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Cubs sign Carlos Marmol to $20M, three-year deal

02.15.11 at 6:45 am ET
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Closer Carlos Marmol avoided salary arbitration with the Cubs by agreeing to a $20 million, three-year deal Monday. Marmol, 28, had 38 saves in 43 chances with a 255 ERA last season. He was scheduled for an arbitration hearing Tuesday.

“I wanted to secure my life, my family, my career,” he said.

Read More: Carlos Marmol, Rumor Mill,

LEEInks List: Top 10 fights of the NHL season

02.14.11 at 3:28 pm ET
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It seems like Fight Night has become a weekly occurrence in the NHL this season, with some of the biggest bouts taking place right here in Boston. Whether that’s good or bad for the league is certainly debatable, but it’s hard to argue that the following videos aren’t entertaining. Here are the top 10 fights of the 2010-11 season thus far.

10. Pavel Datsyuk vs. Corey Perry, Oct. 8

Datsyuk has won four straight Lady Byng Trophies for sportsmanship and had never registered a fighting major before this season. That went out the window on opening night when Datsyuk not only dropped the gloves, but scored a win against Perry, who’s no pushover.

9. Steve MacIntyre vs. Raitis Ivanans, Oct. 7

You don’t see too many TKOs in the NHL, but here’s one of them. Ivanans hangs tough at first, but then he lets down his guard for a split second and MacIntyre capitalizes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Gregory Campbell, Nathan Horton, Pavel Datsyuk, Shawn Thornton

Report: CC Sabathia lost 25 pounds during offseason

02.14.11 at 10:14 am ET
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In an effort to take some pressure off his knee, Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia worked over the winter to lose 25 pounds, according to the New York Post.

Sabathia underwent surgery on his right knee after the season and told the paper he didn’t want it to bother him again this year.

“I definitely could have pitched the way I did last year. But just trying to take a little bit of pressure off [the knee],” Sabathia told the Post. “I feel a lot better.”

Despite battling the sore knee, Sabathia posted one of his best seasons last year, going 21-7 with a 3.18 ERA.

Read More: cc sabathia, Rumor Mill,

Report: Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins removed from team plane after altercation with teammate

02.14.11 at 8:57 am ET
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Rookie forward DeMarcus Cousins was removed from the Kings’ team plane Saturday night following an altercation with teammate Donte Greene, according to NBA Fanhouse.

Sources told the site that Cousins was furious Greene inbounded the ball to Tyreke Evans instead of him on the final play of Sacramento’s loss to Oklahoma City. Cousins was calling for the ball in the post, but Greene opted to go to Evans, who missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Sources said Cousins and Greene began exchanging words in the locker room and that things escalated on the plane when Cousins accused Greene of being too “scared” to make what he thought was the right play, leading to both sides throwing punches.

Fanhouse notes that Cousins is expected to be suspended for at least one game.

Read More: DeMarcus Cousins, Donte Greene, Rumor Mill,

Dale Earnhardt Jr. takes pole for Daytona 500

02.14.11 at 8:56 am ET
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. qualified first and will start on the pole for Sunday’s Daytona 500. Earnhardt finished with a qualifying lap of 186.089 mph, giving himself a temporary break from questions about the 10-year anniversary of his father’s death in the process.

Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a crash on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Earnhardt Jr. won the 2004 Daytona 500, but has struggled in recent year and hasn’t won a race since 2008. He said he understands all the talk about him and his father that is sure to take place this week, but that he’ll try to ignore it for the most part.

“I wouldn’t embrace that,” Earnhardt said. “I’m here to race. And I understand the situation and I’m looking forward to seeing how my father is honored and remembered throughout the week, and I’ll enjoy that, but I don’t really get into the hypothetical, fairy-tale sort of stuff. I just want to focus on my job.”

Read More: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rumor Mill,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Mario Lemieux says NHL ‘failed’ in punishment of Islanders

02.14.11 at 7:53 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’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 MONDAY:
No games scheduled

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ The Islanders turned Friday’s game against the Penguins into a fight-fest, targeting a couple of Pittsburgh players in retaliation for injuries they caused to a pair of Islanders. The end result was 10 ejections, 15 fighting majors, 20 misconducts and 346 penalty minutes. The NHL responded by handing out two suspensions and fining New York $100,000. That wasn’t enough, as far as Pens owner Mario Lemieux is concerned.

“What happened Friday night on Long Island wasn’t hockey,” he said in a statement Sunday. “It was a travesty. It was painful to watch the game I love turn into a sideshow like that.

“The NHL had a chance to send a clear and strong message that those kinds of actions are unacceptable and embarrassing to the sport. It failed.”

Lemieux said he’s not sure he wants to be a part of a game that does not do enough to prevent such behavior.

“If the events relating to Friday night reflect the state of the league, I need to re-think whether I want to be a part of it,” he said.

Here’s video from the game.

