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02/29/2012 - 4:11pm
Varitek announcement Thursday at 5:30

The Red Sox will hold a press conference on Thursday at 5:30 pm at which longtime catcher Jason Varitek will announce his retirement after playing in parts of 15 seasons. The announcement will be made on the field at JetBlue Park, the Sox' new spring training home.

Varitek, 39, played in 1,546 games with the Sox, including a team record 1,488 as catcher. He hit .256 with a .341 OBP, .435 slugging percentage and .776 OPS, hitting 193 homers and driving in 757 runs. A three-time All-Star, Varitek was also the recipient of a Gold Glove award in 2005.

For complete Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.


02/29/2012 - 4:00pm
Reports: MLB to expand playoffs in '12

According to FoxSports.com, Major League Baseball will approve formally an expansion of the playoffs from eight to 10 teams for the 2012 season. The report suggests that while some "loose ends" remain in negotiations, MLB owners and the Players' Association could make an announcement as soon as Thursday on the expanded postseason.

That means that, this year, there will be two wild card teams in each league that will face off in a one-game playoff, with the winner advancing to play one of the three division winners. While the new Collective Bargaining Agreement suggested that the playoff expansion would happen for either 2012 or 2013, the owners and union evidently were able to resolve concerns about scheduling inequities to push ahead with expansion for this season.

Had there been a second wild-card in 2011, the...

02/29/2012 - 2:50pm
Verducci on M&M: Sox third best in AL East

In an interview with Mut & Merloni Wednesday, Sports Illustrated senior writer Tom Verducci said he believes the Red Sox are the third-best team in the American League East going into the season.

“Boston to me is third, because I don't like the shortstop situation,” Verducci said. “It's too important of a position to try to move people around, and certainly to force people in when they are not ready. In terms of [Jose] Iglesias, I don't like that situation. And they're going to need 90 starts from [Clay] Buchholz, [Jon] Lester and [Josh] Beckett. Anything less than that and they are going to be really in trouble and be less than a 90-win team.”

With so many storylines percolating around the Red Sox, Verducci said Carl Crawford's comments about last season and his place in the batting order showed a lack of closure from his disappointing 2011 campaign.

“I just don't know if [Crawford's] comfortable yet,...

02/29/2012 - 2:39pm
Bobby V: 'For the record, I love Derek Jeter'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- When told that Derek Jeter and the Yankees were practicing the flip play that was referenced after the Red Sox' workout Tuesday, Sox manager Bobby Valentine admitted a mistake in suggesting that New York didn't work on the play. Valentine had made mention of the play executed by Jeter in the 2001 American League Division Series, when the shortstop came across the diamond to take an errant relay throw from the outfield and flip it to catcher Jorge Posada in time to get the baserunner, Jeremy Giambi.

"I asked [Red Sox bullpen coach, and former Yankees coach] Gary Tuck. He said they do practice it," Valentine said. Total mistake on my part that they don't practice it, that's for sure. And he said when they practiced it, Jeter always got there late in practice. In that game he got there on time. So it's interesting. As I said yesterday, the shortstop there is being aware but it's hard to practice that because why are we going to...

02/29/2012 - 2:35pm
Boychuk (concussion) returns to skating
By: DJ Bean

WILMINGTON -- Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk skated prior to Wednesday's practice at Ristuccia Arena, marking the first time he has taken the ice since suffering a concussion Saturday night against the Senators. 

Coach Claude Julien said after the practice that he had yet to hear any feedback on how well Boychuk handled his return to the ice, but that the team will soon know how he is feeling.

"He skated this morning, and those are more [situations in which] we find out the next day if everything's good, then we move forward here," Julien said. "Again, it's a day-by-day situation, and we saw what happened with [Nathan Horton, who skated and suffered a setback earlier in the month], so we've just got to keep our fingers crossed." 

With Boyhcuk still out, the Bruins had seven defenseman at practice, as Greg Zanon joined the team for the first time since being acquired at Monday's trade deadline. 

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