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Harper signs record-setting deal with Nationals

08.17.10 at 8:23 am ET
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Seconds before the midnight deadline Monday night, 17-year-old Bryce Harper, negotiating with agent Scott Borassigned with the Nationals. The No. 1 overall draft pick signed a five-year deal worth $9.9 million.

His contract is a record-setter for a non-pitcher signing out of the draft who had not become a free agent, surpassing the mark previously held by Mark Teixeiera in 2001. Teixeira’s major league deal was for $9.5 million over four years with the Rangers.

Harper, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound power hitter, was the Nationals’ second consecutive No. 1 overall draft choice. Washington commanded the 2009 and 2010 No. 1 picks after finishing with the worst records in the major league in 2008 and 2009.

Stephen Strasburg came to terms with the Nationals only a minute before the deadline last year. Strasburg’s $15.1 million, four-year contract with Washington was the highest for any player out of the draft.

Harper, the first junior college player taken with the first overall selection, heads to Washington after playing catcher for the College of Southern Nevada, but he is expected to convert to the outfield with the Nationals.

At Southern Nevada, participating in a wooden bat league, Harper hit .443 with 31 homers and 98 RBI in his lone season. He went to Southern Nevada after skipping two years of high school and getting his GED to be eligible for the 2010 amateur draft.

Harper’s contract calls for a signing bonus of $6.25 million in five equal payments of $1.25 million: 30 days after approval and each July 1 from 2011 through 2014. He receives salaries of $500,000 each in 2011 and 2012, $750,000 in 2013, $900,000 in 2014 and $1 million in 2015 ‘€” roster bonuses that could raise the value of his deal to $10.9 million.

If he spends 30, 60, 90 and 120 days on the active major league roster in each of the last two years of the contract, he can earn up to an extra $500,000 in each of those contract years, getting $125,000 each time each year.

The Nationals also agreed to pay for eight semesters of college for Harper.

Harper, who was featured on Sports Illustrated’s cover as “baseball’s chosen one” and the “most exciting prodigy since LeBron,” was the first non-senior to earn Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year award and  only the second junior college player, joining Alex Fernandez in 1990, to win the Golden Spikes Award, given to the country’s top amateur baseball player.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he hopes Harper will report to Washington’s rookie-level Gulf Coast League team in Florida “as soon as possible.”

The Nationals also announced contracts with second-round choice Sammy Solis, a right-handed pitcher out of the University of San Diego, and fourth-round pick A.J. Cole, a right-handed high school pitcher, earlier Monday night.

Read More: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup

08.17.10 at 7:37 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’€™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.

MLB: Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN, WEEI)


‘™¦ A radio reporter in Arkansas who was sent to a press conference to interview University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino after a Razorbacks scrimmage wore a Florida Gators hat to the session, and it didn’t go well. Not only did Petrino make a disparaging comment, the reporter, Renee Gork, tweeted that she was fired by Hog Sports Radio for her fashion faux pas. “Was hoping to publicly apologize to coach Petrino and UA fans on the show today, but I won’t get that chance now … I’ve been fired,” she wrote Monday. Gork also was the victim of online harassment when Arkansas fans found her Facebook page, on which she displays her affection for Florida and makes some critical comments of the school she was covering.

‘™¦ Gentry Estes at the Mobile (Ala.) Press-Register explains why 23-year-old running back Glen Coffee retired from the NFL after one promising season with the 49ers. The deeply religious Coffee doesn’t expect people to understand his decision. “A lot of people aren’t going to understand and realize because they don’t have the wisdom to understand,” the former Alabama star said. “Their eyes aren’t open like mine are open.” Added Coffee: I don’t know what call Gold has for my life, but it wasn’t football.”

‘™¦ In the New York Daily News, Mike Vaccaro writes that the Mets should try to void the contract of controversial closer Francisco Rodriguez, who is out for the season with a torn ligament in his thumb following last week’s dispute with his girlfriend’s father.

‘™¦ It seems certain that Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets will be parting ways, so the team continues to explore options to trade the young star so it doesn’t get “LeBron’d,” according to the Denver Post‘s Mark Kiszla.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Aug. 17, 1940, who became the first Red Sox player to hit a home run in five consecutive games?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I personally don’t want my players to be around that. I don’t want to be around that. It’s hard for me to be around that, and if I were in charge, no, I wouldn’t hire someone like that. … Now, I’ve been around ‘F’ bombs, so it’s not like it’s new. But I just don’t think that has to be part of your every-minute, everyday vocabulary to get your point across.” ‘€” Former Colts coach and NBC pregame analyst Tony Dungy, commenting on Jets coach Rex Ryan‘s profane language

STAT OF THE DAY: 12 ‘€” Stitches Giants quarterback Eli Manning needed to close a gash on his head after a hit in Monday night’s preseason game vs. the Jets

‘NET RESULTS: The basketball trick shot thing is taken to another level with shots from rides at an amusement park.

