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01/10/2012 - 3:58pm
Source: Sox not closing on Kuroda deal

According to a major league source, a report from ESPN's Jim Bowden suggesting that the Red Sox are "closing in on a short-term deal" with free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda is inaccurate, with another source suggesting that such a claim was "baseless."

That assessment came in response to the following from Bowden:

The Boston Red Sox appear to be closing in on a short-term deal with right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to add him to a rotation that already has Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard. This move, along with the trades for relievers Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey, quickly puts the Red Sox back among the AL’s elite. Kuroda is extremely underrated for the valuable innings he can provide from the back of a rotation.

However, the sources suggested that such a portrayal of Sox talks with Kuroda was inaccurate.

The Red Sox, who thus far this offseason have agreed to minor league...

01/10/2012 - 3:34pm
Daniels doubtful, Pietrus ready to play

WALTHAM -- The Celtics will likely debut Mickael Pietrus on Wednesday against Dallas after the recently-acquired swingman took part in his second practice on Tuesday.

"He looked great," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "He had a sensational day, one of our best players today. Unless I hear differently, I do [expect him to play.]"

There is an immediate need for Pietrus because Marquis Daniels has missed the last two days with the flu and Rivers isn't expecting him to be ready for the Mavericks game. Pietrus was going to play regardless, but it's likely he'll take Daniels' minutes behind Paul Pierce at small forward on Wednesday and could see some time at the other wing position, as well.

Pietrus was acquired just before the start of the season after he was waived by Phoenix. He's a career 36 percent 3-point shooter, but is coming off minor knee surgery.

For more Celtics news, visit the team page at...

01/10/2012 - 3:27pm
Wilfork: Tebow 'a special guy'

FOXBORO - Vince Wilfork met with the assembled media at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday and was asked about the challenges of defending Tim Tebow. The Denver quarterback completed just 11-of-22 passes for 194 yards in the 41-23 loss to the Patriots on December 18, but did manage to rush for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

"He's just a tough, tough guy to prepare for," Wilfork said. "You can speak all day about how tough he is, how elusive he is, but it really doesn't matter until you face him. … He's a big dude, a strong guy. He's probably one of the biggest, one of the toughest, one of the strongest guys that I've faced. … He's a special guy."

For more Patriots news visit weei.com/patriots.


01/10/2012 - 2:40pm
Vollmer, Mankins back, McDaniels at practice

FOXBORO -- New coaching assistant Josh McDaniels attended his first practice on Tuesday and Sebastian Vollmer and Logan Mankins returned from injury as the Patriots held their first padded practice in over a month on the lower grass fields outside Gillette Stadium. 

Vollmer missed the final five games of the season with an injured right foot while Mankins suffered a left knee injury in the Christmas Eve win over the Dolphins at Gillette. Both were back in pads on Tuesday as the team began on-the-field prep work for Tim Tebow and the Broncos in the AFC Divisional Playoff this Saturday night at Gillette. 

The team practiced in pads for the first time since Dec. 7 while Bill O'Brien and McDaniels were both on the field with head coach Bill Belichick. It was the first practice since O'Brien accepted the job as Penn State head coach in 2012 and the first since McDaniels was hired away from St. Louis last week, joining the Patriots staff...

01/10/2012 - 1:12pm
Marchand responds to suspension, Vigneault
By: DJ Bean

Bruins forward Brad Marchand spoke to the media following Tuesday's morning skate, making his first public comments since being suspended five games by the league for his low-bridge hit on Canucks defenseman Sami Salo. 

"I'm obviously a little disappointed," Marchand said of Brendan Shanahan's ruling. "I wasn't expecting as many games as I got, but that was the decision and now I just have to move on."

Marchand had asked Shanahan for clarification on the legality of such hits prior to the season so as to be sure that he would not commit the infraction. 

"I'm a smaller guy, I play low to the ice. That's the way I've protected myself in the past and I just felt it was better to be safe than sorry," Marchand said of his preseason inquiry. "I brought it up to him and when I walked away from the conversation he told me to protect myself was OK in that situation. When that situation arises I felt I was...

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