Wake Forest coach donates kidney to freshman outfielder
Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter has donated a kidney to a freshman player who suffers from a disease that can lead to kidney failure. Walter and outfielder Kevin Jordan were recovering Tuesday in an Atlanta hospital one day after the transplant was performed.
"For us, it's almost like it's been divine intervention," Jordan's father, Keith, said.
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Dr. Kenneth Newell, the lead surgeon on the team that removed Walter's kidney, said in a statement issued Tuesday by Wake Forest that he expects Walter and Jordan to recover fully.
The school says the recovery time for Walter, 42, and Jordan, a 19th-round draft pick of the Yankees last June, is expected to be several months. Walter said it will be two months before he is back to normal. Keith Jordan said his son could swing a bat again in 6-8 weeks, and he expects Kevin to enroll in summer school in June and prepare for the fall semester.
For now, though, he said the priority for his son is the early stage of recovery, which includes taking short walks in the hospital and making sure his incision doesn't become infected.
"I think he's feeling great, outside of, he's still got a couple of tubes hanging out of him," Keith Jordan said.
Walter said the "best-case scenario is that Kevin and I just lead a normal life" but added that the great story will come when Jordan "makes it back to the playing field."
Ty Cobb's namesake plays for Occidental
The great-grandson and namesake of Hall of Fame baseball player Ty Cobb chose basketball over baseball at Occidental College, a Division III school in Los Angeles whose nickname would surely have the approval of The Georgia Peach — the Tigers. The 19-year-old reserve freshman forward is averaging 3.4 points and 3.5 rebounds. His coach, Brian Newhall, found his name through an East Coast scouting service and was intrigued because Cobb was 6-foot-5 and a good student from Menlo Park, Calif., whose father graduated from Occidental. The kid's name didn't register with the 50-year-old coach, who is clearly cornering the market on descendants of sports legends — John Wooden's great-grandson was on his team four years ago.
"I had no idea who Ty Cobb was," Newhall said. "My baseball career ended when I was 7 years old. Everyone else in the world other than me was aware who Ty Cobb was."
Tyrus Raymond Cobb was simply one of the toughest and greatest players in baseball history, his spikes high and his will to win unrivaled. The outfielder spent 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, including the last six as their player-manager, and played for the Philadelphia Athletics. The current Cobb played three sports at Sacred Heart Prep in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was a double-figure scorer and rebounder on the basketball team and a first baseman and left-handed pitcher on the baseball team.
Larkin on a diplomatic mission for U.S.
Former Reds star Barry Larkin is one of two veteran baseball stars scheduled to travel to South Korea and meet North Korean defectors as part of U.S. efforts to use sport as a tool of diplomacy. Larkin and former Montreal Expos pitcher Joe Logan will visit Seoul, Gwangju and Jeju Island Feb. 13-19. The State Department said Tuesday the pair will hold baseball clinics, meet defectors and speak to students. They will also hold discussions with nongovernmental and minority groups on the importance of diversity. Larkin was a shortstop on the Reds' 1990 World Series team. He and Logan have made two previous trips overseas as sports-diplomacy envoys. Baseball is popular in South Korea, which has its own professional league.
Ohlendorf wants $1.6M raise after 1-11 year
Pitcher Ross Ohlendorf and the Pittsburgh Pirates have gone to salary arbitration in the first hearing of the year. The 28-year-old right-hander went 1-11 with a 4.07 ERA in 21 starts for Pittsburgh last year, down from 11-10 in 2009. Ohlendorf asked a three-man panel for a raise from $439,000 to $2,025,000 on Tuesday. The Pirates argued he should be paid $1.4 million. Owners won five of eight hearings last year, bringing their advantage to 285-210 since salary arbitration began in 1974.
Brooklyn team asks Aguilera to try again
Christina Aguilera has been invited to sing a do-over. The Brooklyn Cyclones are offering the Staten Island native a chance to perform the national anthem before one of the minor-league baseball team's home games this summer. Aguilera botched one of the lines before Sunday's Super Bowl. The New York Mets' Class A farm team extended the invitation Tuesday.
■ A minor-league catcher with the Nationals has been suspended 25 games because he was found in possession of an unauthorized syringe, a person familiar with the penalty told The Associated Press Tuesday. The ban for Hector Taveras was announced by Major League Baseball under the minor-league drug program, but the reason for the suspension was not. While most suspensions for first offenses are for 50 games, the person said MLB could impose lesser discipline if the reason for the penalty was other than a positive test. Under the minor-league program, players may only be in possession of syringes if they have team permission. Taveras, 22, is on the roster of Washington's Gulf Coast League rookie team. He hit .291 with no homers and 24 RBI at Washington's GCL team last year and was 2-for-3 at Hagerstown of the Class A South Atlantic League. He is the fifth player suspended this year under the minor-league program. Nationals catcher Adrian Nieto was suspended for 50 games last week following a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance.
Rider sick after self-blood transfusion
Italian professional cyclist Riccardo Ricco was admitted to a hospital in Modena, Italy, in critical condition Monday after performing a transfusion on himself with blood that might have turned bad, according to Italian news reports. Ricco, who was ejected from the 2008 Tour de France for testing positive for the blood-booster CERA, sought medical care after becoming ill during a training ride. He informed a doctor in the hospital that he had performed a transfusion with blood that was 25 days old and perhaps not preserved properly, said the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta di Modena. The cyclist's father, Rubinho Ricco, told La Gazzetta that his son had kidney failure. A statement from the hospital that was treating Ricco said his condition was improving.
The last word
The Celtics were short-handed, weary and lacking energy following a difficult stretch of games when Kevin Garnett leveled an elbow into Eduardo Najera's face Monday night. The intimidation attempt didn't work against the Bobcat, who hit a clutch three as his team held on to win, and he had some words for Garnett after the blow:
"I just told him he hits like my grandma."