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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Phillies designate former No. 1 pick for assignment

By Jack McCaffery
PHILADELPHIA >> Continuing to remodel their pitching staff, the Phillies Friday claimed left-handed reliever Bobby LaFromboise off waivers from the Angels organization.
LaFromboise had been claimed by the Angels, the former organization of new Phillies' general manager Matt Klentak, in December, after pitching parts of three seasons in the major leagues with Seattle and Pittsburgh.
To make roster room for LaFromboise, the Phillies designated their 2010 first-round draft choice Jesse Biddle for assignment.
LaFromboise, 29, appeared in 11 games for the Pirates last season, eight innings overall, registering an ERA of 1.13. In 2014, he pitched in 3.2 innings over six games for the Bucs, allowing one earned run. With the Mariners in 2013, he was 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA in 10 games.
He was an eighth-round Seattle draft choice in 2008.
Biddle, who was raised in Philadelphia and attended Germantown Friends School, required Tommy John surgery in 2015. He had not been expected to pitch this season. The Phillies have 10 days to be moved elsewhere or be outright assigned to the minor leagues.
Biddle is 40-45 with a 3.82 ERA in six minor-league seasons.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Sixers notebook

By Jack McCaffery
PHILADELPHIA >> For two-plus years, Brett Brown has guided his Sixers through one massive snow job. What is one more?
So there he was Friday, after practice at PCOM, promising to be prepared to coach whenever asked. Turned out, that will be Sunday.
In a hedge against a possible snowstorm, the Saturday game against the visiting Boston Celtics was postponed and instead will be played Sunday night at 7.
“There are contingency plans all over the place,” Brown said. “We will be ready for whatever the league decides is in the best interest of the players and the fans.”
The NBA made the call later Friday, also postponing the Jazz game in Washington.
“Hopefully the roads will be clear,” Ish Smith said. “If not, I will be driving 10 miles an hour. Just don't be behind me, honking at me.”
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The one-day delay could benefit the Sixers, who were unlikely to have Nik Stauskas available Saturday.
Though Stauskas practiced Friday, he was still bothered by a left-shoulder injury suffered Jan. 14 in a game against Chicago. He has missed the last three games.
“It still isn't comfortable for him,” Brown said. “As far as the medical explanation, I can't give that. I can tell you that he does not feel comfortable. But when anybody tells you that they don't feel comfortable, I don't want to force-feed anything. We're not at that stage. It's not Game 7. You want get him healthy and take care of his health.
“We talk about it all the time. He doesn't feel comfortable. So we will continue to try to get him rehabbed.”
Since the injury, Stauskas has insisted there have been no additional complications. He warmed up early before a game Monday in New York, and has practiced. If anything, by Friday, the Sixers admitted through a spokesman that they were erroring on the side of caution when it came to declaring Stauskas as “doubtful” for Saturday. The delay, then, would provide at least another 24 hours of therapy.
“When he moved, you could tell it felt uncomfortable with some passing situations and trying to navigate through screens,” Brown said. “You can see that there is some trepidation with the way he is moving around.”
In the absence of Stauskas, Isaiah Canaan has played more shooting-guard minutes, as has Jerami Grant and Robert Covington.
“That's part of having a team,” Brown said, “and the depth we currently have.”
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Nerlens Noel played just 19 minutes Wednesday in Orlando, then complained of headaches and blurred vision. By Friday, he was practicing and was ready to play against the Celtics.
“Hopefully, it will be all the way gone by (Saturday),” Noel said. “I just had a little achiness. I can't really describe it. I took some medicine and it went away. Halfway through practice I was feeling all right, but hopefully it will all be gone.”
Noel had similar problems last season.
“I had some headaches,” he said. “They last for a few days. But I don't think it's a big deal at all. I am ready to play.”
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JaKarr Sampson, who suffered a hip pointer in the first quarter of the victory in Orlando, will face the Celtics, Brown said.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Crawford, Appel among Phillies prospects heading to Clearwater

