fans there cheering the guys on,” Hunt said. “That’s all a very big positive.”
In terms of setup, Missouri Western offers the advantages of dorm space for the 90-man roster the Chiefs take to training camp. If it were moved permanently to Kansas City, the team would need to rent out apartments or hotel rooms for the extra players.
The team would also need to consider its practice fields, which already get torn up by the midway point of the season. Three additional weeks of practice would only make matters worse.
“I know a lot of teams have made that decision to take training camp back to their permanent facilities. It’s not something that we’ve discussed at this point,” Hunt said. “I imagine that if we did make the decision to move, we’d look at all of our options.”
More than anything else, though, Reid believes that going away helps to forge a team. Players spend more time together. They bond. They are able to share moments and experiences that might not happen if they scattered to their own homes after practices.
That’s why Reid also favored going away when he was the coach in Philadelphia.
“The football side is the most important,” Hunt said. “Does the football staff, the coaching staff, feel like they are able to have an effective camp? Be able to get done what they want to get done here? There are a lot of things that go into that, a lot of small details. Andy is, I think, well known for his attention to small detail and the university does a nice job with those small details. So I think there are a lot of positives in terms of staying here.”
Notes: Chiefs S Eric Berry (heel tendinitis), DT Mike DeVito (broken hand), DE Mike Catapano (illness) and LB Josh Mauga (groin strain) missed practice Thursday. … Reid expects his starters to play the first half Sunday in Carolina. He has not decided on the second-half rotation.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein is not a fan of the longer distance for extra point attempts that is being tested in the preseason.
“It’s an interesting experiment, but I don’t understand the reasoning behind it,” Zuerlein said Wednesday after practice at Rams Park. “They’re trying new things and we just deal with. I was not consulted.
“I don’t know why they’d change it. The extra point has been around a long time. I really don’t know what to make of it.”
The experiment was approved during the owners’ meeting in March. During the 2013 season, there were only five extra-point attempts missed out of 1,267 chances.
Wanting to do something about the almost automatic kick, the owners decided to try a change in the preseason.
Every extra point attempt during the first two weeks of the preseason is being snapped from the 15-yard line instead of the 2. That makes the normal 20-yard attempt after a touchdown a 33-yard kick.
“It’s a little tougher than the normal extra point,” Zuerlein said. “I just go out and kick.”
Last season, Zuerlein made all 10 of his field-goal attempts from 30 to 39 yards.
In the preseason opener against visiting New Orleans, Zuerlein made all three of his PAT attempts in the Saints’ 26-24 victory.
However, Zuerlein missed two potential game-winning field goals in the fourth quarter. Zuerlein was wide left on a 46-yard attempt with 5:02 left and was wide left again on a 59-yard attempt on the final play of the game.
Zuerlein had the opportunity for the kicks because New Orleans’ Shayne Graham missed a PAT attempt in the second quarter after Khiry Robinson scored on a 1-yard run. Graham’s attempt hit the left upright.
So Zuerlein trotted out for the last-second kick, but was unable to convert.
“I had a chance to win it,” Zuerlein said. “It worked out that way with them missing the extra point so I wasn’t kicking for a tie. So there was that excitement there at the end. It was a long field goal, but it was a makeable kick.
“They wouldn’t put me out there if they didn’t think I had a chance to make it.”
His track record on long kicks is well-known.
As a rookie, Zuerlein connected on seven field goals of at least 50 yards. That set a franchise record. He also set a league record when he kicked a 60-yard field goal, the longest by a rookie.
Zuerlein connected on the 60-yard field goal against the Seattle Seahawks, which beat the franchise record of 58 yards that he set earlier in the game.
In doing so, Zuerlein became the first player in NFL history to make a 60-yard field goal and a 50-plus yarder in the same game.
Last year, Zuerlein had 28 field goal tries to rank 21st among kickers for attempts. He made 26, giving him a conversion rate of 93 percent. He hit 74 percent as a rookie.
“His improvement was significant and the improvement from the beginning of the season to the end of the season was there, too, which was good,” said John Fassel, the St. Louis special teams coordinator.
Zuerlein made 12 consecutive field goals in the final seven weeks to end the season.
Of his last 14 kickoffs in 2013, 13 went for touchbacks. The other one was a perfectly placed onside kick that was recovered by the Rams.
Fassel believes Zuerlein can get better. He has been working hard in camp, making some minor adjustments.
“He’s tweaked just minimally a few things, but we don’t want to change them at all because I keep saying that I was really proud of him, really the last three, four weeks of the season,” Fassel said. “I thought he was stronger the last month than at any point in his first year or even after and up until that point.
