Scott Boehm/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha will start the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the bullpen, Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny announced Wednesday.
The 23-year-old Wacha, who was the NL Championship Series MVP last season, has been dealing with a shoulder injury this season that caused him to miss 11 weeks.
"He's been progressively getting better, but it's a tough time to try and continue to work on things," Matheny said of Wacha. "But we like him. We like him in any situation, and we explained to him that there is the potential that that could change over time. He's got to stay ready, be available in the 'pen, and if we're fortunate enough to move forward, things could be different."
While Wacha did make four September starts, Matheny felt the youngster would be best suited starting the series in the pen. "It's been a challenge for him with the injury that he had and the time that he took. He's made great adjustments, but right now we have to go with the guys who we believe are going to give us the best shot."
The Cardinals also announced their starting rotation for the series. Adam Wainwright will start Game 1 (Friday), followed by Lance Lynn, John Lackey, and Shelby Miller.
Steve Nehf/The Denver Post(ENGLEWOOD, Colo.) -- Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is closing in on history.
The 38-year-old is one touchdown pass away from 500 for his career. If and when he reaches that milestone, Manning will become the second quarterback in NFL history to throw more than 500 touchdowns, the other being Brett Favre, who threw a record 508.
Manning will get his chance to reach the 500 plateau Sunday when the Broncos (2-1) host the Arizona Cardinals (3-0).
"It's greatness," Broncos head coach John Fox said. "When somebody reaches that kind of statistic in their career, it's pretty remarkable."
Throughout his 17 NFL seasons, Manning has averaged 2.053 touchdown passes per game.
Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) -- Madison Bumgarner pitched a complete game shutout to help the San Francisco Giants stop the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-0 in the National League Wild Card game Wednesday night.
Bumgarner continued his road dominance, winning his 12th game of the season away from home, allowing four hits and one walk, while striking out 10.
The Giants got on the board in the fourth when Brandon Crawford belted a grand slam off Pirates starter Edinson Volquez. "The last thing on my mind was probably hitting a home run," Crawford said. "I was just trying to hit something good enough to get Pablo (Sandoval) home, and I figured that would probably be good enough for Madison."
Volquez pitched five innings allowing five hits, five runs, three walks, while striking out three in the loss.
Brandon Belt knocked in three runs and got on-base four times in the win.
The Giants advance to the National League Division Series where they'll take on the Washington Nationals. Game 1 is Friday in Washington.
BananaStock(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) – The Chase for the Sprint Cup championship continues this Sunday afternoon with the running of the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. It’s the fourth race in the 10-race Chase.
Following last week’s race at Dover, the field was whittled down from 16 to 12 drivers. Advancing to the second round is Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne.
A.J. Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola have been eliminated from the Chase.
After the sixth race in the Chase, the field will be cut to eight drivers and then four following the ninth.
Darrin Klimek/Thinkstock(LAKE FOREST, Ill.) -- The Chicago Bears signed cornerback Teddy Williams off of the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad on Wednesday, and waived linebacker Terrell Manning.
The 26-year-old Williams will bring versatility to the Windy City, having seen time on offense, defense and special teams in 10 games over two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (2012) and Cardinals (2013).
Williams did not play football during his college career at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He was a four-time All-American sprinter with the Roadrunners. Williams came into the NFL in 2010 as an undrafted free agent with the Dallas Cowboys.
Manning appeared in two games with the Bears this season.
Banana Stock/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Arizona Wildcats (4-0) travel to Oregon to play the Ducks (4-0) on Thursday night.
Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez will have his team prepared for their explosive offense.
"You just do the best you can," Rodriguez said of the loud Eugene crowd. "The communication is the biggest thing you have to prepare for. It'll be louder; I think our veterans know that, we just have to do a great job of communicating."
Rodriguez says last year’s 42-16 win over Oregon won’t mean a thing come kickoff.
"There's so much at stake," Rodriguez said. "I don't know if last year's game will be any extra motivation, I think sometimes that's overplayed a little bit. I think once the ball's kicked off, whatever happened last year is in the past."
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota breaks down the Wildcats defense: "It's definitely different when they're playing a 3-2 stack." He added, "It's harder to communicate, identify gaps, it's definitely tough."
Stuary Franklin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Fresh off a Ryder Cup victory, Rory McIlroy was voted the PGA Player of the Year on Wednesday.
McIlroy finished the 2014 campaign with three victories, including the Open Championship and PGA Championship.
''Being voted player of the year by your peers is something that's important,'' he said. ''They are the guys that you play week in and week out, and the guys you are trying to beat week in and week out. And if they appreciate what you've done over the year, and see the hard work you've put in, and golf you've played, and think that's been the best of the season, that's something that means a lot to me.''
With the three wins, as well as 12 finishes in the top 10 and never finishing lower than 25th, McIlroy reasserted himself as the No. 1 golfer in the world.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(EL SEGUNDO, Calif.) -- Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant is back and ready to show the rest of the NBA that he is 100 percent.
Bryant missed most of last year after suffering a torn Achilles tendon to go along with a fracture in his left knee. Still, he practiced for the first time with his team Tuesday for the first two hours and 15 minutes of the three hour practice run by Byron Scott.
"I felt normal. I felt like myself," Bryant said. "That's a good thing."
"I love playing the game," Bryant continued. "I truly enjoy it. The game was becoming a little stale but the Achilles injury ignited a new challenge for me personally to see if I can do this because you don't know. This was a challenge that presented itself to see if I can make this a successful comeback."
Bryant said he still has concerns about returning to the court. "My concerns are no different anybody else's in being able to comeback from this. A lot of it is the same thing. If I can prove to myself that I can do this I can prove it to everybody else as well," he explained.
Steve Nash, who also was sidelined last season due to multiple injuries, was at practice and felt good.
"I need to not get injured and I don't mean that in a factious way," Nash said. "It's important not get an ankle [injury] or a thigh bruise or all the little injuries and try to manage them as much as possible. If I can manage the amount of minutes I'm on the court and keep myself going and don't overdo it to where I can't recover, maybe I got a chance to play a lot more."