Patriots

Red Sox feeling out bullpen options

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Red Sox feeling out bullpen options

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The acquisition of reliever Chris Carpenter from the Chicago Cubs Tuesday provides one more candidate to an already long list of pitchers competing for spots in the Red Sox bullpen.

Beyond new closer Andrew Bailey, set-up man Mark Melancon and holdover Matt Albers, few spots are assured to start the season.

Alfredo Aceves almost certainly will make the Opening Day roster, but in what capacity is unclear. Aceves is also in the running for the fifth starter's spot and could either be in the rotation or work in relief.

Further complicating matters is the fact that five Red Sox pitchers are out of options: Franklin Morales, Michael Bowden, Andrew Miller, Felix Doubront and Albers.

If any of that group fails to make the Opening Day roster, the Red Sox will have to expose each to waivers and risk losing him.

It would seem that, regardless of options, Morales and Albers will make the club. Given the investment that the organization has made in Miller, he, too, would seem to on the staff.

It's difficult to imagine the Sox risking the loss of Doubront, since, even allowing for the disappointment of last year, the Sox wouldn't want to lose a young lefty who can throw in the mid-90s.

Bowden, who has been unable to establish himself at the major league level, is likely not a factor. It's unclear what value he would have if he were to be exposed to waivers.

Figure then that the bullpen will consist of Bailey, Melancon, Albers, Morales, Miller and Aceves and one more pitcher -- assuming the Sox elect to begin the season with a dozen pitchers.

That means all the other relievers -- veterans and younger pitchers -- are competing for the final roster spot.

Last year was a reminder that, where the bullpen is concerned, everything is temporary, anyway. Dennys Reyes, who was signed to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training, had his contract purchased in the waning days of spring training.

He appeared in a handful of games on the team's season-opening road trip to Texas and Cleveland, but by the time the club arrived for the home opener a week later, Reyes was on the DL with what some believe was a phantom injury, never to be heard from for the remainder of the season.

Carpenter, meanwhile, would seem to be an arm who could help out in the middle innings, and with 10 games of major league experience, is probably ready to remain in the big leagues.

But because he has options remaining -- and four others whom the Sox would like to continue to control do not -- the likely scenario will find Carpenter beginning the season at Triple A Pawtucket.

Probably not for long, however. That's the way it goes this time of year with bullpen, interchangeable pieces and options.

Belichick: Karras stepping in an illustration of why Patriots are good

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Belichick: Karras stepping in an illustration of why Patriots are good

Is it Tom Brady? Is it Bill Belichick? Well, yes and yes. But there are other reasons for why the Patriots are 8-2, obviously, and Belichick highlighted one of them by lauding one of the most unsung players on his 53-man active roster.

What Ted Karras did on Sunday -- filling in against the Raiders as the starting center in place of David Andrews -- was just one of many examples of a player making the most of an opportunity presented to him, Belichick explained.

PATRIOTS 33, RAIDERS 8

"Ted always works hard," he said after the Patriots beat the Raiders, 33-8. "Nobody spends more time at the facility than he does. Training. Preparing. He had an opportunity, and he stepped up and did the most with it. That's what we needed. That's why we have a good team. We have a lot of guys who do that."

Andrews came down with an illness last week and missed the team's final two practices at the Air Force Academy. As the primary fill-in at all three interior offensive line spots, Karras was tapped as the replacement, and he played all 60 offensive snaps for the Patriots in what was his first start since filling in for Shaq Mason during the 2016 season-opener. 

Karras had played just nine snaps going into the game -- all in a blowout against the Broncos the week prior -- but was part of an effort in the trenches that allowed Tom Brady to remain relatively clean for the vast majority of the game. On 38 drop-backs, Brady was pressured just seven times, he was hit three times, and he was sacked only once. And for the second consecutive week, Brady's offensive line was not penalized. 

Considering that Karras wasn't the only fill-in used, the offensive line's performance was all the more impressive. LaAdrian Waddle continued to be the primary replacement for Marcus Cannon, who is dealing with an ankly issue, and when Waddle left Sunday's game briefly on two different occasions then Cameron Fleming took his place. 

"They did a great job to step in like that . . . [Waddle] was battling out there, going against some really good players," Brady said. "It was a great team win. Great by the offensive line. They've really done a great job with the penalty situation, moving the line of scrimmage and so forth. Great protection. We just have to keep it going."

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Former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn killed in car crash

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Former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn killed in car crash

Terry Glenn, the Patriots' top draft pick in 1996 who had a tumultous six-year career with the team -- and who also caught the first NFL touchdown pass ever thrown by Tom Brady -- died early Monday morning in a one-car accident in Irving, Texas. He was 43.

Glenn wound up playing 12 years in the National Football League, joining first the Packers and then the Cowboys after leaving the Patriots in controversy in 2001. Glenn was involved in a pay dispute with the team during training camp, had issues with the coaching staff, and was deactivated by Bill Belichick after the fourth game of the year. He wasn't given a Super Bowl ring after the Pats beat the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

He had earlier clashed with Bill Parcells as a rookie, with Parcells famously referring to Glenn as "she" when he was sidelined with a minor injury. He caught 90 passes for 1,132 yards and six touchdowns in '96 to help the Patriots advance to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history; they were beaten by Green Bay in Super Bowl XXVI.

Glenn and Parcells reunited in Dallas in 2003 after Glenn had spent one yeat with the Packers, and he played the remainder of his career with the Cowboys. He had two 1,000-yard receiving seasons in Dallas.

According to reports, Glenn was with his fiance at the time of the accident. She's being treated at a local hospital for unspecified injuries.

He played college football at Ohio State.