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NL Central teams at the start of spring training

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 1:05 PM
Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 1:04 PM

            FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2017, file photo, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks throws during the first inning of Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in Chicago. Coming off an historic World Series title, the Cubs got off to a slow start last year and had to push themselves in the second half to overcome Milwaukee and win the NL Central. “I think it just teaches you how every year is so different,” Hendricks said, “not just the season, but the offseason too, and how you get your body ready. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 17, 2017, file photo, Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks throws during the first inning of Game 3 of baseball's National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in Chicago. Coming off an historic World Series title, the Cubs got off to a slow start last year and had to push themselves in the second half to overcome Milwaukee and win the NL Central. “I think it just teaches you how every year is so different,” Hendricks said, “not just the season, but the offseason too, and how you get your body ready. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

A team-by-team look at the National League Central entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:


Chicago Cubs

Manager: Joe Maddon (fourth season).

2017: 92-70, first place, lost to Dodgers in NLCS.

Training Town: Mesa, Arizona.

Park: Sloan Park.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: RHP Brandon Morrow, RHP Tyler Chatwood, RHP Steve Cishek, LHP Drew Smyly.

He's Outta Here: RHP Wade Davis, C Alex Avila, C Rene Rivera.

Going campin': Chicago is coming off three consecutive NLCS appearances, and it looked a little tired when its title defense came to an end with a lopsided playoff loss to Los Angeles last year. The bullpen was hit hard by the Dodgers in the NLCS, and the Cubs batted just .168 in 10 postseason games. The roster returns mostly intact, but the bullpen and coaching staff each has a new look. Morrow replaces Davis at closer after agreeing to a $21 million, two-year contract. Jim Hickey takes over as pitching coach, former major league outfielder Chili Davis is the new hitting coach and Brandon Hyde moves to bench coach after Dave Martinez was hired to manage the Washington Nationals. Also worth watching this spring is a new-look Kyle Schwarber, who changed his diet and workout routine over the winter in search of more consistency.


Milwaukee Brewers

Manager: Craig Counsell (fourth season).

2017: 86-76, second place.

Training Town: Phoenix.

Park: Maryvale Baseball Park.

First Workout: Feb. 15/20.

He's Here: OF Lorenzo Cain, OF Christian Yelich, RHP Jhoulys Chacin, RHP Yovani Gallardo, LHP Boone Logan, RHP Matt Albers.

He's Outta Here: 2B Neil Walker, OF Lewis Brinson, RHP Matt Garza, RHP Wily Peralta, RHP Carlos Torres, RHP Jared Hughes, RHP Anthony Swarzak.

Going campin': The Brewers shook up the sleepy offseason market by trading for Yelich and signing Cain to an $80 million contract on back-to-back days in late January. The bold moves shifted the franchise's focus from rebuilding to contending after a surprising 2017 season that ended with Milwaukee falling one game short of the playoffs. More moves are possible after the slick-fielding additions crowded the outfield picture. Left fielder Ryan Braun will give first base a try in spring training, and could play the position sometimes depending on his comfort level. Starts are up for grabs with Jimmy Nelson possibly out until at least June as he recovers from a partially torn labrum and strained rotator cuff. Gallardo returns to the Brewers hoping to fill a spot at the back of the rotation behind Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Chacin, with returnees including lefty Brent Suter and promising rookie Brandon Woodruff also in the running. Second base remains a question mark with Walker a free agent after being acquired in a trade with the Mets. Eric Sogard might be better suited for a utility role, though he had a penchant for getting on base. Getting the speedy Jonathan Villar to bounce back after an underwhelming 2017 season would help.


St. Louis Cardinals

Manager: Mike Matheny (seventh season).

2017: 83-79, third place.

Training Town: Jupiter, Florida.

Park: Roger Dean Stadium.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: LF Marcell Ozuna, RHP Miles Mikolas, RHP Luke Gregerson.

He's Outta Here: RHP Lance Lynn, OF Stephen Piscotty, OF Randal Grichuk, RHP Seung-hwan Oh, RHP Juan Nicasio, SS Aledmys Diaz.

Going campin': The Cardinals have had one losing season since the start of the century, but are facing immense pressure from fans after finishing behind the Cubs and Brewers in the NL Central last season. St. Louis missed the playoffs for a second straight year, the first time that's happened since 2007-08. That drought — at least by Cardinals standards — was the fuel for a busy offseason that saw them pursue NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton before coming away with Ozuna instead in a trade with the Marlins. Ozuna immediately steps in as the top power hitter for St. Louis after socking 37 home runs last season in Miami, and he'll remain in left field, where he won a Gold Glove last season. He'll be joined in the outfield by center fielder Tommy Pham, who emerged after years of injury concerns to hit 23 homes runs and steal 25 bases last season, while Dexter Fowler is moving to right. Mikolas returned from a stint in Japan and signed a two-year contract to join the rotation, which is currently without the unsigned Lynn. Gregerson enters spring training as the closer after coming over from Houston. Matheny, however, is keeping open the possibility of hard-throwing Alex Reyes moving into that role once he's fully recovered from elbow surgery that kept him out last season. St. Louis is targeting a May 1 return for Reyes, who had a 1.57 ERA and struck out 52 batters in 46 innings during his 2016 debut.


