49ers

A's score three in ninth to walk off against Cubs

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A's score three in ninth to walk off against Cubs

March 17, 2011BOXSCORE A'S VIDEOMLBPAGE MLBSCOREBOARD

PHOENIX (AP) Conor Jackson finally got some good results out of one of those good swings he's been taking.Jackson doubled in the game-winning run with one out to give the Oakland Athletics a 6-5 victory against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.Jackson's game-ending hit came after Andy LaRoche singled in pinch-runner Jemile Weeks.Jackson, batting .114 this spring, figures to be a backup on the final roster while LaRoche continues to push for a utility job."Conor's been swinging the bat well all spring, he just hasn't had anything to show for it," A's manager Bob Geren said. "That was nice to see him get a big one there."
VIDEO: Bob Geren postgame
The A's used their projected starting lineup for just the second time this spring training. Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run home run off Cubs starter Ryan Dempster in the second inning.Otherwise it was a good outing for Dempster. He allowed two runs on four hits over six innings."Probably this spring more than any other spring, I've just really been trying to establish my fastball as much as I can and trying to locate it as much as I can, and for the most part it's been going that way," Dempster said.Geovany Soto led off the seventh inning with a solo homer, ending Oakland starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez's shutout. After a walk, Gonzalez was lifted, and Alfonso Soriano belted reliever Brad Ziegler's first pitch over the center-field wall for a two-run home run.Reed Johnson's two-run home run in the eighth was his fifth hit in 30 spring training at-bats.Gonzalez, making his fourth spring training start, gave up five hits and struck out six against what figures to be the Cubs' everyday lineup. He also walked two and threw 78 pitches."Gio was fantastic. He's really maturing and from the second half of last year right through the spring he hasn't missed a beat with anything," Geren said.The A's pushed across a run in the bottom of the eighth on three singles, including a Matt Carson's RBI hit off Cubs reliever Kerry Wood.Notes: The Cubs' John Grabow, who is coming back from a left knee injury, pitched a scoreless inning in his first outing since Feb. 27 The A's will donate 1 for every ticket sold to their April 3 game against the Seattle Mariners to the Red Cross for relief efforts in Japan, the club announced.

Von Miller calls 49ers’ Trent Brown 'the best right tackle in the NFL’

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AP

Von Miller calls 49ers’ Trent Brown 'the best right tackle in the NFL’

Von Miller has 73.5 sacks to his name over six seasons in the NFL. He's a five-time Prow Bowl linebacker, three-time All-Pro, Super Bowl champion, and Super Bowl MVP. 

Trent Brown has played 21 games in two NFL seasons for the 49ers, 18 of them as starts. Despite his little time in the NFL and lack of honors, the Broncos' defensive star sees San Francisco's young offensive lineman as the best in the game at his position.

“He’s the best right tackle in the National Football League,” Miller said to the San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday after the first of two joint practices with the 49ers. “And he may even be a top-five tackle, period, in the National Football League. There’s not another tackle who’s that tall, that big and can move he way he moves.”

Brown, at 24 years old and standing 6-foot-8 while weighing 355 pounds, was the only offensive lineman invited to Miller's "Pass Rush Summit" at Stanford in June. Miller says he invited Brown so he could gain more knowledge, but also added, "from my point of view, we could get it (more knowledge) from a premier-offensive-tackle point of view.”

The two went up against each other in the trenches Wednesday in Santa Clara. After Brown held his own, Miller poured on the praise, but he made it clear how the young offensive lineman's future is all up to himself. Brown holds the keys to his potential. 

"He’ll be as good as he wants to be," Miller said. "When he’s on, there’s not another tackle in the National Football League that’s as good as him."

Miller also made a bold prediction. "He’s going to have one of the biggest (contracts) for an offensive lineman."

Brown's rookie deal ends after the 2018 season. 

Practice report: Conley locking in mentally while rehabbing injury

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AP

Practice report: Conley locking in mentally while rehabbing injury

NAPA – Gareon Conley ran Sunday for the first time in two months. The Raiders first-round cornerback remains on the physically unable to perform list with a shin injury originally suffered during a June minicamp. He wants to get back on the field. He just isn’t ready yet.

Missing training camp certainly sets back a dynamic cover man, but it doesn’t mean Conley can’t make an instant impact. While he hasn’t been seen on the practice field, the Raiders have been encouraged that Conley’s proving a quick learner and an inquisitive mind.

“We’d love to have him out there right now,” Raiders assistant head coach – defense John Pagano said. “When he’s out there, he’ll be out there. Until then, I think he got the reps he needed in OTAs. His mental game has picked up tremendously. He’s always asking questions, even more. It’s hard for a lot of injured players in this league to stand there on the sidelines and be able to just watch and look out there, but he’s always asking. He’s getting those mental reps.

"When he’s able to come back, he’ll be at a fast level. Injuries are part of the game, you deal with it and you just have to make sure, as a rookie, you’re taking those mental reps.”

Conley has been on the practice field with his position group most days, with a play sheet in hand to follow along. He has also lifted weights the past two days and worked on the JUGS machine Wednesday.

Nearly a month remains until the regular season starts, leaving Conley time to get back in the mix.

QUICK SLANTS

-- Cornerback Sean Smith took some reps with the first unit on Wednesday, though most of them came as an outside corner in the nickel package. TJ Carrie slid inside in those instances, and generally remained outside in the base defense.

Smith had his second straight quality practice, a sign he might be rebounding after a rough week where he practiced with the second unit and didn’t fare well at Arizona. The Raiders hope he can build on good work and be steadier in coverage.

“I think he’s growing every day,” Pagano said. “There’s always highs and lows in this game. You don’t want to make it, as we term, inconsistent. We’re always looking for the consistency. It’s how you build. It’s how you learn. It’s how you come off those things. There’s always room for improvement in the backend, in the front, all across our defense. There’s guys we’re asking them to go out there and make plays. Has he been improving at practice? Yeah. Then our job is to take that practice stuff and take it to the game field and have that consistency and that carry over to those types of games.”

-- Offensive line coach Mike Tice praised Ian Silberman’s play in a position switch to center. He has seen extensive reps there in camp, including a massive amount in the preseason opener at Arizona. Silberman will play some left guard in coming weeks to establish versatility and give him a shot to make the team.

-- Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow played with the first unit in sub packages, as the Raiders continue searching for coverage options in those personnel groups.

-- Jon Feliciano worked with the first unit on Wednesday at left guard. He will be a primary backup at every interior line spot. He is working back from a knee injury that kept him out until last week.