Gutierrez: Mitchell Taking Note of NFL's Crackdown

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Gutierrez: Mitchell Taking Note of NFL's Crackdown

Oct. 20, 2010

GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
RAIDERS NEWS RAIDERS VIDEO

Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.com

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.

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s are excited about 2016 top pick A.J. Puk, that much was apparent by the crowd the lefty attracted for his first “live” bullpen session Tuesday.

Among those watching closely were executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, general manager David Forst, manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Curt Young.

Puk, who shaved about 20 pounds off his 6-foot-7 frame over the winter, looked strong against a group of hitters that included touted infield prospects Franklin Barreto and Yairo Munoz.

Melvin in particular liked the way Puk, the No. 6 overall pick out of the University of Florida, worked his curve ball into the mix. That’s a pitch he hadn’t used since high school, but he dusted it off back in the fall instructional league with some encouragement from minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, and he’s working to sharpen it this spring as a complement to his fastball, slider and changeup.

“It’s just nice to have another pitch that’s slower than my other three pitches,” Puk said before Tuesday’s workout.

“It’s a four-pitch mix,” Melvin said. “He’s really starting to distinguish between this slider and curve ball. It was quite a crowd around his cage too. When you’re a young kid you tend to notice that, but I thought he responded really well.”

Puk, 21, is rooming with shortstop Richie Martin, a teammate at Florida whom the A’s made their top pick in 2015. They also lived near each other in Tampa this offseason and worked out together.

Puk comes off very quiet upon meeting him, but Martin warns against being fooled.

“It takes him a while, but once he feels comfortable he’ll break out. You’ll see.”

Melvin was impressed with Puk’s physical shape, saying he’s fielded his position well in pitchers’ fielding drills.

CAMP BATTLE Jesse Hahn will start the A’s Cactus League opener Saturday against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. It’ll be a chance for Hahn to make an early impression in his bid for the fifth starter spot.

“After the year he had (in 2016), it’s important for him this year. We have to show some faith in him,” Melvin said. “He performed well for us the year before. Last year wasn’t really consistent. We’ll try to get him out there and get him off to a good start.”

Kendall Graveman will take the ball in Sunday’s spring home opener against the Angels. Sonny Gray and Sean Manaea both will pitch Monday against the Giants and Jharel Cotton and Andrew Triggs will be among the group throwing Tuesday against the Indians.

PROSPECT WATCH: Sean Murphy, the A’s third-round pick in June, has shown a very strong throwing arm early in camp. Is it any wonder Melvin, an ex-catcher, was impressed?

“The kid can throw, it’s special,” Melvin said. “We really like him.”

NOTEWORTHY: Still no word on when reliever Santiago Casilla will arrive at camp from the Dominican Republic. Melvin said he isn’t concerned at this stage, and noted that Casilla has been working out at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic and gave a motivational talk to the younger players there.

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

The Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the All-Star big man to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. 
#LoyaltyisLove #sactownkingforever

Cousins, 26, averaged 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.3 blocks and 34.4 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. #LoyaltyisLove

A post shared by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on