Patriots cuts finalized: Hoyer, Branch, Koppen released

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 31, 2012 09:32 PM

The New England Patriots have completed their roster reductions in order to get to the NFL-mandated 53-man roster limit, releasing backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and veteran wide receiver Deion Branch in the process.

The team also placed newly acquired RB Jeff Demps on injured reserve, shelving the Olympic silver medalist at least for the time being.

Hoyer had been considered Tom Brady's primary backup and key trade bait before today's news.

Branch was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX for the Patriots, before making an out route to the Seattle Seahawks in a trade for a 2007 first round draft pick. He returned to the Patriots in 2010 as part of a trade that sent the Seahawks a fourth rounder. He caught 51 passes last season for 702 yards and five touchdowns, and was widely considered to have held onto a roster spot after the team released receivers Jabar Gaffney and Donte' Stallworth, both of whom the team had signed in the offseason.

"Truly thankful for all the support from everybody," Branch tweeted. "I love you guys."

Also released were center Dan Koppen, DB Derrick Martin, LB Aaron Lavarias, OL Darrion Weems, WR Jesse Holley, DB Malcolm Williams, DL Marcus Harrison, WR Kerry Taylor, FB Eric Kettani, OL Derek Dennis, LB Jeff Tarpinian, OL Jeremiah Warren, WR Jeremy Ebert, OL Dustin Waldron, TE Tyler Urban, LB Niko Koutouvides, OL Matt Kopa, TE Alex Silvestro and safeties Sergio Brown and James Ihedigbo.

"Thank you to the organization and fans of New England it's been fun," Dennis wrote via Twitter.

Koppen, a veteran of nine NFL seasons, missed all but one game last season after suffering an ankle injury against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. He re-signed in the offseason to a 2-year deal worth $6 million with the intention to battle with Dan Connolly to be the team's starting center. He struggled throughout training camp as the Patriots cycled through a number of interior lineman to use in his place.

Ihedigbo, who was re-signed by the Patriots just before training camp began in late July and is a native of Massachusetts. He started at safety for the team in the Super Bowl. In 12 starts last season and 16 games played, Ihedigbo tallied 69 tackles as one of the team's healthy contributors in a banged up secondary.

Brown, a third-year pro out of Notre Dame, started three games for the Patriots last season.

- 1:12 p.m. -- Brian Hoyer has been released.
- 1:12 p.m. -- The Patriots released safety James Ihedigbo.
- 1:14 p.m. -- Dan Koppen has been released.
- 1:28 p.m. -- Deion Branch has been released.
- 1:58 p.m. -- Derrick Martin has been released
- 2:14 p.m. -- Aaron Lavarias released.
- 4:44 p.m. -- Sergio Brown released.
- 5:58 p.m. -- Matt Kopa released.
- 6:14 p.m. -- Eric Kettani released, according to NFL.com.
- 6:35 p.m. -- Darrion Weems and Alex Silvestro have been released.
- 6:50 p.m. -- Derek Dennis tweeted that he was done with the Patriots. "Thank you to the organization and fans of New England it's been fun!!"
- 7:20 p.m. -- Jeff Tarpinian has been released, according to a report.
- 7:32 p.m. -- Jeremiah Warren has been released, according to a report.
- 7:43 p.m. -- Jeremy Ebert has been released, according to a report.
- 9:16 p.m. -- Tyler Urban has been released.
- 9:24 p.m. -- The Patriots announced the full list of 22 players cut from its roster while placing RB Jeff Demps on injured reserve.

For more details and the latest on the Patriots, check the Extra Points blog.

Kent State wrong-way runner tackled by Towson after 60 yards

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 31, 2012 07:34 AM

In Thursday's Kent State-Towson college football game, opening day was an excuse for everybody on the field to make mistakes -- both teams and the referees.

Kent's Andre Parker fielded a punt after the ball grazed Towson's returner, and then ran back toward his own goal. Towson players tackled him -- we don't know why, he was heading toward the wrong end zone and a potential safety -- at Kent's 30-yard line.

In the end, however, the referees placed the ball on Towson's 7-yard line. The referees concluded the play should have been blown dead as soon as Parker touched the ball.

Rob Gronkowski on the cover of Sports Illustrated

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff August 29, 2012 11:42 AM

Another Boston athlete is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. This time it's Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on the magazine's 2012 NFL preview edition, which will hit news stands this week.

This is Gronkowski's first cover on SI. He was also on the cover of ESPN's Body issue.

gronk-si607.jpg

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski on the cover of Sports Illustrated. (Courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

Beckett elaborates on departure

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 29, 2012 08:05 AM

The newest Dodgers starter and former Red Sox pitcher of seven years, Josh Beckett, opened up a little to WEEI's Rob Bradford about leaving Boston and starting fresh in Los Angeles. The most notable points included his consultation with the other players traded before waiving his 10-and-5 rights and how the media -- not necessarily the fans -- ran him out of town.

  • Beckett said he called Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to see if moving to Los Angeles is something they wanted to do. Everyone seemed on board, he said, and general manager Ben Cherington's professionalism made the move as easy and not awkward as possible.
  • "Once they want you out of there, they want you out of there," Beckett said. "By them, I don't necessarily mean the fans. There are certain people in the media who painted me out to be a monster with horns, and that's just not the case. ... They're going to keep on, keeping on, keeping on until they get what they want."
  • When asked if he had any regrets for his actions in Boston, such as playing a round of golf the day after he was scratched from a start, he said that being himself is all he can be, and that lying doesn't make anything better. He also said that he has been the same person when he was in Florida, in Boston and now in Los Angeles.
  • Beckett compared himself to Keith Foulke, who helped the Red Sox win their first championship in 86 years but still became a "monster" to Red Sox Nation in 2006. "It's just a matter of time before they get you, basically. And that's unfortunate," he said. "I think Jonny Lester knows that. I think Clay Buchholz knows that. Your time will come."

