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04/20/2012 - 12:24pm
Matsuzaka to start rehab assignment

Daisuke Matsuzaka's unimpeded progress in recovering from Tommy John surgery last June is ready for the next step. The right-hander will start a rehab assignment with Salem of the High-A Carolina League on Monday, and he will have a pitch limit of roughly 75 (up from the 59 he threw in his last extended spring training outing).

"Daisuke feels really good," manager Bobby Valentine said. "He's ready to start dealing with competition rather than rehabilitation."

Valentine said that Matsuzaka will still face controlled competition, meaning that he won't be allowed to throw 30 pitches in an inning. However, the outing will start a progression of approximately five starts after which Matsuzaka could be ready or nearly ready to return to the big leagues. The right-hander will face a 30-day rehab clock, meaning that he could be pitching again in the majors by the end of May, less than a year after his surgery.

Matsuzaka is 49-30...

04/20/2012 - 12:22pm
Celtics confirm signing of Sean Williams

The Celtics on Friday confirmed that they have bolstered their thin front court by signing Sean Williams. The Boston College product is in his fourth season in the NBA. He appeared in eight games for the Mavericks and 27 games with the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League this season, after playing three years with the Nets and last season mostly overseas.

In order to make the acquisition Boston requested waivers on Jermaine O'Neal, who has been out for the season with a wrist injury since before the All-Star break. Just weeks after losing O'Neal, Chris Wilcox was ruled out for the year when it was discovered he needed aortic surgery to remedy with a cardiac irregularity.

Without O'Neal and Wilcox the Celtics have relied heavily on Brandon Bass, Kevin Garnett and Greg Stiemsma to carry the workload up front. The C's brought in Ryan Hollins for added depth on March 23, but he has been used sparingly.

In his eight appearances for Dallas...

04/20/2012 - 11:48am
Doc says Pierce, KG likely to rest vs. Hawks

The Celtics knew they would be shorthanded for their Friday night matchup against the Hawks as they traveled to Atlanta without Rajon Rondo, Mickael Pietrus and Ray Allen. On Friday morning the term “shorthanded” changed to "nearly depleted" as Doc Rivers told reporters he probably will rest Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett against the Hawks as well.

The Celtics could very well face the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics are guaranteed one of the top four seeds by virtue of their Atlantic Division title, but that does not automatically give them homecourt advantage in the playoffs. If Boston is the 4 seed and the 5 seed has a better record, the C's would find themselves on the road. The Hawks are the fifth seed and have a one-game lead in the loss column over the Celtics, making Friday night's contest anything but meaningless.

On the other hand, team president Danny Ainge and Rivers have been...

04/20/2012 - 11:31am
Ference: 'A lot left to be desired' from B's

Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to discuss the B's 2-1 loss in Game 4 of their first-round series against the Capitals.

On the Capitals' first goal, coming 1:22 into the game, Ference collided with Alex Ovechkin at center ice and the puck got past Zdeno Chara, setting up the Caps on a 2-on-1. Ovechkin jumped in the air -- apparently trying to get around Ference -- and knocked over the B's defenseman, but Ference wasn't sure if it should have been called interference.

"I didn't see the whole play, because I felt Ovechkin on my back," he said with a laugh. "I'm not really sure how it looked on TV, but it felt like he was on my back, or on my neck. … I haven't seen a replay of it. I don't know how it looks, but I definitely couldn't get to the puck, that's for sure."

Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, the 22-year-old who is filling in after...

04/20/2012 - 11:08am
Steinberg: No Lynn, Nixon, Boggs at Fenway

Dr. Charles Steinberg, Red Sox special adviser to the president/CEO, joined the Dennis & Callahan show Friday morning to talk about Fenway Park's 100th anniversary celebration scheduled for Friday afternoon, before the Red Sox play the Yankees.

Steinberg, who is orchestrating the event, said he expects close to 200 former players to attend, although he added that there is a lot of uncertainty.

"A lot of moving parts. A lot of people coming from all over -- maybe they'll get here, maybe they won't. We'll see," he said. "So, you do a lot of on-the-fly adjusting. All you want is for the fans to see some of the folks that inspire memories and foster conversations. There's no shortage of that here."

Steinberg would not confirm any of the players who have committed, although he did indicate that the team did all it could to accommodate 94-year-old Bobby Doerr, who said upon his last visit to Boston that he would not return...

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