Gutierrez: Mitchell Taking Note of NFL's Crackdown


Gutierrez: Mitchell Taking Note of NFL's Crackdown

Oct. 20, 2010


Paul Gutierrez

ALAMEDA Mike Mitchell was appealing to the Raiders in the 2009 draftout of Ohio, in part, due to his reputation as a game-changing bighitter in the mold of Jack Tatum.

Whether or not the second-year strong safety has reminded anyone inSilver and Blackdom of the late Assassin is besides the point. ButMitchell is coming off the two best games of his young career. And,with his physical style of play, Mitchell has taken a special interestin the NFLs cracking down of illegal hits this week.

Theyve got to do what theyve got to do to keep it safe, Mitchellsaid. Especially this week, theres been a lot of injuries and thatsthe main thing for guys. Were not out here to hurt each other and gethurt. This is a game we play for fun. It a game we love. So obviously,there has to be rules to protect us.

Three players Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison, New Englandsafety Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson wereeach fined by the NFL on Tuesday for dangerous and flagrant hits thispast weekend. Harrison was docked 75,000 for his blow on Clevelandreceiver Mohamed Massaquoi, while Meriwether, who hit Baltimore tightend Todd Heap, and Robinson, who knocked himself out along withPhiladelphia receiver DeSean Jackson, were slapped with 50,000 fines.An upset Harrison is reportedly contemplating retirement.

I think weve got to watch to make sure were not taking away fromplayers aggressiveness, but I definitely agree that we have to havethese steps taken to crack down a little bit and make this thing alittle safer. I just hope that one day, were not playing flagfootball, Mitchell said.

Two Sundays ago, Mitchell as lauded for his coverage of San DiegosAll-World tight end Antonio Gates. Three days ago, he shadowed the49ers Vernon Davis. Mitchells thoughts?

"Well, Vernon didnt have a catch this week on me so I guess that animprovement, Mitchell said with a smile. I gave up one against Gatesand I gave up none this weekI just want to keep getting better, keepprogressing.

The coaches and the players on my team, I think Im gaining theirrespect, slowly but surely. I just got to keep working and find outwhat I didnt do good last week and improve going into this next game.Thats what this things about 16 games, every week youve just gotto keep getting a little better.

So I asked Mitchell if there was any chance of a letdown this weekgoing against Denvers relatively unheralded tight end duo of DanielGraham and Dan Gronkowski.

Uh, no, Mitchell said with another grin. Because I dont have a nameyet and Im trying to develop a name as being a good player in thisleague. So every opponent I face, Im getting up for.

This is the NFL. Its the best of the best. There are no slouches orany bums or anything like that. Everyone is going to be a great playerso every week Im bringing my A Game and, you know, well just letthe chips fall where they may.

Reigning AL MVP Trout to undergo thumb surgery, out 6-8 weeks

Reigning AL MVP Trout to undergo thumb surgery, out 6-8 weeks

ANAHEIM -- Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout has a torn ligament in his left thumb and will have surgery Wednesday that is expected to sideline him between six to eight weeks.

The Angels put the reigning AL MVP on the disabled list Monday for the first time in his career. The outfielder hurt himself a day earlier making a headfirst slide to steal second base in Miami.

At 25, Trout already is a two-time AL MVP. He is hitting .337 and has 16 home runs, second most in the majors.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler said an MRI revealed the tear. Team doctor Steve Shin arrived in Anaheim later Monday night, met with Trout and it was determined surgery was his best option.

"It was news no player wants to hear," Eppler said. "He's been put in a tough spot and it's something he's still digesting."

The Angels lost shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a similar thumb injury last season. He had surgery and was out slightly over five weeks.

Los Angeles was 26-28 going Monday night's game at home against Atlanta, and the lineup recently missed ailing slugger Albert Pujols.

Trout made his major league debut by playing 40 games for the Angels in 2011. Since then, he's been a five-time All-Star and has finished in the top two in the AL MVP all five seasons.

A year after hitting .315 with a .441 on-base percentage, 29 home runs, 100 RBIs and 30 steals, Trout was off to a dynamic start. He was leading the league in on-base percentage (.461) and slugging percentage (.742) when he was hurt.

"It's really hard to quantify (his loss)," Eppler said. "We're going to feel that impact and it's going to require multiple people stepping up in his absence. The team will fight as it always does. But he's in the heart of the order and a leader in the dugout. Those are tough to absorb."

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Dodgers infielder weighs in on Harper's errant helmet throw

Before the right hooks and haymakers, there was the helmet toss.

A very bad helmet toss.

As he made his way to the mound after getting hit by a pitch on Monday afternoon, Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper attempted to throw his helmet at Giants reliever Hunter Strickland. He missed by a wide margin.

Observers took notice, including Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner.

"What was worse, Harper's helmet throw or 50 Cents first pitch? Heads up in the #McCoveyCove," Turner tweeted shortly after the brawl between the Giants and Nationals.

Turner is referring to a ceremonial first pitch thrown by rapper 50 Cent prior to a Mets game in 2014.

Harper mentioned the helmet when addressing the situation after the game.

"I was trying to go after him, with the helmet or with myself, just doing what I needed to do keep it going, I guess," Harper told reporters.