Digest for 08-16-14


LOCAL

UAM season dedicated to chancellor, wife

MONTICELLO — When Arkansas-Monticello Chancellor Jack Lassiter announced his retirement this past April, head football coach Hud Jackson knew he would be losing two of the program’s most impactful supporters.

Though Jack and Judy Lassiter will still be passionate Boll Weevil fans following the Jan. 5, 2015, retirement, Jackson and his team have dedicated the 2014 season to UAM’s First Family as a token of appreciation for what the couple has done over the previous three years since the new football coaching regiment took over.

“We like to honor and recognize those that truly care about our team, and those that we truly care about in return,” Jackson said this past Wednesday evening before the Lassiters addressed the entire team during preseason training camp.

At that Wednesday night meeting, Jackson revealed a helmet decal that will be worn throughout the 2014 season with the phrase “Jack & Judy” in honor of UAM’s 11th chief executive officer and his wife.

Hunter hitless as Mariners roll over Tigers

DETROIT — The second wild-card spot in the American League now belongs to Seattle.

Robinson Cano belted a solo home run to back a solid James Paxton, and the Mariners took the opener of a key series against the Detroit Tigers, 7-2.

The Mariners, who arrived at Comerica Park after an 8-1 homestand, matched their season high with their fifth-consecutive win and moved a half-game ahead of the Tigers in the wild card race.

Struggles continued for Pine Bluff native Torii Hunter, who finished 0 for 3 with a walk. Hunter is 10 for 49 in the month of August with four of those hits coming in Sunday’s 19-inning loss to Toronto.

NATIONAL

Gordon wins Michigan pole with new track record

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Jeff Gordon will start on the pole for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 after setting a new track qualifying record at Michigan International Speedway.

Gordon made a lap around this two-mile oval at 206.558 mph during the third and final round of Friday’s knockout qualifying. The driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet scored his second consecutive pole. Last weekend, he claimed his first pole of the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season at Watkins Glen International.

His lap was the seventh-fastest pole winning speed in the history of NASCAR’s premier series.

Gordon is using the same car at Michigan that he drove to victory in the July 27 race at Indianapolis.

While Gordon earned his 76th career pole in the series, including his sixth at Michigan, his Hendrick Motorsports teammates struggled in qualifying. Gordon was the only one of the four Hendrick drivers who made it into the third round. Kasey Kahne qualified 15th.

Tulowitzki has hip surgery

DENVER — The Colorado Rockies announced that shortstop Troy Tulowitzki underwent successful surgery Friday to repair a torn labrum in his left hip.

The procedure was performed in Vail, Colorado, by Dr. Marc Philippon. The Rockies expect Tulowitzki’s recovery to be approximately five months, which would have the 2014 National League All-Star ready in time for spring training.

Tulowitzki has been sidelined since July 20 with the injury, the latest in a series of health issues he has endured in recent years. The 29-year-old was limited to just 47 games in 2012 by a groin problem that required surgery, then missed time last season with a fractured right rib.

The four-time All-Star was in the midst of a terrific 2014 campaign prior to being sidelined, having batted a major league-best .340 with 21 home runs, 52 RBI and a .603 slugging percentage through 91 games.

Slocum, Langley share lead at Wyndham

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Heath Slocum and Scott Langley both fired second-round, 5-under 65s on Friday and they share a 1-shot lead heading into the weekend at the Wyndham Championship, which is the final event on the PGA Tour’s regular-season schedule.

Slocum and Langley finished 36 holes at 10-under-par 130. Slocum is looking to play his way into the FedExCup playoffs, entering the week at No. 158 in the rankings. Langley is well within the top 125 at No. 81.

Seeking his fifth win on tour, Slocum has not won since the 2010 McGladrey Classic. Langley is still looking for his first win on tour.

Andrew Svoboda (64) held a share of the lead with Slocum and Langley, but Svoboda bogeyed his last hole at Sedgefield Country Club to fall into a tie for third at 9-under 131. He was joined there by Nick Watney (64), Brian Stuard (65) and Martin Laird (66).

First-round leader Camilo Villegas shot a 69 on Friday and he is tied for seventh with eight other players.

Blue Jays activate Encarnacion from DL

CHICAGO — The Toronto Blue Jays, who are in the thick of the race for the second American League wild-card spot, added some pop Friday with the return of first baseman Edwin Encarnacion from the 15-day disabled list.

Encarnacion was batting .277 with 26 homers and 70 RBI before straining his right quadriceps muscle while running to first base against Oakland on July 5.

The Blue Jays optioned outfielder Anthony Gose to Triple-A Buffalo to clear room for Encarnacion on the active roster.