Patriots

Sox lose Minor League free agents, sign one

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Sox lose Minor League free agents, sign one

According to Baseball America, the Red Sox have lost several of their minor league free agents, including a former first-round pick, while signing one.
 
The Sox added outfielder Mitch Maier earlier this month. Maier, 30, was a first-round (30th overall) pick of the Royals in 2003 out of the University of Toledo. He made his big league debut with the Royals in 2006. In parts of six seasons with the Royals, he appeared in 360 games, batting .248, with a .327 on-base percentage, and .344 slugging percentage, while playing all three outfield positions 209 games in center, 101 in right, and 38 in left. Maier, who bats left and throws right, also pitched in two games for the Royals, and appeared in one at first base.
 
Right-hander Billy Buckner, 27, has signed with the Angels organization. Buckner, a  second-round pick of the Royals out of the University of South Carolina in 2004, was in the Sox organization for one season. He made 27 combined starts for Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket in 2012, going 12-9 with a 3.65 ERA.
 
Right-hander Caleb Clay has signed with Washington. He was a first-round (supplemental, 44th overall) pick of the Sox in 2006 out of Cullman High in Alabama. In six seasons in the Sox organization, he appeared in 120 games, making 51 starts, posting a combined record of 15-28 with a 4.70 ERA and 13 saves. But Clay, who turns 25 in February, did not advance beyond Double-A.
 
Right-hander Michael Olmsted signed a major league contract with the Brewers and was added to their 40-man roster.  Olmsted, 25, was a ninth-round pick of the Mets in 2007 out of Cypress College in California. He had been in the Sox system for two seasons.  He split 2012 between High-A Salem and Double-A Portland. In 47 total games he posted a record of 1-4 with a 1.52 ERA and 19 saves. In 14 games with Portland, spanning 20 innings, he did not allow an earned run, recording 31 strikeouts with seven walks.
 
Third baseman Marquez Smith signed with Cincinnati. He was an eighth-round pick of the Cubs in 2007 out of Clemson. Last season was his first in the Sox organization.  Smith, who turns 28 in March, appeared in 71 games for Portland, 55 at third, 13 at second, and serving as the designated hitter in three. Smith hit .293 with eight home runs, 37 RBI, a .358 on-base percentage, and .413 slugging percentage.
 
Infielder Nate Spears has signed with Cleveland. Spears, 27, was a fifth-round pick of the Orioles in 2003 out of Charlotte High School, in Florida, just north of Fort Myers. He had been in the Sox organization since 2010. He made his major league debut in 2011. In the last two seasons, he appeared in seven big league games, playing three games in left field, two at second base, and one at third. In four big league at-bats he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Former Sox manager and new Indians manager Terry Francona was always quick to praise Spears in their time together.
 
Also, right-hander Will Inman tweeted over the weekend that he has signed with the Rays. Inman, who turns 26 in February, had been with the Sox for just one season. In 33 appearances with Pawtucket, he posted a record of 1-3 with a 2.23 ERA and six saves. Inman was a third-round pick of the Brewers in 2005 out of Tunstall High in Danville, Virg.
 
The Sox have several other minor leaguers who became free agents after the season, including pitchers  Yeiper Castillo, Nelson Figueroa, Mike MacDonald, Tony Pena Jr.,  Jason Urquidez, and Leonel Vasquez; catcher Mike Rivera; first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez; and third baseman Andy LaRoche.

Report: In threatening Goodell, Cowboys owner insults Kraft

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Report: In threatening Goodell, Cowboys owner insults Kraft

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, upset over the six-game suspension of his star running back Ezekiel Elliott, has been fighting against a contract extension for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

How hard has he been fighting? Enough to reportedly insult Patriots owner Robert Kraft in the process. 

ESPN reports that on a conference call in August with Goodell and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash when Jones was informed of Elliott’s suspension for domestic violence incidents, Jones told the commissioner, “I’m going to come after you with everything I have.” He then invoked Kraft’s response to Deflategate and Tom Brady’s four-game suspension.

“If you think Bob Kraft came after you hard, Bob Kraft is a p—-y compared to what I’m going to do,” Jones told Goodell, according to ESPN’s Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham.

Elliott, like Brady, abandoned his court fight this week and will serve his suspension. Kraft, of course, produced the Wells Report in context website, but grudgingly accepted the NFL’s penalty in the Deflategate case. Jones has threatened to sue the NFL if Goodell’s contract extension is approved.   

 

Blakely: Work in progress, but oh, what progress

Blakely: Work in progress, but oh, what progress

BOSTON – The words of Stephen Curry following the Celtics’ 92-88 win over his Golden State Warriors had an off-handed, end-of-the-night throwaway feel to them, a statement that would soon be forgotten after the Warriors reel off what should be a long string of victories going forward.
 
“They’re playing the best right now in the East,” Curry said of the Celtics, who now have a 3-2 edge in their past five meetings following Thursday night’s thriller. “And obviously until they beat Cleveland, who's done it three years in a row … so we’ll see.”

CELTICS 92, WARRIORS 88

We already have, folks.
 
The Celtics and the Warriors are both quick to remind us all that we are only a month into the season and that there’s still lots of basketball to be played.
 
But the big takeaway from Thursday was that the Celtics’ ascension to the top of the NBA mountain is a matter of when, not if, it’ll happen.
 
Because what we’re seeing now is a team that is very much a work in progress, yet one that still manages to win games on a lot of nights that they have no business winning.
 
Think about it.
 
They shot 32.9 percent against the Warriors, the best team in the NBA, and still managed to get the win. According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, it was only the second time in the past 35 years that the Celtics shot less than 33 percent from the field and still managed to win.
 
That speaks to how well Boston defended the Warriors, who came in averaging a league-best 119.6 points per game.
 
But more than that, it shows this team has a will to win that’s almost unheard of for a group whose pieces are so relatively new to one another.
 
Of the 14 Celtics with guaranteed contracts on the roster, all but four are in their first season in Boston.
 
But even with the new guys coming together quicker than anticipated, Boston should not all of a sudden be considered the favorites in the NBA.
 
Even with the victory, Boston still has some ground to make up if they are to be on the same level as Golden State, a franchise that has been to the NBA Finals each of the past three seasons and has emerged a champion twice.
 
“It takes a lot of basketball to get there,” said Warriors guard Klay Thompson. “They have a good, young, hungry team. You have to give them credit. They have a better record than us, so you can say they’re better now.”
 
And while Thompson didn’t place an emphasis on it, the last word in his comments, “now,” is why Thursday’s victory leaves the Celtics cautiously optimistic.
 
Because as we’ve seen time and time, regular-season success does not always travel well beyond that and into the playoffs.
 
Still, Thursday’s win provides something for Boston beyond hope and optimism.
 
They now have results to go with the work they’ve put in to be a better team and compete with the league’s best.
 
And they’ve done it under less-than-ideal circumstances.
 
Gordon Hayward went down with an ankle injury less than five minutes into the season and he’s expected to be lost for the rest of the season. Al Horford missed two games while recovering from a concussion while Kyrie Irving missed a game after suffering a facial fracture.
 
So in other words, the Big Three that Boston was set on unleashing to the rest of the world has logged less than five minutes together all season.
 
And yet there are the Celtics (14-2), tops in the NBA while riding a historic 14-game winning streak, and there's reason to believe that maybe, just maybe, these two will be the last teams standing when all is said and done and some of those customary throwaway lines uttered by Curry might have some value after all if these two wind up meeting in the NBA Finals.

“I hear the weather is great here in June,” Curry said.