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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Navy RB Will McKarney dies after collapsing at practice

03.26.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Raptors at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Heat at Pacers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Grizzlies at Jazz, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Louisiana Tech at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: California at SMU, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Flyers at Rangers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB preseason: Nationals at Cardinals, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Reds at White Sox, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Orioles at Rays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Premier League, Sunderland at Liverpool, 3:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Navy running back Will McKarney, who was in a coma after collapsing at practice three days ago, died Tuesday at a Baltimore hospital. The freshman from Knoxville, Tenn., was 19.

“We are all so very heartbroken by the death of Midshipman Will McKamey,” Naval Academy superintendent VADM Mike Miller said in a statement. “This is devastating news for his family, his classmates, his teammates and the entire Naval Academy family. We offer our deepest condolences to Will’s family, friends and shipmates in the wake of this tragedy.”

McKarney collapsed at Saturday’s practice, but coaches did not see a hit that led to his distress.

“The Navy coaches have poured through the films of practice and seen nothing more than Will carrying the football normally, doing what he truly loves,” the family said earlier in the week.

McKarney played for his father, Randy, in high school, rushing for more than 2,000 yards as a senior at Knoxville’s Grace Christian Academy. He was hospitalized late in the season after suffering a head injury during a game but was cleared to return to football. The 5-foot-9, 170-pounder did not appear in a game for Navy last fall.

– Former NBA player Quinton Ross woke up Monday morning to a surprise: People were calling to find out if he was dead.

Ross, 32, who last played in the NBA for the Nets in 2010-11, was identified in a New York Post story as the Quinton Ross whose body was found stuffed in a garbage bag and buried on the beach in Far Rockaway. The story was later corrected to reflect that it was a different Quinton Ross, but not before word spread.

“My phone was going crazy,” Ross told an Associated Press reporter Monday night while attending an NIT game at his alma mater, SMU. “I checked Facebook. Finally, I went on the Internet, and they were saying I was dead. I just couldn’t believe it.”

Ross, who played in France this past season, made some calls and put up a post on Facebook to let people know he was alive.

Said Ross: “A couple [of relatives] already heard it. They were crying. I mean, it was a tough day, man, mostly for my family and friends.”

– The Urawa Reds, a soccer team in Japan’s professional J-League, were forced to play a game in an empty stadium Sunday after some fans took their nationalism too far. The supporters hung a “Japanese only” banner in an entranceway during a game March 8 to discourage foreigners from sitting in their rooting section, and security guards said they later heard discriminatory remarks toward foreigners.

Team officials, who did not remove the banner until after the game, apologized and said they banned about 20 members of the support group. This is not the first display of such behavior. In 2010, the team was fined about $50,000 because fans taunted foreign players from an opposing team. The Reds are one of the few teams in the J-League without a foreign player.

Although the team president offered to return three months salary as punishment, league officials ruled that fans would not be allowed into the Reds’ next home game. During the game, signs were displayed promoting the United Nations’ Sports for Peace program. In a ceremony before the game (a 1-1 draw vs. S-Pulse), team captain Yuki Abe promised that the players would “stamp out racism, be it discrimination against race, skin color, gender, language or religion or background, and will not tolerate any discriminatory or insulting language or behavior.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 26, 1974, the Red Sox released which two future Hall of Famers?

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Read More: Quinton Ross, Will McKarney,

Redskins owner Dan Snyder: Team will assist Native Americans

03.25.14 at 10:41 am ET
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As his team continues to deal with controversy over its nickname, owner Dan Snyder announced Monday that the Redskins will create a foundation with the goal of helping American Indian tribes.

“It’€™s not enough to celebrate the values and heritage of Native Americans,” Snyder said in a letter to Redskins fans. “We must do more.”

According to the letter, the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation will “provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities” for Native Americans. Snyder has not said if he will make a personal donation to the foundation.

Snyder also wrote in the letter that over the course of the past four months he has visited 26 reservations and seen poverty, illness, drug abuse, violence and a lack of basic infrastructure in the communities.

