UCLA third baseman Chris Keck out for season with blood clot in arm

UCLA third baseman Chris Keck is out for the season with a blood clot in his arm, the school announced today.

The junior had started 34 games in the infield before sitting out the Bruins’ recent weekend series at Utah. Keck, who hit .215 with 10 RBI, will likely be replaced by redshirt senior Aaron Weimer.

It’s yet another hit to a UCLA roster that has limped through the 2014 season, sitting at 21-16 overall and 9-6 for fifth place in the Pac-12. Continue reading

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UCLA baseball championship voted top 2013 Los Angeles sports moment

UCLA baseball’s first-ever College World Series title was named the top local sports moment of 2013 tonight, beating out a pair of Bruin football mentions for the honor at the L.A. Sports Awards.

Head coach John Savage led the baseball team to an unlikely championship run, sweeping through all ten postseason games and outscoring Mississippi State, 11-1, in the two final games.

The football team earned two spots on the top-ten list, which was based on online fan voting as well as a media panel. UCLA’s 35-14 win at USC, its first at the Coliseum since 1997, earned fifth place. Linebacker/running back Myles Jack took the next spot by himself for becoming the first player to win both Pac-12 Freshman Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year.

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Infielder Kevin Kramer may have season-ending surgery

After winning its first national championship, UCLA will open its 2014 season with arguably the thinnest infield of coach John Savage’s tenure.

All-conference honorable mention Kevin Kramer could soon undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, leaving the Bruins with just two returning starters along the base paths: catcher Shane Zeile and first baseman Pat Gallagher. UCLA ranked second in the Pac-12 in fielding last year (.980), but lost shortstop Pat Valaika — the team’s first Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year — and Cody Regis, a 39-game starter at second base.

After starting all 66 games at third base during the Bruins’ 2013 title run, Kramer had been slated to move to shortstop. The team will make a decision on his possible surgery by next Monday. He and Savage had discussed using him exclusively as a designated hitter, but later ruled out that plan.

Infielder Kevin Williams is also battling a shoulder injury, and will be sidelined until mid-March. Continue reading

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Outfielder Eric Filia to miss 2014 season after surgery

Outfielder Eric Filia will miss the entire 2014 season after undergoing labrum surgery, dealing a heavy blow to a UCLA baseball team hoping to defend its first-ever College World Series title.

Filia’s season-ending injury, first reported by Perfect Game’s Kendall Rogers, isn’t the the first time his shoulder has flared up. He suffered a rotator cuff impingement in July while playing in the Cape Cod Summer League. Continue reading

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UCLA will appeal to stay in Jackie Robinson Stadium

UCLA baseball title celebration

The Bruins will fight to keep their home.

UCLA announced Tuesday that it will appeal a ruling that forces its baseball team out of Jackie Robinson Stadium. U.S. District judge S. James Otero ruled this August that the Department of Veterans Affairs had misused its West Los Angeles campus by leasing land to various tenants, including the Bruins’ national championship team.

The land was deeded in 1888 for providing a home for disabled veterans. By not using it to provide health care for veterans, Otero’s decision stated, Veterans Affairs is in violation of federal law. The ACLU sued VA in June 2011 on behalf of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries.

In addition to Jackie Robinson Stadium, parts of the 387-acre property are leased out to 10 other companies and businesses, including the Brentwood School, a hotel laundry and film studio storage lot. Continue reading

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Details from John Savage’s max $1.125 million extension

After winning UCLA baseball’s first-ever national championship, head coach John Savage was rewarded with a contract extension that pays him up to $1.025 million annually, plus a $100,000 signing bonus. His previous contract maxed out at $501,000.

The UC regents officially approved the contract on Sept. 18. USC reportedly offered Savage over $1 million after he won the College World Series in June.

The terms make Savage, who also won multiple national coach of the year honors this summer, among the highest-paid college baseball coaches in the country. LSU’s Paul Mainieri earns $750,000 in annual guaranteed salary.

The particulars from Savage’s contract, which runs through 2025: Continue reading

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Weekly Q&A — 9/16/13 Answers

Q: Why does Jerry Neuheisel wear #39 on the sidelines then switch to #11 when he comes in at quarterback (he did this in the Nevada game)?

Anthony Barr (also No. 11) is on the kick team, so Neuheisel wears No. 39 on when he holds kicks.

Q: Did Priest Willis play v. Nebraska? If not, are we going to see him this year or is he going to redshirt?

Willis played late in the game on special teams. Jim Mora didn’t want to rush him back since he didn’t play in the season opener due to injury.

Q: Any fallout from Tahaan Goodman’s tweet about not being good enough to play vs. Nebraska?

Not too significant, though coaches talked to him about it. An 18-year-old should get a mulligan for not thinking through his tweets.

Q: Has there been any talk about Brett Hundley leaving after this year for the NFL draft? Continue reading

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Weekly Q&A — 9/2/13 Answers

Q: How many points will UCLA need to beat Nebraska? After seeing Nebraska surrender 600 yds to Wyoming, should we feel a lot better heading into that game? Brett Hundley and our offense can give us a shot against anybody correct?

A: I’d give Nebraska some benefit of the doubt for early-season rust, but UCLA looks pretty good for that game. You’re right: Brett Hundley and company have the firepower to hang with most teams. Taylor Martinez will give the Bruins trouble with QB runs, though they’ll have a bye week to prep for that. It’ll be more about how much UCLA can limit him rather than how many points the team can put up.

Q: Do you see any possibility in changes to the depth chart for running backs? Steve Manfro has alligator arms. Malcolm Jones is on a mission. I believe he should eventually take the No. 2 back behind Jordon James.

A: The depth chart looks pretty fluid after James, so there’s a chance for anybody to carve out a more significant secondary role. I’m not ready to give Jones the edge there, however; he looked good, but he also came in late against a Nevada defense that looked gassed.

Q: How realistic is the Brett Hundley Heisman talk? Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Utah’s Jordan Loveridge sheds 25 pounds

» Promising Utah forward Jordan Loveridge has dropped 25 pounds since March, spurred in part by his father’s recent diabetes diagnosis. The 6-foot-6 rising sophomore didn’t want his dad to diet alone.

“As close as we are, it’s something that’s made us closer,” Bill Loveridge told the Salt Lake Tribune. “We talked about it once, and then we’ve just kind of gone out and done it.”

» Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins will serve one day in jail for his guilty DUI plea. How long should he be suspended?

» Stanford is the only FBS school that employs African-Americans as athletic director, football head coach and men’s basketball head coach. Is that a big deal? David Shaw: “I think it is a story that it’s not a big story. That’s a great story!” Continue reading

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UC Regents approve John Savage’s contract extension

John Savage took UCLA baseball further than anyone before him. The Bruins made sure he didn’t leave.

The two-time National Coach of the Year has often stated his desire to stay in Westwood. After winning the program’s first-ever title and turning down a reported million-dollar offer from USC, he is locked in until 2025 — his contract extension approved today by the UC Regents.

“I couldn’t be happier about their commitment, not only to me, but to the baseball program,” Savage said.

The 48-year-old coach, who just completed his ninth season, said improvements to Jackie Robinson Stadium were a significant part of the negotiation.

Most pressing is the need for an adjoining half-infield laid with turf. The addition would allow the Bruins to practice on the surface without having to practice on the football team’s Spaulding Field.

Savage hopes construction will begin as soon as this summer. Other possible facility additions include a new clubhouse, press box, restrooms and concessions. Continue reading

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