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08/22/2012 - 10:17am
Patriots take Vollmer, Fells off PUP list

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday morning that the team has officially removed right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and tight end Daniel Fells from the physically unable to perform list. Vollmer has dealt with injury issues for much of the last year, including a back problem, while Fells reportedly re-aggravated a knee injury he suffered last season while with Denver. Both were sidelined throughout the spring and summer practice sessions.

“They’re off PUP and they’ll began practicing with us. Sebastian’s already begun practicing with the team and Daniel will begin practicing with the team. We’ll take it day by day,” Belichick said. “They’ve both been making good progress and we’ve taken another small step. Each day is a small step, but in the end all those steps end up covering a lot of ground, and those guys have done that.

“Taking them off [PUP], this is...

08/22/2012 - 7:08am
Mashup: Astros to watch Clemens pitch

The Astros are sending a scout to look at Roger Clemens pitch for the Sugar Land Skeeters. Clemens has downplayed the possibility of a return to the majors. You, me, and your aunt's parrot know that's his ideal end game, however. If Clemens were to pitch at the major league level it would push back his Hall of Fame eligibility.

Via Sports Illustrated:

General manager Jeff Luhnow said Tuesday the Astros sent a scout to look at Clemens and left-hander Scott Kazmir, who also plays for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. Clemens is to make his first start on Saturday at home against Bridgeport.

Luhnow said he wasn't sure whether Clemens was trying to make it back to the big leagues or just wanted to keep doing something he was very good at for a long time.

Clemens' agent said the right-hander has been clocked at 87 mph, but Luhnow discounted that talk because he hasn't pitched in a game yet....

08/21/2012 - 10:25pm
Niemann on rotation: 'We're better than that'

New Red Sox pitching coach Randy Niemann, while acknowledging his disappointment in the firing of predecessor Bob McClure during Monday's off-day, said that he hoped to use the remaining 39 games of the season to help get the team's pitching staff on track both for the rest of this year and going forward. As part of that effort, he acknowledged the need for the team to improve upon the 4.85 ERA of its rotation.

"I think we're better than that," Niemann said of the ERA. "I think the guys think we're better than that. And we're going to work hard this last month and a half to address that and make it better. Are we going to get it down to leading the league? I don't think we have time to do that, but we're going to make it better and we're going to work hard to do that. Like I told the guys earlier, I'm here for them, I'm going to be here early and I'll be here late. Whatever they need to make this work the last month, I'll be here to do that...

08/21/2012 - 9:12pm
Spoilers: Angels ruin Pesky night at Fenway

Mark Trumbo connected for a tape-measure blast over the Green Monster in left-center and Ervin Santana allowed two runs and five hits over 6 1/3 innings to help the Angels snap a four-game skid and beat the Red Sox, 5-3, Tuesday night at Fenway Park. The loss spoiled a night that began with a stirring memorial tribute by the Red Sox to their late patriarch Johnny Pesky, who was remembered with a No. 6 in the outfield grass behind shortstop and a likeness of the "Pesky Pole" running from behind second base to the center field warning track. The Red Sox also received permission from MLB to have every player and coach in uniform wear Pesky's No. 6 for the game.

The Angels, who won for just the sixth time in 19 games, broke through against Boston starter Aaron Cook with a single run in the third as Albert Pujols drove home Mike Trout with his second hit of the night. The Angels added two runs apiece in the fourth and fifth, as they chased the Red...

08/21/2012 - 5:38pm
Bobby V: Ellsbury's 'mis-hit a lot of balls'

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine moved center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury down from the first to the third spot in the lineup, the first time that Ellsbury has been put in that spot in a start. Valentine suggested that the impetus for the move was to change his leadoff hitter's approach.

"Just talking with the coaching staff, they feel like, in the past, sometimes he’s been moved out of the leadoff spot and he’s gotten a little more aggressive," Valentine said. "I took heed of that to see if we could get him a little more aggressive."

The motivation for that move is based in part on the fact that Ellsbury has offered little production since returning from the DL at the start of the second half. In 35 games since returning from his shoulder subluxation, Ellsbury is hitting .261 with a .303 OBP, .366 slugging mark and .669 OPS. But Valentine suggested that he hasn't looked tentative at the plate, and that his lack of...

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