Morning Sports Update: Patriots’ Alan Branch reportedly facing four-game suspension

The 6'6", 350 lb. Branch is reportedly appealing the suspension. –AP/Winslow Townson

The Celtics rallied for a comeback win, while the Patriots may be losing a key contributor on defense to a suspension.

Pats’ Alan Branch reportedly facing 4-game suspension after positive marijuana test: New England Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Branch tested positive for marijuana and will appeal the four-game suspension. (ESPN)

Bruins’ Anton Khudobin closer to return after weekend in AHL: It appears the Bruins will soon have backup goaltender Anton Khudobin back in the fold, with the 30-year-old having rehabbed with two games for the Providence Bruins this past weekend. The B’s have used Tuukka Rask in 10 of their last 13 but Khudobin, who was brought back to Boston on a 2-year contract, figures to re-enter the picture for the team sometime this week. (WEEI)


Several ex-Red Sox among additions to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot: The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot was released on Monday, with Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, and Tim Wakefield headlining the list of Red Sox inclusions. Additionally, Orlando Cabrera, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron, Edgar Renteria, and Freddy Sanchez were added to the ballot, which already included former Red Sox pitchers Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling. (NESN)

Celtics survive scare, beat back Timberwolves: After finishing the third quarter with a 13-point deficit, the Celtics went on a 19-0 run to surge to a 99-93 victory in Minnesota. The team credited an act of leadership by Marcus Smart in inspiring the run. “Smart kind of went at us at the end of the third quarter, and that woke us up — basically saying all the right stuff, that we weren’t playing like we need to be playing,” Isaiah Thomas said. “That kind of turned the switch.” (Boston Herald)

Blue Jays reportedly bid $80 million for Encarnacion: According to MLB insider Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays offered Edwin Encarnacion a deal in the vicinity of 4 years and $80 million in an attempt to retain the slugger. Heyman notes that Encarnacion remains a free agent target for the Red Sox, and that Toronto’s offer is a logical starting point based on Hanley Ramirez’s 4-year $88 million contract. Encarnacion hit 42 homers in his free agency walk year. (FanRag Sports)

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