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Vikings change venue as Metrodome undergoes repairs

12.15.10 at 9:39 am ET
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Inspectors found that damage from the weekend snowstorm, which dumped more than 17 inches in Minneapolis and busted through the Metrodome’s roof, is worse than initially thought. Officials from the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission said Tuesday that the Metrodome’s torn roof won’t be ready for Monday night’s matchup against the Bears, forcing the game to move to the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.

Commission president Roy Terwilliger could not immediately estimate how long the process would take but said he hopes to know more in two to three days. “Our first priority is the safety and well-being of the Vikings fans and players, the hundreds of youth sports, community and other groups that use the Metrodome throughout the year and our employees,” Terwilliger said.

Meanwhile, at the university, workers began the daunting task of clearing 20-inch-deep snow drifts from throughout the facility. Garry Bowman, the university’s director of athletic communications, said that because plows may damage the stadium’s floors, most of the snow will have to be removed through shoveling. The snow removal plan is to have groups of 100 workers, working four-hour shifts, for 16 hours a day.

Read More: Metrodome, Rumor Mill, Vikings,

Hideki Matsui finalizes $4.25 million deal with A’s

12.15.10 at 8:41 am ET
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Hideki Matsui finalized a $4.25 million, one-year contract with the A’s on Tuesday after he passed a physical. The slugger can earn an additional $100,000 in performance bonuses. During the free agency process, it was important to Matsui to find a team he felt truly wanted and needed him, and it seems as though he’s found it in Oakland. The A’s are thrilled to have Matsui as a power hitter in the middle of the lineup, as well as a veteran clubhouse presence for a young team.

“We have a regular, professional, middle-of-the-lineup hitter we desperately needed,” manager Bob Geren said. “He has a combination of power and hits for average and on-base percentage. He can also be a situational hitter. We haven’t had anybody with his pedigree and experience. He’s going to fit in real well.”

The 36-year-old Matsui batted .274 with 21 home runs and 84 RBIs last season with the Angels. He spent his first seven major league seasons with the Yankees and was MVP of the 2009 World Series.

Read More: Hideki Matsui, Hot Stove, Rumor Mill,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Michael Vick wants a dog

12.15.10 at 7:45 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Celtics at Knicks, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN; WEEI)
NHL: Bruins at Sabres, 7 p.m. (NESN)


‘™¦ Michael Vick said he wants to get a dog. The Eagles quarterback, who spent 18 months in prison for his role in allowing the fighting and abuse of dogs on his compound, said in an interview with NBC News on Tuesday that having a pet would show that his transformation is complete. “I would love to get another dog in the future,” he said. “I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process.

“I think just to have a pet in my household and to show people that I genuinely care, and my love and my passion for animals; I think it would be outstanding. If I ever have the opportunity again I will never take it for granted. I miss having a dog right now. I wish I could. My daughters miss having one, and that’€™s the hardest thing: telling them that we can’€™t have one because of my actions.”

‘™¦ He has been productive on the field and generally well-behaved off it this season, but on Tuesday, wide receiver Terrell Owens said his “frustration pretty much is at an all-time high,” and he made it clear who he thinks is most to blame for the Bengals’ disappointing season.

On “The T.Ocho Show,” Owens responded to a question from teammate Chad Ochocinco about why the Benglas are 2-11. “I think there’s underachieving from the top down,” Owens said. “You start with the owner, you start with the coaches. And obviously we as players, we are a product of what the coaches are coaching us throughout the course of the week. Of course, we have to go out there and play the game. But in order for us to do what we’re allowed to do at the best of our abilities, the coaches have to put the players in the best position.”

‘™¦ The Nets reportedly made a minor deal on Tuesday, acquiring the expiring contract of Lakers guard Sasha Vujacic. In the Denver Post, Dave Krieger writes that this puts New Jersey in position to make a run at Carmelo Anthony, and he looks at what the fans think of the “Melo-drama.”

‘™¦ Following reports that Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been heckling players on his own team, Bill Plaschke in The Los Angeles Times suggests that Sterling look in the mirror before opening his mouth.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 15, 1993, with three goals in a 5-4 victory over the Devils in New Jersey, who became only the third defenseman in Bruins history to record a hat trick (joining Bobby Orr and Ray Bourque)?

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Chad Ochocinco, michael vick, Terrell Owens

Brett Favre could return this season, likely won’t be placed on IR

12.15.10 at 6:30 am ET
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Brett Favre‘s starting streak may be over, but his 2010 season and possibly his career can’t be ruled dead just yet. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Tuesday that Favre does not have nerve damage and will not be placed on injured reserve any time soon.

“We’re going to monitor that. Hopefully things will get better,” Frazier said. “It looks like there is a chance we’re going to get him back at some point. We’re not really thinking injured reserve at this point.”

Favre’s collarbone injury was originally described as a three-week injury, and forced him onto the inactive list and out of the starting lineup for the first time in 298 games. To make matters worse, backup quarterback Tavaris Jackson is suffering from turf toe and could miss the team’s Monday night matchup vs. the Bears. The only other quarterback on the roster is rookie Joe Webb.

“Right now, Joe is the most healthy quarterback,” Frazier said. “We don’t expect to have Tarvaris by Thursday [for practice].”