Pittsburgh Pirates

Manager: Clint Hurdle (eighth season).

2017: 75-87, fourth place.

Training Town: Bradenton, Florida.

Park: LECOM Park.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: 3B Colin Moran, RHP Joe Musgrove, RHP Michael Feliz, RHP Kyle Crick.

He's Outta Here: CF Andrew McCutchen, RHP Gerrit Cole, OF John Jaso, C Chris Stewart, RHP Johnny Barbato, RHP Joaquin Benoit.

Going campin': Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington says the team isn't rebuilding following consecutive losing seasons. Funny, it sure looks that way. In a span of three days in January, the Pirates sent Cole and McCutchen, two vital cogs in their run to three straight playoff appearances from 2013-15, elsewhere rather than foot the bill for their salaries. Cole, due $6.75 million this season, was shipped to Houston while five-time All-Star and 2013 NL MVP McCutchen — and his $14.75 million salary — was traded to San Francisco. McCutchen's departure leaves a spot open in the outfield, where Sean Rodriguez will likely have the inside track as prospect Austin Meadows tries to put an injury-plagued 2017 behind him. Moran has the potential to help out David Freese at third base with Jung Ho Kang not expected to return to the U.S. after missing all of 2017 due to visa issues stemming from his DUI arrest in his native Korea in 2016. There is intrigue in the starting rotation behind Ivan Nova, Jameson Taillon and Chad Kuhl. The back end of the bullpen is fine after closer Felipe Rivero signed a four-year contract, but the Pirates will need six weeks of camp to figure out who will work in front of him.


Cincinnati Reds

Manager: Bryan Price (fifth season).

2017: 68-94, fifth place.

Training Town: Goodyear, Arizona.

Park: Goodyear Ballpark.

First Workout: Feb. 14/19.

He's Here: RHP Jared Hughes, RHP David Hernandez.

He's Outta Here: SS Zack Cozart, RHP Bronson Arroyo, RHP Tim Adleman.

Going campin': The Reds lost 90 games for the third straight season, with their pitching staff the biggest problem once again. Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan were expected to anchor the rotation, but all three missed significant time — DeSclafani the entire season — because of injuries, forcing Cincinnati to go with rookies who weren't ready for the majors. Reds starters gave up the most earned runs and homers in the NL and ranked last in ERA. Bailey, DeSclafani and Finnegan are expected to be healthy for the start of camp, and their progress will be the main focus. Luis Castillo has the edge on the No. 4 spot after a strong rookie season (3.12 ERA in 15 starts), and the fifth spot is open to competition. The bullpen also was a major issue again last season, giving up the most walks and runs in the NL. Hughes and Hernandez were signed for late-inning roles ahead of closer Raisel Iglesias. A couple of bullpen spots remain open to competition. Jose Peraza moves from second base to shortstop to replace Cozart, who signed with the Angels after his All-Star season. Catcher Devin Mesoraco is making yet another comeback — he's been severely limited the last three seasons by hip, shoulder and foot injuries.


More AP baseball:

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Days of rain getting underway

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 3:53 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 3:22 PM

Several rounds of rain may lead to flooding problems this week.

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Auglaize, Champaign, Darke, Logan, Mercer, and Shelby counties, in effect from 1 a.m. Thursday through 11 a.m. 

Total ice accumulations overnight could reach one-tenth of an inch with limited viability also expected. 

A Flood Watch has also been issued for Butler, Clinton and Warren counties, starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday through 10 a.m. Feb. 25. 

>> Record-breaking warmth this week 


  • FLOOD WATCH for southern Miami Valley begins tonight
  • WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for northern Miami Valley late tonight
  • 2 to 4 inches of rain possible through the weekend

>> 5-Day Forecast


5 Day Forecast with Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs

THIS EVENING: On and off rain. Temperatures will drop through the 30s.

Graphic by Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell

>> County-by-County Weather

TONIGHT: Rain likely. As temperatures drop, the rain may become freezing rain across the northern Miami Valley. Elsewhere, temperatures should remain just above freezing, in the lower to middle 30s.

THURSDAY: Rain or freezing rain in the morning then drying out. Clouds will remain. Temperatures will hold in the middle 40s.

