Patriots

Valentine, Red Sox front office torn on Iglesias

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Valentine, Red Sox front office torn on Iglesias

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Just over two weeks before Opening Day, most of Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine's roster decisions revolve around the starting rotation and bullpen.

But one key position player battle remains at shortstop and it could prove interesting.

Mike Aviles entered camp as the presumptive favorite at the position, but Jose Iglesias has made that decision more complicated, not only with his defensive brilliance -- which was expected -- but also with significant improvement with the bat -- which wasn't.

Valentine has told a number of scouts from outside the organization that his clear preference is to have Iglesias open the season as his starting shortstop. Sources indicate, meanwhile, that the Red Sox front office is in favor of Iglesias getting additional experienced at Triple A Pawtucket to open the sesason, with Aviles opening the year at the major league starter.

Asked about the evaluation process before the Sox took on the Pittsburgh Pirates, Valentine was suitably cryptic

"I think we've seen a lot,'' said Valentine. "It will just be a determination on whether or not it's his time. He's played pretty well and showed really good progress. We've got to decide whether he has enough undergraduate credentials in order to take the next step forward.

"I think he can hit and field at the major league level. But I don't know that he can make the major league team and perform right now the way we need him to perform in this setting, in the group that we have.''

When Valentine was asked about a timetable for a decision on shortstop, he said he'd prefer to wait "as long as I can. I don't see any reason to it sooner rather than later because anything can happen.

"I think his ability is good enough. Whether it's his time is the question, with all the other contributing factors, including Mike Aviles, who's doing great.''

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

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MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Wentz tosses 4 TDs, Eagles beat Redskins, 34-24

PHILADELPHIA - Carson Wentz tossed four touchdown passes, and the Philadelphia Eagles overcame losing nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters in a 34-24 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

Wentz threw for 268 yards and ran for a career-best 63 after a shaky start to lead the NFL-best Eagles (6-1) to their fifth straight win. But the victory was costly because Peters was carted off the field with a knee injury in the third quarter.

Kirk Cousins had 303 yards passing and three TDs for the Redskins (3-3).

The Eagles went three-and-out three times in their first four drives and had only 57 total yards before Wentz hit Mack Hollins in stride with a perfect 64-yard TD pass to tie it at 10.

That got the offense rolling.

Wentz connected with Zach Ertz for 46 yards on the next series and found him again for a 4-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.

After getting the second-half kickoff, the Eagles drove 86 yards for another touchdown. Peters was injured during the series, and fans chanted his name while teammates surrounded the cart.

Wentz finished the drive off with a play that Peters would appreciate.

While being hit by two defenders and falling forward, Wentz lofted a 9-yard TD pass to Corey Clement.

Wentz fired a 10-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor to expand the lead to 31-17. Wentz kept that drive alive by escaping a sack and running 17 yards on third-and-8.

Cousins tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Thompson to give the Redskins a 10-3 lead. He connected with Jordan Reed on a 5-yard TD to cut the deficit to 24-17 and threw a 12-yard pass to Reed to cap the scoring.

The Eagles were penalized on four straight plays to start their first possession before Wentz was intercepted by Quinton Dunbar on a deep pass to Torrey Smith on second-and-31.

Philadelphia swept Washington for the first time since 2013 and has a commanding lead in the NFC East. The Cowboys and Redskins are tied for second place.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Are Patriots' defensive problems solved?

0:41 - Tom Giles, Michael Holley, and Tom Curran react to the Patriots’ 23-7 win over the Falcons on Sunday night and whether the Patriots deserve to be considered Super Bowl favorites.

6:09 - Is Johnson Bademosi an upgrade over Stephon Gilmore at cornerback for the Patriots? Michael Hurley joins BST to debate with Tom Curran, Michael Holley, and Kayce Smith. They also discuss the defense’s overall improvement in Sunday night’s win.

14:37 - NBC Sports Boston’s Red Sox insider Evan Drellich joins the show to talk about the Red Sox hiring Alex Cora to be their new manager, whether it was the right choice, and how his presence will affect the Red Sox clubhouse.

22:14 - Kayce Smith and Tom Curran discuss Kyrie Irving’s vulgar response to a Philadelphia fan yelling “Where’s LeBron?” at him on Friday night.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE