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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Johnny Damon says Yankees’ ’09 title tainted if Alex Rodriguez was using PEDs

08.08.13 at 8:20 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: Red Sox at Royals, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Indians, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League Baseball: New England semifinals, Rhode Island vs. Vermont, 10 a.m. (NESN)
Little League Baseball: New England semifinals, Maine vs. Connecticut, 1 p.m. (NESN)
NFL preseason: Bengals at Falcons, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Seahawks at Chargers, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks vs. Indiana Fever, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Golf: PGA Championship, 1 p.m. (TNT)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ Johnny Damon, who helped the Yankees win the 2009 World Series four years after leaving the Red Sox as a free agent, said Wednesday that New York’s title would lose some of its luster if it’s proven that Alex Rodriguez was using performance-enhancing drugs that postseason.

“If that’€™s how he was able to hit in the postseason, like he did that year, then yeah, absolutely,” Damon said Wednesday on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (via the New York Daily News). “Then you start going, ‘Was anybody on [another] team cheating?’ There’€™s just so many different factors that determine if a team wins, and A-Rod was a huge determining factor. He played a pretty huge part.”

Along with A-Rod, Melky Cabrera and Francisco Cervelli — both suspended this week for their involvement with PEDs — were on the 2009 roster. But reliever David Robertson downplayed the impact of all three players.

“We had a good team that year,” Robertson said Wednesday in Chicago, where the Yankees were swept by the White Sox. “With or without those guys, we were going to be there. I don’€™t think it takes anything away from that World Series.”

Damon noted that his longtime friend has “an uphill battle to climb.”

“Alex Rodriguez has always been a great person. I think everyone who knows him, kind of just thought he’€™s always been misunderstood,’€ Damon said on Sirius. ‘€œIf all these allegations are true, [Rodriguez] possibly tried to get another edge in the game. That’€™s a shame, ’cause he was definitely destined for the Hall of Fame, going down as one of the greatest players of all time.

“I just hope things turn out for him, just because he’€™s been a friend of mine since he was 14 and I was 15.”

Added Damon to the Daily News: “It’s a soap opera. It always has been with Alex. I’m just glad I get to sleep at night knowing I never got involved with that stuff.”

‘™¦ The Jets named Mark Sanchez their starter for Friday’s preseason opener against the Lions, and he said he deserves it, despite his preseason inconsistency.

“I feel like I’m putting together a good camp. I think I earned the right to start this first game, and we’ll see how it goes from there,” Sanchez said. “[I've] got to keep playing well to stay on the field, and that’s the plan.”

Rookie Geno Smith, who did not dispute offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg‘s assessment that the second-round draft pick had taken a “little dip” in practice this week, offered support for his teammate.

“Of course, I fully back Mark,” Smith said. “I fully back the coaches’ decisions. I’m all about helping this team win. Once they came out with the decision that he would start the first preseason game, I really didn’t have any reaction to it.”

Meanwhile, Lions receiver Chaz Schilens, who played for the Jets in 2012, made it clear he’s happy to have escaped from New York and Sanchez.

Asked if Sanchez can win back the fans, he responded: “Nothing good to say, so I’m not going to say nothing.”

Timberwolves rookie Shabazz Muhammad was sent home Wednesday from the NBA’s rookie transition program after he brought a female visitor to his hotel room the previous night. Muhammad will be fined and have to repeat the program next summer.

‘€œWe have been made aware of the circumstances surrounding Shabazz Muhammad’€™s dismissal from the NBA’€™s rookie transition program in New Jersey,’€ Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said in a team news release. “The team fully supports the NBA’€™s rules and policies in all matters pertaining to this situation and we will abide by the league’€™s action.”

Muhammad, chosen 14th in June’s draft after one season at UCLA, is no stranger to controversy. Issues with the NCAA led to his college career being delayed, and there have been questions about his maturity, work ethic and willingness to be a team player that contributed to his slide on draft day.

The rookie transition program is a four-day seminar that is designed to educate and advise young players about making the transition to the NBA.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 8, 2004, which Red Sox pitcher allowed a team record six home runs but still got the win in an 11-9 victory over the Tigers?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be any different. As far as having a reaction, it’s kind of what I expected. It’s part of the process that was negotiated between MLB and the players’ association and you let it play out. I expect him to play a lot. We need him to help us.” – Yankees manager Joe Girardi, on the official filing of an appeal of the suspension for Alex Rodriguez

STAT OF THE DAY: 18 – Victories for the Red Sox this season in their final at-bat, including Wednesday night’s 7-5 win over the Astros in which Stephen Drew hit a three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): As part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a young boy gets the chance to be coach of the Carolina Panthers for a day.

Rick Forney, manager of the Winnipeg Goldeyes, covers up home plate with dirt and then takes his chew from his mouth and throws it on the pile following his ejection from Saturday’s game.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Tim Wakefield

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Creed lead singer Scott Stapp was born on this day in 1973.

Read More: alex rodriguez, johnny damon, Mark Sanchez, Shabazz Muhammad