Video: Red Sox fan cries in joy after catching foul ball

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 28, 2012 04:00 PM

A fan was so overjoyed after catching a foul ball at Monday night's game against the Royals that she began crying.

Video: Gronk plays fantasy football enforcer

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 28, 2012 01:42 PM

ESPN recruited Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to help promote its fantasy football content. Watch his message in the video above.

Poll: Fans want Francona back

Posted by Robert Burgess August 27, 2012 04:03 PM

According to a survey by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, 50 percent of Red Sox Nation wants Terry Francona to return as the Boston Red Sox manager.

Twenty-four percent did not want him back, and the rest weren't sure.

It has been a tumultuous season for the Red Sox and manager Bobby Valentine, who succeeded Francona as Boston's skipper. The data says that as this season wore on, fans longed more and more for the return of Tito.

Here are the numbers on how respondants answered this question: "Would you like to see Terry Francona return as manager of the Red Sox someday, or not?"

Nostalgia for ex-skipper Terry Francona has ... risen steadily over the course of the last five months. Toward the end of spring training, 39 percent wished Tito were still managing for the 2012 season, and 28 percent preferred their new field general, with a third of fans unsurprisingly still not sure. Then in June, almost at the midway point of the season, we asked if fans would like to see Francona ever return at all: 46 percent said yes, 27 percent no. When we asked the same question this month, that had bumped up a hair to 50-24.

Other tidbits from the poll:


  • Fans are split on a separate question as to whether Valentine should be fired with 35 percent saying keep him and 34 percent wanting to let him go.
  • Seventeen percent of those asked said the Red Sox still would make the playoffs. But the poll, taken of 1,115 likely Massachusetts voters from Aug. 16-19, happened before the blockbuster trade of Aug. 24 that effectively raised the white flag on the 2012 season.

Of course, no one has surveyed Francona, now working as an ESPN baseball analyst, to see if he would like to return as manager of the Red Sox someday. Or not.

Patriots get plenty of respect in Madden 13

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 27, 2012 01:32 PM

patriots_madden13.jpg


The Madden 13 NFL video game goes on sale Tuesday morning, but player rankings have already been released and the popular game's maker has revealed the results of its official simulation of the season.

Let's just say EA Sports has a lot of respect for the Patriots. In addition to having some of the highest-rated players (Madden ratings are always a hot topic in NFL locker rooms), the Patriots emerged as the top seed in the AFC in the season simulation.

The game predicts the Patriots will finish 12-4 and quarterback Tom Brady will be the MVP with 5,000-plus passing yards and 50 touchdown passes. The other AFC teams that will make the playoffs are: 2. Ravens (11-5); 3. Chiefs (11-5); 4. Texans (10-6); 5. Steelers (10-6); 6. Bills (10-6).

The Chicago Bears will be the NFC's top seed, also at 12-4, according to EA. Other NFC playoff teams are: 2. 49ers (11-5); 3. Falcons (11-5); 4. Eagles (10-6); 5. Packers (12-4); 6. Saints (10-6).

Brady was assigned the second-highest player ranking of 98. Four players received a 99 -- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, Jets CB Darrelle Revis, Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware and Lions WR Calvin Johnson.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski was the next-highest rated Patriots at 97, the best of any tight end.

Other key Patriots rankings:
WR Wes Welker -- 95
DL Vince Wilfork -- 95
OL Logan Mankins -- 95
LB Jerod Mayo -- 90
TE Aaron Hernandez -- 88
WR Brandon Lloyd -- 88
K Stephen Gostkowski -- 87
SS Patrick Chung -- 85
P Zoltan Mesko -- 83
CB Devin McCourty -- 83
LB Brandon Spikes -- 83

The new features of Madden 13 include the new Nike uniforms, Total Passing Control, more realistic field lighting and "enhanced field degradation," additional replay angles, and a new mode called connected careers.

Patriots roster cuts updates: Bulman, Stallworth released

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 27, 2012 09:23 AM

The Patriots have to get down to 75 players on the roster by 4 p.m. today. We'll bring you updates here on which players have been cut as we see them on Twitter and through other reports.

The Patriots have cut DT Tim Bulman, the Globe's Shalise Manza Young has confirmed.

FB Spencer Larsen was placed on injured reserve.

WR Donte' Stallworth was the first to be released on Monday, according to Pro Football Talk. In three preseason games, Stallworth had five receptions for 61 yards. He had played for New England in 2007 and returned in the off-season after spending 2011 with the Redskins.

Check the Extra Points blog for more coverage of the Patriots' transactions today. On Sunday, the Patriots began to process by parting ways with DL Gerard Warren, S Josh Barrett and DB Ross Ventrone.

Adrian Gonzalez says his calm personality didn't fit in Boston

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 27, 2012 08:42 AM

Adrian Gonzalez made it clear that he liked his new home in Los Angeles when he homered in his first at-bat as a Dodger on Saturday. On Sunday, Gonzalez told the LA Times' Dylan Hernandez that the Boston media didn't take to his calm demeanor.

"I won't throw my helmet, I won't scream, I won't use bad words if I strike out. That's what they want over there," Gonzalez said of the Boston media.

"I was the same person in San Diego. They took me over there and I didn't change. My intensity, how I prepared, everything was the same. When they took me over there, they took me over there to drive in runs. And I did that."

Gonzalez also said that he never thought about wanting to leave Boston and that his happiness on the West coast had nothing to do with leaving Boston.

