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Published on November 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: [email protected] Comments Bernie Fine, the Syracuse basketball associate head coach who has been accused of molesting two former team ball boys, has denied the allegations in a statement released by his lawyer, Karl J. Sleight, on Friday: ‘Simply put, these allegations are patently false in every aspect. The fact is these allegations have been thoroughly investigated multiple times. When evaluating the veracity of these accusations, please keep in mind that credible media outlets were approached in the past to publicize these false allegations and declined to do so. I fully cooperated with all past inquires. ‘Sadly, we live in an allegation-based society and an Internet age where in a matter of minutes one’s life long reputation can be severely damaged. I am confident that, as in the past, a review of these allegations will be discredited and restore my reputation. I hope the latest review of these allegations will be conducted expeditiously. ‘Finally, I appreciate the Chancellor’s statement that I should be accorded a fair opportunity to defend myself against these accusations. I fully intend to do so. There should never be a rush to judgment when someone’s personal integrity and career are on the line.’ [email protected] is placeholder text Facebook Twitter Google+ read more
Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season INFIELDThe double-MVP outfield will get a lot of the attention. But the Dodgers’ infield is also among the best in the National League. Max Muncy is an underrated driving force in the lineup, whether he plays second base or first. Last year, he was second only to NL MVP Cody Bellinger on the Dodgers in OPS (.889), on-base percentage (.374), walks (90), RBI (98) and runs scored (101). The Dodgers rewarded the one-time Oakland castoff with a three-year, $26 million contract. Across the diamond, Justin Turner could benefit from the expanded DH rule, allowing the 35-year-old third baseman a little more time off his legs. At shortstop, fans might have forgotten how good Corey Seager was before hip and elbow surgeries temporarily derailed his career. Healthy again and a year further removed from those surgeries, Seager could remind them this season. That leaves a Rookie of the Year candidate (Gavin Lux) and two super-utility players (Kike’ Hernandez and Chris Taylor) to divvy up the second-base starts.OUTFIELDIs it the best outfield in baseball? Is it the best outfield in franchise history? The side-by-side MVPs in right (Mookie Betts) and center (Cody Bellinger) are also former Gold Glove winners. When Joc Pederson starts in left field, the trio will have combined for 112 home runs last season. Enjoy it while you can. With Pederson and Betts headed for free agency, it could be a short-lived collaboration. The DH rule gives the Dodgers the opportunity to rotate their surplus outfielders — A.J. Pollock, Matt Beaty, Taylor and Hernandez — through the lineup, adding another bat to their potent lineup.CATCHING STARTING PITCHINGThe Dodgers subtracted Cy Young runner-up Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill from last year’s rotation and David Price from this year’s before the season even began — and still have depth that would be the envy of almost any other MLB team. Clayton Kershaw has looked healthier than he has been in years during this season’s bifurcated buildup. That health and a fall trip to Driveline Academy seem to have rejuvenated him heading into this shortened season. Walker Buehler enters the season with less built up than his rotation-mates, temporarily pumping the brakes on any push to label him the staff’s leader. Alex Wood appears to have recovered from last year’s back problems and Julio Urias is finally free of innings limits. Ross Stripling will likely replace Price in the rotation — and made an All-Star team the last time he was a replacement starter. Young right-handers Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin figure to get plenty of work with this season’s unique format.RELIEF PITCHINGAs followers of the Dodgers’ Octobers know all too well, an unreliable bullpen can be the wobbly wheel on a grocery cart, always threatening to send everything careening into the canned goods. This year, the Dodgers have only 60 games to sort out those issues. If they do so successfully, they could owe a postseason share to Driveline Academy. Both closer Kenley Jansen and setup man Joe Kelly spent time at the analytics-focused think tank during the offseason. Jansen came back with a better understanding of his mechanics and what makes his cutter move. A little more velocity would be nice too. Kelly learned about his fastball mechanics, hoping to find better command of it. Blake Treinen (a deadly closer two years ago) and hard-throwing 21-year-old right-hander Brusdar Graterol add potentially lethal options for manager Dave Roberts. Starters by trade, May, Gonsolin and Caleb Ferguson all figure to get plenty of work in the new reality of a 60-game season. At 24, Will Smith heads into his first full season in the big leagues holding the reins to a pitching staff with championship expectations. Offensively, Smith remains a bit of a riddle. Is he the ‘Fresh Prince’ of last summer who hit 12 home runs with a .318 average and 1.210 OPS in his first 28 games? Or the struggling young hitter who batted just .183 with three home runs and a .581 OPS over his final 26 games (and went 1 for 13 in the Dodgers’ National League Division Series loss to the Washington Nationals)? The truth likely lies somewhere in between. If Smith struggles too much, though, Austin Barnes provides an alternative offering even better defense. Dodgers pitchers love throwing to “Sammy” — a Chase Utley moment that lives on as Barnes’ nickname.BENCHNo team in baseball is better positioned to take advantage of the expanded rosters in this odd season or the addition of the DH to the National League. Super-utility players like Taylor and Hernandez will get more at-bats. There is now room for young bats like Beaty and Edwin Rios. The Dodgers’ uncommon depth extends to super-ute-in-waiting Zach McKinstry. And the sad reality is it will likely be needed should the dangers of playing — and traveling — during a pandemic sideline players during the season (or postseason).Related Articles How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies MANAGEREverything about the 2020 season will be unusual and managers will be challenged to guide their teams through those challenges. For Dave Roberts, the first hurdle is avoiding a slow start. In a 60-game season, that could prove fatal. Only twice during their current run of seven consecutive division titles were the Dodgers in first place after 60 games. Roberts should have fun with the DH but the altered pitching decisions it creates could be problematic. Roberts has gotten into trouble in the past (look no farther than Game 5 of last fall’s NLDS) when he becomes too formulaic with his bullpen management. With no pinch-hitting fueled pitching changes, staying too close to a script could be a nightly temptation. But Roberts should be managing deep into October for the fourth time in his five seasons as manager. read more