Athletics

NCAA president actually supports a football playoff

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NCAA president actually supports a football playoff

From Comcast SportsNet
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- NCAA President Mark Emmert would support a four-team playoff in college football -- as long as the field doesn't grow. After giving his annual state of the association speech Thursday in Indianapolis, Emmert acknowledged he would back a small playoff if that's what Bowl Championship Series officials decide to adopt. "The notion of having a Final Four approach is probably a sound one," Emmert said when asked what he heard coming out of New Orleans this week. "Moving toward a 16-team playoff is highly problematic because I think that's too much to ask a young man's body to do. It's too many games, it intrudes into the school year and, of course, it would probably necessitate a complete end to the bowl system that so many people like now." Emmert spoke two days after the 11 Bowl Championship Series conferences met to discuss possible changes to the system starting in 2014, but there is no consensus yet. BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said Tuesday that 50-60 possibilities for various changes were presented during a deliberate meeting in New Orleans, where Alabama beat LSU in the BCS title game Monday night. Hancock anticipates it will take another five to seven meetings to reach a conclusion in July. One possibility is the four-team playoff, or the so-called plus-one approach, that would create two national semifinals and a championship game played one week later. The original proposal, made in 2008 by the commissioners of the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference, was emphatically shot down by the leaders of the Big Ten, Pac-10, Big East, Big 12 and Notre Dame. The BCS title game pits the nation's top two teams based on poll and computer rankings. But momentum is clearly growing for a larger playoff system. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany acknowledged this week that he would now consider the prospect of a four-team field. "Four years ago, five of us didn't want to have the conversation," Delany told reporters earlier this week. "Now we all want to have the conversation." Then on Thursday, the BCS picked up another major endorsement for a potential playoff. Emmert has long said he expected changes to the BCS system and has repeatedly offered to help the BCS debate if they want it. The NCAA licenses bowl games, but does not run them. It also has no direct authority over the BCS system. But a small, four-team tournament could be the perfect remedy for what many still consider a flawed system. "I see a lot of ways that a Final Four model could be successful," Emmert said.

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

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NBCSportsCalifornia.com

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

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ALEX PAVLOVIC

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.