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Baseball Top 25 Breakdown: No. 6 North Carolina

The Tar Heels were forced to give some young players significant playing time last season. Though that led to some headaches at times, that should pay dividends in 2015. The Tar Heels have a veteran pitching staff with Trent Thornton and Benton Moss spearheading the rotation, while getting a healthy Chris McCue combined with Reilly Hovis in the bullpen gives UNC a terrific tandem at the end of games. (D1 Baseball)

Countdown to First Pitch: Trent Thornton

Over the past two seasons for UNC baseball, Trent Thornton has spent his time clearly establishing himself as the ace of the pitching staff. With the 2015 opener set for Feb. 13 against Seton Hall, the junior right-hander gives us an inside look into his life both on and off the diamond as we get you prepared for another run at the College World Series with our Countdown to First Pitch preview series. (Chapelboro.com)

Cubs sign Daniel Bard to minor-league deal

The Cubs are giving Daniel Bard another chance to revive a career that once looked so promising. Cubs VP Jason McLeod confirmed Bard has signed a minor-league deal and will go to spring training trying to find what had made him an elite setup guy with the Boston Red Sox. “There’s a lot of history there,” McLeod said Sunday. “We’ve been with him through a lot.” (CSN Chicago)

Offseason Work Pays Dividends For UNC Baseball

In addition to intrasquad scrimmages and the annual Fall World Series, the fall semester is a time for Carolina to improve both on and off the field. Head coach Mike Fox and his staff work on creative ways to keep the team engaged in skill development and conditioning while still focusing on the rigors of the academic calendar as well as the sometimes delicate matter of clubhouse chemistry. (GoHeels.com)

Finally healthy, Daniel Bard prepared for a comeback

He was, with little debate, the best setup man in major league baseball in 2010 and 2011. It was tough to deny that Daniel Bard was a stud with that 97-mile-per-hour heat, where he’d be automatic in the eighth inning for the Red Sox. And then 2012 happened. Bard was converted from reliever to starter and the problems began. Bard hit batters and was unable to throw strikes. (Boston Globe)

Yankees' Andrew Miller explains transformation to elite reliever

Andrew Miller saw the light in 2012. That’s when Miller was converted from a starting pitcher to a reliever and began experiencing the kind of success that convinced the Yankees to sign him to a four-year, $36 million deal to anchor their bullpen’s back end this offseason. Miller battled injuries and inconsistency for years. But the Red Sox moved him to relief and he took off. (NJ.com)

Danny Talbott: Priceless Gem

North Carolina legend Danny Talbott performed at the highest level on both the football field and baseball diamond during his years as a Tar Heel. Since 2010, he’s been back in Chapel Hill, battling the toughest opponent he’s faced: multiple myeloma. He can’t imagine going anywhere else to do it. (UNC Health Care)

Mike Roberts Inducted Into ABCA Hall Of Fame

Former North Carolina All-ACC catcher and longtime head coach Mike Roberts was inducted into the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Saturday night at the organization's annual convention in Orlando. Roberts led the North Carolina to nine NCAA tournament appearances and two College World Series appearances in 21 seasons in Chapel Hill. (GoHeels.com)

Kyle Seager stays humble

The size of Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager’s paychecks will change dramatically this year, but there’s little chance success will spoil him. He signed a $100 million contract with the Mariners shortly after Thanksgiving. It’s a seven-year deal with the heavier dollars scheduled for later in his career. (Salisbury Post)

Rockies manager Walt Weiss assumes more say in team's operations

Walt Weiss is going to get away for Christmas. Far away. As in Australia far away. The Rockies' manager could use a break. After an injury-riddled, 96-loss season, he's now more extensively involved in the Rockies' offseason decisions, spending much of his time in the third-floor offices at Coors Field, working side by side with new general manager Jeff Bridich. (Denver Post)

Top Tar Heel Moments of 2014

Court Storm: There's always a special energy level at the Smith Center for UNC-Duke games. But this one was different. That's because the game had been postponed after a snowstorm buried the Triangle. Students that had waited hours in the snow on the initial game day had to wait an additional eight days for the rescheduled date. The result was a Smith Center bursting with anticipation. (Inside Carolina)

Hovis, Thornton Earn Preseason Baseball All-America Honors

UNC junior right-handers Reilly Hovis and Trent Thornton were named to the 2015 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America third team as selected by Collegiate Baseball, announced Friday. A first-team All-ACC selection in 2014, Hovis was one of the nation's top relievers as a sophomore. Thornton was outstanding in his first season as a weekend starter. (GoHeels.com)

Carolina Rundown: December 15

Bruce Carter played well on Sunday Night Football, making six tackles and grabbing a game-sealing interception. Giovani Bernard had 79 yards on the ground and 24 yards receiving. All-America honors for two UNC men's soccer players. The volleyball team defeated Oregon to advance to the NCAA regional final for the first time in school history, but fell to Texas in the round of eight. (GoHeels.com)

Why Andrew Miller sacrificed $4 million to sign with Yankees

The Yankees gave Andrew Miller a four-year, $36-million contract to wear pinstripes. That’s a lot of money. But he could have gotten more. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Miller’s agent told him he had been offered a four-year deal at $40-million. That caused the Yankees to up their proposal from $32 million to the pact Miller eventually accepted. But why did Miller leave an extra $4 million on the table? (NJ.com)

Carolina Rundown: December 12

It appears Kentucky has lost a starter to a torn ACL. Jonathan Cooper got his second career start in the Thursday night game as Arizona beat St. Louis, 12-6. Ed Davis is adjusting to a starting role with the Lakers. Three Tar Heels were invited to the MLS combine. (GoHeels.com)

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