Cherington on Varitek


Cherington on Varitek

FORT MYERS, Fla. Will Tim Wakefield be joined in retirement by Jason Varitek?

With pitchers and catchers reporting Sunday, the Red Sox are still not sure if Varitek, who was offered a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp, will be among them. But general manager Ben Cherington is leaning against that.

I dont have anything to report, Cherington said after Wakefields retirement ceremony Friday. Report date for pitchers and catchers is on Sunday. Im not expecting any additions to the roster at this point. I dont have anything to report.

Because I dont expect any additions, I guess I expect that he wont be here on Sunday. But thats something, again, that weve agreed with Jason to continue to talk to him and let him make that decision. And he needs to make that on his own, and I respect that.

Cherington, who said there is not a hard deadline on Variteks offer, has been in touch with the catcher and more recently his agent, Scott Boras.

The Sox have tried to respect the uniqueness of the situations for both Varitek and Wakefield, and what they have meant to the organization over their lengthy careers and tenures with the team 17 seasons for Wakefield, 15 for Varitek -- allowing them extra latitude in making their decisions.

Varitek appeared in 68 games for the Sox last season, batting .221 with 11 home runs, 36 RBI, a .300 on-base percentage, and .423 slugging percentage. But in nine games in September, he hit just .077 (2-for-26) with a home run, four RBI, and 11 strikeouts, well off his monthly high last season when he hit .333 (15-for-45) in May with two home runs, seven RBI, and 12 strikeouts.

We told Varitek that there was an opportunity to come to camp and gave him, as we did with Tim, gave him as much of the landscape as we could, Cherington said. In terms of what that would mean, again unique situation, to put that in the players court and not normally what wed do. But in these two particular cases we felt that there was merit to doing it that way because of what they meant to the team.

The Sox currently have Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Kelly Shoppach, Ryan Lavarnway, and Luis Exposito on the 40-man roster, with Dan Butler and Max St. Pierre in camp as non-roster invitees.

Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study


Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

If your team makes a goal-line stop in the fourth quarter, but you can't see it on the All-22 tape, did it even happen? 

Bill Belichick said the fog that hovered above the Gillette Stadium turf on Sunday night didn't impact the play on the field, but it did make its imprint on the game in other ways. First of all, spotters and coaches up at the press level had some difficulty relaying information to coaches on the sidelines. Video on the hand-held tablets for sideline use -- as well as the old-school still-frame pictures Belichick prefers -- was also obstructed. 

Then on Monday, as coaches tried to digest the film, the fog butted in on the process again. 

"It affected us a lot this morning because it’s hard to see the game," Belichick said during a conference call. "The fourth quarter is – I don’t know – pretty close to a white-out on the sideline film. The sideline cameras are at the top of the stadium, so that’s a tough shot.

"The end zone cameras are a little bit lower and they get a little tighter shot, so the picture is a little bit clearer. But, on that shot, a lot of times you’re not able to see all the guys on the perimeter. It’s kind of an in-line shot.

"Yeah, the first half, start of the third quarter, it’s all right. As they get into the middle of the third quarter and on, for those of us with aging eyes, it’s a little strained to see it, and then there’s a point where you can’t really see it at all, especially from the sideline. So, yeah, it affected us."

Belichick re-iterated that the fog didn't do much to the product on the field (other than maybe making life difficult for kick and punt-returners), refuting Julio Jones' claim from late Sunday night. When it came to digesting the film, though, that was another story.

"It was more, I’d say, just tougher for, whether it be our video camera or the fans that were sitting in the upper deck. It’s just there was too much interference there," Belichick said. "It was probably hard to see the game. I know when we tried to look at the pictures in between series – you know, I don’t look at the tablets, so I won’t get into that – but the pictures, it was kind of the same thing. It was hard to really be able to make out exactly what you were seeing."

Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut


Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.