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08/18/2011 - 3:55pm
Lineup: Lavarnway at DH, hitting seventh

KANSAS CITY -- Rookie Ryan Lavarnway will make his major league debut Thursday night as the Red Sox take on the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The catcher, and right-handed hitter, will serve as the Sox' designated hitter and hit seventh against Royals starter Luke Hochevar.

Lavarnway, who is filling in for David Ortiz while the DH recovers from heel bursitis, was hitting .301 with Triple A Pawtucket, hitting 16 home runs with an OPS of .993. For the season, between both the PawSox and Double A Portland Sea Dogs, the 24-year-old had a combined 30 home runs.

With third baseman Kevin Youkilis also out (having been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a back ailment), here is the rest of the Red Sox lineup in the opener of a four-game set against KC:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF

Jed Lowrie 3B

Adrian Gonzalez 1B

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Josh Reddick RF

Carl Crawford LF

Ryan Lavarnway DH

Jason Varitek C

Mike...

08/18/2011 - 3:42pm
Francona: Ellsbury's a top-five player

Appearing on WEEI's The Big Show, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that Jacoby Ellsbury has become one of the best players in the game. How good? "I know Theo [Epstein] gets tired of me saying it because Scott Boras is probably sitting there taking notes, he's turned into one of the top four or five players in the game," Francona said.  

"It's not a fluke what he's doing," Francona said. "The home runs, I hate to dwell on them because that's the last thing I want him thinking about but if that's part of the package, Wow. That's pretty impressive and this kid's on pace to drive in 100 runs. That's incredible." 

Francona acknowledged that the team could have done more to protect Ellsbury last season when he struggled with injuries and took criticism. "He probably got his feathers ruffled a little bit. He's taken some shots and maybe as an organization we didn't defend him appropriately," the...

08/18/2011 - 2:43pm
Youkilis to DL, Lavarnway called up

The Red Sox have placed Kevin Youkilis on the 15-day disabled list with a sore back and have called Ryan Lavarnway up from Triple-A Pawtucket, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said on WEEI's The Big Show. Lavarnway recently became the first Red Sox minor leaguer since 2004 to clear the 30-homer mark in a single season.

"His lower back's been bothering him for a while," Francona said of Youkilis. "We left him back when we went to the airport to Kansas City we sent him to MGH, got some testing done. He got a shot in that back. Hopefully that will alleviate some of the symptoms. He's just been so beat up and when he got to the back part it kind of overwhelmed him. So hopefully two weeks down will really allow his body come back and we can have the Youk that we need for the stretch drive." 

As for Lavarnway, Francona said. "We're really excited about that. Maybe this kid comes in and gives us a spark." Francona said he...

08/18/2011 - 12:09pm
Luongo: I regret criticizing Thomas

Speaking with Jean-Francois Chaumont of Radio-Canada.ca, Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo said he regrets telling the media that he would have stopped the Maxim Lapierre goal allowed by Tim Thomas in Vancouver's 1-0 win in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals.

“Yeah, for sure,” Luongo said when asked whether he regrets his words. “If I could do it again, I wouldn’t say it. I didn’t want to create the buzz that it did. After the fifth game, I had never been so emotional and I got carried away."

The Conn Smythe-winning Thomas went on to stop 73-of-75 shots in Games 6 and 7 of the finals as Luongo was pulled in Game 6 after allowing three goals in the first period and then gave up three more goals in the Game 7 Boston victory in Vancouver.

For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.


08/18/2011 - 11:00am
Pierce, Kobe 'united' behind players' union

Celtics captain Paul Pierce and Lakers co-captain Kobe Bryant rarely stand on the same side of the ball, except when it comes to matters of the National Basketball Player's Association during the NBA lockout.

Both Bryant and Pierce urged a group of about 75 prominent NBA players gathered in Los Angeles to "remain united" in their collective bargaining efforts with the league's owners, especially with a potential meeting between the two sides later this month, according to a CBSSports.com report.

"Our message is that there've been several proposals back and forth, and the last proposal by the NBA would be a giveback of $8 billion over 10 years," NBPA executive director Billy Hunter told CBSSports.com. "The players understand and they're supportive."

For more on the Celtics, please visit...

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