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Northwestern‘s motion to dismiss the $130 million wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former coach Pat Fitzgerald was denied Tuesday, setting up a potential trial in April 2025.

Cook County Circuit Court judge Daniel Kubasiak ruled that the case from Fitzgerald can proceed and set a trial date for April 7, 2025. Northwestern fired Fitzgerald in July, just three days after imposing a two-week, unpaid suspension for the coach, following the conclusion of an investigation into hazing claims within the football program.

Fitzgerald, a two-time national defensive player of the year at Northwestern, had coached at his alma mater since 2006.

“This matter is, in its simplest form, an employer-employee debate,” Kubasiak wrote in his opinion Tuesday. “As Fitzgerald argues, and as the Court agrees, in every contract there is an implied doctrine of good faith and fair dealing, and that is yet to be determined in this matter.”

Fitzgerald filed his lawsuit in October, claiming that Northwestern violated a verbal contract by firing him for cause, after agreeing to the suspension following the conclusion of its own investigation. He also claimed Northwestern and university president Michael Schill violated his written contract. Fitzgerald is seeking 68 million that remained on his contract, which ran through 2030, as well as future earnings losses of approximately $62 million.

“Because the entire motion to dismiss was denied today, our plan is clear and straightforward – we are going to move this case forward and expeditiously to trial, which is set for April 7, 2025,” Fitzgerald’s attorneys, Dan Webb and Matthew Carter, said in a statement. “We will take all steps necessary to pursue Coach Fitzgerald’s serious claims and to protect his rights, name, and reputation.”

At a February hearing, Fitzgerald’s attorneys had pushed for a December trial, arguing that it would allow him to avoid missing a third season of coaching at the college or pro level. Northwestern attorney Reid Schar said then that while the 2025 date is “aggressive,” it’s more achievable than December, citing a large number of discovery documents that likely could only be reviewed by the end of June. Kubasiak, at the same hearing, encouraged both sides to settle the case.

After receiving a complaint about hazing within the program in November 2022, the university launched an investigation in January 2023, led by attorney Maggie Hickey. The probe found that while claims of hazing from a former player were largely corroborated, there was not sufficient evidence that Fitzgerald and other coaches and staff had knowledge of the incidents. But Northwestern attorney Reid Schar argued at the February hearing that additional allegations of hazing from former Northwestern players prompted Schill’s decision to fire Fitzgerald.

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Rockies put Freeland on IL due to strained elbow

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Rockies put Freeland on IL due to strained elbow

The Colorado Rockies placed left-hander Kyle Freeland on the 15-day injured list Friday with a left elbow strain.

The move is retroactive to Tuesday.

Freeland appeared to injure his right shoulder while attempting to score the go-ahead run in the ninth inning Monday against the Philadelphia Phillies. Manager Bud Black, however, said Freeland was “fine” after the game.

Freeland, 30, has limped to a 0-3 record with a 13.21 ERA in four games (all starts) this season. He is 55-68 with a 4.53 ERA in 188 career games (183 starts) with the Rockies.

Also on Friday, Colorado recalled right-hander Noah Davis from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Davis, 26, owns a 0-2 record with a 6.62 ERA in four games (all starts) with the Isotopes. He is 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in nine career games (six starts) with the Rockies.

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Strider begins recovery, says Braves can win WS

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Strider begins recovery, says Braves can win WS

ATLANTA — Atlanta Braves ace Spencer Strider began to feel discomfort in his right elbow in spring training but didn’t realize the severity of the injury until learning he needed season-ending surgery.

Strider said he had a bone fragment develop following Tommy John surgery in 2019 that caused the ulnar collateral ligament to become unstable. Strider also said he did not have a tear that required a second Tommy John surgery and he instead had an internal brace procedure, perhaps giving him a better opportunity to recover for the start of the 2025 season.

Strider finally complained about the issue after pitching four innings in Atlanta’s 6-5 win over Arizona on April 5.

“You’re not going to feel good when you’re playing baseball every day,” Strider said Friday while standing in front of his locker in his first news conference since the surgery. “So I’m not searching for that. You know, like I said, I’m going to pitch through anything if I feel like I can help the team and I felt like I couldn’t do that anymore, so I thought it’s time to say something.”

An MRI the next day revealed damage to his UCL. Texas Rangers physician Dr. Keith Meister performed the procedure on April 13.

“They’re theorizing that I tore some connective tissue … and that’s what destabilized the ligament,” Strider said. “And maybe I blew through the last of that on that game and things deteriorated pretty quickly throughout the outing.”

Strider was Atlanta’s No. 1 starting pitcher after going 20-5 with 281 strikeouts in last year, when he led the major leagues in wins and strikeouts.

With his right arm immobilized in a sling, Strider said he will look for ways to support his teammates.

“These guys don’t don’t need me to to win a World Series,” he said. “So you know they’re going to pursue that journey. I’ll be here here to cheer them on.”

Replacing Strider will be a challenge.

Right-hander Allan Winans allowed seven runs — six earned — over five innings in a 16-15 loss to the New York Mets on April 11 and was optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett after the game.

Right-hander Darius Vines had more success, allowing one run and four hits with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of a 6-1 win at Houston on Monday. Vines is scheduled to make his second start of the season on Sunday night against Texas.

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D-backs’ Nelson, hit by comebacker, lands on IL

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D-backs' Nelson, hit by comebacker, lands on IL

The Arizona Diamondbacks placed right-hander Ryne Nelson on the 15-day injured list Friday because of an elbow contusion suffered the previous night.

Nelson was hit on the right arm by a line drive off the bat of the San Francisco GiantsMike Yastrzemski during the second inning of his start Thursday night.

The team recalled outfielder Pavin Smith from Triple-A Reno in the corresponding roster move.

Smith, a first-round pick (seventh overall) of the Diamondbacks in 2017, hit .188 (36-for-191) in 69 games with Arizona last season, dropping his average to .240 in his four big-league seasons. He has 28 home runs and 116 RBIs in 391 games.

The Diamondbacks also designated infielder Jace Peterson for assignment. Peterson had only one hit in 22 at-bats for Arizona this season and hit .183 (17-for-93) through 41 games with the Diamondbacks in 2023.

Information from Field Level Media was used in this report.

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