‘™¦ The Yankees open spring training with some questions about their rotation and the age of some key players, including Derek Jeter. In The Wall Street Journal, Daniel Barbarisi looks at the anxiety in the Bronx. In the New York Post, Joel Sherman writes about the Yankees’ changing of the guard.

‘™¦ Albert Pujols reportedly rejected the Cardinals’ contract extension offer as the first baseman’s Tuesday deadline approaches. In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Joe Strauss writes that the slugger appears headed to free agency, and manager Tony La Russa called the situation “a spectacular distraction potentially.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Feb. 14, 1960, which Bruin set a team record with his 41st assist of the season in a 3-0 victory over the Rangers?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I thought Rondo just willed us the game. Rondo just took it upon himself that whoever was bringing the ball up he was going to guard and harass. And I thought that changed the game for us.” ‘€” Celtics coach Doc Rivers, on Rajon Rondo‘s performance in Sunday’s win ocher the Heat

STAT OF THE DAY: 1 ‘€” Scoring total for Paul Pierce on Sunday, as he went 0-for-10 from the field

‘NET RESULTS: Thunder guard Eric Maynor hits a half-court shot at the first-quarter buzzer vs. the Kings.

Manchester United soccer star Wayne Rooney comes up with a bicycle kick goal.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Don McKenney

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Rob Thomas is 40 Monday.

Read More: Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, Mario Lemieux,

Report: Raiders will use franchise tag on Richard Seymour for second straight year

02.11.11 at 12:23 pm ET
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The Raiders are expected to use their franchise tag on former Patriot Richard Seymour for the second straight year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Raiders tried to sign Seymour to a three-year extension last offseason, but the two sides couldn’t come to terms and Oakland ultimately used its franchise tag to sign the defensive lineman to a one-year, $12.4 million deal.

This year, free agency likely will be postponed, and possibly even canceled altogether, as the league and players’ union negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. So the Raiders plan to tag Seymour again.

The NFL told teams Thursday that they will have 14 days to use their franchise tag if they choose to do so.

Read More: richard seymour, Rumor Mill,

Orioles GM Andy MacPhail calls Alex Rodriguez signing worst in MLB history

02.11.11 at 11:59 am ET
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During a question-and-answer session with a group of Baltimore School of Law students Thursday, Orioles general manager Andy MacPhail called the Rangers’ signing of Alex Rodriguez in 2000 the worst in league history, according to the Baltimore Sun.

“Alex Rodriguez to Texas was the worst signing in the history of baseball in my view,” MacPhail said. “Why? Because he played as well as you can possibly ask the kid to play. He had great years. And the needle didn’t move at all. … The team didn’t improve. Attendance didn’t go up. But hey, they got the lead story on ESPN. Well, if that’s what motivates you, you’re going down the wrong path.”

MacPhail was making a larger point about risk and Major League Baseball’s financial imbalance. He said it’s better for small-market teams, like the Orioles, to invest in scouting and development and try to improve from within than to try and keep up with the spending of big-market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. The Orioles, however, have suffered 13 straight losing seasons, and one student asked if the franchise is actually making any progress.

“It’s reasonable to ask, and I’ll look you straight in the eye and give you a definitive answer,” MacPhail said. “It depends. Do you look at the first two-thirds of last year, which were god-awful? Or do you look at the last third of the year when we had the second-best record in the American League? I think that 57-game stretch is too long of a stretch to be a flash in the pan. I think it’s pretty encouraging.”

Read More: Andy MacPhail, Rumor Mill,

Damaged Metrodome roof to be replaced

02.11.11 at 11:57 am ET
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The Metrodome’s landlords voted unanimously Thursday to replace the stadium’s snow-damaged roof, according to The Associated Press.

Originally, there was a chance that the current roof was just going to be repaired, but the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission opted for a more time-consuming fix that could disrupt the Vikings’ preseason schedule.

The AP said engineers were worried that simply repairing the torn panels wouldn’t be enough to prevent another failure. Work is expected to get under way by the middle of March with a goal of finishing by Aug. 1. The estimated cost of the project is $18.3 million.

Read More: Rumor Mill,

Suspended Penguin Matt Cooke puts some blame on victim

02.11.11 at 11:39 am ET
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Penguins forward Matt Cooke met the media Thursday for the first time since being suspended four games for his hit on Columbus’ Fedor Tyutin. Cooke said he altered his game to avoid hits to the head like the one he delivered to Bruins center Marc Savard last season, but his hit on Tyutin came because Tyutin put himself in jeopardy.

“I’m not going to leave myself in a vulnerable position two feet from the boards when I know someone’s coming,” Cooke said.

As for the ruling, Cooke said: “It’s the league’s decision. They assess every hit and every play. That’s their ruling.” When asked if his reputation affected his suspension, he said: “No comment.”

Read More: matt cooke, Rumor Mill,