Live: Press conference from Fenway Park

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff August 25, 2012 04:17 PM

Live from Fenway Park for today's press conference on the blockbuster trade between the Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Video: Fans react to Red Sox blockbuster trade

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff August 25, 2012 03:54 PM

In the video above, fans react to the news that the Red Sox traded Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Live updates from Championship Weekend

Posted by Staff August 25, 2012 11:20 AM

(Update 6:12 p.m.) Final: Boston 10, Chesapeake 16 Chesapeake's Kip Turner and Ben Rubeor stole the show from the home town Cannons this Championship Weekend. Turner stopped all but two of Boston's 15 shots in the second half, while Rubeor almost couldn't miss, scoring a game-high six goals on eight shots.

There you have it. Chesapeake will take on Denver for the MLL championship at Harvard Stadium tomorrow at 3 p.m. Check back on Sunday for championship game updates.

(Update 5:59 p.m.) 4:35 left in the 4th quarter: Boston 9, Chesapeake 16 Goals by Kimmel and Rubeor have this game about out of reach for the Cannons.

(Update 5:47 p.m.) 11:04 left in the 4th quarter: Boston 9, Chesapeake 14 The questionable call hurts, as Drew Westervelt's first of the game puts the Bayhawks on top by five.

Kip Turner looks focused and determined. He's now stopped 10 of the last 11 shots he's faced.

(Update 5:44 p.m.) 13:04 left in the 4th quarter: Boston 9, Chesapeake 13 Rubeor's just putting on a show for the Bayhawks right now. He's scored the game's last four goals. A questionable illegal body check call on Ortolani has Boston in a tough spot.

(Update 5:40 p.m.) End of the 3rd quarter: Boston 9, Chesapeake 12 With 50 seconds to play in the third Kip Turner made a nice sliding stop to his right on a two-point shot by Rabil that would have tied the game at 11. The Bayhawks quickly transitioned and found Rubeor, who netted his third straight to put Chesapeake up three with 15 minutes to play.

Ortolani may be finding a rhythm, taking three of five face-offs in the third.

(Update 5:31 p.m.) 3:25 left in 3rd quarter: Boston 9, Chesapeake 11 Burke proves to be human, allowing back-to-back goals to Chesapeake's Ben Rubeor, who now has three tallies this afternoon. Boston hasn't scored in nearly five minutes, it's longest drought of the game.

(Update 5:21 p.m.) 8:50 left in 3rd quarter: Boston 9, Chesapeake 9 Mike Stone's third goal of the game (he also has two assists) knotted the game at nine. Jordan Burke looks to be locked in. The Cannons' net minder has stopped all four shots he's seen this quarter.

(Update 5:05 p.m.) Halftime: Boston 8, Chesapeake 9 After Kyle Sweeney brought Boston to within one goal, Chesapeake's Brian Spallina flattened Ryan Boyle in retaliation for Rabil's hit. He was charged with an illegal body check as well, but Boston couldn't find the back of the net before time ran out in the half. The Cannons will be a man up for the first 16 seconds of the third quarter.

Jordan Burke has stopped 11 of Chesapeake's 18 shots, while Kip Turner has only stopped four of Boston's 12 shots on goal.

Ortolani had a tough first half for Boston, winning just 4-of-17 face-offs, which led to the Cannons being outshot 18-12.

(Update 4:50 p.m.) 3:10 left in the 2nd quarter: Boston 7, Chesapeake 9 There's no love lost between these two teams and Paul Rabil just reminded everyone of that with an illegal body check that leveled one of the Bayhawks.

However, the move may have backfired, as Chesapeake's Kyle Dixon has responded with back-to-back two-point goals to put the Bayhawks on top.

(Update 4:50 p.m.) 7:07 left in the 2nd quarter: Boston 7, Chesapeake 5 The Bayhawks ran off two straight goals, followed immediately by two straight from Boston. A nice pass from Grant Jr. led to Michael Kimmel's first of the game for Chesapeake, who now trails by just two.

(Update 4:36 p.m.) End of the 1st quarter: Boston 5, Chesapeake 2 Stone added his second goal of the game to put Boston up, 5-1, but Chesapeake's Kyle Dixon scored the most impressive goal of the first quarter on the Bayhawk's next possession. Dixon unleashed a vicious shot that Boston goal keeper, Jordan Burke, deflected straight up. Dixon leaped into the air and in one motion caught and fired a shot over Burke. Impressive stuff.

Ortolani is having a tough time in the X for the Cannons. He's just 1-for-8 in face-offs against Chesapeake's Alex Smith

(Update 4:25 p.m.) 5:09 to play in the 1st quarter: Boston 4, Chesapeake 1 Pat Heim put the Cannons up, 3-1, with a goal. Boston then killed off a Buchanan holding penalty. Matt Poskay rewarded the defense for their effort with his first strike of the game on the ensuing Cannon's possession to give Boston an early three-goal edge.

(Update 4:15 p.m.) 10:05 to play in the 1st quarter: Boston 2, Chesapeake 1 No lack of offense early in this one. Kevin Buchanan (assisted by Mike Stone) got the scoring started for the Cannons, ripping a shot past Kip Turner 1:53 into the game.

John Grant Jr. tied things at one on the Bayhawks ensuing possession with a nice drive to the net. The Cannons countered with a goal from Mike Stone to go up one.

(Update 4:05 p.m.) Boston and Chesapeake, clashing for the third consecutive season in the MLL semifinals, are now underway...

