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03/04/2012 - 10:02pm
Report: Pats to franchise Welker Monday

Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker is expected to be hit with the franchise tag sometime before the Monday afternoon deadline, according to Boston.com. The league has not officially announced the franchise numbers for 2012, but the receiver position is expected to be set at approximately $9.4 million. (The franchise tag deadline is Monday at 3:59 p.m., and free agency begins on March 13.)

The 30-year-old Welker, who has caught more passes the last five seasons than anyone in the NFL (554), just came to the end of a five-year deal with the Patriots he signed just before the 2007 season, a contract that was worth $18.5 million.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.


03/04/2012 - 6:20pm
Miller stands out in Sox' win over Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Andrew Miller threw two impressive innings and Lars Anderson launched a seventh-inning grand slam as the Red Sox claimed an 8-3 win over the Twins Saturday in the teams' Grapefruit League opener before 8,886 at JetBlue Park.

Miller followed up starter Josh Beckett's two innings (1 hit, 2 walks, 36 pitches) by striking out three and not allowing a hit over a pair of frames. The big lefty, who is in the running for the final spot in the rotation, has been working on not throwing across his body as much as years past, while also starting from a different position on the pitching rubber.

"A lot of people had been tinkering and I thought at the beginning of the spring we needed to have one voice getting into his head, and [pitching coach] Bob [McClure] has done a very good job of getting a consensus, which we got from the first day we looked at him, and staying with it," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of Miller.

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03/04/2012 - 4:55pm
Electric: C's win OT classic over Knicks

Rajon Rondo finished with an amazing 18 points, 20 assists and 17 rebounds to lead the Celtics to a thrilling 115-111 overtime win against the Knicks Sunday afternoon at TD Garden. Paul Pierce's off-balance 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds left in regulation forced overtime, capping an electric final three minutes in regulation that featured several lead changes, Jeremy Lin coming alive after a rough first three quarters, and a classic mano-a-mano matchup between Pierce and Carmelo Anthony. 

With all the hype over Lin, it was Rondo who stole the show through three quarters, as he recorded his 17th career triple-double. Pierce added 34 and Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 10 rebounds in a season-high 42 minutes for the Celtics. Boston won its fourth straight out of the All-Star break, improved to 19-17, and built its lead to 1.5 games over the Knicks for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. 

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03/04/2012 - 4:13pm
B's suffer third loss to Rangers
By: DJ Bean

The Bruins lost to the Rangers for the third time this season, dropping a 4-3 contest Sunday at Madison Square Garden. 

The B's made two comebacks in the game, erasing two-goal and one-goal Rangers leads, but a Derek Stepan goal less than a minute after the B's tied it in the third gave New York the lead for good. 

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 6:15 thanks to goals from Anton Stralman and Carl Hagelin. After the B's tied it on goals from Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Caron, Marian Gaborik scored his 32nd of the season to make it 3-2 in the third period. David Krejci tied the game with his fourth goal in his last three games, but Stepan made it 4-3 just 39 seconds later. 

Caron played perhaps his best game as a member of the Bruins, as the 2009 first-round pick forced a pair of turnovers leading to Bruins goals and had his first career multipoint game. Caron assisted Pouliot's first-period goal and scored an...

03/04/2012 - 1:33pm
Bobby V: Get ready for some lineup changes

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Bobby Valentine said prior to the Red Sox' Grapefruit League opener, against the Twins at JetBlue Park, that he wouldn't hesitate hitting Dustin Pedroia first in the lineup, with Jacoby Ellsbury batting second, which is where the players were slotted for Sunday's game.

Valentine was initially surprised at the question regarding why the two players were flip-flopped from the lineup spots they had managed the past few years, but then explained, "It's just that its' a new year."

"Depending on who else is around there, yeah," said Valentine when asked about if he would hit Pedroia in the leadoff spot during the regular season. "Just about those two, that two situation is an interesting thing, just the right-left, as opposed to Pedroia and Ellsbury or Ellsbury and Pedroia. I would think if you polled 100 guys who talk about that and they wanted a guy to lead off an inning and have the second hitter batting,...

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