The Wolverine

June-July 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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72 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2017 BY CHRIS BALAS F ormer Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long, the Miami Dolphins' first pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and the No. 1 overall selection that year, announced his retirement on Twitter in early May. Last year, Long tore his Achilles tendon in week 10 while playing with the Minnesota Vikings, the lat- est in a long line of injuries. During his nine-year NFL career with the Dolphins, St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons and Vikings, he played in 104 games and made 99 starts. "Mentally and physically I have given this game everything I pos- sibly could. I love playing it and will definitely miss it," he said. "I'd like to thank all of the organizations I got a chance to play for. "Most of all, I want to thank the Miami Dolphins. Mr. [Stephen] Ross, [coach] Tony Sparano and [former G.M.] Bill Parcells, thank you. You believed in me and gave me my first opportunity to live my dream of playing in the NFL. I will always be a proud and lifelong Miami Dolphin." Long was a two-time consensus All-American at Michigan and a first- team All-Big Ten selection in 2006 and 2007. He was a four-time Pro Bowl pick, but suffered two torn ACLs during his time in the league. He thanked former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr for what he called one of his greatest accomplishments. "You gave me one of the greatest honors of playing football at the Uni- versity of Michigan," he said. "The way you cared and the lessons you taught your players were what pre- pared them for the NFL and beyond. I love you coach, thank you." Major League Baseball ZACH PUTNAM PLACED ON THE DISABLED LIST Two of Michigan's three major leaguers, all pitchers, are now on the disabled list. Chicago White Sox hurler Zach Putnam went on the 10- day disabled list with right elbow in- flammation April 25 after getting off to a great start. He hadn't returned as of May 8. Putnam called himself the "defini- tion of day to day" and said he knew when to shut it down April 24, hav- ing had the same pain in the past. Tests proved negative for structural damage. Putnam had been pitching well, posting a 1.04 ERA in eight and two- thirds innings. "I had been feeling pretty good and it just kind of came on out of nowhere, but it's a familiar feeling," Putnam told "I know what to look for, and I know my body better than anybody." In Los Angeles, former U-M pitcher Rich Hill continued to work with Rancho Cucamonga, the A club, to return from blisters on his finger that sent him to the DL. He faced six batters in his first rehab start and only got two out before being pulled after 29 pitches. He was slated to pitch for Ran- cho again May 9 and then rejoin the Dodgers if all went well. "The finger is holding up great," Hill told "I think it's just getting repetitions and pitching. It's been, 'How much is too much? How much is too little?' "I think it's great now. The finger has been great. The results weren't what I was looking for, but the quan- tity of pitches and everything was something I can look at and say I'm ready to go." Hill is in his first season of a three- year, $48 million contract with the Dodgers. This is the second time he's struggled with blisters, having been through it last year as well. "From the standpoint of the way the ball was coming out of my hand after 15 days or so of getting out there and getting back into competi- tion, it felt great," he said. "I would like to push it and keep going, but I understand the medical side of it, where less is more because you want to get to the next day and see how it represents itself." Hill was 9-3 with a 2.25 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 76 innings before the injury surfaced last year. He stood 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA and seven strike- outs in eight innings pitched for the Dodgers as of May 8. MLB NOTES • Another former U-M hurler, lefty Clayton Richard, has had his ups and downs as of May 8. He stood 2-4 for the 13-20 Padres, had struck out 28 in his seven starts and had an ERA of 4.87. Long, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, was a four-time Pro Bowl pick and played in 104 games over nine years with the Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings. PHOTO BY LARRY BLANKENSHIP   MICHIGAN IN THE PROS Jake Long Calls It A Career

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