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03/19/2011 - 4:03pm
Francona identifies first three spots in lineup

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona said prior to his team's spring training game against the Pirates in Bradenton that his preference is to hit Jacoby Ellsbury in the Sox' leadoff spot, although that's not written in stone for Opening Day due to the presence of Texas left-hander C.J. Wilson.

 

"Jacoby’s been swinging the bat so well, I’d really like to lead him off," Francona said. "The hard thing is, opening day, C.J. Wilson is pitching and he’s so tough on lefties. That’s the one thing that’s been messing with me a little bit. Normally that’s a guy you’d do something with, but it’s opening day, so I don’t know how I feel about that."

 

Ellsbury is just 0-for-1 against Wilson, while the potential replacement for the outfielder in the top spot, Marco Scutaro is 2-for-16 vs. the lefty. 

 

Hitting second and third...

03/19/2011 - 1:29pm
Players: Goodell's 'statements are false'

The NFL players responded to a letter on Saturday from commissioner Roger Goodell with a letter that stretches nearly four pages, but can be boiled down into one sentence: “Your statements are false.” A scathing rebuke to Goodell’s claims he put forth in a recent letter to players, the document alleges that the demands from the owners would result in the NFLPA agreeing to the “worst economic deal for players in major pro sports.” To read the full story, as well as the complete letter, click here. And for more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.


03/19/2011 - 12:57pm
BC falls to Northwestern in NIT

Michael Thompson scored 22 points to lead Northwestern past Boston College, 85-67, in a second-round NIT game Saturday in Chestnut Hill.

 

Joe Trapani had 18 points and seven rebounds in his final game for the top-seeded Eagles (21-13), while fellow seniors Josh Southern (12 points) and Biko Paris (11) also reached double figures.

 

John Shurna contributed 20 points and nine rebounds for the fourth-seeded Wildcats (20-13), who led by seven at the half and never let BC make a run at the lead in the second period.

 

BC was unable to slow down the Northwestern offense all day. The Wildcats hit 54.8 percent of their shots (BC was at 52.2 percent but had 16 fewer attempts), outrebounded the Eagles 27-18 and had three fewer turnovers. Northwestern was efficient and unselfish on offense, recording assists on 27 of its 34 baskets and hitting 15-of-36 treys (41.7 percent).

 

Northwestern...

03/19/2011 - 12:12pm
Doubront still has 'little bit of nervousness'

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A day after throwing 25 pitches off a mound for the first time since recovering from a sore left elbow, lefty pitcher Felix Doubront said his body felt a "good sore," and was pleased with how the extra work during his two weeks off translated into pitching.

 

He admits, however, that the pain he felt in his elbow after throwing batting practice for the first time earlier in spring training left him with some uneasiness. 

 

"I still have a little bit of nervousness. I feel a little tight in my forearm, but nothing like before," Doubront explained. "Every time I throw the ball I remember that pain. But I threw yesterday and I felt good, and felt like I could throw harder. I feel like I don’t have to worry about my elbow."

 

The plan is for Doubront to throw in a simulated game Monday, and then take a three or four days off before...

03/18/2011 - 11:59pm
Celts lose, fall out of top spot in East

The Celtics fell a half-game in back of Chicago for the top spot in the Eastern Conference after dropping a 93-77 loss to host Houston Friday night. It was the Celts' fourth loss in their last six games.

 

While Jeff Green managed a team-high 17 points, it wasn't enough to make up for poor performances from some of the C's key contributors. Paul Pierce finished just 2 for 10 from the field, while Rajon Rondo continued his recent struggles, going 2-for-11 on the way to scoring just four points. 

 

The Rockets took control in the second quarter, out-scoring the Celtics 34-18 while shooting 50 percent from the floor. The deficit paved the way from some heated play from both sides, starting with a confrontation between Kevin Garnett and the Rocket's Chuck Hayes, leading to technical fouls for both players. Delonte West was also whistled for an intentional foul when he ran into Houston's Jordan Hill under the Rockets' basket...

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