Braves face rotation decision when Beachy returns
ATLANTA (AP) - Frank Wren is facing a dilemma that general managers covet but also dread.
The Atlanta Braves must make room in an already deep rotation as Brandon Beachy is almost set to return from elbow surgery. Beachy was perhaps Atlanta's top starter when his 2012 season ended as he led the National League with a 2.00 ERA.
Wren said Thursday the difficult part of the decision is moving a starter - Tim Hudson, Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Paul Maholm or Julio Teheran - to the bullpen. The bullpen needs help after losing left-handers Jonny Venters and Eric O'Flaherty to season-ending elbow injuries.
Wren says the good news is each starter has pitched well. He says it's probably too early in the season to trade 1 of the starters.
Rams rookie LB Ogletree eager to focus on football
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree is settling in with the St. Louis Rams.
The 30th overall pick in the NFL draft performed well in camp last month and also shined this week during workouts. The 6-foot-2, 242-pounder from Georgia turned heads with several big plays on Tuesday and Thursday.
Ogletree led Georgia in tackles last season with 111 despite missing four games. He saved his best for last in helping the Bulldogs to a 45-31 win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. Ogletree had 13 tackles, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and a sack in the victory.
Newton says Panthers RBs need to be more involved
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Quarterback Cam Newton says if Carolina Panthers are to be successful this season their running backs need to be more involved in the offense.
Newton says that means a concerted effort to get the backs involved early in games and "let those guys do what they do."
The Panthers once invested nearly $80 million in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart and brought in free agent Mike Tolbert last season. Yet, it was Newton who led the team in rushing with 741 yards in 2012.
Carolina's backs were an afterthought at times last season under ex-offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, touching the ball on only 38% of offensive plays.
Newton says "for us to be successful, we have to run the football. We will run the football."
Leffler remembered as friend, teammate, father
SWEDESBORO, N.J. (AP) - Tony Stewart remembered Jason Leffler as a friend, teammate and doting father to 5-year-old son Charlie Dean a day after the NASCAR driver was killed in a crash at a dirt track.
The 37-year-old Leffler, a 2-time winner on the NASCAR Nationwide Series, died Wednesday night after the crash in a heat race in a 410 Sprint Car event at Bridgeport Speedway, a 0.625-mile, high-banked dirt oval about 15 miles southwest of Philadelphia.
A spectator, 40-year-old Chris Taitt, said Leffler had been in second place, apart from other cars when his winged car slammed into a wall at the fourth turn. Taitt said the wing was "flattened like a pancake" and the seat appeared to be displaced.
Clemson: Howard's Rock at stadium vandalized
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Clemson University officials say that the famed Howard's Rock at Memorial Stadium has been vandalized.
Football players touch the rock before they run down the hill during the team's entrance into "Death Valley" stadium.
A university statement says the rock was vandalized sometime June 2 or 3. Police are investigating.
The statement says a small part of the rock was broken off of its pedestal after vandals broke the casing that protects it.
Athletics Director Dan Radakovich says the incident is being taken very seriously because the rock is an important part of the school's history.
The rock is dubbed "Howard's Rock" because former football coach Frank Howard began the tradition of the pre-game ritual.
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