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Tiger Woods’ season in doubt after he withdraws from Bridgestone Invitational with back pain

08.04.14 at 10:35 am ET
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No more than two months after returning from back surgery, Tiger Woods has once again suffered a setback that could derail his season.

Woods was forced to withdraw from the Bridgestone Invitational when his ailing back flared up again after just eight holes. The pain was so debilitating that Woods struggled to get his golf shoes off after leaving the course.

“I just jarred it, and it’s been spasming ever since,” Woods informed a PGA Tour official before leaving.

Woods hurt himself on the par-5 second hole after taking an awkward swing on the edge of a bunker that forced him to run into the pit to help compensate for the momentum of the swing.

Woods continued playing but struggled mightily over the next few holes before eventually deciding to leave the course.

“It’s just the whole lower back,” Woods said. “I don’t know what happened.”

While he did not see Woods’€™ swing on the No. 2 hole, Bubba Watson noted that something clearly was not right with Woods throughout the day.

“He hit some shots that we’re not used to seeing Tiger hit, even when he’s coming back from an injury like this,” Watson said. “So obviously, something was bothering him. … Like I told him when I shook his hand, I said, ‘I’m praying for you. Hope everything turns out good. Hope to see you next week.’ ”

At this point, the chances of Woods playing next week at Valhalla seems very unlikely. If Woods does not play in the PGA Championship, his season will come to an end. In six starts on the PGA Tour this year, Woods has only been able to finish all four rounds just twice.

Woods underwent back surgery on March 31 to help fix an impinged nerve that forced him to miss both the Masters for the first time of his career and the U.S. Open.

Read More: Bridgestone Invitational, Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Former Patriots WR Reche Caldwell arrested for 3rd time this year

08.04.14 at 7:54 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:
MLB: Giants at Mets, 12:10 p.m. (MLB TV)
MLB: Tigers at Yankees, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: International Champions Cup, Liverpool vs. Manchester United, 8 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Former Patriots wide receiver Reche Caldwell was arrested Sunday for the third time this year, charged with possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Caldwell, 35, was arrested in January and charged with running an illegal gambling house and bookmaking. He was nabbed in May after signing for a package that contained 4.8 pounds of MDMA (a pure form of ecstasy known as Molly) and charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.

Caldwell also was arrested in 2011 for possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license.

A second-round pick of the Chargers in 2002 out of the University of Florida, Caldwell played for San Diego (2002-05), New England (’06) and Washington (’07). The Tampa native caught 61 passes for 760 yards and four touchdowns in his lone season with the Patriots.

His younger brother, Andre Caldwell, is a receiver for the Broncos.

– The Cavaliers are building the next Eastern Conference powerhouse — with Kevin Love expected to arrive via trade later in the month — but Ray Allen hasn’t decided if he’ll sign on to play alongside former Heat teammate LeBron James again, as has been expected.

“I’m not in any rush [to make a decision],” the former UConn star told the Hartford Courant while in Connecticut for a basketball camp over the weekend. “I’ve played 18 years, and the way I look at my career, I’m content with everything that I’ve done. I just want to take this summer and see how it goes.”

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Read More: Ray Allen, Reche Caldwell,

Roger Goodell defends Ray Rice suspension, calls it ‘consistent’ with other punishments by league

08.01.14 at 2:03 pm ET
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The NFL sent many people into a public outrage last week when it slapped Ravens running back Ray Rice with a meager two-game suspension for allegedly knocking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer unconscious in the elevator of a New Jersey casino.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, however, stood by the league’s decision decision when he met with the media for the first time since the ruling, calling the length of the ban “consistent” with other punishments handed out by the league.

“We have a very firm policy that domestic violence is not acceptable in the NFL, and there are consequences for that,” Goodell said Friday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. “Obviously, when we are going through the process of evaluating an issue and whether there will be discipline, you look at all of the facts that are available to us.”

Added Goodell: “We have to remain consistent. We can’t just make up the discipline. It has be consistent with other cases, and it was in this matter.”

Rice was arrested on Feb. 15 for the alleged incident. He pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May.

“I take into account all of the information before I make a decision on what the discipline will be,” Goodell said. “In this case, there was no discipline by the criminal justice system.

“They put him in that diversionary program, and I had seen Ray after that. I had the opportunity to hear from him, hear from his wife and hear from other people that he had brought into the hearing process, and I put all of that together to make a decision.”