“So, there’s some things … we’re working off on kickoffs, as well and on field goals. He knows his leg strength is dynamite and we’re working on putting it right down the middle every time so it’s good.”
MIAMI (AP) — R&B blared in the St. Louis Cardinals’ postgame clubhouse, making conversation difficult, and Justin Masterson reached over to the stereo and turned down the volume so he could talk about his latest outing.
Masterson did it all Wednesday- pitching, hitting and monitoring the music after St. Louis beat the Miami Marlins 5-2.
The former Indians ace earned his first career RBI in the sixth with a two-out single. But he was more excited about pitching seven scoreless innings in his best outing since being acquired in a trade with Cleveland on July 30.
“I pray to the good lord that this is on the right path,” said Masterson, who has struggled for much of the season. “I felt very comfortable. The ball was coming out well and it was heavy. And it was going at guys; that’s nice, too.”
The 6-foot-6 sinkerballer recorded 12 outs on groundballs. He also bounced a grounder through the Miami infield for his RBI, and when asked if he got the ball as a souvenir, he laughed.
“I got a W,” he said. “It’s much better for the team than the ball.”
Masterson improved to 2-1 with St. Louis and 5-6 overall. He allowed three hits – all singles – and no walks and threw only 91 pitches before departing for a pinch hitter.
After recording only six outs in his previous start, he lowered his ERA to 6.00 in three outings with the Cardinals, and 5.14 overall this year.
“Today was just a great sign of the kind of pitcher he can be when he gets it all put together,” manager Mike Matheny said. “It couldn’t have happened at a better time.”
The Marlins were going for their first three-game sweep of the Cardinals since 1996, but they didn’t get a runner to second base until the ninth.
“Absolutely we wanted to get greedy and try to go for the sweep,” Casey McGehee said. “But Masterson threw the ball well.”
Miami walked in a run and allowed two unearned runs on a pair of errors by second baseman Jordany Valdespin. Nathan Eovaldi (6-7) allowed four runs, two earned, in six innings.
Jeff Baker hit a two-run homer for the Marlins, but NL home run and RBI leader Giancarlo Stanton went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
The Cardinals won despite going 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position. They were 4 for 26 in those situations in the series, which made a two-out, two-run single by Matt Adams in the third inning especially welcome.
“Somebody in the dugout yelled real loud, `Hey, we got the lead,’” Matheny said. “That was a nice change of pace.”
Masterson made the early advantage stand up.
“You get two or three runs and you can challenge guys and go after them,” he said.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond caught Masterson in 2010 when both were with the Indians.
“He’s a totally different guy than I caught,” Redmond said. “He definitely relies on his location and changes speeds, but he still gets a ton of groundballs. We never got anything going against him.”
Redmond also caught the Marlins’ starter Thursday, Brad Penny, when both played for Florida.
Cardinals LF Matt Holliday left the game in the seventh inning when his chronic knee trouble flared up, but he said the problem wasn’t serious.
Marlins LHP Dan Jennings, who suffered a concussion when he was hit in the head by a line drive on Aug. 7, has been free of symptoms the past two days and played catch before the game. There’s no timetable yet for his return.
Redmond said he anticipates that RHP Carter Capps (elbow) and INF Derek Dietrich (wrist) will rejoin the team next month.
The Cardinals open a homestand Thursday against the Padres when John Lackey pitches against Eric Stults. Lackey has an 8.25 ERA in two starts since joining St. Louis.
Penny pitches Thursday against Arizona and Chase Anderson. Penny has a 1.93 ERA in 23 games against the Diamondbacks.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The crowd roared as Jason Vargas emerged from the dugout for the ninth inning, the Kansas City Royals trying to hold onto a 3-0 lead over the Oakland Athletics in a matchup of playoff hopefuls.
Five pitches later, the crowd roared even louder.
Vargas finished off his three-hitter with a flourish, breezing through the A’s for his sixth career shutout. It was the second shutout by Kansas City starters in the past week and the third complete game over that stretch, a big reason why the Royals are leading the AL Central.
“That’s what we want to do if we want to keep playing,” said Vargas, who was making just his third start since going on the disabled list for an emergency appendectomy.
Vargas (9-5) retired the final 23 batters he faced, helping the Royals bounce back from having an eight-game winning streak snapped. They maintained their half-game lead over Detroit.
“If it’s the first pitch or sixth pitch, you’ve got to be ready for contact for a pitch to show up in your area,” said Josh Donaldson, who had one of the A’s three hits. “He did a good job of keeping us off balance all night.”
Omar Infante hit a two-run homer and Salvador Perez drove in the other run off Scott Kazmir (13-5), who lost to Kansas City for the second time in 10 days.
