Red Sox

Notes from Day 2 of Pats mini-camp

Notes from Day 2 of Pats mini-camp

FOXBORO -- I know what you're all clamoring for: Mini-camp notes! Well here, you heathens. Have at them.
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs George Atallah were at Gillette Tuesday. Don't fret -- the CBA allows the Players Association to make five unofficial visits in the offseason. As far as we know, this was one of them.
Jonathan Fanene, who had his left leg worked on by a trainer yesterday, missed Wednesday's session. Rookie running back Brandon Bolden was also unavailable, though he watched practice from the sideline. Jermaine Cunningham only showed face at about 1:14 PM, as he walked with Brandon Spikes and Myron Pryor out of the bubble.
Sebastian Vollmer, Rob Gronkowski, Logan Mankins, Tracy White, and Matthew Slater also continued their rehabilitation and running. Vollmer and Mankins rolled in about an hour after practice began. The pair had a brief chat with De Smith and Patriots owner Robert Kraft before starting rehab work.
Offense, wearing blue, and defense, wearing white, split up to start. The offensive line practiced against dummy 'D' while the rest worked on the running game. Defense practiced separately against the pass.
Tom Brady again did some passing drills against air. Aaron Hernandez, who seems to generally hate his helmet, actually put the thing on only while actually in the route. He made the grab.
When the Patriots mixed in some defense, a lot of time was spent with Brady and his backups working on seam routes and dropping passes in over DBs who hadn't turned around.
More work for Patrick Chung in the return game. Donte' Stallworth also got some special teams reps, as we saw in OTAs.
There were a few consecutively ugly series during 7-on-7. First, Ryan Mallett and Brandon Lloyd missed a connection. Then Hoyer had a bad throw. Brady followed up with a grounder to Joseph Addai in the flat. Had to be the rain.
We saw a couple different coverages practiced in the Red Zone (we're not at liberty report on scheme). Brady found Gaffney in the end zone on a sweet play -- Devin McCourty and Will Allen were left looking foolish. All the while, newly anointed defensive coordinator Matt Patricia knelt and watched his men. You have to wonder if they're happier when the offense completes the play, or the defense breaks it up. Probably depends on which coach you talk to.
Alabama fans will be happy to hear rookie linebacker Dont'a Hightower had a nice pick-6 during 11-on-11 against Brian Hoyer who underthew a crossing route. Roll Tide.
Sterling Moore had an impressive pass break-up against the old man Jabar Gaffney.
Donte Stallworth made a contested catch in the end zone against Ras-I Dowling, a play on which there was probably a little more contact than is ideal. Stallworth spiked the ball near Dowling after the play.
Tight end Bo Scaife looked pretty good today. He looked pretty mad when he went up for a high pass and got pulled down around the shoulders by Tavon Wilson. The guys on the sidelines heckled the play.
Again on the sidelines Wednesday were coaching assistants David Patten and Billy Yates, both former Patriots. Patten and Deion Branch spent a long time talking together.

Martinez tells Red Sox he would DH, but others want him as outfielder

Martinez tells Red Sox he would DH, but others want him as outfielder

Free agent slugger J.D. Martinez has told the Red Sox he would DH and play the outfield for them, a baseball source said Friday.  The flipside: teams are offering Martinez a full-time outfield job, and he enjoys playing the outfield.

Martinez, the best bat available via free agency, visited with teams at the winter meetings this week.

Michael Silverman of the Herald wrote Friday that Martinez has been telling teams he prefers to play the outfield, and suggested the Sox will have to pay a bit more to land Martinez.


“Martinez remains open to being a DH so his preference to play defense regularly does not eliminate the Red Sox from signing Martinez,” Silverman wrote. “It does, however, put them in a position of having to make an aggressive offer that would distance themselves from competing offers where teams can present a corner outfield position. 

“Just what defines aggressive is something only Martinez and his agent Scott Boras will ultimately determine.”

The market could start to move a bit now, although that doesn’t mean anything is necessarily imminent. Another baseball source on Friday night noted that the market has started to thaw with Carlos Santana off the board. He agreed to a three-year, $60 million deal with the Phillies.

The Red Sox made an offer for Santana, but the offer made clear that Santana was not their primary choice. In other words, it wasn't close to what Santana ended up with.

A scenario in which Jackie Bradley Jr. is traded to make room for Martinez in the outfield seems reasonable, even if the Red Sox and Boras, who represents Bradley, have both downplayed that possibility.


Second-quarter struggles doom Celtics in 107-95 loss to Jazz

Second-quarter struggles doom Celtics in 107-95 loss to Jazz

BOSTON – It’s going to come. It always seems to come, sooner or later.

The run, whether it’s fueled by the Boston Celtics’ scoring or their defense, is on its way, right?

Not tonight.

After falling behind in the second quarter, the Celtics were never able to muster up enough plays at either end of the floor to regain control of the game, ultimately resulting in a 107-95 loss to the Utah Jazz.

The Celtics (24-7) still have the best record in the East, but they are trending in the wrong direction now with losses in two of their last three games and three of the last five.

Meanwhile, Utah (14-15) snapped a four-game losing streak in addition to nine straight defeats to the Celtics.

Kyrie Irving was brilliant again, scoring 33 points. Al Horford had a nice game for Boston with 21 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Other than those two, the Celtics didn’t get much production.

Meanwhile, the Jazz were led by Ricky Rubio’s 22 points. And rookie Donovan Mitchell had a near double-double with 17 points and nine assists with six rebounds. Rodney Hood provided a nice spark off the Jazz bench with 17 points.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, whose team was down 101-86 with about two minutes to play, sent four players – Shane Larkin, Abdel Nader, Guerschon Yabusele and Semi Ojeleye – to the scorer’s table, clearing looking ahead to Saturday’s game at Memphis.

Sluggish play through most of the second quarter put Boston in come-from-behind mode, which is a place they are familiar with this season. 

But the third quarter burst they’re used to getting, just wasn’t there early on as Boston’s seven-point deficit to start the third soon ballooned to a 16-point hole that Boston struggled to climb their way out of.

Irving was scoring consistently once again, but he had very little help other than Horford.

And the Celtics’ defense was never able to slow down Utah’s red-hot shooters who finished the game connecting on 48.3 percent of their shots.

The usually reliable Jayson Tatum had a rough game, missing all four of his shots from the field through three quarters of play without a single point to his name. His first points didn’t come until a pair of free throws with 9:32 to play. He had seven points, but missed five of his six shots from the field.

After a relatively close first quarter which ended with the Celtics ahead 26-21, points were few and far between for both teams through most of the second quarter. Nearly eight minutes of the quarter was in the books and the Celtics only had two made field goals in the quarter, the second of which was made by Jaylen Brown which cut Utah’s lead to 35-32 with 4:06 to play.

Boston’s struggles in the quarter continued with the Jazz pulling ahead by as many as 10 points (46-36) after a 3-pointer by Hood.

However, Irving’s 3-pointer moments later would be the final points of the half which ended with Utah on top 46-39.