Red Sox

Wakeup Call: Mo knows . . . but he's not saying

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Wakeup Call: Mo knows . . . but he's not saying

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, February 14.

BASEBALL
Mariano Rivera knows whether or not he'll play beyond 2013 . . . but he's not telling you. Yet. (AP)

Well, this is different: Francisco Cervelli, one of the players named in the Miami New Times article, admits that, yes, he's actually heard of Biogenesis of America LLC, and, yes, he consulted with them. But, of course, he didn't take any PEDs, no, no. (AP)

As for players who actually got caught with their hands in the PED cookie jar, the Padres' Yasmani Grandal plans to make his apologies this weekend. (AP)

And the Phillies' Carlos Ruiz made his yesterday. Very quietly. (CSN Philly)

Pete? Pete who? (NBC's Hardball Talk)

He looks a lot different with short hair. And Tim Lincecum says he feels a lot different -- a lot better -- at this early stage of spring training. (CSN Bay Area)

Johnny Cueto feels better, too. (AP)

The Rays are trying to figure out ways to keep Evan Longoria feeling better. (AP)

The Mets insist the worst of their financial woes are behind them, and that their modest 83 million payroll is that low simply because they don't have many good players. Well, they didn't say that, but . . . (AP)

Yes, that's right, Robin Ventura declined his contract option this offseason. But that doesn't mean he wants to stop managing the White Sox. (CSN Chicago)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Connecticut sure made its last-ever regular-season meeting with Syracuse a good one. (AP)

And it's reason for the Orange to start worrying. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

It wasn't the clash of the titans it usually is, not with North Carolina just sort of stumbling along this year, but Duke is still happy with the 73-68 win over its arch-rivals. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
The Big Ten is putting its teams on a cupcake-free diet. (AP)

Hitting a defenseless opponent in the head may get you kicked out of the game if the NCAA institutes a proposed rule change. (AP)

The Merry Maids should do housecleaning as thorough as Oklahoma's Bob Stoops. (AP)

New coach Brett Bielema has his first player arrest to deal with at Arkansas. (AP)

GOLF
Here's a little break in the monotony of the qualifying round: Daniela Holmqvist uses a tee to extract what she thought was potentially fatal venom from a spider bite on her ankle at the Women's Australian Open . . . and then continued playing. Alas, she shot a 74 and didn't make the cut. (AP)

We might still have belly putters if only Ernie Els and Webb Simpson hadn't won majors in consecutive months last year. At least that's whay Els thinks. (golfchannel.com)

HOCKEY
The Senators lose star defenseman Erik Karlsson, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, when his left Achilles is cut by the dastardly Matt Cooke's skate blade during Pittsburgh's 4-2 win over Ottawa. (AP)

Mike Milbury thinks it was just an unfortunate accident but knows that "a lot of people are going to start yakking . . . about Matt Cooke this and Matt Cooke that." And sure enough, Ottawa GM Bryan Murray fumed after the game: "It's Matt Cooke. What else should I say? Watch the replay." (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

You have your upper-body injuries and your lower-body injuries. But those head injuries are another matter entirely . . . and that's what the Avalanche's Erik Johnson has to deal with. (AP)

All the Blues had to do to break their five-game losing streak was get out of St. Louis. (AP)

You can go home again, right, Alexei Ponikarovsky? (AP)

Right, Andrew Brunette? (AP)

As expected, the Blue Jackets make Jarmo Kekalainen the first European GM in NHL history. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Shaq and Kobe are pals again. Now we can all sleep at night. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Derrick Rose says if he has to sit out the year in order to get completely healthy, then he'll sit out the year. Good news, eh, Bulls Nation? (CSN Chicago)

This isn't the Pro Bowl; players actually like participating in the NBA All-Star Game. But, like his NFL brethren, 'Melo says he has an injury that may force him to miss it. Unlike his NFL brethren, it's a real one. (AP)

