Bears head to Colorado for nonconference contest


Bears head to Colorado for nonconference contest

Sept. 9, 2011California Golden Bears (1-0) vs.Colorado Buffaloes (0-1)
Coverage begins Saturday at 12:30pm on CSN California

BOULDER (AP) -- The Cal Golden Bears have inside information about Colorado's offense and quarterback Tyler Hansen, and not just because they faced the Buffaloes last year.

Eric Kiesau, the Bears' new passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach, was the Buffs' offensive coordinator under Dan Hawkins. So, he shared his knowledge of his former pupils, particularly Hansen, with Cal's defensive coaches as they prepared for Saturday's kickoff in Boulder.

The game won't count in the Pac-12 standings because it was scheduled as part of a home-and-home series before the Buffs bolted the Big 12.

When the Buffs hired head coach Jon Embree, who brought Eric Bieniemy with him from the pro ranks to serve as his offensive coordinator, Kiesau went even farther West, along with fellow former Buffs assistant Ashley Ambrose, Cal's defensive backs coach.

"Coach Kiesau is a great guy, I love the guy," Hansen said. "The last two years when he was my coach was a lot of fun. I've become close to his family. So it's going to be fun to see him. I've talked to him a couple of times since he left. So maybe he knows my weaknesses, I don't know if he does or doesn't but it will be fun to play him."

Kiesau said he's trying to keep his emotions in check this weekend.

"I don't want to sound cold when I say this but I want to be disconnected when I go back and take it as a business trip and understand what we're trying to do and go there and play a game," Kiesau said. "I know these kids on a personal level. I'm very close to some of them. They still text me now and then. Some texted me about the game.

"The only advantage is I know them on an athletic level, just what they do personally. They're going to have scheme and X's and O's, which will be very different from when I was there."

Kiesau was on the losing side of the Bears' 52-7 throttling of the Buffaloes in Berkeley last season.

"They'll use last year's game as motivation for this year," Kiesau said. "We have to make sure that we're prepared and we're ready for this game because Colorado plays a little different brand of football at home than on the road."

Indeed, Embree said during fall camp that he was eager to host Pac-12 teams at high altitude.

"We're not going to make it a big deal," Kiesau said. "We're going to go out there and play. You can't let it get into your mind that it will affect you because once your mind goes it will affect your body."

Cal coach Jeff Tedford has told his team, which beat Fresno State 36-21 in its opener last week, "You may be short of breath, but you'll recover quickly so don't panic about it."

"I think it's a mental thing," Bears tailback C.J. Anderson said. "We're not the type who are going to come out and say we're tired. That's not our mojo. That's not what we do."

With the coaching turnover at Colorado, Tedford said he hasn't watched film of last year's blowout.

"I haven't looked at it at all," he said. "It's just different, totally different."

Embree sneaked a peek, and he didn't like what he saw at all.

"Lack of effort, that disturbed me the most," said Embree, who lost his head coaching debut 34-17 at Hawaii last week. "I don't feel like we competed very well last year. I felt like we just kind of were just hoping, waiting for the clock to run out so we could get off the field. I mean, that's what it looked like watching it."

"I thought the effort was there," Buffs defensive tackle Conrad Obi said. "I didn't think we executed at all."

Although this game doesn't count in the conference standings, don't expect any letup from the new Pac-12 foes.

"You don't play any different because it's a conference game or a non-conference game," Tedford said. "You just do everything you can to try to prepare to win the game. It doesn't really matter."

A's starter Paul Blackburn removed from game after being hit by line drive


A's starter Paul Blackburn removed from game after being hit by line drive

A’s starter Paul Blackburn left Tuesday’s start in the fifth inning after a liner struck him on the right wrist.

Blackburn was in obvious pain after the Baltimore Orioles’ Trey Mancini hit the line shot back up the middle to lead off the bottom of the fifth at Camden Yards. The ball hit Blackburn flush, and he exited the field shortly after being visited by team trainer Nick Paparesta.

There was no immediate word from the A’s on the severity of his injury. But it was a very unfortunate turn of events for Oakland’s rookie, who largely has impressed in 10 starts since being called up from the minors. He got through four scoreless innings Tuesday, showing sharp form after giving up 18 hits over his previous two starts.

Simon Castro came on in relief as the A’s led the Orioles 5-0 in the fifth. Ryon Healy has homered twice for Oakland.

Top draft pick is the latest Giant to be sidelined by a concussion


Top draft pick is the latest Giant to be sidelined by a concussion

SAN FRANCISCO -- At this point, the Giants have gotten used to some of the realities of this season. They have been a last-place team for months, and when they were officially eliminated from the National League West on Sunday the response was basically a "long time coming" shrug. 

But some parts of this season still stun team officials, and the continued injuries are at the top of the list. It's not just that players are getting hurt ... it's that key guys are getting hurt at every single level of the organization. The latest to go down is Heliot Ramos, this year's first-round pick. Per general manager Bobby Evans, Ramos suffered a concussion when he was hit by a pitch on Sunday night. 

Ramos was tearing up the Arizona League, hitting .348 with a .404 on-base percentage, six homers, six triples and 11 doubles. The 48 strikeouts in 138 at-bats are a bit of an early concern, but the Giants are not stressing too much over a 17-year-old with a 1.049 OPS in his first professional season. Ramos is expected to miss 7-10 days, which is disappointing because the Giants were hopeful he would get a big taste of postseason action, even if it is just in the rookie league in Arizona. 

The injury continues a stunning trend. Chris Shaw and Bryan Reynolds are the only prospects out of the organization's top seven -- per MLB Pipeline -- who have avoided an injury setback. There is some good news, however, for a couple of those players who have gotten hurt. Austin Slater is 10-14 days from starting a rehab assignment, although he would probably need the San Jose Giants to make their postseason to see significant game action.

Steven Duggar was promoted from San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento on Monday and had a good first night. He's unlikely to be a September call-up because of the injuries, and he's also in the same situation as Shaw and Andrew Suarez as a player who doesn't have to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason. 

--- As for the injured big leaguers: Johnny Cueto (elbow) is scheduled to throw three innings for Sacramento tonight and Joe Panik (concussion) will play five innings. Cueto will make at least one more rehab start. Panik will join San Jose on Wednesday and could return to the big league lineup on the next road trip. 

--- Bochy said Mark Melancon feels good after going back-to-back days. It doesn't sound like he'll return to the ninth inning anytime soon. It's easier to monitor Melancon's pronator strain when he's not the closer and Bochy said the two have talked about that situation. For instance, Matt Cain stayed warm after pitching the seventh on Monday. If Melancon had felt something while warming up for the eighth, Cain would have gone back out there.