Heath Hembree

With Tom Brady gone, here are the longest tenured Boston athletes

With Tom Brady gone, here are the longest tenured Boston athletes

With Tom Brady announcing his departure from the New England Patriots organization, it made us wonder which Boston athletes have been around the longest. 

Brady began his NFL career with the Patriots in 2000, and no current athlete in Boston has been around longer than the former New England quarterback.

Click here for complete Tom Brady coverage and download the MyTeams App for the latest news and analysis.

Here's a list of each team's longest-tenured athletes:

Boston Bruins

Patrice Bergeron (2003): With Brady gone, Bergeron becomes the longest-tenured athlete in Boston. The 34-year-old was drafted by the Bruins in the second round (45th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, and made his league debut against the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 8 that same year. 

David Krejci (2006): Krejci was drafted by the Bruins in the second round (63rd overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. The 33-year-old didn't make his NHL debut until the 2006-07 season, where he played just six games for the B's. He made his league debut on Jan. 30 against the Buffalo Sabres. 

Zdeno Chara (2006): Chara was drafted by the New York Islanders in the third round (56th overall) of 1996 NHL Entry Draft. The 42-year-old didn't join the Bruins until the 2006-07 season after spending the first eight seasons with the Islanders and Ottawa Senators. The captain made his B's debut on Oct. 6 against the Florida Panthers and tallied two assists and nearly 30 minutes of ice time. 

Tuukka Rask (2007): Rask was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round (21st overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The 33-year-old never played for the Maple Leafs and was traded to Boston in 2006. He made his NHL debut in 2007 against the Maple Leafs and won the game with a .938 save percentage.

New England Patriots

Stephen Gostkowski (2006): Gostkowski has spent his entire career with the Patriots and was drafted in the fourth round (118th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. He has an 84.7 percent field goal percentage and a 98.3 extra point percentage in his career. The 36-year-old's 2019 season was cut short due to a hip injury.

Matthew Slater (2008): Like Gostkowski, Slater has spent the entirety of his NFL career with the Patriots. The 34-year-old was drafted in the fifth round (153rd overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft as a wide receiver, but has since turned into a phenomenal special teamer for New England. 

Julian Edelman (2009): Edelman was also drafted by the Patriots, going in the seventh round (232nd overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. The 33-year-old has turned into a star wide receiver with New England, and will need to be on his game next season with the departure of Brady.

Patrick Chung (2009): Chung was drafted by New England in the second round (34th overall) in the 2009 NFL Draft. The defensive back has been a staple in the Patriots defense since joining the league and had 38 solo tackles last season.

Boston Red Sox

Dustin Pedroia (2006): Pedroia was drafted by the Red Sox in the second round (65th overall) of the 2004 MLB Draft. Although we may have seen him play his last game in a Sox uniform due to injuries, Pedroia has had an immensely successful career in Boston.

Xander Bogaerts (2013): Bogaerts signed a deal with the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 2009 and made his MLB debut in 2013. He's been one of Boston's best players since joining the team, and had a terrific 2019 season with a .309 batting average and 33 home runs.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (2013): Bradley Jr. was drafted 40th overall by the Red Sox in Compensation Round A of the 2011 MLB Draft. The 29-year-old, despite not performing too well at the plate, holds down the fort in center field and is a Gold Glove winner. 

Boston Celtics

Marcus Smart (2014): Smart was drafted sixth overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Celtics. The 26-year-old has been a staple in the C's lineup since joining the league, and has even been dubbed one of the best defensive players in the entire NBA. 

Jaylen Brown (2016): Brown was drafted by the Celtics third overall in the 2016 NBA Draft and has since blossomed into one of the C's best players. The 23-year-old is in the midst of his best season to date, and will only continue to excel alongside Jayson Tatum.

Jayson Tatum (2017): Tatum, like Brown, was drafted by the Celtics third overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. Also like Brown, he's having the best season of his young NBA career and has helped the Celtics find immense success this season alongside point guard Kemba Walker. 

Daniel Theis and Gordon Hayward have also been with Boston since 2017.

Heath Hembree not giving up on pitching again in 2019 after going on IL

Heath Hembree not giving up on pitching again in 2019 after going on IL

NEW YORK -- This time, Heath Hembree will wait until he's healthy before rejoining the Red Sox.

The right-handed reliever, who emerged as one of Alex Cora's most trusted arms in May before injuring his elbow in early June, was placed on the injured list on Friday after an ineffective outing vs. the Rays.

Hembree was diagnosed with lateral inflammation in his right elbow. Before the series opener at Yankee Stadium, he explained why he simply couldn't pitch through the injury any longer.

"It's the same thing as last time," he said. "I felt like I felt good enough to pitch, it's just something I'd feel good one day, wasn't really able to recover and bounce back and feel like my normal self. It wasn't really worth pushing anymore, let's get it healthy."

Hembree has basically produced three distinct seasons this year. He struggled to a 4.61 ERA in April while throwing too many sliders at the expense of his 95 mph fastball. From May 1 to June 10, he allowed only one run in 17 games (0.60 ERA) while limiting opponents to a .118 average.

But since returning on July 5, Hembree hadn't looked the same. He posted a 9.00 ERA in 12 appearances while allowing opponents to hit .350.

"I can't say it was ever fully completely gone," Hembree said of his injury. "It was there, but I felt like I was good enough to pitch. I would throw one game, and the next morning it was a little bit crankier than the day before. It was just something I was trying to grind through and it just came to a point where it really wasn't worth it anymore."

The last straw was Thursday night against the Rays, when he allowed two hits, a walk, and a home run in a 9-4 loss.
"I think last night, everybody kind of knew," he said. "I was grinding. I was struggling. I came out, met with the trainers, saw the doc last night, and made a decision."

Hembree said an MRI revealed no ligament damage and added that he expects to pitch again in 2019.

"I'm definitely expecting to be back this season," he said. "Just not sure if it's one week, two weeks, three weeks. This time I want to make sure it's completely gone. I want to make sure that there are no symptoms of what I had previously. This time I want to try to do it the right way."

 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.



 

Here's the Red Sox' post-deadline bullpen after Heath Hembree hits IL

Here's the Red Sox' post-deadline bullpen after Heath Hembree hits IL

Rather than add relievers ahead of a crucial series against the New York Yankees, the Boston Red Sox are going in the other direction.

The Red Sox placed right-hander Heath Hembree on the 10-day disabled list Friday with right lateral elbow inflammation, recalling right-hander Josh Smith from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his place.

Hembree had allowed three runs over his last two outings and was seen shaking his right arm after his appearance Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Rays.

More troubling for the Red Sox, though, is who they have left in their bullpen after declining to add a reliever before Wednesday's MLB trade deadline.

Here's a look at their bullpen as of Friday afternoon:

- Matt Barnes (4.01 ERA)
- Brandon Workman (2.08 ERA)
- Nathan Eovaldi (6.93 ERA)
- Josh Taylor (3.86 ERA)
- Darwinzon Hernandez (2.25 ERA)
- Marcus Walden (3.64 ERA)
- Colten Brewer (4.40 ERA)

Workman has been the most consistent pitcher in this group and Barnes is coming off a strong July, but it's still not an inspiring list.

Eovaldi has allowed five runs over 3.2 innings since converting to a reliever, while middle relievers like Walden and Brewer have been hit-or-miss.

Given the lack of talent here, you probably won't be surprised to learn Boston ranks 17th in baseball with a 4.55 bullpen ERA and dead last in save percentage at 52.5 percent.

Nonetheless, this is the group the Red Sox will live and die by over the last two months as they attempt to claw their way to a second Wild Card spot.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.