Read More: Ray Rice, Roger Goodell,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Johnny Manziel works to overcome ‘mental errors’ at Browns training camp

08.01.14 at 8:06 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:
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mariners at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (WGN)
WNBA: Connecticut Sun at San Antonio Silver Stars, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
Basketball: U.S. national team intrasquad game, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
MLS: Philadelphia Union at Sporting Kansas City, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel was not his usual cocky self during his first media session since training camp opened last Saturday, acknowledging it will take time for him to adjust to the pro game.

Manziel, who has worked exclusively with the team’s second-stringers while Brian Hoyer has taken snaps with the starters, is making progress but still making his share of mistakes as he learns a new playbook.

“I’m a rookie,” he said Thursday. “I don’t have all that stuff figured out.”

Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Manziel will get a chance to practice with the first team “sooner than later” and that the QB battle remains wide open. Manziel said he’s not concerned with his standing at this point.

“I’m not worried about one or the other being ahead,” the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner said. “I’m worried about me making sure I know what I need to know to get out here and execute and run the offense and not have any mistakes. Once I go through a couple of days with no mental errors or getting where I need to be every single time, then I’ll feel a lot better.

“Right now, it’s me versus the playbook and there’s nothing else.”

MASHUP POLL: Who will start the majority of games at QB for the Browns this season?

  • Brian Hoyer (81%, 144 Votes)
  • Johnny Manziel (16%, 28 Votes)
  • Someone else (3%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 178

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– Oft-injured guard Derrick Rose is looking forward to a “new beginning” with the Bulls, who are expected to challenge for supremacy in the Eastern Conference.

Rose told the Chicago Sun-Times that he’s aware of a rift between him and the organization, and he wants to fix it.

“I know it’s been there,” he said. “I heard there were some upset people. I’m happy I didn’t personally see it. I don’t want to see that. I kind of wonder where it was coming from because it seemed like whenever I was around, everything was all right. It bothered me because when I wasn’t around, I would hear from certain people that everything wasn’t all right.”

When the team made a push for free agent Carmelo Anthony last month, Rose was notably uninvolved, skipping out on a chance to help recruit the forward, who eventually re-signed with the Knicks.

“They were irate he wasn’t there,” a team source told the Sun-Times.

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Read More: Derrick Rose, Donald Trump, Johnny Manziel,

Ray Rice addresses media: ‘I made the biggest mistake of my life’

07.31.14 at 3:10 pm ET
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Ravens running back Ray Rice fielded questions for the first time since his suspension for allegedly assaulting his then-financee at an Atlantic City casino in February.

Standing in front of his wife, a number of his teammates, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, and a large slew of reporters, Rice apologized for his actions, which resulted in a two-game suspension for the Pro Bowler.

“I made the biggest mistake of my life,” Rice said, adding: “That night I replay over and over in my head. That’s not me. My actions were inexcusable. That’s something I have to live with the rest of my life. The pain I’m talking about living with is waking up every day, and my daughter is 2 years old now, and I have a little girl who’s very smart, very intelligent, and one day she’s going to know the power of Google, and me having to explain that to her, what happened that night.”

Rice made it a point to apologize directly to his wife, something that he did not do during his poorly received press conference in May.

“There are many nights that me and my wife sleep together and we still have to deal with this,” Rice said. “And her pain is my pain, my pain is her pain, the one thing I wanted to do today is you know apologize to my wife, who I’ve known since high school. I’ve known her since a kid. I met her in high school and she’s the same girl now, great mother, and she’s a great wife, and she supports me throughout.

“When the time is right, when the time is right — and I say that because you have to fix yourself before you can go out and help others — and when the time is right me and my wife want to go out there and help people, anybody, violence of any kind, especially man on woman, is just not right. It’s not right, it shouldn’t be tolerated, it’s not right for society, no matter what. That’s something I’ll stand by and I have to pay for that.”

Read More: Ravens, Ray Rice,

Twins ink undrafted former truck driver to $250K contract

07.31.14 at 1:34 pm ET
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Earlier this month, 24-year-old pitcher Brandon Poulson was pitching for the Healdsburg Prune Packers in a collegiate summer league, managed by Joey Gomes — brother of former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes.

Just a few weeks later, the Twins are about to hand him $250,000.

Despite the fact that the hurler was never drafted, a pitching repertoire that includes a fastball that can hit 100 mph was reason enough for Minnesota to offer Poulson about 10 times more than the average undrafted player would earn as a bonus.

“It’s a great story,” said Twins West Coast scouting supervisor Sean Johnson on Tuesday. “This kid came out of nowhere.”

Poulson last pitched for the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where he posted an 8.38 ERA after taking a few years off from baseball while working as a truck driver for his father’€™s excavating company.