“I’ve listened. I’ve learned. And frankly, it’€™s heart-wrenching,” Snyder said in the letter.

During the past year, the nickname for Snyder’€™s team has come under increased scrutiny as even President Barack Obama told The Associated Press that he would consider changing the name of the team. The owner, however, did not indicate that he would change the team’€™s name, and he said he thinks “even more firmly” that the name “captures the best of who we are and who we can be, by staying true to our history and honoring the deep and enduring values our name represents.”

Suzan Shown Harjo, a major opponent of the team’s nickname, said that the decision by Snyder was “somewhere between a PR assault and bribery.” Harjo is one of the main figures in the attempt to remove the team name from Washington’€™s federal trademark protection.

“I’m glad that he’s had a realization that Native Americans have it tough in the United States,” Harjo said. “All sorts of people could have told him that, and have been trying to tell him that for a long time.”

According to Harjo, Snyder’s refusal to change the name will negate some of the positive impact of the actions made by the foundation.

“Will [the foundation] do much of anything? No,” Harjo said. “But it probably won’t hurt, except that it will continue the cycle of negative imaging of Native American people in the public arena.

“It’s sort of an admission that he was losing the PR battle. So now he’s gone out to find the real story — as if someone was hiding the real story about pressing needs in Indian country.”

Read More: Dan Snyder, Suzan Shown Harjo,

Rays P Alex Colome receives 50-game drug suspension

03.25.14 at 7:48 am ET
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Alex Colome

Alex Colome

Rays pitcher Alex Colome will miss the first 50 games of the 2014 season after he tested positive for Boldenone, a drug primarily used in the treatment of horses.

The commissioner’€™s officer announced the suspension on Monday.

“We are disappointed to learn of Alex Colome’€™s violation of Major League Baseball‘€™s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” the Rays said in a statement.

“We fully support Major League Baseball‘€™s policy and it’€™s efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game.”

The 25-year-old righty, who had a 1-1 record with a 2.25 ERA during three starts as a rookie during the 2013 season, had been optioned to Triple-A Durham of the International League on March 8.

Colome was expected to relieve some of the pressure from the Rays’€™ loss of righty Jeremy Hellickson, who went through elbow surgery during the offseason and is expected to return in May. Colome made his major league debut when he defeated the Marlins on May 30, 2013. He was then called back up in June and made two starts before he hurt his pitching elbow.

The native of the Dominican Republic is the second player to receive a drug suspension for this season. The first was Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, who will miss the entire season.

Read More: Alex Colome,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Former Jets QB Mark Sanchez reportedly likely to land with Eagles

03.25.14 at 7:43 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.

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Rays, 1 p.m. (NESN)
MLB preseason: Braves at Tigers, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Giants at Brewers, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Phillies at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Thunder at Mavericks, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Knicks at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NIT, Belmont at Clemson, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, Southern Miss at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Red Wings at Blue Jackets, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Premier League, Manchester United vs. Manchester City, 3:45 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Three days after the Jets signed Michael Vick and released Mark Sanchez, reports emerged Monday that Sanchez is likely to join the Eagles.

Philadelphia is said to be interested but first wants its medical staff to get a look at the quarterback’s surgically repaired right shoulder, as the 27-year-old Sanchez missed last season with a torn labrum.

Nick Foles is Philly’s starter, with the inexperienced Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne in reserve.

“That’s one of the positions we’ve always talked about having, a lot of depth, a lot of competition,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said Monday at the NFL league meetings in Orlando (via Philly.com). “If there was an opportunity for us to add a player that we thought added competition, was a good player, we’d have to look at that.”

The New York Daily News reported that the Giants have showed interest as well, but Sanchez appears unlikely to remain in New York.

Sanchez had some success running a hurry-up offense in his first two years with the Jets, although he became turnover-prone when the talent around him dwindled. He finished his Jets career with a 36-31 record as a starter with 89 total touchdowns and 72 interceptions.

