Santa Clara, Calif. The San Francisco 49ers ran interference for Michael Crabtree on Wednesday. Crabtree grabbed the playbook from his locker and took off to get to work before San Francisco’s afternoon practice. The team wants its rookie wide receiver and top draft pick to get all his football studying done before doing any interviews about his highly anticipated NFL debut Sunday at Houston in his home state.
Crabtree, who is set to address the media today, will play a lot against the Texans — and perhaps even start. It sure sounds as if coach Mike Singletary is leaning that way. Singletary said it tells a lot that Crabtree is even being considered to be among the top 11 in his first game.
“It shows he hasn’t been sitting around on the couch looking at television. He’s been working,” Singletary said. “When you have a guy like that, you don’t have to be a Phi Beta Kappa to figure it out. If the guy can play, if he can make plays, put him on the field, give him a chance, let’s see what he can do.”
Singletary has long been a Crabtree supporter, even through the 10th overall pick’s prolonged contract impasse.
Singletary and everybody else is eager to see what kind of impact the former Texas Tech standout can make after missing all of spring work and training camp. He finally signed a six-year deal with $17 million guaranteed on Oct. 7.
Steelers kicker apologizes
Pittsburgh — Steelers kicker Jeff Reed has apologized to his teammates, saying he didn’t mean to cause a distraction by getting involved in a run-in with Pittsburgh police several hours after kicking two field goals against Cleveland.
The incident was the second involving Reed this year and led to meetings with team president Art Rooney II, director of football operations Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin.
Browns LB has surgery
Berea, Ohio — Cleveland Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson has undergone surgery in New York to repair his injured shoulder.
Pujols has elbow surgery
St. Louis — St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow Wednesday, with doctors removing bone chips and trimming bone spurs. He is expected to make a full recovery in time for next season.
Dr. James Andrews, who performed the operation in Birmingham, Ala., said that Pujols would not require ligament reconstruction. Pujols has been playing with a partially torn ligament since 2003, and reconstructive surgery would have sidelined him the first few months of next season.
Valentine, Indians to talk
Cleveland — Former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine will have his second interview with the Cleveland Indians today. Valentine, who led the Mets to the World Series in 2000, will be the second managerial finalist to have a sit-down interview with the Indians. Former Washington manager Manny Acta met with Cleveland’s owners and other front-office personnel on Tuesday.
Valentine, 59, spent the past six years managing in Japan. He’s currently working as an analyst for ESPN. He managed Texas from 1985-92 and was with the Mets from 1996-2002.
The Indians also intend to interview Los Angeles Dodgers batting coach Don Mattingly.
Jaramillo joins Cubs
Chicago — The Chicago Cubs have hired Rudy Jaramillo as their hitting coach, hoping he can resurrect an offense that struggled during a disappointing 2009 season. Jaramillo, who spent 15 years as the hitting coach of the Texas Rangers, replaces Von Joshua. Joshua was removed after the season and offered a job in Triple-A, where he’d worked previously.
The Cubs finished the season batting .255.
Tracy, Scioscia honored
Denver — Jim Tracy has been named Sporting News’ 2009 Manager of the Year for the National League in his first year at the helm of the Colorado Rockies. Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia received the award in the American League in voting by a panel of 22 Major League Baseball managers.
Michigan AD to retire
Ann Arbor, Mich. — University of Michigan athletic director Bill Martin, who helped launch a pair of multimillion-dollar renovations to campus facilities and brought in new coaches for the football and men’s basketball programs, will retire next year. The 69-year-old Martin will step down effective Sept. 4, 2010, the school said Wednesday.
Hawks cut guard West
Atlanta — The Atlanta Hawks have 13 players on their roster after waiving guard Mario West and centers Garret Siler and Courtney Sims.
West, from Georgia Tech, played the last two seasons with the Hawks. West averaged 2.2 points in five preseason games. Siler, from Augusta State, appeared in two preseason games. Sims, from Michigan, was chosen MVP of the NBA Development League last season. He averaged 6.4 points in three preseason games.
Glover wins Grand Slam
Southampton, Bermuda — U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover won the PGA Grand Slam of Golf on Wednesday by closing with 5-under 66 to finish five shots ahead of Masters champion Angel Cabrera.
Glover was tied with British Open champion Stewart Cink when they reached the turn at Port Royal Golf Course. The U.S. Open champion birdied the 10th and 11th, while Cink fell back with bogeys on the next two holes.
Glover finished at 11-under 131 and earned $600,000.
Soderling wins opener
Stockholm — Top-seeded Robin Soderling breezed past Giovanni Lapentti of Ecuador, 6-3, 6-0, on Wednesday in the first round at the Stockholm Open.
Moscow — Top-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia and third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland were upset in the first round of the Kremlin Cup on Wednesday. Davydenko lost to former top-ranked Marat Safin, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, and Radwanska was ousted by Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-3.