Reds fan Odegaard pondering future

first_imgNorwegian prodigy Martin Odegaard admits Liverpool are his dream club but that will not influence any decision on his future. Press Association The teenager was known to be one of the brightest properties in Europe even before he made his debut for the national senior side last month aged just 15, becoming the youngest player to feature in a European Championship qualifier. He has already trained with the youth teams of Bundesliga sides Bayern Munich and Stuttgart – and also met Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp – has visited Real Madrid and is set to see Liverpool’s facilities for himself next month. center_img And while the Stromsgodset midfielder has followed his father in becoming a Reds fan, he is confident that will not affect his thinking when he makes his next career choice, most likely in the summer. “Liverpool have always been my dream club,” Odegaard told German newspaper Sport Bild. “But I will not let this affect my decision when I choose a new club. “It’s all about finding the team that is best for me and for my development. That is not necessarily Liverpool. “I haven’t really thought about my future yet. I will end the season here and then visit a number of clubs. I have not made a final decision yet, though. “Of course, it’s flattering when you hear that big clubs are after you, but I don’t think about it too often.” Last week Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, speaking after their 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League, was reluctant to talk about Odegaard but did praise his qualities. “I know he’s a big talent, at that age to be playing senior football at 15 and in a competitive league,” said the Northern Irishman. “He’s got wonderful ability and wonderful talent, but there’s nothing much more to say on him.” last_img read more

Potent rushing attack bolstered by 100-yard performances

first_imgBLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Wisconsin’s game plan Saturday against Indiana was simple: Run the ball until the Hoosier defense stops it. The Badgers executed their strategy well, rushing for a Memorial Stadium record-tying 441 yards and seven touchdowns, which tied for the most in a game in school history.The Badgers knew they could exploit the Hoosier defense, which entered the game ranked eighth in the conference in rushing yards allowed, giving up 146.4 per game.“We felt during the course of the week that — just based on what we’ve seen on film — we should be able to come in here and run the football,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said.P.J. Hill got things started for Wisconsin early on the ground Saturday. The junior running back took the ball 11 times on the Badgers’ first two offensive drives for 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns.Hill finished the day with 128 yards on 19 carries and three rushing touchdowns. It was the fourth time in Hill’s career that he scored three touchdowns in a game, and the fourth time this year he has eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground.“It always starts up front,” Hill said. “The guys up front, I think, did a good job of driving guys off the ball. Every time we came in all week in preparation, it was about running the ball and establishing our run game. … We did a very good job of reading our blocks and getting the ball up field.”Wide receiver David Gilreath also contributed in the rushing attack. The sophomore wide receiver rushed for 173 yards on eight carries Saturday, finding the end zone twice. The end-around play worked exceptionally well as Gilreath averaged 21 yards per carry.On the Badgers’ first offensive play of the third quarter, Gilreath took ball from quarterback Dustin Sherer and ran it 90 yards for a touchdown.“I think it’s a product of the line,” Gilreath said. “The line and the guys in front of me — the tight ends and the fullbacks and everybody — they’re doing a great job of making some big holes for me, and I’m just running through them.”Gilreath had five rushes for eight yards or more in the first half, including an eight-yard touchdown run, and broke for a big one when he sprinted off a 90-yarder in the third quarter for the second-longest run in modern era school history.“In the first half, on the same play, … there was a hole there and there was somebody that came through and got me. I was like, ‘Man, if I can just get past him I think I’ll be gone,’” Gilreath said. “I think it was Isaac [Anderson] that came down and got that safety for me, and I cut back through there and there was just one guy to beat.”With Gilreath having success running the ball outside, Hill and redshirt freshman running back John Clay had a much easier time rushing inside as well.“It throws the defense off-balance,” Hill said. “It’s good, you know, guys on the perimeter [were] making their blocks and that’s why David [Gilreath] was also able to have success today.”Clay was the third Wisconsin rusher to top the century mark Saturday, rushing 19 times for 112 yards and a touchdown. Clay started slowly, rushing just three times in the first half for 24 yards, but he picked it up in the second half as the Badgers took control of the game.“It shows that anybody can take over a game at anytime,” Clay said of having three 100-yard rushers. “There’s not so much pressure on one person to make big plays or get everything we need. We have multiple people who can do that for us.”Saturday’s game against Indiana was the second time this year the Badgers had at least two rushers with more than 100 yards on the ground. Gilreath also became the first non-running back to rush for more than 100 yards for UW since Brooks Bollinger ran for 112 yards against Penn State in 2001.With all the emphasis on the ground game, Sherer managed just 143 yards on 10-of-19 attempts in the game against Indiana, but didn’t seem to mind.“I thought coming in that we could put up a lot of points, and that’s exactly what we did,” Sherer said. “I think we had 440 some yards rushing… that’s pretty impressive. I think the running game was clicking on all cylinders, [and] obviously that helped us all around.”last_img read more

