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Pablo Sandoval to miss 4-6 weeks due to wrist injury

San Francisco Giants batter Pablo Sandoval reacts after failing to get a hit during the fifth inning of his MLB National League baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in San Francisco, California, April 11, 2011. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

The baseball gods are making up for last year as it pertains to injuries and the San Francisco Giants.

After not suffering one major injury on their way to winning the World Series last season, the Giants will be without their best hitter (at least currently) for the next 4-6 weeks this year as Pablo Sandoval fractured his hamate bone in his right wrist. It’s a major blow for a lineup that has been filthy bad for the past week or so.

Ryan Rohlinger has been called up from Triple-A, although manager Bruce Bochy has already stated that Miguel Tejada and Mike Fontenot will see plenty of time at third base and shortstop, respectively. In other words, Bochy has managed to make an already struggling lineup, much, much worse.

Some people will point out that the Giants won the World Series last year with Sandoval on the bench. But they also had a versatile Juan Uribe (now with the Dodgers) and Sandoval is the only hitter who is doing anything for the Giants currently. Make no mistake: This is a massive blow to the defending champs.

Maybe the Giants will get lucky and either Manny Burriss or Rohlinger will start hitting. If not, it’s going to be a long 4-6 weeks watching Miguel Tejada and Mike Fontenot play every day.

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UFC 129 Picks & Predictions

nullUFC 129 takes place tonight from the Rogers Centre in Toronto featuring a very exciting card with two title fights.

Here are my picks for each of the five main-card bouts. The PPV begins at 9PM ET.

Also, be sure to check out MMABlitz.com for more UFC 129 coverage and news.

UFC Welterweight Championship – Georges St. Pierre (21-2) vs. Jake Shields (26-4-1) – Shields may be the toughest opponent St. Pierre has faced in a while, but I still see the champion running through him. Shields’ striking is miles behind GSP and Shields’ takedown ability is nothing St. Pierre hasn’t seen before. I see St. Pierre keeping the fight standing and picking Shields apart before finishing him in the fourth round by TKO.

UFC Featherweight Champion – Jose Aldo (18-1) vs. Mark Hominick (20-8) – Aldo is an absolute beast and seems unstoppable. Hominick has very quick and powerful hands, but he has not had to deal with someone that has the leg kicks of Aldo. I see Aldo landing a few leg kicks in the first and throwing Hominick off his strategy. From there, look for the champion to pounce and eventually knock the challenger out in the second round.

Light Heavyweight Bout – Randy Couture (19-10) vs. Lyoto Machida (16-2) – My heart says Couture, but my head says Machida. I think Couture will have a good strategy and look to leave it all in the cage, but Machida has some solid grappling ability and will be too elusive in the striking to allow Couture to really implement his game plan. Give me Machida by decision in Couture’s retirement fight.

Lightweight Bout – Mark Bocek (9-3) vs. Ben Henderson (12-2) – Henderson is making his UFC debut and looking to make a statement against Bocek. I see Henderson controlling the fight on his feet and on the ground as he will be too strong for Bocek in both areas. Henderson is smart enough to stay out of submission attempts by Bocek, and that is all the Canadian really has to offer. Give me Benson by decision.

Light Heavyweight Bout – Vladimir Matyushenko (25-5) vs. Jason Brilz (18-3-1) – This fight should be competitive, but I like Brilz to win by decision. He has a good chin and he is relentless with his pursuit to grapple. I suspect once Brilz gets a hold of Matyushenko, he will be able to consistently get him to the ground and get the win in the judges’ eyes.

Chad Ochocinco takes swipe at Marvin Lewis via Twitter

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (85) talks with head coach Marvin Lewis during the second quarter of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis on November 14, 2010. UPI /Mark Cowan

Chad Ochocinco has taken to his Twitter page to express his feelings about the Bengals and head coach Marvin Lewis this week.

On Tuesday, the Ocho tweeted: “Y’all ever lost somebody you felt was close to you, but they flip on you without giving you the script? Marvin Lewis hurt my feelings.”

