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04/11/2011 - 6:47pm
Maddon: Crawford fits best in No. 2 spot

Speaking before his team's game with the Red Sox Monday night at Fenway Park, Rays manager Joe Maddon explained that in a perfect scenario he believed Carl Crawford's best spot in the batting order was hitting second. Maddon added that in his opinion Crawford's second-best spot was hitting third, with the leadoff spot serving as his third option.

“In a perfect world, with what I know, I would go 2, 3, 1," Maddon said. "And I’m just talking about his comfort zone. You could make the perfect argument that he should be a No. 1 hitter. I’ve often said he’s a lot like Rickey Henderson. He’s got a great combination of speed and power. I get it. But just to consider comfort within a player's comfort zone, wherever that may be. I was always aware of that and able to maneuver it.

"I’ve never had a lineup as thick as this lineup. He is almost like a [Ben] Zobrist to them. You can almost hit him all over the...

04/11/2011 - 6:41pm
Johnny Damon: 'Manny is in a better place'

Johnny Damon returned to Fenway Park Monday for the first time as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. It appeared a week ago he would be returning with another 2004 World Series hero - Manny Ramirez. But Ramirez announced his retirement rather than face an MLB-imposed 100-game suspension for an 'issue' concerning a recent test under MLB's PED testing program. 

“It’s a very sad thing that happened with Manny," Damon said prior to Monday's game. "I wish him nothing but the best. He was a great teammate of mine. He was a great player. I was just hoping that we would continue to have all the fun that we had when we had the press conference. For it to end so abruptly and for the reason, it’s sad. I hope Manny is in a better place. I heard he’s going to be traveling. He deserves to do it. After 18 or 19 years in the big leagues, it’s time for him to walk away. Unfortunately, it’s under these terms.

"I...

04/11/2011 - 6:19pm
Report: Shaq expected back for Game 1

Despite playing once since Feb. 1 due to multiple injuries, Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal is expected to practice with the team on Thursday and return for Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs, according to Globe reporter Gary Washburn.

 

O'Neal has missed 43 games this season, including the last four with a strained calf he suffered after playing five minutes against the Pistons on April 3. He did not play in the 26 games prior to that game because of an inflamed Achilles tendon.

 

If the Eastern Conference playoff picture remains as is, the Celtics would face the Knicks in the first round. Meanwhile, multiple reports indicate that the Celtics will sit Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen -- if not all the starters -- againt the Wizards on Monday night. Glen Davis, Delonte West and Jeff Green are expected to start in their place.

 

For more on the team, visit weei.com/...

04/11/2011 - 3:26pm
Crawford leads off vs. his old team

Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford rarely batted leadoff while a member of the Rays. Indeed, he did so just once after April 2007 while still with Tampa Bay.

However, he will be occupying the first spot in the batting order for the fourth straight contest with his new club against as it faces his old one on Monday, as he looks to get his season on track following a challenging start that has seen him hit .132 without a single extra-base hit in his first nine games in Boston. This will mark the first time that Crawford has played the Rays in the regular season.

RED SOX LINEUP

Crawford, LF
Pedroia, 2B
Gonzalez, 1B
Youkilis, 3B
Ortiz, DH
Drew, RF
Saltalamacchia, C
Ellsbury, CF
Scutaro, SS

Matsuzaka, SP

For complete matchup information, visit the...

04/11/2011 - 2:18pm
Fred Taylor: I'm 'basically retired' from NFL

Running back Fred Taylor, who was with the Patriots the last two seasons, told the Gainesville Sun on Monday that he's "basically retired" from football.

The 35-year-old Taylor struggled to stay healthy in his two seasons with New England, as he was hobbled by a series of injuries that forced him to miss 19 of 32 regular-season games while with the Patriots. In two years in New England, Taylor has 106 carries for 424 yards and two touchdowns.

In 13 seasons, the Florida product has compiled some truly amazing numbers, with 2,534 carries (21st on the all-time list) and 11,695 yards (15th all-time). The Pro Bowler also average 4.6 yards per carry in his NFL career.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.


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