In a farewell letter to Jets fans Monday, Sanchez wrote, “It’s time to move on.”

“Playing quarterback for the New York Jets has been the thrill of my young career,” Sanchez wrote. “We shared some incredible moments together that I’€™ll never forget.

“There were some tough times, but mostly good times,” he added. “In the end, I know I gave you and the Jets everything I had to win the Lombardi Trophy. I only regret that we couldn’€™t bring it home for all of us to share.”

ESPN The Magazine polled 143 Major League Baseball players on a variety of topics, including which team they think will win the World Series. The defending champion Red Sox were fourth at 11 percent, trailing the Cardinals (19 percent), Tigers (18 percent) and Dodgers (15 percent), with the Nationals and Braves (7 percent each) just behind Boston.

Said one American League All-Star: “Boston still has a nice roster, but you have to think the Cardinals are just as good as last year, maybe a little better.”

The Yankees were ranked the most overhyped team at 44 percent, followed by the Dodgers (13 percent) and Angels (12 percent).

Said a National League outfielder: “The Yankees are the center of attention every year, so it’s fun to watch them when they’re going to be as bad as they will be this year. They’re just so old that there’s no way that lineup stays together. And even if they all stay healthy, it’s hard to see where guys aren’t tailing off.”

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was voted the most overrated player, garnering 24 percent of the vote, with Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig second at 21 percent. Suspended Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, of whom 51 percent of players said they would vote to kick out of the union, was the third most overrated player at 14 percent.

Angels outfielder Mike Trout (56 percent) was tabbed as the game’s best player, followed by Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (26 percent) and Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (6 percent).

Asked if they agree with Yankees manager Joe Girardi that MLB is ready for an openly gay player, 81 percent responded in the affirmative. And the players said they believed 9.4 percent of MLB players are still taking performance-enhancing drugs.

– No entrant survived the first weekend in the Quicken Loans billion-dollar bracket challenge, and billionaire Warren Buffet, who was behind the contest, is disappointed.

“I would have preferred to see it go quite a bit longer,” he said in an interview Monday on the Dan Patrick Show. “Not all the way, but quite a bit longer.”

Buffet said he hopes to repeat the contest in 2015 but with some changes that will make it possible for people to stay in the pool longer.

“I think we’re going to come up with something better next year,” he said. “We’ll make it a lot easier to enter. There were some questions that were a little tough, I thought. We’ll make it easier to win, but I think we’ll have an exciting prize.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 25, 1984, the Red Sox acquired Bill Buckner from the Cubs by sending Mike Brumley and which player to Chicago?

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Read More: Bryce Harper, Mark Sanchez, Mike Trout, Warren Buffet

Tigers announce halt to contract negotiations with P Max Scherzer

03.24.14 at 12:33 pm ET
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The Tigers announced Sunday that they have ended contract negotiations with pitcher Max Scherzer and his agent, Scott Boras, until the end of the season. The reigning American League Cy Young award winner will play out the 2014 season on a one-year deal worth $15,525,000 million.

The Tigers announced that Scherzer rejected their last offer. ESPN’€™s Jayson Stark was told by a source that the offer averaged just under Justin Verlander‘€™s yearly average of $25.7 million.

“The Detroit Tigers have made a substantial, long-term contract extension offer to Max Scherzer that would have placed him among the highest-paid pitchers in baseball, and the offer was rejected,” the team said in a statement.

Boras responded late Sunday by saying the Tigers rejected a deal that he presented to the team.

“Max Scherzer made a substantial long-term contract extension offer to the Detroit Tigers that would have placed him among the highest-paid pitchers in baseball, and the offer was rejected by Detroit,” Boras said. “Max is very happy with the city of Detroit, the fans and his teammates, and we will continue negotiating with the Tigers at season’s end.”

Scherzer told Yahoo! Sports Sunday that he wasn’t concerned that a long-term deal wasn’t struck, and was getting ready for the season.

