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04/10/2012 - 6:14pm
Daisuke hits 94 mph in latest rehab outing

TORONTO -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine reported that Daisuke Matsuzaka continued to make progress from his Tommy John surgery, hitting 94 mph on the radar gun in an extended spring training game Tuesday in Fort Myers.

Matsuzaka, who underwent surgery last June, threw 49 pitches and, according to Valentine, displayed a good feel for his changeup.

Another pitcher on rehab assignment, Andrew Miller, is slated to join Triple-A Pawtucket. Miller, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, pitched a perfect inning for Single-A Greenville Monday night. Lefty Rich Hill also continued his road back from Tommy John surgery followed up his first rehab outing -- in which he struck out the side for Greenville in his only inning -- by giving up a run on two hits, striking out a pair for the Single-A team Tuesday.

Valentine also reported shortstop Mike Aviles, who was replaced in the Red Sox' lineup Tuesday by Nick Punto, is suffering from a mild left...

04/10/2012 - 3:42pm
Slater: I'm happy to be back in Foxboro

FOXBORO -- When it came to free-agent possibilities, Matthew Slater said Tuesday that there was no need to even consider anyone else when it came to the open market.

“My heart was here all along. I wanted to be here. I was just happy they felt the same way about me and they wanted me back,” Slater said on a break from workouts at Gillette Stadium. “I’m just very thankful they wanted me back here and they’ve given me an opportunity to continue my career here, just as they did four years ago. They gave me an opportunity to keep playing football when maybe not a lot of people would have. I’m just thankful to be here."

It was a breakout year for the 26-year-old. The 6-foot, 200-pounder out of UCLA, who made the Pro Bowl this past year, just finished up his fourth season in New England, having worked as a wide receiver, defensive back and special teamer. He caught one pass for 46 yards this past year...

04/10/2012 - 3:29pm
Gonzalez: I was hoping to join Patriots

FOXBORO -- Meeting the media for the first time as a Patriot on Tuesday, wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez said that when it came to his options in free agency, choosing New England was a no-brainer.

"The phone call early was great, and it was somewhat surprising," Gonzalez said during a break in workouts at Gillette Stadium. "But it was the one I was hoping to get, to be honest. When I kind of evaluated free agency and different teams and how I thought I would fit culturally, as well as from an offensive standpoint, this was one that I targeted. To have the interest be mutual, that worked out well."

The 27-year-old, who was a first-round pick of the Colts in 2007 and been with Indy since he was a rookie, said crossing over from one side of the Patriots-Colts rivalry to another has been an interesting process.

"Just being in the NFL and being on the other side of that rivalry for a while, there's not a...

04/10/2012 - 3:17pm
Punto starts, Aviles sits behind Bard

TORONTO -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be behind the plate for the first big league start of Daniel Bard's career. Manager Bobby Valentine has tweaked the lineup slightly, with David Ortiz moving back up from fifth on Monday to cleanup on Tuesday, swapping spots with Kevin Youkilis. Right fielder Ryan Sweeney and left fielder Cody Ross will also flip-flop in the sixth and seventh spots, while Nick Punto will play shortstop and give Mike Aviles his first day off of the young season.

Bard gets his first career start after 192 games pitched in relief. That is the most outings in a Sox uniform before a pitcher's first start. Regardless of what one considers Bard's best role on the Red Sox, the fact that the Sox were comfortable with the idea of the right-hander as a starter represents a dramatic change in the course of his career....

04/10/2012 - 2:14pm
Doc: Pietrus return likely 'sooner than later'

Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters in Miami, where his team is getting ready to take on the Heat on Tuesday night, that swingman Mickael Pietrus is running without any effects of the concussion he incurred in Philadelphia on March 23, suggesting the possibility that the 30-year-old could be back with the team before too long.

"Honestly, I haven’t asked [team trainer] Eddie [Lacerte] yet, we haven’t gotten into the return date, but [Pietrus] sounds like sooner than later," Rivers told reporters. "But that’s from Pietrus, so we have to temper all that. Listen, if we get him at all, it’s a blessing, because it didn’t look like we would, that would be a huge boost for our team."

Rivers suggested that Pietrus could impact the team either as a starter or off the bench. The Celtics coach viewed Pietrus and guard Avery Bradley as players whom he could mix and match in the starting unit.

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