Closer to the ground, here are some behind-the-back trick shots from B.Manley.

At an Angels game, an 11-year-old is selected for an on-field contest but falls and breaks his arm.


SOOTHING SOUNDS: Gary Talley, lead guitarist of the Box Tops, is 63 today.

LEEInks list: Upcoming sports milestones

08.17.10 at 6:38 am ET
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Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez recently hit his 600th home run and joined an elite group of players to have reached this significant mark. The list includes Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) Babe Ruth (714), Willie Mays (660), Ken Griffey Jr. (630) and Samy Sosa (609).

Last Sunday against the Red Sox, Derek Jeter passed Babe Ruth to become the Yankees‘ all-time leader in career hits.

That got us thinking about other sports milestones on the horizon. Here are 10 athletes ‘€” some in Boston and some national ‘€” primed to make news for a career accomplishment in the next year or so.

10. Terry Francona, second-most games managed for the Red Sox

When, in mid-September, Francona manages the 1,120th game of his Red Sox career, he will pass Pinky Higgins and trail only Joe Cronin in that category. Francona already has passed Higgins for No. 2 in career wins. He’s got a long way to go to catch Cronin in either games (2,007 to Francona’s 1,091 through Monday) and wins (1,071 to 632).

9. Billy Wagner, most strikeouts and saves by a left-handed reliever

Wagner, now with the Braves after finishing last season with the Red Sox, began play on Monday only five strikeouts behind Jesse Orosco‘s record of 1,179 K’s by a lefty reliever. And he’s 10 saves behind John Franco‘s mark of 424. Wagner has said he will retire at the end of this season whether or not he breaks the records.

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Read More: brett favre, Derek Jeter, Ray Allen, Tom Brady

Mets’ K-Rod out for season

08.17.10 at 6:35 am ET
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Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez suffered a torn ligament in his thumb reportedly during last week’s confrontation with his girlfriend’s father after a game at Citi Field and will have surgery that will force him to miss the rest of the season.

“Obviously I’m disappointed, discouraged, frustrated,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “When you get this kind of news it’s … we’ve just been through a lot. We seem to continue to have difficulties keeping things from ‘€” having these type of injuries or these type of setbacks. Every year it seems like we get a little something here or there.”

The 28-year-old reliever was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and second-degree harassment after last Wednesday’s incident. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Sept. 14.

On the morning after the fight, New York put the four-time All-Star on the restricted list without pay for two days, costing him $125,683 of his $11.5 million salary.

He is owed $11.5 million next year as part of a deal that includes a $17.5 million team option for 2012 with a $3.5 million buyout. The option would become guaranteed if he remains healthy and has 100 games finished this year and next, including 55 in 2011.

It’s possible the Mets could try to withhold Rodriguez’ salary during the time he’s out, but based on past precedent it would be unlikely they could void the remainder of the contract.

Read More: Francisco Rodriguez, Jerry Manuel,

Cowboys’ Colombo will miss 2-4 weeks

08.16.10 at 9:27 am ET
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The Cowboys’ Marc Colombo will need surgery, presumably arthroscopic, and will likely miss 2-4 weeks after suffering  a knee injury, reports Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas via Twitter. Dallas received the news of the MRI on Sunday evening.

The offensive tackle has played nine seasons in the NFL and was drafted 29th overall by the Bears in 2002 out of Boston College.

Read More: Dallas Cowboys, Marc Colombo, Rumor Mill,

Monday’s Morning Mashup

08.16.10 at 7:48 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.

No local games scheduled


‘™¦ The New Meadowlands Stadium opens Monday night, with the Jets “hosting” the Giants. The New York Daily News and the New York Post look at the “Battle for New York,” which has featured some trash-talking on both sides.

‘™¦ Also Monday night, Tigers outfielder Johnny Damon makes his return to the Bronx to face the Yankees.

‘™¦ The New York Times looks at Jason Bay‘s issues recovering from a concussion and wonders whether his situation will signal a need for the Mets to review how they deal with players in his situation.