“I played for the Prune Packers summer of  ’13 but missed nearly three-fourths of the games because I was busy working,” said Poulson, who didn’t make his high school baseball team as a freshman.

Poulson, who struck out an incredible 31 batters in just 12 1/3 innings this summer, has displayed an incredible set of physical tools. The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder ran a 60-yard dash in 6.6 seconds while recording a 40-inch vertical leap.

“He’s a physical specimen. He’s got the best pure arm strength I’ve ever seen,” said Twins scout Elliott Strankman, adding: “We’re cautiously optimistic because we don’t want to put a bunch of pressure on the kid. He could be pretty good. This is uncharted territory for us.”

Poulson is headed to the Twins’€™ rookie team in the Appalachian League in Elizabethton, Tennessee.

“I’m excited,” Poulson said, adding that his first purchase will be a therapy device for his diabetic father. “I know it’s just the first step of what the real goal is to make it in the bigs.”

Read More: Brandon Poulson, Joey Gomes, twins,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Ravens coach John Harbaugh voices support for embattled RB Ray Rice

07.31.14 at 7:48 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: White Sox at Tigers, 1 p.m. (WGN)
Soccer: Exhibition, Bayern Munich vs. Guadalajara, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

– With Ravens running back Ray Rice scheduled to meet the media Thursday for the first time since being suspended two games for a domestic violence incident with his now-wife, coach John Harbaugh threw his support behind the beleaguered player.

“I hate what happened. What happened was wrong. Flat out,” Harbaugh told reporters after Wednesday’s training camp practice. “The thing I appreciate about it is how Ray has handled it afterward by acknowledging it was wrong and he’ll do everything he can do to make it right. That’s what you ask for when someone does a wrong thing. So, I’m proud of him for that.”

Added Harbaugh: “I’m there for Ray as a friend and I also think an older male figure in his life and try to give him advice and wisdom. And just be there for him. A friend is born from adversity. That’s what it is really about with Ray. I love the way he’s handled it.”

Many have criticized the NFL’s suspension as being too short, but Harbaugh indicated he’s comfortable with how those in charge handled the situation.

“Those that make those decisions do so with great seriousness,” Harbaugh said. “They aim to be just and fair. They aim to do right by all parties involved. Public opinion will often push those decisions in certain directions. But both of those decision makers — not the opinion makers, but the decision makers — who know all the knowable facts of the case came from the same direction on it. So, we said all along that the circumstances will then determine the outcome of this and we said all along that we will respect the outcome. That’s going to be tough for us. That’s going to be two games without one of our very best players. But we’ll move forward and deal with it.”

– Former Red Sox infielder Jose Offerman was ordered to pay $940,000 to Johnathan Nathans, who clams he suffered a career-ending head injury during a rampage by a bat-wielding Offerman in an independent minor league baseball game in 2007.

Nathans’ attorney, Josh Koskoff, said his client, now an attorney in Portland, Maine, still is affected by the injury. He was seeking $4.8 million.

“What we really were looking for after seven years was accountability for Mr. Offerman,” Koskoff said (via The Associated Press).

Offerman, who at the time was playing for the Long Island Ducks, denied that he swung his bat at Nathans, then a catcher for the Bridgeport Bluefish. Offerman charged the mound after being hit by a pitch. The jury found Offerman guilty of assault for charging pitcher Matt Beech but not battery, according to Offerman’s lawyer, who said he is considering an appeal.

“I think the verdict is inconsistent and a bit perplexing,” attorney Frank Riccio II said. “Mr. Offerman is certainly happy seven years later that a jury said he did not strike Mr. Nathans. … How is Mr. Offerman liable for damages if [the] jury found he never struck him? It’s an interesting question that has to be resolved before it gets to its final end.”

Offerman played 3 1/2 seasons for the Red Sox as part of a 15-year major league career that ended in 2005.

– A video making its way around the web shows a 13-year-old basketball player from Romania said to be 7-foot-4. Robert Bobroczky, son of 7-foot-1 former professional player Zigmond Bobroczky, recently joined Stella Azzurra Rome, the European program that produced NBA player Andrea Bargnani.

As the video below shows, the wiry Bobroczky isn’t very athletic, but the fact that he’s already taller than every player in the NBA works in his favor.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 31, 1997, in one of the most favorably one-sided deals in Red Sox history, Boston acquired catcher Jason Varitek and pitcher Derek Lowe from the Mariners for which reliever?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We were well aware of it, heard it. Wouldn’t expect anything less. This is a fan base that is very much in tune with what we’re doing, good and bad, and I think it’s a clear sign of support for Jon.” Red Sox manager John Farrell, on fans chanting Jon Lester‘s name during Wednesday’s 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays

STAT OF THE DAY: 8 – Consecutive losses for the Revolution before Wednesday’s 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): The Pirates run into a double play — on a walk. As Chris Stewart trots down to first base on his free pass from Giants pitcher Jean Machi, Travis Snider wanders off second and is caught in a rundown that ends with him being tagged out, and Gaby Sanchez is tagged as well after leaving third base to make room for Snider.

