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AP source: Pirates, Red Sox near deal for Hanrahan

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AP source: Pirates, Red Sox near deal for Hanrahan

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Boston Red Sox are pursuing another burly right-hander to shore up their bullpen.

A person familiar with the talks said the Red Sox and Pirates are close to completing a trade that would send All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan to Boston for a handful of prospects.

Pittsburgh would ship Hanrahan and another player to the Red Sox in exchange for four players, including outfielder-first baseman Jerry Sands and minor league pitcher Stolmy Pimentel. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday because the trade was pending physicals and had not been finalized.

The deal was previously reported by several media outlets.

The 31-year-old Hanrahan has been one of baseball's best closers the last two years, saving 76 games from 2011-12 and making the NL All-Star team in both seasons. He made $4,135,000 this year and is eligible for arbitration, putting him in line for a hefty raise.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Hanrahan and his 96 mph fastball gave the Pirates stability at the back end of the bullpen after he took over the closer's role full-time in 2011. He helped the Pirates post a 22-game improvement from 2010 to 2012. Pittsburgh went 79-83 this year, tied for the franchise's best record in two decades - though it was still the team's 20th straight losing season.

Jason Grilli, re-signed by the Pirates this month, would likely step into the closer role next year.

The Red Sox hope Hanrahan will be able to give their beleaguered bullpen an identity. Boston slumped to a 69-93 record in 2012 thanks in part to a bullpen that struggled after closer Jonathan Papelbon left for Philadelphia in free agency. Fill-in Alfredo Aceves went 2-10 with a 5.36 ERA and eight blown saves in 33 chances as the Red Sox finished last in the AL East.

Hanrahan would team with 28-year-old righty Andrew Bailey to give the Red Sox a potent 1-2 punch in the late innings. Bailey was expected to be the closer last season but he missed most of the year with an injury. He finished 1-1 with six saves and a 7.04 ERA in 19 games for the Red Sox after spending 2009-11 as the closer in Oakland.

The move could also be a one-year experiment if the Red Sox don't sign Hanrahan to a new contract. He can become a free agent after the 2013 season.

The Pirates would get a potential slugger in the 25-year-old Sands, who hit 296 with 26 home runs and 107 RBIs at Triple-A last season. He came to the Red Sox in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and his bat and versatility could make Pittsburgh first baseman-outfielder Garrett Jones expendable. Jones hit a career-high 27 home runs in 2012, when he made $2.25 million, and he will be eligible for arbitration after next season. The Pirates already have a first baseman in place in Gaby Sanchez, who came over in a trade with the Miami Marlins last season.

The proposed trade caps a busy few days for the Pirates, who have agreed in principal to sign former Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox left-hander Francisco Liriano. The $14 million, two-year deal is pending a physical.

Liriano would give Pittsburgh four experienced starters heading into 2013, joining A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald. The 29-year-old Liriano is 53-54 with a 4.40 ERA in seven major league seasons. He went 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA in 2012 while splitting the season between the Twins and White Sox.

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Robert Griffin III tweets that there will be no NFL preseason

Robert Griffin III tweets that there will be no NFL preseason

Last Thursday, the NFLPA's board of representatives came to a unanimous decision that the entire 2020 NFL preseason should be canceled. In a memo obtained by NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the union recommended eliminating the preseason as a way to avoid injuries as well as greater health risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even with the players united on that front, it's unclear what the final decision will be in terms of the preseason. However, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III is hearing that what the NFLPA voted for is going to come to fruition.

Whether or not the preseason should be played is a debatable topic for many. For Griffin, he believes the reasoning for canceling the games that don't officially count comes down to one essential factor: the health of the players.

RELATED: NFLPA VOTES TO ELIMINATE PRESEASON

While preseason games still bring in money for teams and the league, the quarterback doesn't see that as a reward big enough to ignore the risk of putting players in a situation that could compromise their safety.

The NFL had recently announced that it would be cutting down the preseason to only two games, but it now looks like even further reductions could be made. As for the status of the 2020 regular season, Griffin knows just about as much as everybody else.

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Lamar Jackson cancels 'Funday with LJ' as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Florida

Lamar Jackson cancels 'Funday with LJ' as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Florida

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has canceled his third annual 'Funday with LJ' event in South Florida as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the area.

The move comes as a surprising one, as the quarterback had promoted the event in recent days, as it was set for July 11-12 in Pompano Beach, Florida.

According to the Baltimore Sun's Jonas Schaffer, Jackson decided to call off the event after more people signed up for the event than city limits allowed. So, rather than turning away people from what was supposed to be a public event, the quarterback decided to cancel the event altogether.

Jackson's event was expected to be a 6-hour outdoor extravaganza featuring go-karts, rock climbing, flag football, water slides and more. The quarterback had previously put in place safety measures in order to hold the event that included requiring adults to wear masks, a limited autograph session and having children sign a waiver form before participating.

While Jackson likely did not want to have to cancel the event, the decision is ultimately a smart one. Broward County, where 'Funday with LJ' was supposed to take place, has reported over 21,000 positive COVID-19 cases as South Florida has become one of the virus hotspots in America. 

By canceling the event, Jackson also limits the potential chance of himself contracting the virus. And with NFL training camp just a few weeks away, that's the safe decision.

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