Ochocinco has repeated several times that he loves Lewis, but he’s too hurt to make it work in 2011. When he was asked if the Bengals should select Georgia receiver A.J. Green with the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, Ochocinco responded with: “He’d be perfect. I’ve done all I can, my time is up.”

On Friday, Ochocinco turned it up a notch with his criticism of Lewis:

“Lewis: who’s 60-67 all-time, 0-2 in playoffs, and only 2 seasons with +.500 record, can’t criticize my thumbs for tweeting. They win 4 me”

Is anyone surprised by Ochocinco’s comments? This is what he does. He likes going against the grain and being flamboyant. He likes the attention and he likes being boisterous. He thrives off this and he doesn’t really care about what he says and he doesn’t care about what you think. This…is…what…he…does.

The problem with “what he does” is that people are getting tired of it. It seems like Lewis and the Bengals are tired of the way Ocho handles himself and even people outside of the organization are sick of his act as well.

So the fact that Ochocinco says these things doesn’t bother me and it doesn’t bother some Bengal fans. (Some fans even like it.) But if you’re going to do these things, if you’re going to tweet about how your coach is essentially a loser, then you run the risk of your team flipping on you “without giving you the script.”

Kaepernick in the mix to start for 49ers?

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh told the media on Friday that second round pick Colin Kaepernick will be given the opportunity to start as a rookie.

“Alex (Smith) has the ability the license to be the starting quarterback and so does Colin,” Harbaugh said.

Smith is a free agent but the consensus seems to be that San Fran will bring him back on a one or two-year deal – assuming he wants to return, that is. If the 49ers do bring Smith back, he would be the favorite to start over Kaepernick next year, and he should be.

I don’t want to take Harbaugh’s comments out of context. He’s a former NFL quarterback and he knows that sometimes it takes a while for a young signal caller to grasp playing in the pros. But I don’t like the idea of Kaepernick starting right away. He played in the pistol offense at Nevada – no matter how talented he is, it’s going to take some time for him to learn how to play in a pro-style offense. Imagine being taught Spanish in college and then turning around having to learn Italian in order to succeed in your profession. It’s going to take some time and Kaepernick should hold a clipboard in his first year.

Now, before 49er fans get upset with me and call me a moron because they think I’m criticizing Kaepernick – I’m not. In fact, this is what I wrote in my “15 Observations from the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft” piece after the Niners took Kaepernick on Friday evening:

3. It may take a couple of years but give Jim Harbaugh some time and he could turn Colin Kaepernick into a good pro quarterback. Kaepernick is a bit of a project but the kid has good size, a great arm and is one hell of an athlete. He has all the tools to succeed and if fans are patient, this could wind up being a beautiful marriage.

If he turns out to be the rookie of the year, then great! I would love to see Kaepernick succeed because he’s easy to root for. I just think everyone in the Bay area should be patient when it comes to this young man‘s development. He could be a real good quarterback in due time.

Zach Randolph leads Grizzlies to series-clinching win

Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (R) shoots as San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game in Memphis, Tennessee April 29, 2011. REUTERS/Nikki Boertman (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

It was The Z-Bo Show on Friday night, as Zach Randolph scored 31 points (on 12-of-22 shooting) to go along with 11 rebounds in the Grizzlies’ 99-91 win over the top-seeded Spurs.

Check out the final 6:37 from Randolph:

6:37 Zach Randolph makes layup
4:24 Zach Randolph makes 4-foot two point shot (Shane Battier assists)
3:30 Zach Randolph makes 8-foot two point shot
2:54 Zach Randolph makes two free throws
1:54 Zach Randolph makes 8-foot two point shot
1:10 Zach Randolph makes 8-foot two point shot
0:19 Zach Randolph makes 1 of 2 free throws
0:09 Zach Randolph makes two free throws

Other than a Mike Conley jumper with 3:57 to play, no other Memphis player scored for six minutes while Randolph almost single-handedly stretched the Grizzlies’ lead from three to nine. During that span, he scored 15 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from the line. It was truly an epic performance from a player who certainly has had his share of ups and downs during his career.

Grizzlies/Thunder in the second round — it should be a lot of fun to watch these two young teams battle for a berth in the Western Conference Finals.

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