“We weren’t able to get a deal done, but honestly that doesn’t change anything for me on my end,” Scherzer said. “I’m here to win. I’m here to try to get a ring for [owner Mike Ilitch]. That’s what it’s all about now. That’s the No. 1 focus of it.”

In 2013, Scherzer pitched in 214 1/3 innings, the most of his career, over 32 games. He went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA, striking out 240 batters while giving up 18 home runs. Over his career he has a 73-45 record and an ERA of 3.67.

Read More: Detroit Tigers, Max Scherzer, MLB, Scott Boras

Tigers acquire SS Alex Gonzalez from Orioles for Steve Lombardozzi Jr.

03.24.14 at 11:00 am ET
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The Orioles traded veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez to the Tigers for utility man Steve Lombardozzi Jr., according to The Baltimore Sun.

Gonzalez and Lombardozzi were both slated to start their first seasons with their respective former teams.

The 37-year-old Gonzalez, who has played for six teams including the Red Sox, has managed a .246 batting average and 157 home runs during his 15-year career. During the 2013 season, which he spent with the Brewers, he had just one home run and eight RBIs with a .177 average over the course of 41 games.

After an injury to Jose Iglesias, the Tigers needed a new shortstop. On Friday, Detroit also traded for Andrew Romine in an attempt to fill the void.

“They told me I have to move to Lakeland [Detroit's spring training facility in Florida] today,” said Gonzalez, who was hitting .429 this spring. “I just know they lost Iglesias and are looking for someone else.”

The Tigers originally acquired Lombardozzi, who spent three seasons with the Nationals, during a trade for Doug Fister in December. Lombardozzi hit .264 with 22 RBIs in 257 games played for Washington and likely will be Baltimore’€™s utility infielder on Opening Day. He is the son of former Twins and Astros second baseman Steve Lombardozzi Sr., who is from Malden.

Read More: Alex Gonzalez, Steve Lombardozzi,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Buccaneers WR Mike Williams allegedly stabbed by brother

03.24.14 at 8:02 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.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Canadiens at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Trail Blazers at Heat, 7:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: NIT, Georgetown at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, LSU at SMU, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, Arkansas at California, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: CBI, Penn State at Siena, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: CBI, Texas A&M at Illinois State, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
MLB preseason: Tigers at Pirates, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Indians vs. Reds, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

– The troubles continue for Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Williams, as he was treated and released from a hospital Sunday after his brother allegedly stabbed him in the thigh with a kitchen knife, according to police (via Tampa’s WTSP.com).

An arrest warrant was issued for the brother, 23-year-old Eric Baylor, on a charge of aggravated battery/domestic violence.

Williams, meanwhile, is due to face charges Monday for trespassing and criminal mischief related to an incident in December. He has had multiple domestic issues, including damaging the property of neighbors in the exclusive gated community in Tampa where he resides, and has paid more than $43,000 in damages for destructive house parties.

The 26-year-old Syracuse product signed a six-year, $40 million contract last offseason, then caught 22 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns in six games in 2013 before being shut down for the season with a hamstring injury.

“There’s a pattern here and it’s disturbing,” new Bucs coach Lovie Smith said last month. “No one is bigger than this football team. He has to understand that.”

Added Smith: “Have I been disappointed in Mike Williams? Of course. There’s a standard. We’re just not going to put up with it, no better who it is.

“You have to be good on the field. Simple as that. And if you’re not doing what you need to do one or the other, you have problems, and that’s where Mike has to take care of a few things.”

The team released a statement Sunday: “We are aware of the situation that occurred at the residence of Mike Williams and are working with him and the authorities to get additional information. While we have limited knowledge at this time, our primary concern is for the safety and well being of all involved. We will refrain from further comment until we can get a better understanding of the situation.”

– When the Heat lost to the Pelicans, 105-95, on Saturday night, it was their seventh loss in 11 games (including a loss to the Celtics last week). LeBron James is not pleased with how his team is handling the situation.