Come on, Clippers. You score 46 points in the first quarter, you really should finish with more than 106 for the game. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Jason Garrett insists that all those moves which seemed to diminish his powers as Cowboys coach were collaborative decisions with everyone, him included, in on the discussions. (AP)

But Mike Florio wonders if Garrett isn't a dead man walking, even at this late date of the offseason. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

At the other end of the security spectrum, the Vikings pick up Leslie Frazier's option for 2014. (AP)

Johnny Knox, released by the Bears Tuesday, is calling it quits. (AP)

Terrell Suggs made a miraculous recovery from a partial Achilles tear. Now he may go without surgery to fix the partial tear of his right biceps. (CSN Baltimore)

The NFL's movers and shakers, including Robert Kraft, come together in a tribute for Steve Sabol, the late president of NFL Films. (CSN Philly)

ALCS: Judge, Sabathia help Yankees beat Astros, 8-1

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ALCS: Judge, Sabathia help Yankees beat Astros, 8-1

NEW YORK - Aaron Judge hit a three-run homer and a made pair of sparkling catches, leading CC Sabathia and the Yankees over the Houston Astros 8-1 Monday night and cutting New York's deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series.

Sabathia allowed three hits over six scoreless innings for his first postseason win in five years. Todd Frazier hit a go-ahead, three-run homer for the Yankees, who stopped a seven-game ALCS losing streak dating to Sabathia's victory over Texas in 2010.

Sonny Gray starts Game 4 Wednesday on 11 days' rest, likely against Brad Peacock or Lance McCullers Jr.

Back in the Bronx after a pair of 2-1 losses in Houston, the Yankees led 8-0 after four innings. Houston scored on a bases-loaded walk in the ninth before postseason star Jose Altuve grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

BOSTON — Brad Ausmus was the second person to interview to replace John Farrell as Red Sox manager, baseball sources confirmed Monday afternoon. The Sox are expected to interview Ron Gardenhire, the Diamondbacks' bench coach, as well.

But the net might not be cast too wide. More and more, it sounds like the Sox already know whom they want.

Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who met with Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in New York on Sunday, appears the frontrunner to take the reins next year. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal has reported that to be the case multiple times, and for some inside the Sox organization, that's a growing feeling as well.

MORE:

The criteria the Sox value most isn't hard to guess: a strong connection with players, an ability to incorporate data and analytics; and someone who can handle the market.

"I knew Alex for a couple of years before getting a chance to work with him and had tried to recruit him to work a few years ago and he had other options," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday in New York, before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees. "To watch him develop relationships with the players, he's all about baseball. He's all about the competition and small advantages within the game, one of the brightest baseball intellects that I've been around. And to see him pass some of that on and transition from player to TV personality to coach, he's had a ton of impact.

"He challenges people. He challenges me. He's someone who's all about winning. And I think to watch our players respond to him, he's got a lot of respect in that clubhouse because of the work he puts in and the attention to detail that he brings. That's why he's the hottest managerial candidate on the planet and deservedly so."

Cora joined the Astros before this season.

Ausmus, whom Dombrowski hired in Detroit ahead of the 2014 season, grew up in Connecticut and went to Dartmouth. The 48-year-old spent 18 seasons as a big-league catcher, the last in 2010. He was working for the Padres before Dombrowski gave him his first shot at managing the Tigers. 

Ausmus went 314-332 in four years managing the Tigers, a more veteran team than might have been ideal for him as a first-time manager.

Ausmus pulled out of the running to interview with the Mets, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag while Cora was expected to interview with the Mets on Monday or Tuesday, per the New York Post's Mike Puma.

What could change from here? One baseball source indicated a second interview with Cora was expected. Asked if he plans a second round of interviews generally, Dombrowski did not say.

"We have started the interview process," Dombrowski wrote via email. "I do not have any specific time frames at this point. Will wait and evaluate as we go through the process."

The Boston Herald's Chad Jennings first reported Ausmus' interview.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE