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03/02/2012 - 3:56pm
MLB announces playoff expansion in '12

Major League Baseball and the Players Association announced an agreement to expand the playoff field to five teams in each league starting in the 2012 season.

There will now be two wild card teams in each league; those two teams will play a one-game playoff to determine who will advance to the Division Series. In 2012 only, the top two seeds will travel to face the winner of the wild card playoff for the first two games of the Division Series, before the series shifts back to the home park of the higher seed for the final three games of the series. That '2-3' format was used from 1995-97, in the first three years of the last playoff expansion.

Starting in 2013, however, the Division Series will shift back to the '2-2-1' format -- in which the higher seed hosts the first two games of the series as well as a potential winner-take-all Game 5 -- that has been used for the last 14 postseasons. 

"I greatly appreciate the MLBPA’s...

03/02/2012 - 2:37pm
Varitek on M&M: Not mentally ready to coach

One day after formally announcing his retirement during a press conference at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla., Jason Varitek joined the Mut & Merloni show to talk about his future, his captaincy and last year's disappointing finish.

Varitek said he hopes to remain with the team in some capacity, but it may take some time to determine an appropriate role.

"Obviously, I'd like to maintain and make sure that I am a part of the organization someway, somehow," he said. "Trading ideas of how that may transpire, we haven't gotten that far to where I can sit down and talk to Ben [Cherington] and get there. But there's desire on both sides to figure something out and for that to happen. I do love the game. And I do love the fact that I know that there's still a lot I can give to the game -- and learn from the game. But how that transpires, it's going to take some time. I still wanted to play. I've got to make sure that when I change...

03/02/2012 - 10:46am
Wojnarowski on D&C: No big deals for C's

Yahoo! Sports NBA writer Adrian Wojnarowski joined Dennis & Callahan Friday morning to discuss the trade rumors surrounding the Celtics, specifically concerning point guard Rajon Rondo. Wojnarowski said not to expect a big deal from Celtics president Danny Ainge before the trade deadline.

"I just don't know what large thing is out there for them to do," he said. "I think Danny's going to try, and he's ready with any of the Big Three to make a move if they can get them maybe some picks down the line, a good young player for down the line. But right now, whatever that is, I don't think it's shown itself. And as for Rondo, I don't see that happening."

Wojnarowski said Ainge might be asking teams what they would offer for Rondo in an attempt to determine the guard's trade value going forward, but that's different than actively "shopping" him. "Boston's not doing that with Rondo," he said, noting that it's...

03/02/2012 - 8:48am
Mashup: Yanks owner says payroll to be cut

The Yankees, who paid $13.9 million in luxury tax last year, want to get their payroll under the luxury tax threshold within two years. Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner told the media Thursday in Tampa that he wants the payroll trimmed from $210 million to $189 million, which is what the luxury tax mark will be in 2014.

"I'm looking at it as a goal, but my goals are normally considered a requirement," Steinbrenner said. "That 189 [million dollars] is a real number, and we're going to be shooting for it. I think with all the young talent we have coming up, particularly pitching, that's a realistic goal."

The Yankees have $75 million committed to four players this year: Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and Derek Jeter. Steinbrenner wants a focus on the team's youth.

"Plenty of teams win without the kind of payrolls we have," he said. "I'm excited about the young kids we have; that...

03/01/2012 - 11:20pm
Ference has lower-body injury
By: DJ Bean

Defenseman Andrew Ference left the Bruins' 4-3 overtime win over the Devils in the third period with what coach Claude Julien called a lower-body injury. Ference took only three shifts in the third period and did not play after his last one ended 5:30 into the period.

"He suffered a lower-body injury," Julien said of Ference. "We took him out instead of forcing it, and I guess what I've been told is we'll know better tomorrow how severe it is and whether he's going to be fine or whether it's going to go the other way." 

With Ference out, Julien took Joe Corvo off the bench after he had benched the struggling defenseman. Corvo was on the ice for the Devils' first two goals in the second period, including a Zach Parise goal that was created when Corvo sent a blind backhand pass to New Jersey winger Ilya Kovalchuk in the neutral zone. 

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

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