Sports Digest: Three more locals taken in MLB draft

2013-06-08T21:30:00Z 2013-09-16T18:54:13Z Sports Digest: Three more locals taken in MLB draft
June 08, 2013 9:30 pm

Pro baseball

THREE MORE LOCALS TAKEN IN DRAFT: The MLB draft continued Saturday with rounds 11-40, as Mount Carmel grad Kevin Johnson and Valparaiso University pitcher Tanner Vavra were selected.

Johnson, a senior right-handed pitcher at the University of Illinois, was taken in the 24th round by the Oakland Athletics. Johnson, who had arm trouble and didn't pitch the last month of the Fighting Illini's season, said his arm is fine.

"My arm is well-rested, and I am ready to go," he said. "I don't know how much that affected my not getting drafted earlier."

He said he will report to Phoenix on Tuesday.

Vavra was a fifth-year senior second baseman who hit .313 and was selected in the 30th round, 890th overall, by the Minnesota Twins. Vavra's father is an infield instructor and third base coach with the Twins.

Heartland Community College pitcher Dan Lietz (Homewood-Flossmoor) was drafted on Friday by the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth round. Lietz, who just completed his freshman year, will sign and report to the Blue Jays Gulf Coast League team in Florida.

"It hasn't sunk in yet and probably won't until Tuesday when I report," Lietz said. "It's pretty exciting."

SOX'S DANKS GETS FIRST WIN: John Danks pitched three-hit ball over eight innings for his first victory in more than a year, and the White Sox won for just the second time in 12 games, beating the surging Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Saturday.

Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko homered. Alex Rios drove in the go-ahead run, and the White Sox handed the Athletics just their fourth loss in 22 games. Danks (1-2) struck out six and walked one.

PIRATES HAND SAMARDZIJA, CUBS LOSS: A.J. Burnett pitched into the ninth inning, and Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin homered to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-2 win over the Cubs on Saturday.

Burnett (4-6) gave up four hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings to improve to 5-0 at Wrigley Field.

The Pirates tagged Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija (3-7) for eight hits, including Alvarez's two-run home run in the fourth, his team-high 13th of the year. The Valparaiso High School graduate struck out seven in six innings.

Alfonso Soriano hit his 379th career home run for the Cubs, tying him with Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez for 64th on the all-time list.


Auto racing

CASTRONEVES GETS 1ST INDYCAR WIN OF THE YEAR: Helio Castroneves raced to his first IndyCar victory of the season, leading the final 132 laps Saturday night for his fourth career victory at Texas Motor Speedway.

Castroneves also won at the 1½-mile, high-banked track in 2004, 2006 and 2009. Former series champion Sam Hornish Jr. was the only other three-time IndyCar winner at Texas.

Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Motorsports finished second, more than 5 seconds back.

Castroneves entered the night tied with Marco Andretti for the season points lead. Andretti finished fifth. He dropped to second, 22 points behind Castroneves.


Pro golf

STEFANI SHOOTS 66 TO LEAD AT ST. JUDE: Rookie Shawn Stefani overcame a quadruple bogey and shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to take the third-round lead in the St. Jude Classic.

The 31-year-old Texan has a 12-under 198 at TPC Southwind. Harris English was a stroke back after a 69, finishing out of the lead for the first time this week.

Scott Stallings, Patrick Reed and Nicholas Thompson were 8 under. Phil Mickelson was another stroke back after a 65.

PRESSEL UP 2 AT LPGA: Overcoming rain and a muddy course, Morgan Pressel shot a 2-under 70 on Saturday to take the lead after two rounds of the LPGA Championship.

At 6-under 138, Pressel had a two-shot lead over top-ranked Inbee Park and Chella Choi.

The final two rounds will be squeezed into a 36-hole marathon today at Locust Hill Country Club to determine the winner of the tour's second major.

FROST TAKES REGIONS TRADITION LEAD: David Frost birdied the 16th and 17th holes Saturday en route to a 6-under 66 and a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples after the third round of the Regions Tradition.

Frost had four birdies on the final eight holes to move to 12-under 205 in the major championship.


Around the horn

Indiana senior Derek Drouin won his unprecedented fifth NCAA high jump title by clearing 7 feet, 8 inches Friday in Eugene, Ore. ... The NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway was postponed Saturday night until 10 a.m. today because of rain. ... Former New York Giants star and unrestricted free agent Ahmad Bradshaw visited the Colts' team complex Thursday and was still negotiating with the team Friday, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no deal had yet been reached. ... Diana Taurasi scored 26 points, and the short-handed Phoenix Mercury beat the defending champion Fever 82-67 Saturday. The Mercury was without Brittney Griner, who was a late scratch from the lineup with a left knee sprain. Shavonte Zellous had a season-high 29 points for the Fever.

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