Whicker: Dodgers’ Rich Hill is 39 and gathering steam

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire When Hill went to Boston, assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister showed him the different arm slots and parabolas he could find for his curve. Hill quit trying to pitch to “all four quadrants” and fixated on one spot. By altering his pace between pitches, Hill assumed control.“You can dictate a lot of things out there,” he said. “I realized you had to stay in the moment that whole time, on every pitch. Mariano Rivera said your body can be tired but your mind can’t.”As batters awaited the curve, Hill unveiled more 90-mph fastballs. He and Aroldis Chapman, whose heaters leave Hill’s in the slow lane, shared the MLB lead for fastball swings-and-misses last year. This season, opponents are hitting .135 with men in scoring position.Since Long Island, Hill has been to two World Series. He pulls out his phone and recites a list of Hall of Famers who never made one: Rod Carew, Ferguson Jenkins, Phil Niekro, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Frank Thomas, etc.His three-year contract expires at the end of this season. His indepedence, again, will be brief. “I’d asked for my release before,” Hill said. “So my mind was a little more at ease. I knew what it was like to dive into the abyss and not know, to take a chance even though I might not have a chance.“Kevin Baez (who now manages Rockford in the Can-Am League) was extremely motivating. Nobody holds your hand in independent ball. Nobody tells you what time to get to the park as long as it’s before the game starts. You learn how to make the most of your time.”With the Red Sox, Hill became the first pitcher in American League history to strike out at least 10 in each of his first three starts with a team. Oakland signed him at season’s end. The Dodgers got him at the 2017 trade deadline.Suddenly a commodity, Hill forged an identity as a bristling competitor who takes his fastball and curveball into the sixth or seventh inning, at which point he is removed by Manager Dave Roberts, and walks in and lays waste to water coolers and sunflower seeds.He should be known for .206. That’s the opponents’ batting average since Hill came to the Red Sox. His record in that span is 40-20, and some Dodger fans remain speechless over Roberts’ decision to pull Hill from Game 4 of the 2018 World Series with a 4-0 lead that didn’t last.“It wasn’t hard to leave that behind because you try to live in the moment and it was time to get ready for the next season,” Hill said. “But it can be difficult. The third time through the order, my numbers are actually better than the first two times (.556 OPS this year, as opposed to .726 and .773).“They say the hitter gets to see the pitcher the third time, but I come back with the pitcher seeing the hitter for the third time, too. I’d like to think that the starting pitcher has enough creativity to be tapped into, to efficiently handle that third time.”Related Articles The Red Sox immediately said they wanted to see that stuff in their uniform. Four years later, Hill has not only lasted, but become everlasting. He is the oldest pitcher in the majors. Usually, that’s a guy who is pitching ceremonially, a curiosity like Bartolo Colon. Hill is not a candidate for a rocking chair farewell. He is getting better.“Fernando Rodney was the oldest before me,” Hill said Wednesday. “He’s 42, and he got released, and now I hear he’s in Fresno. Throwing 98.”Hill laughed. He pitches for the Dodgers against the Cubs on Friday night.He began this ride with the Cubs and even pitched 195 innings when he was 27, which remains a personal high. Then came the spiral, with shoulder problems and Tommy John surgery, and the windburn from younger, faster pitchers moving past him.Early in 2015 he requested and got his release from the Washington Nationals, who had him in Triple-A at the time. Back home in Massachusetts, he threw baseballs at whatever he could, including the walls of Boston College High. He would have answered any call. Long Island’s was first.center_img LOS ANGELES — The Camden Riversharks were the first to know.They lined up against Rich Hill on Aug. 8, 2015. The site was Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip, N.Y. Yankee Stadium was 44 miles and several fantasies away. Hill was 35, too old for bedtime stories.Yet Hill, in his second and final start for the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League, struck out 14 Riversharks, a club record.“Outstanding, unbelievable, what can you say?” said Kevin Baez, Hill’s manager. Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season last_img read more