“It’s too many excuses,” he said (via ESPN.com). “Everything is an excuse. We do something wrong, it’s an excuse. We turn the ball over, it’s an excuse. What we’re doing right ain’t good enough.

“It’s very frustrating. We’re all frustrated. We’ve just got to all get on the same page. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’ve got to figure it out.”

Chris Bosh took his teammate’s frustration a step further.

“So I figure I’ll be the first one to say we suck,” Bosh said. “This is unacceptable. If we don’t change this, we will be watching the championship from home. … There’s no passion.”

Said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra: “Yes, our locker room is angry. We’re not accustomed to this type of play, these type of standards, particularly on the defensive end, and if we want to change, we have to look inward.”

– Mavericks owner Mark Cuban predicts trouble for the NFL after the league last month announced a television package that includes Thursday and Saturday games.

“I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion,” Cuban said Sunday night. “I’m just telling you, pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they’re getting hoggy. ‘€¦ When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way.

“I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always turns on you. That’s rule No. 1 of business.”

Added Cuban: “They’re trying to take over every night of TV. Initially, it’ll be, ‘Yeah, they’re the biggest-rating thing that there is.’ OK, Thursday, that’s great, regardless of whether it impacts [the NBA] during that period when we cross over. Then if it gets Saturday, now you’re impacting colleges. Now it’s on four days a week. ‘€¦ It’s all football. At some point, the people get sick of it.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 24, 1973, which guard who would go on to play for the Celtics finished the season as the only player to lead the NBA in both scoring (34.0 ppg) and assists (11.4 apg)?

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Read More: Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Lovie Smith, Mark Cuban

Raiders expected to trade for Texans QB Matt Schaub

03.21.14 at 10:14 am ET
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Matt Schaub

Matt Schaub

Less than a day after the Texans acquired a new quarterback, the team is expected to trade its veteran play caller – Matt Schaub – to the Raiders for a late-round pick in the 2014 draft, according to ESPN.

Schaub, who is no longer needed in Houston after the Texans signed quarterback Ryan Fitzgerald to a two-year deal Thursday evening, has a $10 million base salary for 2014. The veteran has a $14.5 million salary-cap figure.

The Browns have also shown interest in trading for Schaub, but the Raiders have reportedly shown more desire to make a deal.

If the trade does occur, it could change the way quarterbacks will be selected during the 2014 draft, as both teams are pegged to pick in the top five. While the Raiders, who have the fifth overall pick, would reduce their need for a quarterback with Schaub on their roster, the Texans, who have the top overall pick, would increase their need at the position.

Oakland already has three quarterbacks on its roster with Terrelle Pryor, Matt McGloin and Trent Edwards. Raiders coach Dennis Allen has said that he does not know if his team’s future quarterback is in the Oakland locker room yet.

Read More: Matt Schaub, Ryan Fizgerald,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Aroldis Chapman ‘very lucky’ to only need metal plate in head after taking liner to face

03.21.14 at 7:53 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.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Avalanche, 9 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Notre Dame vs. UMass-Lowell, 5 p.m. (NESN, NBCSN)
College hockey: Denver vs. Western Michigan, 5 p.m. (CBSSN)
College hockey: UNH vs. Providence, 8 p.m. (NESN Plus, NBCSN)
College hockey: Miami (Ohio) vs. North Dakota, 8:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
NBA: Celtics at Nets, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Bulls at Pacers, 7 p.m. (WGN)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Tennessee vs. UMass, 2:45 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Mercer vs. Duke, 12:15 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Nebraska vs. Baylor, 12:40 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Stanford vs. New Mexico, 1:40 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Weber State vs. Arizona, 2:10 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Creighton, 3:10 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Eastern Kentucky vs. Kansas, 4:10 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Oklahoma State vs. Gonzaga, 4:40 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, George Washington vs. Memphis, 6:55 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Cal Poly vs. Wichita State, 7:10 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Providence vs. North Carolina, 7:20 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Stephen F. Austin vs. VCU, 7:27 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Coastal Carolina vs. Virginia, 9:25 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Kansas State vs. Kentucky, 9:40 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, N.C. Central vs. Iowa State, 9:50 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Tulsa vs. UCLA, 9:57 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NIT, Robert Morris at Belmont, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Phillies, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Cubs at White Sox, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Pirates at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman

