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12/07/2011 - 5:23pm
Valentine talked to 'pissed off' Beckett

DALLAS -- New Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said that he has been making an effort to reach out to most of the players on his roster for introductory phone conversations. Aside from a select few such as Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jed Lowrie, Carl Crawford (with whom Valentine is hoping to meet in person before spring training), Valentine has spoken with most of the players listed on the team's roster, including right-hander Josh Beckett, who has become something of a lightning rod amidst offseason revelations of the occasional clubhouse consumption of beer and chicken during games and suggestions that Beckett's in-season commitment to conditioning lagged.

Valentine suggested that he has been in touch with the right-hander, who went 13-7 with a 2.89 ERA and 175 strikeouts in 193 innings.

"I did reach out to Josh, and he didn't want me to say anything so I'm not going to say anything other than after he got through telling me how pissed off he was, we...

12/07/2011 - 5:14pm
Valentine: 'I hate the Yankees'

DALLAS -- Bobby Valentine did not mince words. Asked to offer his sentiments about the Yankees in a media meeting, Valentine -- who grew up as a Yankees fan in Stamford, Conn. -- was direct.

"I hate the Yankees. I don't want to waste this valuable time talking about the Yankees.  This is too valuable," Valentine said to laughter in his meeting with the media at the winter meetings. "I told [Yankees manager] Joe Girardi I used to love them, but now I hate them."

Valentine was more complimentary of another division rival, suggesting that he has "been in awe of" the job done by the Tampa Bay Rays and manager Joe Maddon, and describing the task of beating Tampa Bay as "a real challenge."

"If I was a broadcaster answering that question [about his thoughts on the Rays], I would say that everyone would rather have an expert team than have a team of experts, and I think that they strive to have an...

12/07/2011 - 4:26pm
Shanahan: Haynesworth trade 'easy' choice

FOXBORO -- From the success of Tim Tebow to the demise of Albert Haynesworth in New England, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan provided some candid insight Wednesday on conference call with the New England media. As the coach who traded Haynesworth to the Patriots in July, Shanahan told reporters he was hardly surprised with the way his brief tenure ended in New England. 

Shanahan was asked about Haynesworth just after speaking highly of another former player in his system, Andre Carter, who left Washington after last season for a better deal and system in New England. Shanahan said Carter was willing to try and adapt to a 3-4 system whereas Haynesworth was not. 

"That was completely different," Shanahan began. "You talk about guy like Andre Carter, who was the most accountable guy you could be around. He's a pro. With Albert, it didn't take long to figure out you have everybody buys into a system and it didn't take long to...

12/07/2011 - 3:04pm
Farrell on M&M: 'I'm committed to Toronto'

Blue Jays manager John Farrell joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday afternoon from the winter meetings in Dallas. Following his four-year stint as Red Sox pitching coach, Farrell finished his first season as Jays manager with an 81-81 record.

Farrell was rumored to be the Red Sox' top choice to replace Terry Francona this offseason, but Farrell said he never regretted going to Toronto.

"Not at all," he said. "When opportunities come up, they arise sometimes out of nowhere. I've never been one that while you're doing your current job, that you look elsewhere. I think becomes a complete distraction. I think it's a disservice and disrespect to the people that you work for. Who would have known what took place this past year? And that wouldn't have been the reason to either stay or go elsewhere. I felt like it was a great opportunity to join … that [Blue Jays] staff and to join a club that I think, you know what? Yeah, the...

12/07/2011 - 3:04pm
NFL: Pats won't be flexed vs. Tebow

Despite much speculation to the contrary, the Patriots will not be flexed out of their 4:15 ET slot on Dec. 18 when they play Tim Tebow and the Broncos in Denver, the NFL announced on Wednesday afternoon.  

The initial deadline for CBS and NBC to decide on whether to switch the game to an 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff was Tuesday but the NFL extended it to Wednesday. The game will remain on CBS and the Ravens and Chargers in San Diego will remain the primetime game that night on NBC. 

Asked specificially during his Wednesday press conference whether or not the uncertainty of the game bothered him, Bill Belichick dismissed the subject out of hand.  

"I don’t really care about the Broncos game right now," Belichick said. "I’m worried about the Washington game. I don’t really care about it. When they tell us to play, we’re going to show up and play the game. When it happens, it happens. Right now, I...

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