(Update 3:15 p.m.) Boston and Chesapeake are warming up right now. It'll be interesting to see how Kip Turner fairs against his former team. With Chris Eck out for the Cannons today with a knee injury, Billerica's own John Ortolani will be called on to take face-offs for Boston. How he handles the pressure (in just his second game this season) will have a lot to do with whether the Cannons live to play another day.

Game 2 starts at 4:00 p.m.

(Update 3:10 p.m.) Final, Long Island 12, Denver 13: What looked like a blowout for Long Island early on turned into a thrilling 13-12 win for Denver, who had to score the game's final 10 goals to advance to the MLL finals tomorrow at 3:00 p.m.

Denver's Chris Bocklet was named the player of the game, after scoring a game-high six goals. Denver net minder, Jesse Schwartzman didn't allow a goal in the final 26 minutes of play. In all, he stopped nine of 19 Long Island shots on goal.

Long Island's Drew Adams stopped 14 of 27 shots on net.

(Update 3:06 p.m.) 0:30 to play in the 4th quarter, Long Island 12, Denver 13: Denver has possession with half a minute remaining. Long Island's going to need to snap a 26 minute scoring drought if it wants to send this one into overtime.

(Update 2:52 p.m.) 6:15 to play in the 4th quarter, Long Island 12, Denver 13: Make that 10 unanswered goals for the Outlaws, who now have their first lead of the day thanks to Sievert's second goal of the game with 6:14 to play.

(Update 2:44 p.m.) 11:20 to play in the 4th quarter, Long Island 12, Denver 12: The Outlaws have tied things up at 12 with nine unanswered goals. Long Island looks to be in some serious trouble.

Peet Poillon, who now has three goals in the game, netted the equalized for Denver.

The Outlaws outshot the Lizards 10-5 in the third quarter and have a 4-0 edge thus far in the fourth.

(Update 2:35 p.m.) End of the 3rd quarter, Long Island 12, Denver 9: The Outlaws are making a run and have cut the Long Island lead to just three with 15 minutes still to play.

After posting just one goal in each of the first two quarters, Denver exploded for seven in the third quarter, including the period's final six goals.

Denver's Bocklet now leads all scorers with four goals on five shots, including two strikes in the final 1:29 of the frame.

(Update 2:28 p.m.) 3:12 to play in the 3rd, Long Island 12, Denver 5: Adams is starting to look human in net for the Lizards. Denver, led by Chris Bocklet, has scored three times so far this quarter. However, there's been no slowing down the Long Island attack. Seibald and Peyser each have three points (two goals and an assist), while Kevin Unterstein now has two goals as well.

(Update 1:54 p.m.) Halftime, Long Island 8, Denver 2: Jeremy Sieverts snapped a 15 minute scoreless drought for the Outlaws with a nice shot to beat Drew Adams. But exactly a minute later, Long Island's Max Seibald (two points so far) added an unassisted goal.

Denver's Jesse Schwartzman has had a rough go of it so far. He's allowed seven goals on 14 shots. Charlie Cipriano also allowed a goal after Schwartzman was called for a slashing penalty.

Long Island's Drew Adams, who was named the 2012 MLL Goalie of the Year, has looked worthy of the honor, stopping seven of the nine shots he's faced.

If the Outlaws can't come back they'll become just the second top-seeded team in the past 12 years to not advance past the semifinals, joining the 2010 Boston Cannons.

(Update 1:46 p.m.) 5:30 to play in the 2nd, Long Island 7, Denver 1: The Outlaws look lost and disorganized without their leader. The Lizards have continued to pour it on and now have a six-goal edge.

Peyser (four shots on goal so far) leads all scorers with two goals for the Lizards.

(Update 1:30 p.m.) End of the first, Long Island 3, Denver 1: Long Island took full advantage of 2012 MLL MVP Brendan Mundorf's absence. The Lizards dominated possession and jumped out to a two-goal lead after the first quarter of play.

Long Island scored the first two goals of the game. Ryan Young struck at the 5:07 mark, set up nicely by Max Seibald. 61 seconds later Stephen Peyser put the Lizards up 2-0.

Denver took until the 10:20 mark to find the back of the net. Mark Matthews assisted a Chris Bocklet goal. Long Island responded with a goal from 2012 Rookie of the Year, Matt Gibson, with just over two minutes to play in the quarter.

The Lizards outshot the Outlaws 6-5 in the first frame.

(Update 1:05 p.m.) Denver and Long Island are underway...

(Update 12:35 p.m.) Injury updates: Denver's Brendan Mundorf exited practice early on Saturday afternoon after being struck below the left ankle with a stick during a six-on-six drill.

Lax Magazine's Corey McLaughlin is reporting that after trying to give it a go in warmups, the 2012 MLL MVP will not play in today's game against Long Island.

Mundorf finished the regular season with 59 points (32 goals, 27 assists).

The Cannons' Chris Eck, who finished the 2012 season with a team-record 223 face-off wins, will also be out today with a knee injury. Billerica's John Ortolani will take Eck's place in the X for the second game in a row.

Ortolani, who also happens to be a Mixed Martial Arts fighter, went 22-36 (.611) from the X in the Cannons win over Ohio last week.

(Update 11:55 a.m.) Major League Lacrosse's Championship Weekend has finally arrived. Check here for updates from Harvard Stadium throughout the day, as the Cannons try to become the second team in MLL history to win the league championship on their home field.

Kip Turner's return to Boston should be one of the more compelling story lines this weekend. Click here for the story on Turner that ran in today's Boston Globe.

Denver (11-3) takes on Long Island (8-6) at 1 p.m. and Boston (9-5) plays Chesapeake (10-4) at 4 p.m.

The winners will play for the MLL championship tomorrow at Harvard Stadium at 3 p.m.

Here's a few notes from the media guide...

