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12/30/2011 - 4:23pm
Sources: Hill inks minor league deal with Sox

According to sources, left-hander Rich Hill has re-signed with the Red Sox, agreeing to a minor league deal for the 2012 season. Hill, 31, has made 15 scoreless appearances in the big leagues for the Sox in 2010 and 2011. However, his extremely promising start to the 2011 season was derailed when he tore his ulnar collateral ligament and required season-ending Tommy John surgery in June. The agreement was first reported by John Tomase of the Boston Herald. 

Sources indicated that if called up by the Red Sox, Hill will earn a prorated $725,000.

Hill told WEEI.com earlier in December that he was progressing well in his rehab, and even thought that he might be ready to return by Opening Day.

“I’m trying to get as strong as I can for the start of the season....

12/30/2011 - 1:47pm
King on M&M: Patriots-Steelers for AFC title

Peter King of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday with guest hosts Kirk Minihane and Rob Bradford to talk about news from around the NFL.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has a left shoulder issue, but there have been varying reports about the extent of the injury.

"I'm sure it's something," King said. "But I doubt sincerely it's something remotely serious that will either threaten his ability to play in this game or to succeed in the game."

Asked for his postseason prediction, King listed the Patriots and Steelers as his AFC favorites.

"What I'm thinking of right now, regardless of whether Pittsburgh is second or fifth [seed], I like a Pittsburgh-New England AFC championship game," he said. "I just can't quite figure outright now who I like to win that game. … If I see Ben Roethlisberger gimping around like Walter Brennan this weekend against the Browns, I...

12/30/2011 - 1:28pm
Brady at practice, Mankins, Vollmer miss

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady was on hand Friday for the start of practice for a second straight day after being listed on Thursday's injury report as limited with a left shoulder ailment. 

The team practiced in sweats and shells inside Gillette Stadium with only Logan Mankins (left knee) and Sebastian Vollmer (foot/back) missing practice for a third straight day. 

The team will hold their weekly pregame walkthrough on Saturday before hosting the Bills Sunday at Gillette in the regular season finale at 1 p.m. ET. 

For more, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots the blog It Is What It Is


12/30/2011 - 12:58pm
Pierce on Twitter: 'I'm close'

Celtics captain Paul Pierce hinted that his return could come as soon as Friday night's home opener against the Pistons, tweeting on Thursday night, "I'm close very very close very."

Pierce has not played in any of the C's three games during their 0-3 start due to a heel injury suffered in training camp. Sasha Pavlovic has started in his place.

For more on the Celtics, visit www.weei.com/celtics.


12/30/2011 - 12:44pm
Belichick on Brady health: 'Play quarterback'

FOXBORO -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick was pressed several times at the beginning and end of his Friday news conference about the health of Tom Brady. He would not elaborate on his health and did not mentioned the injured left shoulder.

At the beginning, Belichick was asked what Brady was able to do on Thursday, after being given Wednesday off for "non injury related" issues.

"Play quarterback," Belichick answered. 

Pressed toward the end of the 16-minute session about the level of confidence Belichick and the staff have in Brady's ability to perform with an injured left shoulder, Belichick elaborated.

"Anybody we put out on the field, I have confidence in or we wouldn't put him out there," Belichick said. "So if they're out there, we have confidence in him. If they're not out there, there is either another player ahead of him or we're not confident they can go out there [healthy]. It's as...

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