Graphic by Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist Eric Elwell

FRIDAY: Rain likely. The rain may be heavy at times. It will be mild with highs in the upper 50s.

>> WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

SATURDAY: Rain likely. The rain may be heavy at times with a chance for some thunder, mainly south. Highs will be near 60 degrees.

SUNDAY: Rain will taper off early in the morning with clouds breaking. It will be windy and cooler with highs in the middle 50s.

MONDAY: Sunshine returns. Breezy and cool with highs in the lower 50s.


WHIO Weather App

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Kettering substitute accused of sex with students ruled competent to stand trial

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 3:05 PM

Substitute teacher indicted on student sex charges enters plea

A judge has ruled the Kettering Fairmont High School substitute teacher accused of having sex with two students in a Big Lots and apartment complex parking lot is competent to stand trial, officials said.

Madeline J. Marx, 23, is charged with sexual battery.

A 17-year-old student told police he was given oral sex by a teacher July 19 in the parking lot of Big Lots on Wilmington Pike, according to the complaint, affidavit and statement of facts filed in municipal court.

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A 16-year-old boy told police he had intercourse with a substitute teacher Sept. 21 in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Smithville Road, according to court documents.

Marx was removed from Fairmont’s building Nov. 8 by police. Marx admitted to having sexual relationships with multiple students, according to court documents.

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An affidavit said Marx also confessed to sending several nude pictures via Snapchat and Instagram.

A prosecutor’s office press release indicated Marx also substitute taught in Oakwood. School officials in Oakwood sent parents a letter saying that they did not know of any victims in their school district.

State records indicated Marx has a four-year teaching license as a K-12 education intervention specialist.

Marx graduated in 2012 from Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton and graduated from the University of Dayton in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in education, according to CJ and UD officials.

According to her UD transcript included in her personnel file, Marx withdrew from a fall 2013 class on sexual ethics.

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WATCH: West Carrollton HS student charged for alleged assault at school

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 7:59 AM
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 1:48 PM

Officials with West Carrollton Schools said they have dealt with a student after video of an assault at the high school showed up on Facebook. Video courtesy of Rachel Tussey's Facebook page.

UPDATE @ 1:45 p.m. 

A 15-year-old West Carrollton High School student who allegedly assaulted a classmate, accused the assault victim of telling a female acquaintance to kill herself, according to a police report. 

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The 15-year-old victim denied the allegation while the victim filed the police report, according to the report. Victim’s mother also denied the allegation when reached by this new organization. 

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The victim and his mother went to the West Carrollton Police Department after the victim received treatment at Dayton Children’s Hospital on Feb. 5. The victim suffered a concussion and a jaw injury in the incident, the report said.

The victim also said the suspect reached out to him on Snapchat after the alleged assault, asking him not to pursue criminal charges, but the victim and his family did not have screenshots of the messages, the report said.

After completing the police report, officers went to the suspect’s home, arrested him and took him in for questioning. 

“(The suspect) told me that (the victim) told his friend to kill herself, which upset him,” West Carrollton officers logged in the report. “(The suspect) said that he has been going back and forth with (the victim) via text messages about it.” 

The suspect told police he has an anger problem, and it caused him to “black out” and attack the victim, according to the report. 

This news organization is not naming the parties involved in this incident because they are minors. 


A West Carrollton High School student is facing assault charges after  the district said the student was allegedly involved in an assault at the school earlier this month that was filmed by someone at the school.

The assault was reported to have happened at the high school on Feb. 5

A parent shared a video with this news organization and on social media reportedly showing an attack in the hallway of the high school on the same day the district confirmed an assault occurred.  The district confirmed the video is part of their investigation.

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“This incident was investigated in accordance with school policies, and appropriate disciplinary actions were taken,” said West Carrollton Superintendent Andrea Townsend.  “Our District takes bullying very seriously, and is constantly teaching and reminding our students to be respectful of others in all their interactions.”

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First of two men convicted of killing mother in front of her child sentenced to prison

Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 2:26 PM

Curtis Howard Burdette (Contributed Photo)
Curtis Howard Burdette (Contributed Photo)

One of two men convicted of killing Brittany Russell was sentenced in court Wednesday. 

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Curtis Howard Burdette, 39, of Dayton was sentenced to the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison Wednesday, according to a release from the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. 

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Burdette was found guilty in March 2017 on charges of involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping, and tampering with evidence in connection to the death of Brittany Russell. Russell was found shot in the head in her car while her 6-month-old daughter was in the back seat. 

The co-defendant in the case, Brandon Carr, was found guilty on charges last week of murder, aggravated murder, kidnapping, felonious assault, tampering with evidence, endangering children, and other charges. Carr will be sentenced on March 9. 

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