Vargas allowed four runs over 4 1-3 innings against Oakland in his first start off the disabled list, and two runs over five innings against San Francisco his last time out. But on a mild evening at the K, he looked like the dominant left-hander of earlier this season.
Mixing his pitches and catching the corners, Vargas wiggled out of a jam in the first inning and gave up a single leading off the second before muzzling Oakland the rest of the way.
Vargas needed only 92 pitches over eight innings, so manager Ned Yost sent him out for the ninth rather than turn it over to All-Star closer Greg Holland. Five pitches later, he had his first shutout since last September, when he beat Oakland 3-0 as a member of the Angels.
“He got back to being how he was,” Yost said.
Meanwhile, the Royals were giving Vargas more than enough offense.
After leaving runners on the corners in the first, Kansas City broke through in the third when Nori Aoki cracked a one-out single and Infante sent a 2-0 pitch into the left-field bullpen. It was his sixth homer of the season and his first since June 27.
The Royals left another runner on third in the fourth, but managed to manufacture a run in the fifth. Christian Colon led off with a single, Aoki laid down a sacrifice bunt and Infante managed to beat the throw on an infield single before Perez hit a lazy sacrifice fly to right field.
Kazmir wound up allowing seven hits and a walk over seven innings.
“You just have to keep after it,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “At times, you’re going to get well-pitched games against you and today was one of those. I don’t think our approach was any worse today than it was yesterday. It was counteracted by a guy that pitched a great game.”
TURN OUT THE LIGHTS
The game lasted 2 hours, 6 minutes, the shortest for Kansas City since Sept. 10, 2011.
Aoki went 2 for 3 against Kazmir, raising his average to .358 against left-handers this season. Kansas City is also 29-9 in games in which he scores.
Oakland has been shut out six times this season, twice by the Royals. The Rangers’ Martin Perez and the Tigers’ Rick Porcello have thrown shutouts.
Athletics: SS Jed Lowrie remained in the lineup despite a fractured right index finger. … 1B Kyle Blanks (calf strain) planned to play at Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday as he rehabs.
Royals: 1B Eric Hosmer will have an X-ray Thursday on the broken bone in his right hand to determine whether he is ready to start rehabbing it. He’s been out since July 31.
Athletics: Jeff Samardzija makes his second career appearance against Kansas City, the first a relief appearance in a 3-2 loss on Jun 25, 2011, when he was still with the Cubs.
Royals: James Shields is coming off his first shutout with the Royals, a 5-0 win over San Francisco. He carried a shutout into the sixth in a win over Oakland on Aug. 3.
(Springfield) – Ozarks Public Television (OPT) will premiere a locally-produced documentary on the history, impact and legacy that Ozarks individuals and golf courses have made to the sport of golf. These highlights have contributed to the popularity and profile of golf on a national level.
“Links to the Past, Fairways to the Future” will be broadcast on OPT at 8 p.m. Aug. 21 and will repeat at 6 p.m. Aug. 24. The program is presented as part of OPT’s commitment to local productions that document, present and preserve significant aspects of regional Ozarks history and is made possible through the participation of many individuals and area archives and the generous financial support of project funders.
The evolution of golf in the Ozarks is remarkable and so are the individuals, courses and shared histories that reflect the sport’s ongoing popularity and growing legacy. This celebrated story begins at the Springfield County Club in 1907 with courses in Joplin, Aurora, Monett and other communities in the Ozarks soon developing.
The growth and popularity of the sport would quickly contribute to the development of many tremendous players, including one of the all-time successful competitors, Horton Smith, who in the late 20s and early 30s became one of the greatest players of the era, capturing the first Masters title in 1934 and his second in 1936.
Well-known names such as Herman Keiser, Hale Irwin and Payne Stewart would also enjoy professional success and acclaim. Women players including JoAnne Thomas, Connie Morris, Joyce Mahoney, Cathy Reynolds and others would dominate golf not only locally, but across the state and nationally.
The documentary, presented in high definition, features extensive first-person perspectives and memories, as well as context from respected historians. Abundant archival documents, photos and video bring the story to life, preserving not only the history of golf in the Ozarks but demonstrating its strong future and home to one of the top junior golf programs in the nation.
“OPT’s commitment to document the history of the Ozarks region continues with this very special project,” said OPT General Manager Tammy Wiley. “With the help of several notable personalities, we’re able help tell the story of golf in the Ozarks, celebrating the past while also looking at opportunities for the next generation of golfers in this region. This documentary would not be possible without the support of our sponsors and donors; we are deeply grateful for their help.”