All four coaches participating in Championship Weekend are in their first years at the helm...The Denver Outlaws have set a MLL record by earning a postseason birth for the seventh consecutive year...The Cannons had the previous record, reaching the playoffs in each of their first six seasons...Boston has a chance to become the second team in MLL history to win back-to-back championships. In 2006 and 2007, the Philadelphia Barrage won the MLL title...

Plenty more to come, so stay tuned and by all means comment away.

Sox, Dodgers working out details on blockbuster trade

Posted by Robert Burgess August 24, 2012 09:29 PM

Multiple sources have indicated that the Red Sox and Dodgers are nearing a trade agreement that would send Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles while Boston received mainly prospects and financial flexibility in return.

Globe reporter Nick Cafardo reported just minutes before the Red Sox game against the Royals was to begin that Gonzalez had been scratched from the lineup. That was quickly followed by Globe sports reporter Michael Vega Tweeting that with Mauro Gomez taking first base tonight, the "deal must be done."

On the Dodgers side, first baseman James Loney, a free agent after this season, had been scratched from their lineup just before gametime.

The Globe's Pete Abraham reported that the Red Sox would receive from the Dodgers: Loney, right handed minor league pitcher Rubby de la Rosa, minor league outfielder Jerry Sands, minor league infielder Ivan DeJesus, and a prospect.

Jon Morosi, a national baseball writer for FoxSports.com, Tweeted that prospect Allen Webster would also be included in the deal from the Dodgers.

No official word has come from either team yet. The deal is likely contingent on player medical evaluations.

According to a Cafardo source, Gonzalez has a limited no trade clause, but Los Angeles is not on his list. As far as Beckett is concerned, Boston would need him to OK his departure because of his 10-5 status (10 years in the majors and five with the same team). "Indications are he will," Cafardo said.

ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes first reported via Twitter that the Red Sox and Dodgers are working on the deal.

Beckett has two seasons and $35 million remaining on his contract. "Beckett could be pretty decent in the National League West," Abraham said on Twitter. "Bigger parks, easier lineups to pitch to ... Not a bad hitter either."

Gonzalez, who Los Angeles had tried to get for before the trading deadline, was the first today to be reported to have been claimed by the Dodgers, leaving the Red Sox to decide whether to revoke the waiver, trade the first baseman, or let the Los Angeles have him and the $127 million remaining on his six-year contract.

As the evening progressed, reports next surfaced Beckett was involved. Then Crawford and Punto were added to the list. Crawford had season ending Tommy John surgery on Thursday but is still eligible to be traded.

The Sox would save some $270 million from their payroll, though they may send some cash to the Dodgers with the players.

The Globe's Chris Gasper weighed in on Twitter, saying "Moving A-Gon to Dodgers would be like an NBA trade. To get what they want LA has to take some bad contracts (Beckett and/or Crawford)."

Boston.com writer Tony Massarotti wrote on Twitter that he was eager to see how the Red Sox replace Gonzalez. "Bats like that are hard to find," he Tweeted. "Sox must have had enough of him or he wanted out in a big way."

Interesting observations from Abraham included: "Point of this thing, in my opinion, is not what you get back. It's getting back to doing things the right way" and "Kind of took Theo Epstein's legacy and walked it to the curb, huh?"

Mazz also Tweeted this nugget: "So I guess the media wasn't exagerating about all the Red Sox' issue after all, eh?"

According to Vega, not everyone was in the loop on this developing story. Asked about the waiver situation this afternoon, just after the time Gonzalez had been claimed, manager Bobby Valentine said he had no knowledge of the situation, downplayed the chance the slugger would be going anywhere, and expressed frustration that news of a Red Sox player being claimed on waivers had even become public.

Source: Dodgers awarded waiver claim on A-Gon

Posted by Robert Burgess August 24, 2012 01:54 PM

Bill Shaikin, who covers baseball for the Los Angeles Times, has Tweeted that the Dodgers have been awarded a waiver claim on Adrian Gonzalez.

Pete Abraham, the Boston Globe's beat writer for the Red Sox, says there are three possible outcomes for Gonzalez: The Sox withdraw him from waivers; he is traded to the Dodgers; or Boston gives him to the Dodgers.

Abraham also reported the deal would probably have to involve some players to be named later as only players who clear waivers could be traded by Dodgers.

Starting in 2013, Gonzalez has six years and $127 million left on his deal.

Jimmy Fund radio-telethon raises $3.3 million

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff August 23, 2012 04:59 PM

The annual WEEI/NESN radio-telethon raised $3.3 million for the Jimmy Fund this week. Over the span of 36 hours, broadcasts on both networks called attention to the stories of Dana-Farber patients who have battled or are currently battling cancer. Since 2002, the event has raised $28 million.

If you'd still like to make a donation, call toll-free 877-738-1234 or go here.

Report: Only four Red Sox players showed up for Johnny Pesky's funeral

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff August 23, 2012 09:50 AM

Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino said it was "unnecessary" to focus on how many players showed up for Johnny Pesky's funeral after only four players attended.

The players in attendance at the Swampscott funeral on Monday were David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz, Vicente Padilla, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, according to a report.

"There was a tremendous turnout at the Johnny Pesky's funeral," Lucchino told listeners on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show. "We had over a 100 people there in terms of ownership, front office, current players, staff, former players. It was a very impressive turnout. I think the people who knew Johnny best had came to it. Our players will have had a chance on Tuesday night to participate in a ceremony on the field -- they all willingly and enthusiastically participated on that date -- and then there's going to be another memorial service. So I think it's unnecessary to focus on that issue."

