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03/02/2012 - 8:07pm
Valentine: Ortiz to get spring reps at first

 FORT MYERS, Fla. -- David Ortiz, who played in two games at first base in 2011, will man the position during the Red Sox' spring training game against Boston College Saturday night at JetBlue Park.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he was encouraged by the way Ortiz had looked at the position in camp, and had no hesitancy putting the slugger in the field

“He’s one of the first basemen, and in talking to Adrian and David, too, David doesn’t mind playing a lot and Adrian wants to work his way into playing a lot," said Valentine, who will start Gonzalez at first during the Sox' game earlier in the day against Northeastern. "I suspect he’ll get innings. And he looks good. He’s moving around well in all the drills. He’s a better-looking first baseman than I had suspected right now."

When asked about his depth chart when it comes to first base, Valentine said it will depend on the make-up...

03/02/2012 - 8:06pm
Doc on Rondo rumors: 'There's no truth to it'

Doc Rivers addressed the rumors that the Celtics were "aggressively" shopping Rajon Rondo.

"Here’s my take on it. I don’t mind any rumors that are true. I think I’m pretty up front with you guys. I do get upset when you’re not true," Rivers said. "In my opinion, sometimes news is created and then people report on the news that they created. When that happens, I’m not real happy with it. In this case, and in the [Pau] Gasol case, that’s two already I haven’t been real happy with. There’s no truth to it. The Gasol rumor was even crazier. I don’t know where it came from."

Rivers said he wasn't bothered by reports that he and Rondo have had issues this season.

"I’ve had issues with Kevin [Garnett], it’s not anything that’s crazy," Rivers said. "It's called to me, human relationships. If it's worthy anything you're probably...

03/02/2012 - 6:51pm
Sox sign RHPs Billy Buckner, Garrett Mock

According to an industry source, the Red Sox signed right-handed pitchers Billy Buckner and Garrett Mock to minor league deals. Both pitchers have been assigned to minor league camp.

Buckner -- who is not related to former Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner -- spent last year pitching in Triple-A in the Rockies' system. He went 4-8 with a 6.03 ERA, 80 strikeouts and 52 walks in 109 innings, making 23 appearances (21 starts).

A second-round pick by the Royals in 2004, Buckner spent parts of four seasons in the majors, most recently in 2010 with the Diamondbacks. In 36 career big league games (21 starts), he is 6-11 with a 6.25 ERA, along with 6.7 strikeouts and 3.5 walks per nine innings. He was signed to compete for a starting job in the Sox system.

Mock, 28, was once considered a top pitching prospect by the Nationals, but he struggled in parts of three big league seasons in Washington. Despite strong strikeout rates (8.0 per nine innings...

03/02/2012 - 5:40pm
NFL says Saints had bounty program

According to The Associated Press, the NFL concluded after an investigation that the Saints had a bounty program over the past three years that paid players for their performance, with incentives created for injuring players on opposing teams. From the story:

The league disclosed the findings of an investigation Friday, saying between 22 and 27 defensive players and at least one assistant coach were involved. No punishments have been handed out yet, but they could include suspensions and fines.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said he is troubled because the system, "involved not just payments for `performance,' but also for injuring opposing players. The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity."

"It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and this type of...

03/02/2012 - 4:15pm
Henry: Steinbrenner comments no surprise

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Asked if he was surprised by the comments by Yankees general managing partner Hal Steinbrenner that he is looking to scale back New York's payroll below the luxury tax level of $189 million by 2014, Red Sox principal owner John Henry said he was not.

"I think both clubs, the way things are structured now, had to look at your payroll. No doubt about that," said Henry.

The new Major League Collective Bargaining Agreement creates increased penalties for teams that repeatedly exceed the luxury tax threshold of up to 50 percent. Meanwhile, teams that go below the threshold for even one year have their tax rate reset to 17.5 percent.

Yet that might be only a secondary consideration in the efforts of both the Sox and Yankees to get below the $189 million luxury tax threshold by 2014. According to multiple industry sources, the new CBA creates a significant incentive for teams to stay below that threshold in the form of...

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