Warriors

This player signs for 39 million, but...

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This player signs for 39 million, but...

From Comcast SportsNetNASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Adding offense following a disappointing season, the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a 39 million, three-year contract with catcher Mike Napoli, a person familiar with the deal said.The agreement is subject to Napoli passing a physical, which will take place later this week, the person said Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet final."Awesome addition to our team!" Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester tweeted.A 31-year-old who also plays first base, Napoli hit .320 with 30 homers and 75 RBIs as the Texas Rangers won their second straight AL pennant in 2011, then slumped to a .227 average with 24 homers and 56 RBIs this year as he became a first-time All-Star. His on-base percentage dropped from .416 to .343.Napoli is a .306 career hitter at Fenway Park (19 for 62) with seven homers and 17 RBIs. He is the third free agent this offseason to join the Red Sox following outfielder Jonny Gomes, who got a 10 million, two-year contract, and catcher David Ross, who received a 6.2 million, two-year deal."He's a guy who is getting on base, has power, would be a good fit for our ballpark," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said, without confirming the agreement. "We like his offense at Fenway. We like the versatility."The right-handed-hitting Napoli could see most of his playing time at first base because Adrian Gonzalez was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in August along with pitcher Josh Beckett and outfielder Carl Crawford."We knew when we made the Dodger trade and we moved Gonzalez that we were going to have to try to find a way to replace that offense," Cherington said.Texas was unwilling to guarantee three seasons for Napoli, who hit .350 with two homers and 10 RBIs in the 2011 World Series against St. Louis."They were very upfront with us throughout the process. So not a surprise," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "I'm hesitant to use the word disappointment because ultimately we had a decision to make."Boston now has four catchers, with Napoli joining Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Lavarnway and Ross. Saltalamacchia started 95 games behind the plate last season, with Kelly Shoppach getting 42 starts and Lavarnway 25.The Red Sox could trade one of their catchers, but that might wait until spring training."We're pretty comfortable where we are," Cherington said.Boston still is looking for a left-handed bat and starting pitching. The Mets are discussing whether to trade NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, but the price in prospects would be high."It's always steep for the better guys, a valuable commodity, so if a team is going to move someone, especially if there's any length of control, they're asking for a lot," Cherington said, "as we would."Boston is coming off its first last-place finish in two decades, a year when the Red Sox went 69-93 and lost 26 of their last 33 games. Manager Bobby Valentine was fired and replaced by John Farrell."You've got to add a lot of wins (from) where we finished to compete in this division," Cherington said. "I think players and agents understand that despite what happened this year, Boston is Boston. We're committed to having a winning team. We have a history of a winning team. We're going to commit resources to the team."At last year's session in Dallas, Cherington called the winter meetings a "cesspool of information flow and dialogue.""You go through the cycle once and you're a little bit more comfortable with everything you have to do," he said, "and maybe more aware of the potential pot holes and able to navigate those hopefully."But he did have some levity. Asked what player he was looking at to play right field, Cherington responded: "Dwight Evans."NOTES:3B Pedro Ciriaco, who was playing in the Dominican Winter League, had right shoulder soreness checked out by the Red Sox, and Cherington said it was minor and he should be ready for spring training. ... Boston agreed to minor league contracts with RHP Jose De La Torre, RHP Terry Doyle, OF Mitch Maier, utility man Drew Sutton and RHP Oscar Villarreal.

Two Rockets suspended for Clippers fracas, will miss Warriors game

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USATSI

Two Rockets suspended for Clippers fracas, will miss Warriors game

Houston’s Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green have both been suspended for two games for entering the Los Angeles Clippers’ locker room after a game earlier this week to confront another player.

The NBA announced the suspensions Wednesday.

Ariza and Green went into the Clippers’ locker room after a game Monday night in Los Angeles, one that was marred late by on-court chippiness. Ariza had been ejected from that game in the final moments, as was the Clippers’ Blake Griffin.

Speaking before the suspensions were announced Wednesday, Ariza said there were a “lot of different stories about what happened, none of them which were true.”

Ariza has started in all 40 of his appearances with the Rockets this season. Green has been with the Rockets for 10 games, all off the bench.

Green and Ariza will miss Thursday's game against the Timberwolves and Saturday's game against the Warriors.

Raiders DC Paul Guenther talks Khalil Mack, Gareon Conley and more

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USATSI

Raiders DC Paul Guenther talks Khalil Mack, Gareon Conley and more

Paul Guenther hasn’t been Raiders defensive coordinator long. He has been in Alameda about a week now, interviewing potential position coaches and pouring over last year’s game tape.

He has some initial impressions on the group that struggled at the start and improved throughout the year. Generally speaking, however, Guenther sees talent on the roster.

“I believe there’s a lot of good players here, a lot of good, young players,” Guenther said Wednesday in a conference call. “You’ve got to get them out and develop them and get them to understand your system. But I think there are a lot of good pieces here for a foundation, for sure.”

Guenther’s system, where it came from and why he brought it to Oakland is a story for another day. Thursday morning, to be precise, so stay tuned for that.

Guenther’s early evaluation of key Raiders, however, supports his statement about a strong foundation. He is most excited, as you’d expect, about working with edge rusher Khalil Mack and several others in silver and black.

Here’s what Guenther said about…

-- DE KHALIL MACK: “Having a talent like that and ability of a guy like that, certainly you want to make it the centerpiece of the defense. We have to continue to develop our younger players to bring those guys up to speed and add people as we go through the draft and free agency. He’s a guy that you can really build a foundation through and around. He’s an exciting guy to be able to coach for sure.”

-- CB GAREON CONLEY: “He was my favorite corner coming out. His ability, he’s smooth in the pedal, he’s a good press corner, which we love to have. I’m excited to work with him.”

-- S OBI MELIFONWU: “Obi is a big guy that when you turn on the tape, you’re like, ‘Man, who is this son of a gun?’ He’s playing half the field, he’s down in the box playing the run.”

-- LB NAVORRO BOWMAN: (an impending free agent): “NaVorro is a prototype middle linebacker, really. The thing that impressed me most with NaVorro is that they got him here midseason and by the end of the year, it appeared to me that he was kind of the leader of the unit, making a lot of calls. You can see that on tape. It looks like he is a smart guy that understands the game. I love smart guys that love playing football. Hopefully we can get him back in the fold and keep him a Raider.”