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12/14/2011 - 4:45pm
Source: Red Sox sign Punto

According to a major league source, the Red Sox have signed infielder Nick Punto to a two-year deal worth "about" $3.5 million. Jon Heyman was first to report the signing, via Twitter.

Punto, 34, played last season with the Cardinals after spending the previous seven seasons with the Twins. In his lone season in St.Louis, Punto hit .278/.388/.421 with one homer and drove in 20 runs in 63 games.

The news comes on the same day that the team traded infielder Jed Lowrie to Houston in exchange for closer Mark Melancon.

For more on the Red Sox, visit weei.com/redsox.


12/14/2011 - 3:21pm
Baldinger on M&M: Tebow no gimmick

NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger joined the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Patriots' matchup with the Broncos and Tim Tebow.

Baldinger said Tebow present a real threat to all opposing defenses, and he doesn't expect him to hit a wall anytime soon.

"First of all, he's a great running back," Baldinger said. "If you just strip everything else aside, the guy's a 240-pound running back, and there's not that many of them in the league. And if you watch him against the Bears -- and I mean elite defenders in [Brian] Urlacher, [Lance] Briggs, [Julius] Peppers, [Charles] Tillman -- he either ran around them or through them last week. That was a great test for him, and he passed that test.

"Even though they only put up 13 points [and needed] overtime to get it, they still moved the ball throughout the game. And then when they were down 10-0 they said, 'OK, let's spread it out. We have to throw it.' And he...

12/14/2011 - 2:35pm
Chung, Vollmer absent from Pats practice

FOXBORO -- Safety Patrick Chung and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer were the only Patriots players not spotted at the team's first on-field practice in preparation for Tim Tebow and the Broncos this Sunday in Denver. The team practiced on the upper grass fields in sweats and shells. 

Chung hasn't played since injuring his right foot on Nov. 6 against the Giants while Vollmer has missed the last two games since injuring his right foot on Nov. 27 at Philadelphia. 

Chung has been practicing with the team but has not been cleared to return to game action, with Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater and Sterling Moore picking up the slack at safety. Vollmer hasn't practiced with the team since leaving Lincoln Financial Field in a walking boot after New England's 38-20 win over the Eagles. 

For more, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots and the blog...

12/14/2011 - 1:32pm
Sterling Moore back on Pats practice squad

FOXBORO -- A week after being cut, defensive back Sterling Moore was re-signed to the Patriots practice squad on Wednesday as the team prepares for Tim Tebow and the Broncos Sunday in Denver.

The 21-year-old Moore has spent time on the practice squad and the 53-man roster for the Patriots this season. He has played in five games -- including three starts -- while recording six total tackles.

Moore, 5-foot-10, 205 pounds, originally signed with the Raiders as a rookie free agent on July 28 out of Southern Methodist. After being released following training camp, he spent the first few weeks of the season on the Oakland practice squad and then joined the New England practice squad on Oct. 5.

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

 


12/14/2011 - 1:06pm
Source: Sox acquire Astros closer Melancon

According to multiple sources, the Red Sox acquired Astros closer Mark Melancon in a trade Wednesday for pitcher Kyle Weiland and Jed Lowrie.

Melancon, 26, a 2006 draft pick of the Yankees out of the University of Arizona, had Tommy John surgery late in 2006 and missed the 2007 season. He made his debut for the Yankees against the Red Sox in 2009. He was traded to the Astros last year as part of the Lance Berkman deal. The right-hander went 8-4 with a 2.78 ERA and 20 saves in 25 chances for the lowly Astros this past season. He had 66 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings.

Weiland, 25, debuted for the Red Sox this season, going 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA. He is expected to be given a spot in the Astros rotation.

Lowrie has played four injury-plagued seasons in Boston, batting .252 with a .324 on-base percentage and .408 slugging percentage, with 19 home runs and 117 RBIs in 256 games. In 2011, he played in 88 games and hit .252/.303/.382 with six home...

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