Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico on July 9, 2010 · Page 10
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Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico · Page 10

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Issue Date:
Friday, July 9, 2010
Page 10
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B2 Albuquerque Journal Friday, July 9, 2010 Quick Hits Journal Staff and Wire Coroner: Ex-UK Star Commits Suicide LEXINGTON, Ky. — Mel Turpin, former NBA player and All-American Kentucky center, has died. He was 49. Police and the coroner were called to his North Lexington house Thursday afternoon on a personal injury call. They found Turpin dead. Coroner Gary Ginn says that Turpin had committed suicide, but would not say how. He also would not say whether Turpin left behind a suicide note. The 6-foot-11 Turpin, dubbed “The Big Dipper,” was an All-Southeastern Conference player for the Wildcats from 1980-84. Celtics Plan To Sign Jermaine O’Neal Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge says the team plans to sign six-time All-Star center Jermaine O’Neal. The contract is reportedly for the mid-level exception, about $5.76 million in the first year of a two-year deal. O’Neal has averaged 14 points and 7.5 rebounds in a 14-year career. With Miami last year, he averaged 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds. BUCKS: First-round draft pick Larry Sanders has signed a standard rookie scale contract. TRADE: The agent for David Lee says the All-Star forward is heading from the New York Knicks to Golden State in a sign-and-trade deal. The Knicks will receive forwards Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf. USC Ineligible For 2010 Coaches’ Poll LOS ANGELES — Southern California is ineligible for the USA Today coaches’ poll for the upcoming season. Grant Teaff, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, said on Thursday that his organization’s members aren’t allowed to vote for any school on major probation, such as a bowl ban. BASKETBALL: Syracuse, Michigan, Georgia Tech and UTEP will host regionals for the Legends Classic. The host schools will automatically advance to the semifinals and finals in Atlantic City, N.J., on Nov. 26-27. Madigan Named All-American Scholar Tim Madigan, who led the New Mexico State golf team to a third straight Western Athletic Conference title, was named an All-American Scholar by the Golf Coaches Association of America. The rising senior psychology major from Rio Rancho has a 3.75 grade-point average. UNM’s Bethany Buchner (3.59 GPA in business), Jodi Ewart (3.79, psychology), Rebecca Hellbom (3.89, music performance, voice), Nick Geyer (3.83, communication) and Travis Ross (4.15, business administration) also earned All-American Scholar honors. Etc. … TRACK: In Lausanne, Switzerland, Usain Bolt won the 100 meters at the Athletissima meet in 9.82 seconds, matching the fastest time this year. … Caster Semenya will make her comeback in Finland at the Lappeenranta Games on July 15. GIDDENS CAMP: Former Lobo and current New York Knick J.R. Giddens will hold a basketball camp at Sandia High on July 26-29. The camp is open to ages 5-18. Cost is $160. Call 310-895-8104, 505-507-0388 or visit www. IRL: Defending Indy Lights champion J.R. Hildebrand will be the latest driver to fill in for the injured Mike Conway at Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. The 22-year-old will drive Conway’s No. 24 car at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 8. AAU: The Albuquerque- based Granger Hurricane 15-under boys team has made the round of 16 at the national tourney in Little Rock, Ark. TENNIS: The U.S. Open will offer the richest purse in tennis history, with its singles champions each earning a record $1.7 million. ’TOPES TOdA At Omaha, 4:30 p.m. (DH) Radio: KNML-AM (610) Probable pitchers: Game 1, Isotopes RH Seth Etherton (2-2, 4.84) vs. Royals RH Philip Humber (4-4, 4.38); Game 2, Isotopes RH Charlie Haeger (1-1, 3.29) vs. TBA Thursday: Omaha 4, Albuquerque 1 The Royals’ Kila Ka’aihue hit a bases-emp- ty homer in the second inning, and Scott Thornton hit a three-run home run in the sixth to propel Omaha to victory past the Isotopes and pitcher Jesus Castillo (0-3). Notes: The ’Topes are playing their final series in Omaha’s soon-to-be demolished Rosenblatt Stadium. ... An Isotope has led the PCL in homers each of the last three years (Valentino Pascucci’s 34 in 2007, Dallas McPherson’s 42 in ’08 and Mitch Jones’ 35 last year). That streak is in jeopardy. Xavier Paul and Jay Gibbons now have 12 apiece, 10 shy of Las Vegas’ J.P. Arencibia and Colorado Springs’ Brad Eldred. Next home game: Thursday, 7:05 p.m. vs. Round Rock By Kevin Sherrington The Dallas Morning News To get to Danville, Va., where the Atlanta Braves’ Class A team plays, from Forney, Texas, where Evan Gattis lives, Mapquest directs you through Dallas, Shreveport, Jackson, Atlanta, Greenville and Greensboro. If you come upon