Ex-trooper indicted in crash that killed Braves' trainer's wife

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A former Georgia state trooper has been charged with vehicular homicide in a crash that killed the wife of an Atlanta Braves trainer.

Fulton County district attorney spokeswoman Yvette Jones says Donald Crozier was indicted Tuesday in the death of 54-year-old Kathy Porter. Porter, her husband, Jeff, their son and a family friend were en route to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31, 2011, when authorities say Crozier crashed into the SUV the Porters were in.

State patrol officials say Crozier was trying to assist another officer and was driving with his sirens and lights on.

Jones says the 10-year-veteran is also accused of reckless driving and violation of oath by a public officer.

It’s unclear if Crozier has an attorney.

Mets: Top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, a former Augusta GreenJacket, was scratched from his start against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday because of a mild oblique strain.

General manager Sandy Alderson said the hard-throwing right-hander was injured swinging a bat in the cage.

The 22-year-old Wheeler says the side muscle was stiff, and he doesn’t believe it’s anything serious.

This would have been Wheeler’s second spring outing. He tossed two scoreless innings in relief Saturday, reaching the mid-90s on the speed gun with his pitches.

Wheeler, who pitched for the GreenJackets during the 2010 season, was excited to face outfielder Carlos Beltran for the first time. Wheeler was the key acquisition for the Mets in the deal that sent Beltran, the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year, to the San Francisco Giants in 2011.

Left-hander Darin Gorski started in Wheeler’s place.

Rangers: Lance Berkman is ready to take some swings in a spring training game for Texas.

Berkman, who has been bothered by a mild right calf strain, is set to make his Rangers spring debut today.

“You need some at-bats to kind of get a good gauge of where you are with your spring,” Berkman said Wednesday. “From a practice standpoint, I feel pretty good. But there’s certainly work to do and I’m sure I’ll find that out (Thursday), just where I’m at, just in terms of timing and bat speed and all of that.”

The Rangers have been cautious with the 37-year-old switch-hitter, a first baseman who will primarily be their designated hitter. He played only 32 games with St. Louis last season because of two operations on his right knee and a left calf strain, and thought about retiring before agreeing to an $11 million, one-year deal with Texas

Berkman was going through workouts, batting practice and some base-running drills even while being held out of the first six spring games. He is scheduled to be the DH today against Cleveland, though he said he could play in the field if needed.

Cubs: Maybe it was race driver Jeff Gordon’s shout out to the fans at “Wrigley Stadium.” Or Ozzy Osbourne, who decided the lyrics of Take Me Out to The Ball Game were not nearly as interesting as the mostly unintelligible words he’d picked out for himself. Or perhaps it was actress Denise Richards, who brought along a little cheat sheet in case she forgot the words.

Whatever the reason, the Chicago Cubs have decided to make the broadcast booth at Wrigley Field, and more importantly, the microphone, off limits to the likes of Vanna White, Erik Estrada and Mickey Rooney. Marion Ross will apparently be the last member of the Happy Days cast to sing during the seventh-inning stretch. No more Kid Rock, who, as the story goes, knew it was customary to say something at the end of the song, but went with “Let’s get some lunch!” instead of the more traditional “Let’s get some runs.”

“I think the last couple of years we had gotten away to a couple of people who weren’t tied to Chicago,” said Jim Oboikowitch, the Cubs in-game programming director in what might be a bit of understatement after more than a decade of Peter Frampton, David Cassidy, Barbara Eden and Frank Sinatra (Junior) leading the Wrigley faithful in song.

Some fans are pleased.

“It was a good idea at first,” Al Yellon, who runs bleedcubbieblue.com, said of the Cubs’ decision to allow celebrities to take over the job the late Harry Caray handled so famously for so many years. “But it turned into a celebrity fest with D-list celebrities.”

Ouch.

Actor Joe Mantegna, a Chicago native and lifelong Cubs fan who has led the singing at Wrigley at least four times, said he agrees with the change. The co-author of play Bleacher Bums said there is something wrong with some “Jose Schmo who won an Oscar, is from Canada and hates baseball” donning a Cubs jersey and singing the song. Wrong in many ways, too: See YouTube for the evidence and bring your ear plugs.

At the same time, as a fan of a team that hasn’t won the World Series since 1908, Mantegna won’t rule out bringing in someone - anyone - if it can somehow help the Cubs break the most infamous drought in American sports.


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