Geren thrilled with Athletics' injury-free spring

Geren thrilled with Athletics' injury-free spring

March 13, 2011

PHOENIX -- Much of Bob Geren's time with the media since taking over as manager of the A's in 2007 has been spent discussing the various and myriad injuries that have decimated his club year after year. Big injuries. Big names. Big trouble. By that measure, this spring has been a treat for Geren. The primary topic of conversation for him Sunday, for instance, was being able to put all of his projected regulars on the field for an eventual 9-4 win over the visiting Rockies at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. "It's nice," he said of his team's relatively healthy camp. "Nobody wants to talk -- or hear about -- guys rehabbing or getting surgery all the time. So far we've had a nice, quiet spring as far as injuries are concerned. You're always going to have a few guys dinged up here and there, but nothing major's happened, and the guys who we knew needed to work their way back from something while we're here have made really nice progress." Shortstop Cliff Pennington (shoulder) and Andrew Bailey (elbow), for example, are rounding into form nicely after offseason surgeries; Pennington, a switch hitter, might bat from the right side for the first time in Cactus League action the next time the A's face a lefty starter, and Bailey is scheduled to make his second appearance of the spring Monday. Among the handful of players dinged up at the moment are reliever Michael Wuertz (shoulder tendinitis), who will make his spring debut Tuesday; backup infield candidate Eric Sogard (thumb), who is close to resuming full activity; reliever Joey Devine (dead arm), who is pitching in games for the first time in two years since his Tommy John (elbow) surgery; reliever Craig Breslow (hamstring), who is day-to-day; and infield hopefuls Steve Tolleson and Andy LaRoche, who were held out Sunday with a touch of the flu. The most significant setback of the spring, in terms of star power, has been the lat-muscle tightness that's kept Rich Harden off the mound since the first days of camp. Officially out of the running for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, Harden has been playing catch and is tentatively slated for a brief bullpen session Tuesday.

Report: Former 49ers WR works out for Jets

Report: Former 49ers WR works out for Jets

The competition between the Jets and Patriots extended into free-agent workouts this week. 

New England on Wednesday reportedly tried out Dres Anderson, a wide receiver recently released by the 49ers.

New York a day later brought Anderson in for a workout, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan. 

Anderson, 24, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the 49ers in 2015. 

He has yet to appear in a regular-season game.

Anderson was released from the 49ers practice squad on Tuesday, Oct. 18 to clear room for another wide receiver, DeAndre Smelter.  

NFL disregards domestic violence, as Giants extend its tolerance scale


NFL disregards domestic violence, as Giants extend its tolerance scale

The National Football League has been reminded yet again that it neither understands nor cares to understand about domestic violence.

But it will do better, you may rest assured. They’ll have a week where all the on-field personnel wear purple to commemorate the bruises.

That’s what the NFL does when it can no longer ignore its own tone-deafness – they turn their stupidity into a marketing opportunity. After all, every social problem can be solved in the league’s eyes by figuring out a way for the league to monetize it.

The latest example of the NFL’s slack-jawed world view comes from New York, where the Giants could not and still cannot figure out what to do about kicker/serial domestic abuser Josh Brown except not let him go to London for the weekend.

This means the league has learned nothing from the Ray Rice incident, even as Rice of all people is showing on a regular basis how to learn from it. More than that, it means it has no interest in learning anything about it, and will never prioritize it beyond crisis-management level – “Uh-oh, something bad just happened. Quick, put it behind us.”

Then again, the league has been so relentlessly ham-handed on so many things that, as convenient as this may be for it, we should stop expecting it to do so, to the point that when someone from the league wants to explain some social issue to us we should simply say with one voice, “Oh, shut up, you yammering frauds.”

It is difficult to prioritize the number of ways the Giants failed to comprehend the problem currently smacking them between the numbers, although owner John Mara’s “He admitted to us he'd abused his wife in the past. What’s a little unclear is the extent of that” may summarize it nicely.

Put another way, one could make a case that the Giants extended the universal talent-tolerance scale (if you have the talent, anything can be tolerated until it can’t) to include placekickers.

That seems less likely, though, than the more obvious point that the league doesn’t regard domestic violence as something worth concerning itself with, while bloviating all the time about all the things with which it is concerned. The league is the beat cop who never gets out of his car to see what is happening on his beat, and is shocked when something does.

And while it will be handy to pile this atop the list of reasons why Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t get it, the truth is he is merely the painful rash that reveals the league’s case of shingles. The league’s 32 constituent elements are culpable here because ignorance in the face of so much evidence becomes willful, and Goodell’s skill is not in guiding the league but in figuring out where his 32 bosses want him to go, and avoiding all the places they don’t.

Hence, domestic violence. This is not an easy problem to solve, as any expert will say, but Mara trying to decide how many punches are enough isn’t it. The league’s six-game suspension guideline that is now four years old has never been imposed on any player. It wants the power to use the talent-tolerance scale at whim to do what it wishes when it wishes to do it.

Or in this case, not do anything at all until it has to, and then in as minimal a fashion as it can manage.

So, Josh Brown loses a week in a foreign country on the company dime as a trade-off for continually terrorizing his wife. The league says it punished him for a game but was powerless to do anything else while knowing all along how severe the problem had become.

In short, it did the minimum. Now that everyone knows the fullest extent of Brown’s abuse, and how much the league knew without doing anything, it will now extend the minimum out to what it thinks is a new minimum.

So we now know that the NFL is looking for some metric that will determine the transactional “extent of that,” as John Mara so eloquently put it for us. When it comes up with that formula, it will surely ignore that standard, because the real standard is still “talent-tolerance,” and the world is made up of concentric circles surrounding the people who make the league and its members a dollar more tomorrow than it made today.

And spouses are a long way from the center.