Happening Elsewhere: Kyle Drabek's Major League Debut

Happening Elsewhere: Kyle Drabek's Major League Debut

A night after Greg Golson poked his head up in a big spot for the Yankees, another old friend of the Fightins made his high-profile debut in Baltimore. Kyle Drabek, the young righty sent to Toronto as the centerpiece of the Roy Halladay deal, took the mound for the first time for the Blue Jays--coincidentally, the same night that Halladay got his 19th win for the Phils. Drabek performed admirably for a first-timer, going six innings and giving up three runs on nine hits (5K, 3BB) in a 3-1 Baltimore victory.

“He did a good job. He kept us in the ball game,” said Toronto manager Cito Gaston. “We just didn’t score runs for him.” (Well, one run--more on that later.)

The eyes of Phils fans will no doubt dart to Drabek lines in box scores for years to come, as we wonder what would have been. Not that Doc has given us any reason for second-guessing--his 19 wins are the highest for a Philly starter in almost 30 years, and his 210 Ks are still a league best--but we had been teased with Drabek's potential for a good few years before he was dealt, and though we certainly don't wish him ill in his major league career, we probably don't want to have given up a future ace, either. A nice, long career of unspectacular quality starts like this will do just nicely, thanks.

In other news from the same game, the Blue Jays scored their one run in the ballgame on outfielder Jose Bautista's 47th home run of the year--bringing him just three away from being the first major leaguer in three years to break the half-century mark. If you called Jose being the one to break the league-wide dry spell before the season, congrats on cashing on your 125,000-1 bet, and can we borrow $60 to get a copy of NHL 11?

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."