– Reds left-hander Aroldis Chapman is expected back on the mound in 6-8 weeks after having a 2 1/2-hour operation Thursday to repair a broken bone above his left eye suffered when he was hit in the face by a line drive in Wednesday’s spring training game against the Royals in Surprise, Ariz.

Team medical director Dr. Timothy Kremcheck said Chapman was “a very lucky guy” for escaping further injury. The doctor said Chapman had a mild concussion but no other brain injury or damage to his eye.

Chapman will have a metal plate inserted in the bone above his left eyebrow and it will remain there permanently.

Some Reds visited Chapman in the hospital and said he is in good spirits.

“He was talking to me and we joked a lot,” catcher (and fellow Cuban) Brayan Pena said. “He just wanted to make sure for me to tell everybody that he appreciate so much the fans’ prayers, especially our teammates, our coaching staff, everybody around, how much support and how much love he received and got from all of us.”

Added Pena: “He was talking a lot about some Cuban jokes and that’s good because that means his memory is still working pretty good.”

– In less-serious injury news, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez pulled himself from Thursday’s exhibition game in Australia because of back tightness he blamed on sightseeing.

“I need to rest, get off my feet,” Gonzalez said. “I’ve done a lot of walking around the city. I’ll be good. I’m positive I’ll feel better tomorrow.”

Gonzalez started the game despite feeling discomfort as he warmed up, hoping he would feel better. After batting in the fourth inning, however, he was done for the night.

“It actually got tighter,” he explained. “I swung at a pitch in the second at-bat and it didn’t feel good. I finished the at-bat because I didn’t want to take myself out of the game in the middle of the at-bat.”

– Overall, Jason Collins has been well received as the first openly gay athlete in major professional sports since joining the Nets last month. The team is 10-3 since he joined, and the veteran center was signed for the rest of the season last week.

However, he said he has not been welcomed by everyone, as one opposing player showed a lack of respect.

“One player, one knucklehead from another team,” Collins told the New York Daily News. “He’s a knucklehead. So I just let it go. Again, that goes back to controlling what you can control. That’s how I conduct myself — just being professional.”

Collins noted that the team’s success helps prove that his situation has not been a distraction.

“Not just for myself, but I think for everyone. This shows that ‘distraction’ is B.S. That it’s about the team, it’s about the sport,” Collins said. “I hope this shows all players that you can still have your life off the court and not have to hide anything. And still have your life on the court or on the field or on the ice, I guess, in hockey. That’s a credit to my teammates and the entire Nets organization — from ownership to coaching to teammates to everyone.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 21, 1991, the Bruins peppered Quebec Nordiques goalie Ron Tugnutt with 73 shots — 10 short of the NHL record set by the B’s in 1941 — in a 3-3 tie. Which Bruin set an NHL record with 19 shots in the game?

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Read More: Adrian gonzalez, Brayan Pena, Jason Collins,

Report: Antonio Cromartie has 1-year deal with Cardinals

03.20.14 at 1:50 pm ET
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Former Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie has agreed to a one-year deal with the Cardinals, according to a report from ESPN.

The 6-foot-2 Cromartie joins Patrick Peterson to form one of the best defensive secondaries in the league.

The Jets released Cromartie after his fourth season in New York rather than pay him a $5 million roster bonus and take a $14.98 million cap hit in the final year of his deal. Cromartie was slowed by a hip injury this past season, although he played in the Pro Bowl as an alternate.

Cromartie, 29, has said that he is now healthy and wants to play eight more years.

Read More: Antonio Cromartie,