Frazier said the team is interested in bringing in a quarterback this week for security. The only other option is wide receiver Greg Camarillo, who was the team’s emergency third-string quarterback Monday night against the Giants.

Read More: brett favre, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Rumor Mill

Gary Sheffield interested in playing in 2011

12.15.10 at 6:29 am ET
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In a radio show appearance on Monday night, Gary Sheffield said that he wants to make a comeback despite not playing in 2010. Sheffield said that he has been in contact with the Rays, Giants, Rangers and Diamondacks over the past year.

“I had a meeting with the Rays and they’re going to get back to me, and it’s out there now that they’re talking to me, and hopefully something comes about,” said Sheffield. “I wanted to play last year, and the Nationals made a pitch all offseason.”

He said he is willing to serve as a bench player for a team. The 22-year veteran has not played since 2009 when .276 with 10 home runs and 43 RBIs for the Mets.

“I mean, you know, we get to a point in our career where I know I can’t run around out in the outfield for 162 games, and I’m not going to fool myself and even try to do that,” Sheffield said. “At this point, I’m in a position where I don’t need baseball and I don’t need to run around 162 days, so I don’t want to take my body through that.

Read More: Gary Sheffield, Rumor Mill,

Reports: Lakers to trade Sasha Vujacic

12.14.10 at 7:01 pm ET
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In what looks like a relatively minor deal, the Nets are apparently going to trade Terrence Williams, whom they sent to the D-League for disciplinary reasons, and ageless Joe Smith to the Lakers for Sasha Vujacic. Once the deal goes down, Williams will reportedly wind up in Houston and a first round pick will come back to the Nets. It can’t become official per NBA rules on trading free agents signed in the offseason before Dec. 15.

There’s more to this deal than the particulars, however. It would give New Jersey more resources to try and swing a trade for Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets are said to want two first rounders in addition to rookie Derrick Favors and other contractual stuff (namely Troy Murphy).

But from the Celtics perspective, not having Vujacic in Laker blue and gold is the real kicker. The Machine once claimed that he wouldn’t wear green because that’s how much he hated the Celtics. The rivalry just won’t be the same without him. Of course, we can think of one Celtic who may be sorry to see him go.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Rumor Mill, Sasha Vujacic, Terrence Williams

Chargers WR Vincent Jackson should play Thursday vs. 49ers

12.14.10 at 4:39 pm ET
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Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson is likely to play Thursday night against the 49ers, according to Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network.

Jackson is recovering from a calf injury that has limited him to just two catches for 29 yards since becoming eligible to play. There was speculation that Jackson would not be able to play because of the short turnaround.

The Pro-Bowler sat out the first week eight weeks of the season due to a contract dispute and then missed the next three games due to a suspension. Since returning, Jackson was limited to just two snaps against the Colts due to the injury, missed the Chargers’ game against the Raiders due to the injury, before playing a small role Sunday against the Chiefs.

Read More: Rumor Mill, Vincent Jackson,

Hot Stove: Pirates sign first baseman Lyle Overbay

12.14.10 at 3:04 pm ET
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According to Aaron Gleeman, Lyle Overbay has signed a one-year deal with the Pirates Tuesday, to become their starting first baseman. Overbay spent the past five years in Toronto where he averaged 17 home runs and 68 RBIs per year.

The move means that first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones will platoon in the outfield alongside new addition Matt Diaz. Overbay’s signing also likely means that catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit will be traded, after the team was already looking to move him after they signed Diaz last week.

Read More: Garrett Jones, Hot Stove, Lyle Overbay, Matt Diaz

Steelers Heath Miller cleared to return Sunday against Jets

12.14.10 at 3:01 pm ET
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Steelers tight end Heath Miller has been cleared to return Tuesday, after he passed his post-concussion neurological tests.  Miller will rejoin the team at practice Wednesday and will play Sunday against the Jets, after missing the team’s 23-7 win over the Bengals Sunday.

Miller sustained the concussion Dec. 5 against the Ravens on a hit by linebacker Jameel McCLain, who was fined  $40,000 for the helmet-to-helmet contact. The tight end is the third-leading receiver for the Steelers this season, with 33 catches for 384 yards and a touchdown.

Read More: Heath Miller, Jameel McClain, Rumor Mill,

Timberwolves Jonny Flynn and Martell Webster could make debuts Tuesday

12.14.10 at 3:01 pm ET
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Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis said Monday that guards Jonny Flynn and Martell Webster could make their season debuts Tuesday night at Golden State. Both players are recovering from injuries that have kept them out of the team’s first 24 games of the season.

“I said they might be active,” Rambis said. “I didn’t say they’d play.”

Flynn was activated Monday after a short two-game stint in the D League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The Syracuse product is recovering from a hip operation in July. Last season he averaged 13.5 points, 4.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game as the team’s starting point guard.

“I think I’m at the point now where I can go out and not be a burden,” Flynn said Tuesday.

Webster is recovering from a spinal surgery but believes he is finally ready to play. Last season with the Trail Blazers, Webster finished with 9.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.

Read More: Jonny Flynn, Kurt Rambis, Martell Webster, Rumor Mill