Bruins

This player signs for 39 million, while...

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This player signs for 39 million, while...

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.

Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

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Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

BRIGHTON, Mass – The string of injuries for the Bruins continues as Tuukka Rask (upper body) is out for tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden after getting trucked by Anders Bjork in practice Wednesday.

Rask was wobbly-legged while being helped off the ice after the violent collision and the 21-year-old Bjork looked like he’d also needed a couple of stitches on his chin after bloodying his practice jersey.

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The big concern is Rask still being evaluated by Bruins medical personnel for a possible concussion. It will be Anton Khudobin stepping in place for him against the Canucks with Providence Bruins netminder Zane McIntyre serving as his backup.

“Tuukka is out tonight. He’s going to get reevaluated today and we’ll have a better idea tomorrow,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Anton will start [against the Canucks].”

Clearly, Khudobin didn’t like seeing his goaltending partner get drilled in a spirited practice, but the 32-year-old is clearly feeling confident after a strong camp and a winning season debut last week against the Arizona Coyotes.

“You don’t want to see that, but at the same time we’ve got to keep moving forward and hopefully he’s going to get better soon,” said Khudobin, who stopped 29-of-31 shots in the win over Arizona last weekend. “I feel good. Camp was good and everything is fine, and I’ve started better than last year. My role is just day-to-day. Today is a game day and hopefully, you get a good result, and then tomorrow is another new day.”

Otherwise, it looks like the Bruins will at least be getting some of their healthy bodies back with David Backes in the lineup and Patrice Bergeron a game-time decision against the Canucks. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on Wednesday’s practice:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork
DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak
Schaller-Kuraly-Backes
Beleskey-Nash-Agostino
 
Chara-McAvoy
Miller-Carlo
Krug-McQuaid

Khudobin 

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Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

BOSTON — As soon as the American League Championship Series ends, the Red Sox could make a move for their manager.

Industry sources continue to expect Astros bench coach Alex Cora will be the Sox’ pick. No offer had been officially made as of midday Wednesday, one source close to the situation said. But the belief is such an offer waits out of respect to the Astros-Yankees ALCS that can end no later than Saturday if the series goes a full seven games. 

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“Not a doubt it is him,” the source said.

Sunday and Monday would both be off days ahead of the Tuesday night start of the World Series. That leads to the potential for at least a Red Sox announcement of Cora, if not a press conference, before the Fall Classic begins. (If the Astros advance to the World Series, it may be harder to have Cora in Boston for any length of time.)

All those who know Cora praise his ability to connect with players. The former Red Sox infielder is good friends with Dustin Pedroia. Cora’s previous knowledge of the Boston market works in his favor, as well, as does his mettle handling the media. Some question his readiness as a first-time manager, considering he would be taking over a team with great win-now expectations and complicated clubhouse dynamics.

Nothing takes the place of experience and there is such a thing as being too close to players. Ultimately, if the Sox do land Cora, 41, they would be adding the hottest up-and-coming managerial prospect who’s available on the market. The everybody-wants-him reputation could give Cora added cachet with players and certainly becomes a public-relations win for those fans following the search.

The Sox interviewed Ron Gardenhire on Wednesday. Gardenhire was the third candidate the Sox talked to and could well be the last. Cora met with the Sox on Sunday, followed by Brad Ausmus on Monday.