the Atlantic Ocean, make a U-turn. The trip should take about 18 hours, give or take. Gattis went another way. It took four years. Once out of high school — where, as a 6-4, 230-pound catcher he’d signed with Texas A&M — he bypassed College Station completely and went straight to drug rehab. From there it was on to a semester at Seminole State College in Oklahoma, where he hurt his left knee, burned out on baseball and quit, cold turkey. And that’s when his route to Danville really got crazy. He was a valet, cook, janitor, cart boy, waiter and lift operator at a ski resort. Worked in a machine shop, too. He lived in Dallas, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, California and in the back of his green 1995 Dodge pickup. And that was only the itinerary his first couple of years out of high school. How does a smart kid from a good home with a world of ability get so far off track? “I was basically terrified of the whole idea of going to a big college and playing baseball,” he said. “I was 17 years old. I didn’t know who I was, and I was under a lot of pressure. “My whole worth as a person was as a baseball player. If I failed at that, where would I be?” He smoked a lot of pot thinking about that and other tribulations, until finally his mother drove him to rehab. He stayed a month. The counselors told him he didn’t have a drug problem, but he sure had anger issues. The next semester at Semi- nole didn’t help. Or as his father, Jo, put it, “That’s when he blew a gasket.” He told his dad he never wanted to talk about baseball again. “I’m gonna be Evan, the person,” he told himself. “Not Evan, the baseball player.” Jo, the father, hardly knew what to think. Still, he let his son go. Every so often he’d get a call from the road. Evan was in Colorado, skiing. Or working at Yellowstone National Park. Or living in a hostel in Taos. Early one morning in San Francisco, a cop tapped on Gattis’ truck window as he slept on a city street. This is the conversation that ensued: “What are you doing?” “This is hard to explain. I’m not doing anything.” Pause. “Well, just get out of here.” Did we mention that the pickup’s starter didn’t work? “Sir,” Gattis tells the cop, “I need to tell you that I’m not going to be wearing my seat belt when I start the truck, because I have to push it to get it started.” Pause. “Just ... get ... out ... of ... here.” Gattis was in California in the first place chasing a spiritualist he’d met earlier. He drove all that way — over desert and mountains and up the coast, making sure along the way to park on downhill slopes — looking for life’s answers. This is what the spiritualist told him: “Evan, maybe there’s nothing wrong with your life at all. Maybe you just need to chill.” And that’s when it clicked. He called his stepbrother, Drew Kendrick, who was playing baseball at UT-Permian Basin, a Division II school in Odessa. Told him he was ready to play again. Did we mention that Gattis didn’t have a glove anymore? “(Expletive), no,” he said. “I didn’t have a hat.” He hit .403 with 19 doubles, two triples, 35 walks — 11 intentional — and 11 home runs in a park that plays big. It’s 408 to center and 330 down the lines and the prevailing wind blows straight in. Gattis’ outlook got better when the Braves drafted him in the 23rd round. He figures he could have gone higher. Teams may have been scared off by the drug rehab stint. If so, it appears to be their loss. His first week as a pro, Gattis led Danville in average, RBIs and slugging percentage. Because he’s already 22, he’s on a faster track than most of his teammates. He says he’ll play until “my ability says no.” He’s come too far to turn back now. Four years to go 1,145 miles. As his stepbrother put it, “I guess he took the harder road.” He actually flew the last leg of it. The green pickup, with 182,000 miles and a new starter, sits back in Forney. Gattis sees life now through the windows of a minor league bus. How’s it look, Evan? “As good,” he said, “as it gets.” MINOr lEAgUES Prospect Makes Long Journey Back Gattis’ return to ■■ baseball goes through Colorado, Taos WHITE SOX 1, ANGELS 0: In Chicago, John Danks held the Angels hitless for six innings before finishing with a two-hitter Thursday as the White Sox beat Los Angeles for a four-game sweep and their 22nd victory in 27 games. Danks (8-7) gave up a leadoff single to Reggie Willits in the seventh, stopping Danks’ bid for the fifth no-hitter in the big leagues this season. But after yielding another single, he pitched out of trouble and got his first major league shutout. Chicago won its fifth straight and moved to half a game behind idle Detroit for first place in the AL Central. YANKEES 3, MARINERS 1: In Seattle, Alex Rodriguez punched a two-run single into right field in the ninth inning to give New York its first lead, and Mariano Rivera closed out the victory with a perfect ninth. The Yankees won their sixth straight thanks largely to Andy Pettitte (11-2). ORIOLES 6, RANGERS 4: In