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04/18/2012 - 10:13pm
Napoli, Rangers too much for Red Sox

A brilliant start by Josh Beckett was spoiled by an even better one from Rangers counterpart Derek Holland and another huge night for slugger Mike Napoli, as Texas completed a two-game sweep in Boston with a 6-3 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Sox have now lost three straight.

Beckett logged seven innings and allowed three runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out a season-high seven. He featured a swing-and-miss cutter as well as his best fastball of the season, a pitch that ran from 91-94 mph. However, a familiar nemesis saddled Beckett with the loss. Up 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning, Beckett allowed a leadoff single to David Murphy and then left a 2-0 fastball up and in to Napoli. As he has done so many times in his career, the Rangers catcher turned on the pitch and crushed it, lining a ball into the back row of the Monster Seats to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead.

Beckett settled and retired the next 12 hitters he...

04/18/2012 - 7:52pm
Doc: Trading Allen would have been 'scary'

The Celtics almost had a deal for Memphis guard O.J. Mayo at the trade deadline that would have sent Ray Allen to the Grizzlies, Yahoo! Sports reported on Wednesday. The deal was so close that told Allen he was traded, and then had to tell him he wasn't after it fell through.

"If you lose Ray, that’s a scary moment," Doc Rivers said before the Celtics played the Magic. "I wouldn’t want to see Ray, Paul [Pierce] or Kevin [Garnett] ever move. That’s just how you are. Even if you got the best deal in the world you’d still be losing guys you have an attachment with. It would be scary for me."

Rivers said he didn't have to smooth over any hard feelings.

"Our guys are great," he said. "That’s the point. Afterward our guys were good and you just move forward. That’s what I love about this team."
Allen is out of the lineup again with a sore ankle and wasn...

04/18/2012 - 7:37pm
Rondo, Allen, Pietrus all out vs. Magic

The Celtics will be without Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus Wednesday as they battle the Magic in a key Eastern Conference showdown. 

Rondo fell on his back Tuesday in New York and had a heavy wrap on his right wrist and was given the night off Doc Rivers. Ray Allen missed his sixth straight game with a sore left ankle while Mickael Pietrus missed his second straight game with right knee soreness. 

"Just a bruised back for Rondo," Rivers announced before the game. But he acknowledged that Allen's ankle is "troublesome" and has no idea when he might be full strength again. 

The Celtics entered the game with a 36-26 record, and have all but assured no worse than a No. 4 seed in the East as the Atlantic Division leaders. However, they could still not have home court advantage if Atlanta (36-25) or the Magic (36-25) have a better record. 

Rivers also indicated that if Wednesday marked the...

04/18/2012 - 6:07pm
Valentine: Youkilis 'a bloop away'

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has Kevin Youkilis batting sixth in Wednesday's lineup against Rangers left-hander Derek Holland, the lowest that Youkilis has hit that low in the order in almost four years. Since hitting sixth on July 22, 2008, Youkilis has hit in the third through fifth spots in every game he's started.

However, one night after Youkilis went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts to drop his average to .176 with a .443 OPS, Valentine suggested that the 33-year-old might benefit from "just a little breather" by hitting lower in the order.

"Maybe just a little something different for him, you know, gets that one pitch," said Valentine. "We’ve all been there. A bloop away."

Valentine did praise Youkilis for the effort he's putting into returning to form, though he deferred to hitting coach Dave Magadan on Youkilis on the specifics of his work, noting that his experience with the three-time All-Star is...

04/18/2012 - 5:34pm
Ellsbury: 'I'll definitely be playing this year'

Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, speaking to the media for the first time since suffering a subluxation of his right shoulder last Friday, said that he does not have a timetable for his return, but that after being assured that he will not require surgery, he is ready to work to get back as soon as possible. The outfielder said that after being examined to confirm the diagnosis for a subluxation, he is confident in a return at some point this year.

"I’ll definitely be playing this year, hopefully sooner than later," said Ellsbury. "Putting a lot of work in. Right now, we’re doing a lot of icing to get the swelling out. Once the swelling subsides, I can start getting exercises, that sort of thing, in the shoulder. As far as the timeline, we don’t have one right now. ... Everyone’s on the same page. I’m excited to get everything going and get back as soon as possible."

Ellsbury said that he had...

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