The Boston Herald's Inside Track reported the the team rented buses for the players and staff to attend the funeral, but there was still a paltry turnout.

“We ordered the buses for the front office to go, knowing that any players could join us or drive separately from their homes,” Sox spokesman Charles Steinberg told the Track. “Between the ownership, front office, current players and staff, and former players, we were well represented by the people who knew Johnny best.”

Instead of attending Pesky's funeral, for which the buses left around 11 a.m. Monday morning, the team reportedly showed up for Josh Beckett's charitable Beckett Bowl later that night at Jillian's/Lucky Strikes Lanes.

"Remember, our players got in at about 4 in the morning" that day, Lucchino said. "[The buses] were designed primarily for the front office ... The buses were pretty full, entirely full."

Reports: Olympic sprinter Jeff Demps to sign with Patriots

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 17, 2012 12:43 PM

Former Florida Gators running back and Olympic silver medalist sprinter Jeff Demps will sign with the Patriots, according to Fox 13 Sports in Tampa, Fla.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport also tweeted the news, citing one of his agents. He also tweeted the Colts, Jets, Bucs and other teams were interested in signing the sprinter.

Demps rushed for 2,470 yards and 23 touchdowns for Florida. He earned his Olympic medal in the prelims.

Clay Buchholz strikes out side in 9 pitches for 47th 'perfect inning'

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 17, 2012 08:45 AM

Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw baseball's 23rd perfect game Wednesday. On Thursday, Red Sox righthander Clay Buchholz struck out three Orioles hitters on nine pitches in the sixth inning -- the 47th "perfect inning" in MLB history.

The nine pitches, according to MLB.com's Gameday, featured three foul balls, three called strikes, and three swinging strikes.

Buchholz vs. Adam Jones
Strike 1. Called strike on 77-mph curve
Strike 2. Swinging strike on 77-mph curve
Strike 3. Called strike on 90-mph cutter

Buchholz vs. Matt Weiters
Strike 1. Foul on 91-mph four-seam fastball
Strike 2. Swinging strike on 89-mph cutter
Strike 3. Called strike on 93-mph four-seam fastball

Buchholz vs. Chris Davis
Strike 1. Foul on 92-mph four-seam fastball
Strike 2. Foul on 91-mph cutter
Strike 3. Swinging strike on 86-mph splitter

The Red Sox righthander's perfect frame immediately followed his team's game-winning rally, a three-run sixth inning to help the Sox to a 6-3 victory at Camden Yards.

Dolphins cut Chad Johnson on 'Hard Knocks'

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 15, 2012 07:37 AM

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin's sit-down with Chad Johnson to cut him from the team was part of a "Hard Knocks" episode televised on HBO on Tuesday night.

"I just don't see the mesh right now," Philbin said. "I wish it was different. I wish I could tell you something more encouraging, but I just think it's best for both of us that we kind of part ways at this point in time.

"It's not like I'm trying to flex my muscles, that I'm the head coach and let's make an example of Chad Johnson. It has nothing to do with that. It's more about how you fit in and how we fit in together. Where this thing is heading, I just don't see it being what I thought it would be or what I hoped it would be. It's not good news, it's not good news for us either. I'm certain you can overcome this thing."

Chad Johnson apologizes

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 14, 2012 05:57 PM
Former Patriots and Dolphins receiver Chad Johnson has apologized for the actions that led to his arrest on Saturday on a domestic violence charge.

The statement from his website, OchoCinco News Network:

I would like to apologize to everyone for the recent events that have occurred. I would like to wish Evelyn well and will never say anything bad about her because I truly love her to death. I will continue to be positive and train hard for another opportunity in the NFL. To all the fans and supporters I have disappointed, you have my sincerest apologies. I will stay positive and get through this tough period in my life.

Johnson was arrested on Saturday after reportedly head-butting his wife, Evelyn Lozada following an argument.

Lozada has filed for divorce, The Associated Press reports.

Report: Red Sox players take Valentine gripes to ownership

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 14, 2012 04:48 PM

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A group of Red Sox players met with team owner John Henry and team president Larry Lucchino in July to express their discontent with manager Bobby Valentine, according to a Yahoo! Sports report published today.

Adrian Gonzalez and Dustin Pedroia were among the players who were "the most vocal" at a July 27 meeting in New York, and some players said they did not want to continue playing for Valentine, Yahoo! reported.

The meeting was called after ownership received a text message from Gonzalez on behalf of his teammates to complain about Valentine leaving starting pitcher Jon Lester in as he allowed 11 runs on July 22 vs. the Blue Jays.

The report also says another example of a deepening rift in the organization was a photo that has been circulated via text message that shows Pedroia smiling with two thumbs up in front of an apparently sleeping Valentine. The message with the photo reads "Our manager contemplating his lineup at 3:30 p.m."

The report also says players at the meeting complained that Valentine spends too much time in his office.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington confirmed to Yahoo! that the meeting took place.

"The intent of the meeting was to provide a forum for people to express whatever frustration needed to be expressed at a time during the season when things were not going exactly the way we wanted to on the field in hopes that we could put whatever issues were there aside and focus on playing games the rest of the season. That was the intent of the meeting. That was the focus of ownership. It was a productive meeting," he said.

The Red Sox have supported Valentine throughout a rocky first season as the field manager. Both Cherington and Henry have made public statements backing him in recent weeks.

VH1 cancels Chad Johnson's reality show

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff August 13, 2012 02:24 PM

VH1 is pulling the plug on a reality show starring former Patriots and Dolphins receiver Chad Johnson and his wife, Evelyn Lozada, the station has announced. VH1 made the announcement on Twitter:

Johnson was arrested for domestic violence over the weekend after being accused of headbutting Lozada during an argument on Saturday night. VH1 had already filmed 11 episodes of the show, which was scheduled to air Sept. 3.

