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Rays are close to trading Matt Garza to Cubs

01.07.11 at 11:39 am ET
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The Rays and Cubs are closing in on a trade that would send pitcher Matt Garza to Chicago as part of a multiplayer deal, reports Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com.

Levine writes that the Cubs were one of at least four teams pursuing the 27-year-old right-hander and that the deal could include eight or more players.

Garza posted the best season of his career in terms of wins in 2010, going 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA. Red Sox fans might recall his spectacular 2008 ALCS, when he went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA.

Read More: Matt Garza, Rumor Mill,

Report: Broncos will not interview Jim Harbaugh

01.07.11 at 11:17 am ET
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Another team has dropped out of the running for Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh. The Broncos, previously believed to be one of the front-runners, will not interview Harbaugh, according to the Denver Post.

Earlier in the week, John Elway, the Broncos’ new president of football operations, told Harbaugh he was interested in talking to him. But the two sides could not work out a time to meet, and the team’s interest in the coach “seems to have cooled,” the article says. Part of the reason for that could be that Harbaugh “seemed to only show back-burner interest in the Broncos.”

Read More: Jim Harbaugh, John Elway, Rumor Mill,

Cowboys give new coach Jason Garrett authority over staff hires

01.07.11 at 9:40 am ET
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Jason Garrett was introduced as Cowboys coach Thursday, and owner Jerry Jones said Garrett will have authority to choose his coaching staff and players.

“Jason will have the final say on any person that leaves the coaching staff or comes to the coaching staff,” Jones said. “There won’t be a player on this team that Jason does not want on the team. … That’s the way we’re going to operate.”

Garrett avoided a question about whether he requested such power. Jones said it is not written into the coach’s contract.

“Ultimately, we’re going to feel good about the decisions we make as an organization,” Garrett said. “We’ll communicate, we have very similar football values and we’ll come to the right conclusions together.”

Read More: Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones, Rumor Mill,

Penguins’ Sidney Crosby expected to miss at least a week

01.07.11 at 9:32 am ET
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Penguins star Sidney Crosby is expected to miss at least one week due to effects from a concussion. Crosby, who missed Thursday night’s shootout loss to the Canadiens in Montreal, was injured in Wednesday’s victory over the Lightning, four days after he received a blistering hit in Saturday’s Winter Classic vs. the Capitals.

The Penguins also were without forward Matt Cooke on Thursday, as the winger returned to Pittsburgh for personal reasons.

Read More: matt cooke, Rumor Mill, Sidney Crosby,

Diana Taurasi’s Turkish contract voided terminated after second doping test

01.07.11 at 9:27 am ET
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Former UConn basketball standout Diana Taurasi had her contract with Turkish team Fenerbahce terminated Thursday after a second round of tests confirmed doping.

Taurasi, the Turkish Basketball Federation’s leading scorer at 24.6 points per game, faces an International Olympic Committee ban of up to two years, which jeopardizes her spot on Team USA for the 2012 London Olympics.

Taurasi was suspended Nov. 13 after testing positive for the banned stimulant modafinil, which is used to counter excessive sleepiness.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma said Tuesday that Taurasi told him she did not take modafinil.

Read More: Diana Taurasi, Rumor Mill,

Dolphins reportedly will retain Tony Sparano

01.07.11 at 9:18 am ET
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Standford coach Jim Harbaugh and the Dolphins broke off talks Thursday, and Miami appears likely to retain Tony Sparano, The Associated Press reported. Harbaugh also met Thursday with the president and provost at Stanford, and the school reportedly enhanced its offer for Harbaugh to stay.

Sparano took a walk outside the Dolphins’ training complex in Davie, Fla., Thursday but would not share any inside information with the media. “You guys need to find a better hobby,” he said.

Read More: Jim Harbaugh, Rumor Mill, Tony Sparano,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Charles Barkley angrily denies Cam Newton ticket accusation

01.07.11 at 7:44 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY FRIDAY:
NBA: Raptors at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)

SATURDAY:
NHL: Bruins at Canadiens, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Celtics at Bulls, 8 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)

SUNDAY:
No games scheduled

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley was in rare form Thursday night during halftime of the network’s broadcast of the Thunder-Mavericks game. The NBA legend and Auburn alumnus denied a rumor that he had given Lakers tickets to Auburn quarterback Cam Newton ‘€” a rumor started after a reporter’s tweet was misconstrued ‘€” but then joked that he would have done more for Newton had he been asked.

Said Barkley: “I did not get him tickets, I have never met Cam Newton, but if Cam Newton had called me I would have put him in the Laker locker room if he wanted to go.”

Barkley also weighed in on a recent comment from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that Eagles quarterback Michael Vick should have been “executed” for his role in killing dogs. Barkley called Carlson an “idiot,” and added that Carlson is “a nobody” who was fired by Turner Broadcasting “because he sucked.”

‘™¦ Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley announced that he is gay in a column Thursday. On The Big Show Thursday afternoon, Buckley received support from callers and celebrities, including former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling (audio link).

‘™¦ As the Fiesta Bowl prepares to host the BCS championship game Monday, Steve Wieberg at USA Today looks at the investigation into alleged improper political contributions orchestrated by Fiesta Bowl president John Junker that may jeopardize the Fiesta’s future with the BCS.

‘™¦ Paralyzed Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand has had some sensation throughout his body and was able to move his shoulder, the school announced Thursday. LeGrand, injured during a game against Army on Oct 16, was interviewed by ESPN, with the conversation scheduled for airing Friday.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 7, 1991, who was named coach of the Patriots, replacing Rod Rust?

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Cam Newton, Charles Barkley, Eric LeGrand, Steve Buckley

Matt Hasselbeck will start for Seahawks in playoff game

01.06.11 at 3:30 pm ET
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Matt Hasselbeck has reclaimed his job and will be the starting quarterback when the Seahawks host New Orleans in their first round playoff game Saturday. Hasselbeck sat out Seattle’s final game of the season with a hip injury and backup Charlie Whitehurst led the team to a win over the Rams, which clinched their spot in the playoffs.

Read More: Charlie Whitehurst, Matt Hsselbeck, Rumor Mill,

Likely top NFL pick Andrew Luck will return to Stanford

01.06.11 at 3:15 pm ET
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Andrew Luck, who was the presumptive No. 1 overall draft pick in this spring’s NFL draft, will return to Stanford instead of entering the draft, the school announced. Luck, a draft-eligible sophomore and the son of former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy and led the Cardinal to an 11-1 record capped off with a win in the Orange Bowl.

Luck’s decision may play a role in where Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh ends up next season. The Dolphins reportedly will offer Harbaugh $7 million to $8 million to become their coach.

Read More: Andrew Luck, Jim Harbaugh, Rumor Mill,

Report: Dolphins willing to make Jim Harbaugh highest-paid NFL coach

01.06.11 at 11:05 am ET
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According to ESPN.com, the Dolphins are making a huge recruiting pitch to Stanford University football coach Jim Harbaugh. The report says that Miami owner Steve Ross, GM Jeff Ireland and former NFL executive Carl Peterson have traveled to the West Coast to woo the Stanford coach, who led his team to a dominating Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech this week. The Dolphins have shown a willingness to make Harbaugh the highest-paid coach in the NFL, with an annual salary of $7 million to $8 million.

Harbaugh has also interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers.

Read More: Jim Harbaugh, Miami Dolphins, Rumor Mill, stanford university