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News, notes from the sidelines

Knocking things about a bit on the sports front ...

• Harold Reynolds chuckles when it is suggested he’s the new Tim McCarver.

“Nobody can replace Tim, but it’s exciting — quite an honor,” says the Corvallis native of his new role replacing McCarver as Joe Buck’s baseball sidekick on FOX Sports. “Anybody in this business, if you get a chance to work the World Series, you say, ‘Sign me up.’ ”

Buck and McCarver worked together on major-league broadcasts for Fox from 1996 to 2013. Now it will be a three-man booth, with Reynolds and Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci serving as analysts alongside the venerable Buck on Fox’s lead broadcasting team.

Reynolds and Verducci have worked together often with the MLB Network.

“I’ve gotten to know Tom really well over the last five years,” says Reynolds, the former two-time All-Star second baseman with the Seattle Mariners. “We’ve worked on the set and watched a lot of games together. Our chemistry is great.”

Reynolds says he has known Buck for about 20 years.

“He’s so good with everything he does, but especially with the flow of the game,” Reynolds says. “He just has a great sense of when to get in and when to get out. He’s going to be great to work with.”

Reynolds will continue to serve as analyst for the MLB Network studio show, “MLB Tonight,” which is constantly moving through live video of games of the day.

“We’re not the traditional studio show,” Reynolds says. “We’re in the moment with 30 teams every night. It’s helped train me to do my new job with Fox. It gives me a leg up.”

• The second of four phases in the drive to restore the men’s track and field program at Oregon State has been given the go-ahead after the school has received a $2 million matching donation from a donor — an OSU alum, but not a former Beaver thinclad.

The first phase was a $3.5 million project for a new track that was completed last spring. The second phase, with a $4 million price tag, completes the facility, with grandstands, press box, locker room, scoreboard, entry plaza, etc., to make it a venue where championship meets could be hosted.

OSU athletic director Bob De Carolis has given the go-ahead for formal design and engineering plans and to purchase equipment for the facility. No groundbreaking date has been set.

Phase three is endowment of both men’s and women’s programs, which is expected to cost $5 million. Phase four is a championship cross-country course, at a cost of $1 million.

Oregon State’s men’s and women’s programs were dropped after the 1988 season. The women’s program was restored for distance-running only in 2004.

Two years ago, the Beavers still had only the women’s distance team. Now women’s coach Kelly Sullivan, with this year’s recruiting class, will have athletes in every event for the 2015 season, including sprints, hurdles, jumps, weights and heptathlon.

This summer, the British junior national team will spend two weeks in Corvallis, using the track and training for the world junior championships. Sullivan says he has received word a second country will join the British in training its junior national team there.

All good signs as the school that gave us Dick Fosbury, Willie Turner, Morgan Groth, Tim Vollmer, Jim Judd, Jim Barkley, Karl Van Calcar and so many other great national champions and Olympians will one day have men’s track and field back again.

• What has happened with Caleb Jones, younger brother of former Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones now a rookie with the NHL’s Nashville Predators?

The younger Jones — chosen by Portland in the third round of the 2012 Bantam draft — is with the USA national development program U-17 team in Ann Arbor, Mich. The 5-11, 185-pound Jones, 16, has a goal and 10 assists in 45 games with the U-17 club, which has eight games yet to play this season.

“He’s a real good player, a very smart, mobile defenseman,” Portland coach Mike Johnston says. “If you look at Seth as a comparison, Caleb’s not there yet. But he’s one of the top 20-some players his age in the U.S.”

Caleb Jones will stay in the program next year and play for the U-18 team, then decide whether he wants to play college hockey somewhere or major junior hockey with the Hawks. It was the same decision his 6-4, 205-pound older brother had in 2012 after two years in the USA national development program. Seth Jones helped Portland claim the Western Hockey League championship and reach the finals of the Memorial Cup.

• Portland’s 4-1 loss at Seattle on Saturday — snapping the Hawks’ franchise-record 21-game win streak, one short of the WHL mark — means the players can turn their full attention to the last seven games of the regular season.

Portland (47-13-2-3) is nine points behind Kelowna (52-9-0-4) and unlikely to catch the Rockets for the WHL’s best regular-season record, which guarantees home-ice advantage through the playoffs. The goal for the Hawks is to be healthy and playing their best hockey as the postseason arrives.

• Portland goaltender Brendan Burke has missed nearly three weeks of action with mononucleosis, but he is back at practice this week. Johnston hopes he can use the 6-3, 175-pound Burke, 18, before the end of the regular season.

Then it will be a matter of deciding whether to use Burke or 20-year-old Corbin Boes — who has gone 12-1-1 with a 2.46 goals-against average in Burke’s absence — in the playoffs.

“It’s a competition, but Burke was our No. 1 guy all year” until he became ill, Johnston says. “I like the way he has played. Corbin has done an outstanding job, too. Hopefully, we’ll have two goaltenders ready.”

Don’t expect Johnston to alternate goalies, however.

“I don’t like to do that,” he says. “I’d rather go with one guy.”

• If Oregon State women's basketball coach Scott Rueck isn't named Pac-12 coach of the year, an investigation will be in order.

After finishing 10-21 overall and 4-14 in Pac-12 play a year ago, the Beavers are 21-9 and 13-5, a school record for most conference wins and tied with California for second place behind Stanford. Oregon State is all but a lock to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995-96.

Rueck has done it with only one senior and one junior on his 11-player roster.

"We have nine players who are looking forward to playing together for two more years," 6-6 sophomore center Ruth Hamblin says.

• Men's basketball RPI rankings for the Pac-12 this week: Arizona No. 1, UCLA No. 21, Arizona State No. 28, Colorado No. 29, Oregon No. 33, Stanford No. 40 and California No. 51. That's seven teams going into the final week of the regular season with a decent shot at the NCAA Tournament.

Oregon State, meanwhile, is No. 102, ahead of only Southern Cal (No. 173) and Washington State (No. 195) in the Pac-12.

• Oregon State (9-3) and Oregon (8-3) remain in this week's top 15 of the five major baseball polls.

Oregon State ranks fifth in Baseball America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, sixth in ESPN/USA Today and Perfect Game and eighth in Collegiate Baseball. Oregon ranks ninth in the ESPN/USA Today and Collegiate Baseball, 11th in NCBWA, 12th in Perfect Game and 14th in Baseball America.

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