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Red Sox get All-Star closer Hanrahan from Pirates

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Red Sox get All-Star closer Hanrahan from Pirates

BOSTON (AP) If Joel Hanrahan can do for the Boston Red Sox what he did against them, they should be very happy with their new closer.

In the first of his two All-Star seasons, the right-hander posted back-to-back saves for the Pittsburgh Pirates with perfect ninth innings against the Red Sox in June 2011. He struck out Adrian Gonzalez, who entered the series batting .359, to end the second game.

``When people look back on me as a Pirate, that's the one that stands out the most to them,'' Hanrahan said Wednesday after being obtained in a six-player trade.

People such as Red Sox assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran.

``It definitely made an impression on me,'' he said. ``It was not fun to be in the batter's box against Joel Hanrahan.''

Now American League hitters will see what it's like.

Boston completed the deal Wednesday, also receiving infielder Brock Holt. The Red Sox gave up right-handers Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimentel, infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr. and first baseman-outfielder Jerry Sands.

The Red Sox also announced the signing of free agent shortstop Stephen Drew, who agreed to a one-year contract early last week. The reported $9.5 million deal was contingent on Drew passing a physical. The former Oakland Athletic and Arizona Diamondback broke his ankle in 2011.

``We feel that he's going to be fully healthy for us,'' O'Halloran said.

The acquisition of Drew and Hanrahan are the latest in a series of moves designed to improve on a 69-93 record and a last-place finish in the AL East. The Red Sox already have obtained right-handers Ryan Dempster and Koji Uehara, outfielders Shane Victorino and Johnny Gomes and catcher David Ross.

Over the past two seasons, Hanrahan had 76 saves, fourth most in the National League, and a 2.24 ERA. Last season, he was 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA and 36 saves.

The six-year veteran will take over the closer's role that Alfredo Aceves struggled in most of last season before giving way to Andrew Bailey, who had missed most of the season with a right thumb injury.

In his first season with Boston, Bailey was 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA and six saves in nine opportunities over 19 games.

Manager John Farrell has talked with Hanrahan and Bailey and told them that Hanrahan will be the closer, although ``we see Andrew as playing a very important role,'' O'Halloran said.

The Red Sox's search for a closer began when Jonathan Papelbon signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies after the 2011 season.

Hanrahan figured he was part of that quest when he heard his name in trade rumors involving the Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers.

``I got excited'' when he learned of the trade, Hanrahan said. ``Obviously, the Red Sox have a great history and tradition and it's a huge sports city.''

In six seasons, 2 1/2 with the Washington Nationals and 3 1/2 with the Pirates, he's 22-17 with a 3.74 ERA and 96 saves in 117 chances. His best season was 2011 when he went 1-4 with a 1.83 ERA, 40 saves in 44 opportunities and just 16 walks in 68 2-3 innings. His control slipped last season when he walked 36 in 59 2-3 innings.

Hanrahan said hamstring and ankle problems affected his pitching mechanics.

``I don't think the walks are going to be a concern,'' he said. ``I feel good going to spring training.''

Hanrahan said he's never been to Fenway Park, but O'Halloran doesn't think he'll have trouble adjusting to the American League.

``Joel Hanrahan has the stuff to pitch anywhere,'' he said.

Holt spent most of last season at Double-A Altoona, then hit .292 in 24 games with the Pirates, all in September.

Melancon was 0-2 with a 6.20 ERA in 41 relief appearances in his only season with Boston. Pimentel spent the season at Double-A Portland. Sands and DeJesus were obtained in a trade that sent Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers on Aug. 25.

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We're still amazed by Michael Jordan's historic scoring night vs. New Jersey, days after turning 40-years-old

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We're still amazed by Michael Jordan's historic scoring night vs. New Jersey, days after turning 40-years-old

Sixteen years ago Michael Jordan delivered one of the most memorable performances of his two-year stint with the Washington Wizards. 

On February 21, 2003, Jordan dropped 43 points four days after his 40th birthday. The mark made the Jordan the first player older than 40 to record 40 points or more in a contest. 

It was also the fifth-most points he ever scored in a Wizards uniform. 

The record was made against the then-New Jersey Nets. Throughout the entire game the two teams went back-and-forth with 13 ties and 17 lead changes. That was until the Hall of Famer put the game away for Washington with the final go-ahead basket with 34 seconds to go. 

The Wizards won 89-86. 

"We hadn't really been playing well and coach has been really disappointed in the way we play and I had to take the leadership. I had to do everything I had to do to get this team to understand what winning is all about," Jordan said.

The 43 points was scored on 18-for-30 shooting, all within the 3pt arc. In the third quarter alone he scored 14 of the team's 25 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds for the double-double in the contest with four steals, three assists and a block.

All 13 seasons of Jordan's career he had incredible feats. The season prior he recorded his final 50-point game at 38 years of age, which is also the oldest anyone's ever been to reach 50 points. And that came two months after he returned from retirement. 

The 2002-03 season was his last and this display was an attempt for Jordan to return to the postseason one final time. He had not been there since he was with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. 

"I've only got 28 games left in my career. I do whatever I've got to do to get into the playoffs."

Ultimately the Wizards did not make it to the playoffs with Jordan, but he sure left his mark on the organization. 

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America East Tournament Bracket 2019, How to watch, Dates, Preview, Location

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USA TODAY Sports

America East Tournament Bracket 2019, How to watch, Dates, Preview, Location

Last year's America East tournament allowed us to witness the greatest upset in NCAA Tournament history when the No. 16 UMBC Retrivers upset the No. 1 overall seed, the Virginia Cavaliers. 

The 2019 America East tournament will likely have more eyeballs on it as a result. 

Once again this conference likely remains a single-bid league. After several seasons of the Vermont Catatmounts running away with the league and having at-large bid potential, their resume this season is lacking a quality win. That is not to say that Vermont is not good. To the contrary they are still the class of the America East conference. 

They do have one conference loss though... to UMBC on their home court. 

The Retrivers are also good again. So are the Stony Brook Seawolves, who may even be in line for an NIT at-large bid if they cannot get the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

Unlike last season, there are question marks in Vermont's ability to make it to March Madness.

Oh and we're due for some fireworks. That memorable UMBC tournament upset would not have happened without another Retriver upset. Jarius Lyles nailed a miracle buzzer-beater to knock off the top seeded Vermont Catamounts for the 2018 championship and the automatic bid. 

AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT 2019 INFORMATION:

When is the 2019 America East Tournament?

The America East Tournament is March 9, 12, and 16. The America East Championship game is on Saturday, March 16.

Where is the 2019 America East Tournament?
The America East Tournament is hosted at the higher seed of each match-up. The No. 1 seed has homecourt advantage throughout the tournament.

How to watch the 2019 America East Tournament?

The America East Tournament has not announced where there tournament will be broadcast or streamed. 

Who is the defending 2018 America East Champion?

The UMBC Retreivers won the 2018 America East Tournament championship. They advanced to the NCAA Tournament and upset No. 1 seed Virginia.

AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT 2019 BRACKET:

America East Tournament Quarterfinals (3/9)
 - No. 1 seed vs. No. 8 seed
 - No. 2 seed vs. No. 7 seed
 - No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed
 - No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed

America East Tournament Semifinals (3/12)
 - Highest remaing seed vs. lowest remaining seed
 - Second highest remaining seed vs. second lowest remaining seed

America East Tournament Championship (3/16)
 - Semifinal winner vs. semifinal winner

AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT 2019 PREVIEW:

Preview will be released upon the completion of the 2019 regular season.

PICK: TBD

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