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09/28/2011 - 3:24pm
Tito on job security: 'Not a time for that'

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that he promised the Red Sox when he signed his contract three years ago that he wouldn't talk about his job security during the season in an interview on The Big Show. The team has the option to pick up two more additional years after the season and with the Sox' struggles in September and talk of a disconnect between the manager and general manager Theo Epstein, the question has been asked.

"It's not a time for that," Francona said. "They have 10 days when the season's over to pick up my options. I told them when I signed this contract years back that I would never talk about it during the season and I've tried to keep my word." 

Asked if he wanted to remain in Boston, Francona kept the focus on the game. "What I worry about is us winning games and if I spend any amount of energy or time thinking about my job, shame on me," he said. 

As for his relationship with...

09/28/2011 - 2:19pm
Lineup: Lavarnway catching Lester

BALTIMORE -- Rookie Ryan Lavarnway, one day after hitting the first two home runs of his career, is back in the lineup for the Red Sox as the catcher for Jon Lester, who will be pitching on three days' rest as the Sox look for a win that would either advance them to a one-game playoff with the Rays in Tampa Bay on Thursday or a postseason berth in the Division Series on Friday. Lavarnway will bat fifth in the lineup, as the Sox have once again rearranged their lineup, with Dustin Pedroia hitting second, David Ortiz hitting third and Adrian Gonzalez cleaning up.

For a look at how the Red Sox have fared against Orioles starter Alfredo Simon and at how the O's have done against Lester, visit the Full Count blog. For complete Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.

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09/28/2011 - 2:16pm
Hernandez: 'I feel pretty good'

FOXBORO -- Although he was not at the start of practice on Wednesday, there was an encouraging sign that tight end Aaron Hernandez might be closer to a return than originally expected. 

The Patriots tight end was injured in the Week 2 win over the Chargers with a strained knee, did not return and missed last week's 34-31 loss to the Bills in Buffalo. He was asked Wednesday in if he's heard from any fans who are hoping he's back this week to help their respective fantasy football teams. 

"I haven't heard much about the fantasy football," Hernandez said. "I'm not that worried about the fantasy football, I'm just trying to get back healthy and ready for this week. I feel pretty good."

He would make no promises about trying to be ready in time for this weekend after original estimates had him missing up to a month with the sore knee. 

"I just take it day-by-day and work with the trainers and try to...

09/28/2011 - 2:03pm
Pats practice: Mankins, Hernandez miss

FOXBORO -- Starting left guard Logan Mankins was among four Patriots players not in attendance for practice on Wednesday in full pads on the lower practice field outside Gillette Stadium. 

Also missing from the start of practice were tight end Aaron Hernandez (knee), Sebastian Vollmer (back) and Mike Wright (concussion). Albert Haynesworth returned to practice after missing last week and the game against the Bills with a sore back. 

The team travels to Oakland on Friday for Sunday's game against the Raiders. 

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


09/28/2011 - 1:11pm
Raiders' Jackson: Ocho is like 'my son'

FOXBORO -- In a conference call with Patriots media Wednesday in Foxboro, Raiders coach Hue Jackson reminded everyone of his close ties to Patriots receiver Chad Ochocinco. Well before joining the Raiders coaching staff in 2010, Jackson was the receivers coach with the Bengals from 2004-06, when the then-Chad Johnson became a rising star with Cincinnati. 

"Chad Johnson is [like] my son," Jackson said of his relationship with the Patriots receiver. "I know you guys probably have a hard time with him. He's kind of colorful. But he is a tremendous young man. I really adore him, but I won't on Sunday.

"I helped raise that young man in Cincinnati. He played for me, did wonders for me. He is a tremendous competitor and a doggone good football player. On Sunday, I'll look across [the field] and look at him but he knows that this is about winning and he understands that."

It was with Jackson as his coach and Carson...

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