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Report: Red Sox, Yankees both have ‘big-time’ interest in Downs

07.19.10 at 2:29 pm ET
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Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse has tweeted that the Red Sox and Yankees both have “big time” interest in Blue Jays reliever Scott Downs.

Downs has a 2.56 earned run average in 43 appearances with an WHIP of 1.01. He has had an ERA over 3.00 just once in the last four years, a 3.09 mark last season. The 34-year-old lefty is earning $4 million in the last year of a three-year, $10 million deal. He will be a free agent at season’s end.

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Report: Red Sox again make push for Iannetta

07.19.10 at 2:22 pm ET
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With the top catchers in the organization slowly working their way back to action, the Red Sox are looking for solid replacements behind the plate for the future.

Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Red Sox have contacted the Rockies again about Chris Iannetta. Rosenthal writes that the Rockies are reluctant to make the move unless they can acquire someone who can help them in the tight NL West. The Red Sox, on the other hand, can’t sacrifice enough talent to push the deal across.

WEEI.com’s Alex Speier first reported in May that Boston could have drafted the 27-year-old Rhode Island native back in 2004, and since then the Sox contacted Colorado several times about him.

Over his five-year career, Iannetta has a .240 batting average with 47 home runs, 168 RBI, 155 walks and 267 strikeouts. He has been much hotter this season, hitting five home runs in his last 32 at-bats since returning to the club from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

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Baldelli to return to Rays

07.19.10 at 1:24 pm ET
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Former Red Sox outfielder Rocco Baldelli is set to end his time as a roving instructor for the Rays and sign a minor league deal with Tampa Bay, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Baldelli is expected to sign with the Rays on Monday and DH for High-A Charlotte.

Baldelli is recovering from a shoulder injury, and despite serving in a coaching role with the Rays, he remained interested in playing again. The 28-year-old Woonsockett, R.I., native was chosen sixth overall by Tampa Bay in the 2000 draft. In parts of six seasons (509 games) with the Rays and Red Sox, Baldelli hit .279 with 59 homers, 257 RBI and 59 stolen bases. His career has largely been slowed by a mitochondrial disorder.

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Report: Colts’ Sanders might be finished

07.19.10 at 12:32 pm ET
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Colts safety and former Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders might never play another down of professional football due to injury concerns, according to an NFL.com report (scroll down to the very bottom). Sanders has been rehabbing from a ruptured biceps tendon that caused him to miss all but two games last season, but there is some questions that shoulder and biceps issues could keep him off the field for good. Sanders signed a five-year, $37 million contract with the Colts in 2007, but the NFL.com report from Mike Lombardi notes that he has “reduced his contract.” For the record, Sanders has said that he feels “great” during his rehab.

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Yankees, Rays eyeing Isringhausen?

07.19.10 at 12:02 pm ET
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Former Athletics and Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen appeared on The ITD Morning After on KFNS 590 The Fan in St. Louis and spoke of his attempt to get back in the big leagues. The 37-year-old said he is set to have a tryout with the Reds and that he has garnered interest from the Yankees, Royals, Cardinals and Rays, the latter two of which he already pitched for in his 14-year career.

Isringhausen was once an elite closer in the majors, having tied Armando Benitez and Chad Cordero in 2004 for the league lead in saves with 47. Last season with the Rays, he appeared in just 9 games, throwing six innings and allowing six hits, two earned runs, and five walks. He struck out six.

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Kovalchuk to re-sign with Devils

07.19.10 at 11:54 am ET
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Ilya Kovalchuk, seen by many as the cream of the NHL free agency crop, has finally decided that he will re-sign with the New Jersey Devils, according to the team’s official Twitter page. Kovalchuk had 27 points (10 G, 17 A) in 27 games for New Jersey last season after being traded to the squad in a deadline deal with Atlanta. Between the two clubs, he totaled 85 points. Kovalchuk has scored at least 41 goals in every season he’s played since he entered the league in 2005. Terms of the signing were not immediately disclosed. A press conference to announce the signing is scheduled for Tuesday.

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Report: Red Sox have talked to Marlins about Ross, Nunez

07.19.10 at 11:03 am ET
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The Red Sox have put in a phone call to the Marlins to gauge the asking price for outfielder Cody Ross and relief pitcher Leo Nunez, according to a report by the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer. Ross is hitting .279 this season with seven home runs and 46 RBI this season and could be a stopgap until Jacoby Ellsbury returns from the disabled list. Nunez has a 2.79 ERA and 22 saves as the Marlins’ closer and could be a huge help to a struggling Boston bullpen. The Braves and Yankees are also rumored to have contacted the Marlins about Ross in their search for outfield help.

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Ricciardi: Downs best for Red Sox

07.19.10 at 9:43 am ET
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ESPN baseball analyst and former Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi told The Big Show Friday that Jays reliever Scott Downs in the best trade target available to the Red Sox out of the Toronto bullpen at this point. “I would think Downs would be at the top of the list to me personally,” Ricciardi said. “He gets right-handers out. He gets left-handers out. He can give you an inning and 2/3, even two innings at a time.”  He dismissed the idea of going after other Jays relievers Kevin Gregg, who he said might struggle outside of a closing role, and Jason Frasor, about whom Ricciardi said, “The tighter the situation the worse he pitches.”

Ricciardi also added that Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez certainly could be an intriguing target should the Sox look to address the catcher position given the team’s recent injuries. “He would be a nice fit in Boston,” Ricciardi said. “He’s a guy you don’t have to be married to for a long time. Holds the fort down until those guys come back. He’s a veteran guy, plays with a lot of energy, can help a major league staff. That’s a good name if that’s a name being mentioned in Boston.”

For a transcript of the entire Ricciardi interview click here.

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Rumor: Gagne to Lightning?

07.19.10 at 9:41 am ET
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Flyers left winger Simon Gagne could find a home in Tampa Bay, according to a report by the St. Petersburg Times. Gagne has scored over 30 goals in three of his last four seasons in Philadelphia, including 47 four years ago, but has been marred by several injuries, including a series of injuries that caused him to miss 29 regular-season games and four playoff games last season. The Lightning are believed to be entering a rebuilding stage under new general manager Steve Yzerman, but that could change with the addition of a scorer like Gagne.

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Justice: Astros should trade Carlos Lee

07.19.10 at 8:48 am ET
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The struggling Astros should look to trade struggling star Carlos Lee as soon as they can, writes Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle. Lee is hitting just .237 this season with 12 home runs and 45 RBI and, according to Justice, has shown an overall lack of hustle. He is due $37 million after this season, which could make him very hard to deal, but the Astros could find a suitor who’d be willing to take on a player who has hit over .300 in five of the last seven seasons and has proven he’s capable of 30-plus homers.

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