Cubs’ Kris Bryant training without restrictions in wake of shoulder injury

Chatting with a healthy Kris Bryant and addressing some changes to a few struggling pitchers will have to be the consolation prizes as the Cubs are unlikely to make a move before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

As White Sox pursue Bryce Harper, agent Scott Boras says prized free agent is ‘looking … in the long term’

The White Sox might be the exception to agent Scott Boras’ post-negotiation forecast involving marquee free agent Bryce Harper.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

Racers overwhelm Salukis 80-52

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The Southern Illinois men’s basketball team’s five-game winning streak came to an abrupt end with a 80-52 loss to Murray State on Wednesday night at SIU Arena. The Racers overwhelmed SIU from the tip and had a 49-18 lead at halftime.
“It was probably the most complete first half I’ve ever been a part of in any form in my time in basketball,” Murray State head coach Matt McMahon said. “I thought our guys were really dialed in. We gave up that first 3 to start the game. Ja (Morant) hit back-to-back big 3’s to get us going, and I thought our effort and toughness were really good.”

Murray State’s Ja Morant, a projected lottery pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, lived up to the hype. In the first half alone, had had 15 points (on 5-6 shooting), nine assists against only one turnover, and three steals. The Racers were 8-of-13 from the 3-point line in the opening frame, led by Tevin Brown (5-for-7).

“I take full responsibility for the preparation of our guys tonight,” SIU head coach Barry Hinson said. “As coaches, we try to find a way to get our guys to compete and get ready for big games. I made a big mistake tonight. I put so much emphasis on Morant and how good we thought he was, and I scared our players. Our guys played scared tonight. It was Military Appreciation Night, and it’s a good quote from Patton: ‘Fear paralyzes all of us.’ We were paralyzed in the first half. Murray had a lot to do with that, but the head coach of the Salukis had more to do with it than Murray.”

Murray (6-1) ended the first half making 11 of its last 12 field goal attempts, while SIU missed 15 of its final 16 shots of the half. The Salukis shot 19.2 percent, the fifth-lowest shooting percentage in a half in school history.

Eric McGill had a big second half for SIU (7-4), scoring 15 of his 19 points after the break. McGill became the first Saluki this season with a double-double, adding 10 rebounds to his 19 points. The closest SIU got in the second half was 21 points, but Murray State responded with a 10-0 run to put any thought of a dramatic comeback out of the question. 

Aaron Cook (14 points) and Sean Lloyd Jr. (11 points) joined McGill in double-figures for SIU. Morant (23 points, 13 assists) and Tevin Brown (20 points, 6-of-11 from the 3-point line) led Murray State. 

The Salukis have a quick turnaround, traveling to No. 14 Buffalo on Saturday. Tip-off against the Bulls, who are undefeated at 9-0, is set for 1 p.m. CT in a game that will be streamed on ESPN+.

Thompsonville downs Goreville to stay unbeaten

GOREVILLE — Thompsonville got off to a terrible start trailing Goreville after the first quarter, but rebounded in the middle periods to beat the Blackcats, 61-44, and remain undefeated in a non-conference boys basketball game Tuesday night.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Column: Winter (meetings) wonder: The Cubs are watching their wallets while the White Sox suddenly have money to burn

You might have thought Cubs President Theo Epstein and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn had swapped bodies the other day if you weren’t paying closer attention.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

Column: Kris Bryant could see Las Vegas buddy Bryce Harper land on the South Side of town

Bryce Harper and Kris Bryant can get an up-close and personal view of the winter meetings this week without turning on their TVs.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

4 interceptions, 1 safety and an offensive lineman TD: Bears top high-scoring Rams 15-6

The Bears defense shut down the Rams like no other team could this season Sunday night at Soldier Field to pull off a 15-6 upset in front of a national audience.

Here’s a link to the story at the Chicago Tribune.

Novsek brings 31 years of experience back to Salukis

CARBONDALE — In his 31st Division I season, former Saluki forward Doug Novsek still believes college kids want the same things they did when he played in the late 1980s.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Salukis hold on for 61-56 win over Saint Louis

CARBONDALE — Thik Bol didn’t practice Monday because of his sore knee, but the senior forward gave SIU men’s basketball coach Barry Hinson a pretty good indication he was up for something big before Wednesday’s game against Saint Louis.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Jackpot: Cardinals deal for MVP-caliber slugger Goldschmidt from Arizona

On one of his first days calling the shots for the Arizona Diamondbacks, former general manager Dave Stewart, who earned a reputation as a steely-eyed, no-nonsense starting pitcher, beamed as he talked about the first baseman he inherited. Stewart described how every morning he could wake up and “know the sun is brighter because Paul Goldschmidt is on my team.”

Here’s a link to the story at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.