Cannons release MLL championship weekend schedule

Posted by Staff August 13, 2012 02:12 PM

The Boston Cannons (9-5) concluded the regular season with a win, 18-16, over The Machine Saturday night in Ohio, in the process earning a spot in the MLL's championship weekend at Harvard Stadium.

The Cannons, who qualified as the No. 3 seed, will look to defend their title as 2011 league champions when they take on the second-seeded Chesapeake Bayhawks in the semifinals on Saturday, Aug. 25th.

The four championship weekend qualifying teams (Boston, Denver, Chesapeake, and Long Island) will participate in a practice open to the public at Harvard Stadium on Fri., Aug. 24th from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Autographs will most definitely be signed before and after each practice.

Here is the MLL championship weekend schedule:

Sat., Aug. 25, semifinals:

1 p.m. -- Long Island (8-6) vs. Denver (11-3)
4 p.m. -- Boston (9-5) vs. Chesapeake (10-4)

Sun., Aug. 26, championship:

3 p.m. -- MLL championship game

Tickets start at $25 and tailgating is very much encouraged (the parking lot opens three hours before the game). For additional information, click here.

Rivers: Collins should be next coach for Team USA

Posted by Robert Burgess August 12, 2012 03:35 PM
Mike Krzyzewski told the Associated Press that he has coached his last game for the men's Olympic basketball team, ending a seven-year run today with his team winning gold.

Speculation has already begun regarding who should replace Krzyzewski. Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who worked as an analyst for the London games, said in a postgame discussion on NBC that anyone offered the job would take it.

Rivers, for his part, said he wanted to see Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins get the job because of what many believe was an unfair loss to the Soviet Union that Collins was part of at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Collins put the US ahead by a point at the end of the game, but confusion over a timeout led the referees to put more time back on the clock, and the Americans ended up losing by a point.

Rivers had good things to say about two of Team USA's stars, who, back in the states are his team's serious rivals.

"It's OK to cheer for LeBron," Rivers said of Miami star LeBron James. "Not in Boston, but it's OK to cheer for LeBron."

And about Kobe Bryan of the Lakers, Rivers said the shooting guard is "the hardest working player in the NBA."

Of course, if Rivers is the man for the Team USA job, it would be interesting to imagine whether a 2016 Olympic team coached by Rivers might include Rajon Rondo or Austin Rivers, Doc's son who was drafted by the New Orleans Hornets.

Kenyans win Falmouth Road Race

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 12, 2012 12:52 PM
FALMOUTH -- Kenyans Stanley Biwott and Margaret Wangari took advantage of the homestretch at the Falmouth Road Race Sunday, a steep downhill along Grand Ave. dropping down to Falmouth Heights, to shake off the last of their challengers and win the men's and women's divisions of the 7-mile seaside run.

Biwott, 26, passed defending champion Lucas Rotich in the last 10 meters to cross the line in 32 minutes, 1 second, setting a 4:34.33 pace in the thick humidity.

Wangari passed Wude Ayalew and Emily Chebet with a final sprint, winning her third straight race in 36:54. Wangari, 26, also won the Bix 7 earlier in the summer and the Beach to Beacon 10K last week.

"I'm a good sprinter because I've been running the 1500,'' said Wangari.

Morning rainstorms were so heavy race director Dave McGillivray had to scramble to get huge puddles cleared from the road. The rain stopped by race time -- delayed 10 minutes while the roads were cleared, and many runners misjudged the severity of the humidity that quickly settled into the air. The medical tent was packed with overheated runners an hour after the winners crossed the line, and at least two were transported to the hospital.

Biwott, who plans to run the New York City Marathon, acknowledged the humidity but didn't let it slow him. Like Wangari, Biwott won last week's Beach to Beacon on another painfully hot and humid day. He said the up-and-down Falmouth course was a good training run, and smiled broadly.

Are baseballs in Cape Cod League juiced?

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff August 10, 2012 06:24 PM

This season, players in the Cape Cod Baseball League have hit 382 home runs. That's a 140 percent increase over the league's 2011 output of 159, according to a report in a Cape Cod newspaper.

Rich Maclone, a reporter for The Enterprise, did some serious digging and found out that the culprit is in fact the baseballs in use, with the league's current balls featuring a harder core then their 2011 counterpart that originated from the same company.

But there's more.

The epidemic of offense hasn’t just been felt on Cape Cod. Offensive numbers are up dramatically across the country in other National Alliance of College Summer Baseball leagues. The Florida League saw their homers increase from 57 to 158. The Great Lakes League went from 99 homers in 2011 to 276. In the New York Collegiate Baseball League, the total exploded from 117 to 315. And in the Valley League, homers rose from 287 to 469.

All members of the NACSB order their baseballs from the same company. The NACSB has an exclusive baseball-provider agreement with Diamond Sports of Santa Ana, California.

Read Maclone's story on the Enterprise's web site, which details the differences in the balls and why everyone is beginning to believe they've been juiced. The numbers have worried scouts enough that they've already started making inquiries.

Report: John Lackey 'double-fisting' beer in Red Sox clubhouse after loss

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff August 10, 2012 09:21 AM
No signs of fried chicken, but there's a report of beer being back in the Red Sox clubhouse in Cleveland.

Comcast SportsNet's Joe Haggerty reports that rehabbing Red Sox starter John Lackey, who has been traveling with the team while recovering from Tommy John surgery, was seen drinking in the Red Sox clubhouse after last night's 5-3 loss in Cleveland:

There were others that just don’t seem to care about wins or losses anymore.