Arlington, Texas, Craig Tatum drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning to force in the go-ahead run, and Scott Moore and Felix Pie homered for Baltimore. BLUE JAYS 8, TWINS 1: In Toronto, Jose Bautista hit one of the Blue Jays’ five homers and Brett Cecil snapped a four-start winless skid. Fred Lewis, Adam Lind, Jose Molina and Lyle Overbay also homered for the Blue Jays. RAYS 5, INDIANS 2: In St. Petersburg, Fla., Carl Crawford hit two two-run homers for Tampa Bay. The Associated Press DODGERS 3, CUBS 2: In Los Angeles, Rafael Furcal hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning to lift Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers past Chicago on Thursday night. Kershaw (9-4) struck out a season-high 12 and walked none in eight innings. He allowed two runs and seven hits. Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless ninth for his 19th save. ROCKIES 4, CARDINALS 2: In Denver, Ubaldo Jimenez (15-1) dominated for eight innings as Colorado beat St. Louis. Jason Giambi went 4-for-4 with two RBIs and Dexter Fowler had two hits for the Rockies, who swept the three-game series. Huston Street worked the ninth for his third save. Jimenez is the first pitcher to have 15 wins at the All-Star break since Toronto’s David Wells in 2000. DIAMONDBACKS 10, MARLINS 4: In Phoenix, Kelly Johnson and Gerardo Parra matched their career-highs with four hits apiece as Arizona snapped a five-game losing streak by beating Florida in front of 16,664 fans, the smallest home crowd in the Diamondbacks’ 13-year history. PHILLIES 4, REDS 3 (12): In Philadelphia, Brian Schneider hit a game-ending homer in the 12th inning, giving the Phillies a win. PADRES 7, NATIONALS 1: In Washington, Mat Latos (10-4) threw seven shutout innings and had two hits, including one of San Diego’s four homers. Also going deep were Chris Denorfia, Chase Headley and Jerry Hairston Jr. GIANTS 9, BREWERS 3: In Milwaukee, Aubrey Huff homered and drove in four runs for San Francisco. ASTROS 2, PIRATES 0: In Houston, Roy Oswalt allowed only a first-inning single to Neil Walker, and Lance Berkman provided the power with two home runs as the Astros completed a three- game sweep. The Associated Press Approaching 600 The Associated Press F or years, Alex Rodriguez has been proclaimed baseball’s future home run king. He has cleared the fences at such a remarkable rate, reaching many milestones more quickly than any other slugger of any generation. As he approaches his next significant accomplishment — career home run No. 600 — the focus on A-Rod figures to intensify even more, and not just because he will become just the seventh player to reach the hallowed mark. He will be the first admitted steroid user to get there. After hitting two homers on Tuesday in Oakland, the Yankees star is three away at 597 entering tonight’s game against the Mariners in his old Seattle stomping grounds. Getting to 600 used to come with an automatic spot in Coo- perstown at the Hall of Fame. Yet it’s unclear how Rodriguez will be received when he does it — especially if he does it this weekend back in the Northwest city where his career took off in the mid-90s. “Everywhere I go, people are always asking about it and you see it on the Jumbotron every game,” Rodriguez said of his total. “It’s hard to ignore it but I’m looking at 600 as first base. I want to run right through it and use it as a platform and a springboard for more to come.” Rodriguez, who turns 35 on July 27, announced in February 2009 he had used illegal per- formance-enhancers from 2001 to 2003 while with the Texas Rangers. So, will the skeptics soon start calling for an asterisk to go up next to A-Rod’s name? ALL-STAR GAME: Reds first baseman Joey Votto and the Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher have been chosen by fans for the final roster spots for Tuesday’s All-Star game in Anaheim, Calif. Votto earned the 34th and final spot on the National League roster by beating out Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Colorado outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and Atlanta closer Billy Wagner in a four-day Internet vote. Swisher edged Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis for the final AL spot. HOME RUN DERBY: Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez has been added to the Home Run Derby in Anaheim, Calif., during the All-Star break. MORNEAU: Minnesota first baseman Justin Morneau is day to day with a “mild concussion” after he was accidentally kneed in the head Wednesday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. BEN MARGOT/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees hit two homers against Oakland on Tuesday, giving him 597 for his career. Last year he admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003. A-Rod’s Just Shy of a Home Run Milestone, But How Will It Be Looked at in Long Run? ll 2120EUBANKNE 291-8282 $10STEAK&LOBSTER

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