Rangers left fielder Jim Adduci snags a foul fly ball down the line while crashing into the wall.

Matt Kemp delivers an RBI single to give the Dodgers a walkoff win over the Braves in the 10th inning.

Diamondbacks right fielder Gerardo Parra dives to catch a line drive off the bat of Reds hitter Todd Frazier.

For those who missed the “Sharknado 2″ premiere Wednesday night, here’s a clip of the Mets’ CitField being caught in the sharknado storm that terrorizes New York.

A running track in China, apparently a rush job as it had to be finished before a visit from Communist Party officials, has rectangular lanes, making the turns a little tricky.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Closer Heathcliff Slocumb

SOOTHING SOUNDS: On July 31, 1975, three members of the popular Irish group the Miami Showband were massacred on their way home from a performance as part of The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Read More: John Harbaugh, Jose Offerman, Ray Rice, Robert Bobroczky

Kevin Durant calls LeBron James’ announcement to return to Cleveland ‘classy’

07.30.14 at 8:54 pm ET
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LeBron James was showered with praise for the way he handled his announcement in a Sports Illustrated essay that he was returning to the Cavaliers.

Now James officially has Kevin Durant‘s approval.

“I thought it was well-thought-out. It was classy. It was a great move to do it as a letter,” Durant said after a training camp session with USA Basketball on Tuesday. “That was pretty cool. It’s funny seeing guys think about more than just basketball for once. He thought about the city where he comes from, about Northeast Ohio and how he can affect so many of the kids just being there playing basketball. I love that. So many guys get criticized for making the decision that’s best for them, instead of what’s best for everybody else. He’s a guy that did that. You gotta respect that. I applauded him, I texted him and told him congratulations on the decision and told him I was happy for him. As a fan of the game, it’s going to be pretty cool to see him back in Cleveland.”

James’ homecoming inspired reporters to ask Durant if he’ll consider a similar return home — Durant is from Seat Pleasant, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. — when he hits free agency in two years.

“I’m going to do what’s best for me,” Durant said. “It’s hard to talk about that right now when I’ve got two years left in Oklahoma City. I’m just going to focus on that. I’m not going to make a decision based on what anybody else does. I grew up watching the Bullets/Wizards. I grew up taking the train to that arena, all the time, to watch Georgetown, the Bullets, the Washington Mystics. That whole city is a part of me. It’s in my blood. I love going back home, seeing my family and playing there, but I love Oklahoma City too.”

Durant is has become close friends with James over the years. The two were Olympic teammates and even trained together in Akron, Ohio, during the 2011 lockout. Durant has two years remaining on a five-year, $86 million extension he signed with the Thunder in 2010.

Read More: Kevin Durant, LeBron James,

Cardinals, Patrick Peterson agree to 5-year, $70M extension

07.30.14 at 10:38 am ET
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The Cardinals have agreed to a five-year contract extension with Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson, the team announced Tuesday.

Arizona didn’t provide any further details on the extension, which will keep Peterson under contract through 2020. Peterson said on Twitter Tuesday night the deal is worth $70 million with $48 million guaranteed, which makes him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.

Peterson’s deal surpasses contracts recently signed by the Browns’ Joe Haden (five years, $68 million) and Seahawks‘ Richard Sherman (four years, $56 million).

Peterson will hold a news conference Wednesday.

Read More: Patrick Peterson,

NBA reportedly expected to approve Clippers sale to Steve Ballmer quickly after transaction is complete

07.30.14 at 9:59 am ET
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The NBA apparently is ready to rid the league of Donald Sterling‘s presence as quickly as possible.

According to USA Today, the league’s Board of Governors is expected to approve the sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer soon after the transaction from Shelly Sterling to Ballmer is complete.

Sterling and Ballmer have a target date of Aug. 15 to complete the deal with hopes that Ballmer can take control of the Clippers within the next few weeks.

Judge Michael Levanas ruled earlier this week that Sterling had the right to sell the Clippers to Ballmer after the two sides came to an agreement in May. Donald Sterling has until the sale is complete to file objections.

Read More: Donald Sterling, Steve Ballmer,