The Phillies will give nine of their marquee farm-system players a look during spring training.
The prospects, all with familiar names, were formally invited Wednesday to Clearwater. They include:
n Mark Appel, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, a right-handed pitcher acquired from Houston in the trade for Ken Giles. He was 10-3 in the minors last season.
n J.P. Crawford, heralded as the Phils' top prospect. In Clearwater and Reading last season, the shortstop hit .288 with a .414 slugging percentage.
n Zach Eflin, a right-handed pitcher who was 8-6 with a 3.69 ERA in Reading. He arrived through Los Angeles in the trade for Jimmy Rollins.
n Andrew Knapp, a switch-hitting catcher who had 13 minor-league homers last year.
n Gabriel Lino, a 22-year-old catcher acquired in 2012 from Baltimore in a trade involving Jim Thome.
n Logan Moore, a catcher who hit .253 last season.
n Brock Stassi, whose .300 average, 32 doubles and 15 home runs helped him become the Eastern League MVP in 2015.
n Jake Thompson, a right-handed pitcher who went 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA in seven starts after arriving from Texas in the swap for Cole Hamels.
n Nick Williams, 22, a power-hitting outfielder also acquired in the Hamels trade. He had a .491 minor-league slugging percentage last summer.

Monday, January 4, 2016


PHILADELPHIA >> New general manager Matt Klentak continues to provide the Phillies with depth.
Monday, the Phils added outfielder Cedric Hunter, who was released by the Atlanta organization despite some interesting minor-league production last season.
At 27, the outfielder hit .283 with 12 home runs, stole 11 bases and hit 21 doubles and four triples in 138 games at Class AAA Gwinnett. The Phillies signed him to a minor-league contract and invited him to major-league spring training.
Hunter was a third-round draft choice of the Padres out of Martin Luther King High School of Lithonia, Ga., in 2006. He appeared in six major-league games for San Diego in 2011, as a centerfielder, pinch-runner and pinch-hitter, going 1-for-4.
From there, Hunter has bounced through the Oakland, St. Louis and Cleveland organizations before being made a free agent in November by Atlanta.
“We really want to raise the floor and add some depth, kind of at every turn,” Klentak said, at the beginning of the offseason, adding, “that's something we’re going to be committed to for a long time.”

Saturday, January 2, 2016

All-time list of Daily Times Delaware County Sports Figures of the Year

NBA official Joe Crawford is the 2015 Daily Times Sports Figure of the Year, as selected by the Daily Times sports staff.
“Having been born and raised in Delaware County, I know how special the award is,” said Delco native Mark Lindsay, an NBA official. “I couldn't be happier for Joe and his family to receive such a well-deserved recognition.
“While some know Joe Crawford, the referee, from watching him on TV or from a distance in the arena, it's been a privilege for me to watch and learn from Joe Crawford, the man. We are all better referees and people because of Joe Crawford.”
Crawford, the Havertown native and Newtown Square resident joins this list:
1996: Kate Fonshell, Penncrest High, Villanova, track
1997: John Mobley, Chichester High, football
1998: Bo Ryan, Chester High, basketball
1999: Pat Croce, Lansdowne-Aldan High, basketball
1999: Leroy Burrell, Penn Wood High, Sports Figure of the Millennium, track
2000: Emily deRiel, Haverford High, pentathlon
2001: Brendan Hansen, Haverford High, swimming
2002: Mike Scioscia, Springfield High, baseball
2003: Harry Perretta, Monsignor Bonner High, Villanova, basketball
2004: Brendan Hansen, Haverford High, swimming
2005: Kevin Clancy, Strath Haven High, football
2006: Vince Papale, Interboro High, football
2007: Dan Connor, Strath Haven High, football
2008: Fred Pickett, Chester High, basketball
2009: Andy Talley, Haverford High, Villanova, football
2010: Matt Szczur, Villanova, football, baseball
2011: Philadelphia Union, Chester, soccer
2012: Larry Yarbray, Chester High, basketball
2013: Merion Golf Club, Haverford, golf
2014: John Robertson, Villanova, football
2015: Joe Crawford, Havertown, basketball
- Jack McCaffery