‘™¦ The New York Daily News has the update on Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez, who entered Saturday’s game to boos from the New York crowd. The Mets reportedly aren’t happy with him, either, hoping that they could have suspended him longer than the two games he got. This came despite him apologizing earlier in the day for his behavior that led to him being arrested on assault charges. He said he plans to go to an anger management program.

‘™¦ The U.S. basketball team routed France on Sunday after cutting two more players. One more cut will be made before the team heads to Europe on Monday.

‘™¦ The Los Angeles Times has more details on the California desert off-road auto race in which a truck veered off into the crowd and killed eight people.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Aug. 16, 1978, which Red Sox pitcher recorded his 200th career victory by out-dueling Nolan Ryan and beating the Angels, 4-2.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We don’t have time for [making sure everything's perfect]. We’re in a pennant race. I’ve got to try to get back in there, and I’ll figure it out.” ‘€” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, after the second game of his rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday

STAT OF THE DAY: 1 ‘€” Red Sox pitchers who have reached 500 strikeouts in fewer games than Daisuke Matsuzaka, who recorded No. 500 Sunday in his 91st game for the Sox (Roger Clemens did it in 79 games)

‘NET RESULTS: There have been a few goals from midfield in soccer this year. You’d think the goalies would catch on by now. Back up, already.

Via Red’s Army, here’s Dwyane Wade blocking little kids’ shots and taunting them.

Dwyane Wade blocking childrens’ shots from John Karalis on Vimeo.


SOOTHING SOUNDS: Robert Lester of the Chi-Lites , who died of cancer in January, would have been 68 today.

Read More: Francisco Rodriguez,

Heat’s Haslem arrested on marijuana charge

08.16.10 at 6:34 am ET
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Heat forward Udonis Haslem was arrested Sunday for possession of marijuana following a traffic stop in Miami-Dade County. According to Miami-Dade court records, Haslem was charged with possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, a third-degree felony that could bring maximum punishments of a $5,000 fine and a five-year prison sentence.

Haslem, who also was charged with speeding and having an illegal window tint. was released on bond shortly after 10 p.m.

Haslem has spent all seven of his NBA seasons with the Heat, averaging 10.0 points and 8.1 rebounds, and the South Florida native signed a new five-year contract to stay with the team last month.

Meanwhile, Pacers draft pick Lance Stephenson was arrested Sunday and charged with assaulting his girlfriend following an altercation in Brooklyn. The woman was treated at a hospital for injuries sustained in a fall down a flight of stairs. Stephenson, who played one season at Cincinnati before declaring for the draft and being selected 40th overall in June, is a New York City native.

Read More: Lance Stephenson, Udonis Haslem,

Report: Second-year 49ers RB Coffee to retire

08.13.10 at 3:36 pm ET
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San Francisco running back Glen Coffee will retire after playing just one season in the NFL, according to a report by CSNBayArea.com. Coffee played in 14 games for the 49ers as a rookie in 2009, gaining 226 yards on 83 carries to go with one touchdown, but has decided to cut his career short. He did not appear at the team’s practice Thursday afternoon or Friday morning. Coach Mike Singletary indicated to the website that he did not see the move coming whatsoever.

Read More: Glen Coffee, Rumor Mill,

Report: Fuentes, Inge won’t be traded

08.13.10 at 1:47 pm ET
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Angels left-handed closer Brian Fuentes has been recently been blocked as a part of the waiver process and hence cannot be traded this season, according to a tweet by FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal listed the Red Sox, Yankees and Phillies as teams interested in the reliever. Fuentes has 23 saves for Los Angeles this season to go along with a 3.22 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings.

Rosenthal also tweeted that Tigers infielder Brandon Inge was pulled off waivers and also cannot be traded. He had been mentioned as a potential replacement for Chipper Jones in Atlanta after Jones went down with a season-ending ACL injury Tuesday.

Read More: Brandon Inge, Brian Fuentes, Rumor Mill,

Report: Ex-Raider Russell failed drug test in ’07

08.13.10 at 1:36 pm ET
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Former Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell said that he failed a drug test after being selected first overall by Oakland in the 2007 draft in an interview with ESPN’s Colleen Dominguez. He tested positive for codeine, the same drug he was arrested for possessing back in July. Russell claimed he had a prescription for the drug but that it came from a doctor not associated with the team. He is still without a team following his arrest and is not expected to play in the NFL in 2010.

Read More: JaMarcus Russell,