Like John Lackey, who apparently needs to travel with the team and work with trainer Mike Reinold while recovering from Tommy John surgery – a fairly standard rehab that literally thousands of pitchers have come back from stronger-than-ever over the last 30 years.

But for whatever reason, the underachieving righty needs to travel with the team even though he won’t be throwing even one measly pitch for them.

Lackey was so busted up after the latest defeat that he was strutting around the clubhouse with a can of Bud Light in each hand, or what is known as “double-fisting” on every college campus in the history of mankind.

So much for the Bobby Valentine ban on alcohol in the Sox clubhouse that was implemented during spring training.

In February, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine banned alcohol in the clubhouse and on team flights returning to Boston. At the time, no distinction between home and road clubhouses was reported.

"There's no beer in the clubhouse and no beer on the last leg of plane trips," Valentine said in Fort Myers in February. "It's just what I've always done, except for when I was in Texas I guess. I'm comfortable with it that way."

The edict was expected given the news last fall that starting pitchers John Lackey, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz drank beer and ate Popeyes fried chicken in the clubhouse at Fenway Park while games were going on last season.

However, players are allowed to drink beer after the game on the road with their postgame meal, according the Globe's Nick Cafardo. Haggerty's story caused a stir because many were not aware of a different rule in road clubhouses.

In another report, Boston Dirt Dogs writes that embattled Red Sox starter Josh Beckett was spotted at a Boston bar at closing time Monday night, less than 36 hours before he gave up eight runs to the Texas Rangers in a Wednesday matinee at Fenway Park.

1912 Red Sox World Series trophy sells for $239k

Posted by Leonard Neslin August 9, 2012 01:33 PM

The 1912 Red Sox World Series trophy was auctioned for $239,000 last Thursday at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore.

The buyer has not been identified. Before the sale, Heritage Auctions had estimated the 14-inch silver trophy would sell for at least $300,000.

The seller, Robert Fraser, bought the trophy from Bruce Garland for a $74,000 finder's fee, including commission, in 2007. According to Fraser, Garland bought the trophy from the family of Jake Stahl, the manager of the 1912 Sox.

Q&A with boxer Danny O'Connor

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff August 8, 2012 06:39 PM

Boxer Danny O'Connor headlines the first boxing card to be held at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. A three-fight card will follow the New England Revolution game vs. Montreal, starting at approximately 9 p.m.

O'Connor joined Boston.com readers to discuss the card on Thursday. Review the questions and answers below.

Beckett to radio station: Red Sox clubhouse is fine

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff August 7, 2012 02:10 PM

Josh Beckett has been perhaps the biggest lightning rod for criticism on the Red Sox over the last two seasons, so when he chimes in on clubhouse matters, it's usually news. Beckett put a fairly positive spin on the team Tuesday during an appearance with WAAF's Hill Man Morning Show, attempting to squash the belief that the Sox clubhouse is dysfunctional.

"No, it’s the exact opposite," said Beckett. "There’s people who want it to be that way, and it’s not so it makes them mad when they come in there and we’re laughing and joking and having a good time. They want the perception to be something, and that’s what they’re going to write. There’s some very, very good media outlets here and there’s some very, very not good ones. The ones that are not good are the ones that want to perception to be what they want it to be no matter what, and that’s what they’re going to write."

Beckett didn't throw bouquets at everyone. He admitted that the media in Boston is persistent and that the pressure from the fans can be intense.

“There’s nothing you can do about it," said Beckett. "And that’s the way it’s been here for a long time. I talked to Jim Rice about it a few days ago. Jimmy was obviously not a fan of the media at all when he was here and had a lot of trouble with that and ended up to where he thinks it actually cost him a couple years on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. That’s just the way it is, that’s the way it’s always been here apparently. They talk about Ted Williams had problems with it when he was here.”

Beckett missed his scheduled start Sunday against the Twins and was pushed back to Wednesday night against Texas. He said the muscle spasms that caused him to miss a start won't prevent him from starting Wednesday.

On being a lightning rod for controversy, Beckett said, "I think for me, I’m just me. I don’t pay too much mind to when people have their opinions about it. I’m not going to change and I think sometimes that’s kind of what the media outlets want you to do here. They want you to be who they want you to be instead of just who you are. I’m just me, and I have a really good support group around me. As long as I don’t do anything to piss my wife off, I’ll be OK.”


Chad Johnson: 'It feels good to be able to breathe again'

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff August 1, 2012 02:58 PM

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Chad Johnson, the Dolphins wide receiver who called himself Chad Ochocinco when he was with the Patriots last season, seems to be happy in his new surroundings.

In a question-and-answer session with reporters Wednesday at Dolphins camp, Johnson touched on his time in New England and how his new team is different.

“It feels good to be able to breathe again,” he said, in comments posted by the Palm Beach Post. “What you’re seeing now, what you’re hearing, that’s always been me, keeping everybody loose. But when it’s time to play, I always show up.”

Johnson didn't exactly show up for the Patriots on the field last season. He had just 15 catches, and his performance was a hot topic of conversation. He said he didn't regret his time with the Patriots.

“No man, I learned so many things," said Johnson. "That’s one of the greatest coaches ever in the game. Learned a lot of things: Discipline, learned to shut the [expletive] up for a year. I never thought I could do it, but I did it. Learned watching Tom (Brady), his work ethic, unreal. Even though I wasn’t able to produce, or able to play like I wanted to, I learned a lot of things there that’s made me a better player. Some of the things that I’ve brought here, leadership, something I’ve never focused on.”

On why it didn't work out in New England, Johnson said, “I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Fins up. [Expletive], it doesn’t matter.”

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