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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon defends Robinson Cano after criticism from Yankees coach

02.19.14 at 7:43 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: Celtics at Suns, 9 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pacers at Timberwolves, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rockets at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Boston College at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN2; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Cincinnati at UCF, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Saint Louis at George Mason, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Northwestern at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: DePaul at Xavier, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Creighton at Marquette, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Houston at SMU, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Miami, 9 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: TCU at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: La Salle at Dayton, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at Oregon, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Illinois at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: Arizona at Utah, 10 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Arizona State at Colorado, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: New Mexico at UNLV, 11:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
Olympics: Men’s hockey quarterfinal, Finland vs. Russia, 7:30 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Women’s curling semifinal, 9 a.m. (MSNBC)
Olympics: Women’s figure skating, 10 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Men’s hockey quarterfinal, United States vs. Czech Republic, noon (USA)
Olympics: Men’s hockey quarterfinal, Canada vs. Latvia, noon (MSNBC)
Olympics: Men’s curling semifinal, 2:30 p.m. (MSNBC)
Olympics: Women’s speedskating, men’s cross-country, women’s cross-country, 3 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s curling semifinal, 5 p.m. (CNBC)
Olympics: Women’s figure skating, men’s Alpine, women’s bobsled, men’s snowboarding, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s biathlon, women’s biathlon, 1 a.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s Nordic combined, women’s curling bronze medal game, 3 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A day after Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long made comments about Robinson Cano being unable to break his habit of loafing it to first base during his time in New York, Cano’s new manager with the Mariners defended his second baseman.

“I was very disappointed,” Lloyd McClendon said. “I’ve been in this game a long time, particularly at the major league level. And one thing I was taught was you worry about your players and getting them ready. I didn’t know [Long] was the spokesman for the New York Yankees.”

Long had many good things to say about Cano — who left the Yankees to sign a $240 million deal with Seattle this offseason — but he noted that the team could not convince him to run hard to first all the time.

“I just said he loafed sometimes,” Long said. “I’ve said 9,000 good things about him. He just had one issue.”

Cano didn’t seem too offended, telling the New York Post that Long texted him to make sure there were no hard feelings, and, “I told him, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ ”

McClendon said he wants all of his players to play hard, but as a former player, he understands why sometimes they don’t.

“My talk with Robbie was real simple,” McClendon said. “I expect all my players, including Robinson, to give me a fair effort down the line. I’€™m not too far removed from playing. I could remember the days when I hit a pop-up and I’€™m pissed off and you don’€™t run to first. Is that dogging it? I don’€™t think so.

“There’€™s a human element that comes with this game. You roll over, hit a ground ball to second base, your head drops, you’€™re a little disappointed. In the big scheme of things, would I rather have a guy out there for 160 games, hitting .300 and driving in over 100? I’€™ll take that.”

— CBS Sports announced Tuesday that retiring Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez will be joining “The NFL Today” pregame show, and veteran analysts Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe are no longer part of the crew.

James Brown will continue to host, and panelists Bill Cowher and Boomer Esiason are sticking around.

“Having just stepped off the playing field, Tony brings a fresh and insightful perspective,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said. “As a future Hall of Famer, we are excited for him to share his knowledge, experiences and opinions with our viewers. Tony was one of the most respected and hardworking players in the NFL and a tremendous teammate. We look forward to him bringing these attributes to CBS Sports.”

Added McManus: “While we welcome Tony, we want to acknowledge Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe who have contributed greatly to the success of ‘The NFL Today’ for more than a decade. Dan and Shannon are true Hall of Famers on the field and in front of the camera. As they pursue other professional opportunities, we thank them for their hard work and dedication and wish them nothing but the best.”

— Veteran major league reliever Tim Byrdak is looking for a job, and he’s taking an unconventional route to get one. The 39-year-old lefty, a 12-year MLB veteran who spent the past three seasons with the Mets but was limited to eight games in 2013 due to injuries, posted a picture of a note on Twitter. The note reads:

Attention: MLB GMs

For sale, late model LHR, high mileage but VERY serviceable! Doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of newer models (i.e. 97 mph) however I can still break a pane of glass with my fastball! Comes with warranty, too (I will sign medical release!!!). Please call ASAP. I am driving my wife crazy being home during spring training.

Thank you,
Tim Byrdak

 

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 19, 1972, which Bruin became the first player in NHL history to record 100 points in a season three times when he assisted on a goal in a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota North Stars?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’€™€™t even know why they’€™€™re bitching about me talking about contracts. Guys putting up my numbers, they’€™€™re making [$]25 [million], [$]30 million. I’€™€™m not asking for that. I’€™€™m asking for half of it. And they’€™€™re still bitching about it? [Expletive] them. I’€™€™m tired of hearing them talk [expletive] about me when I talk about my contract. Hey, every time I talk about my contract, I earn it, [expletive]. So don’€™€™t be giving me that [expletive].” Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, at his first of spring training

STAT OF THE DAY: 2 – Olympic gold medals for Ted Ligety, who won the giant slalom Wednesday, making him the first American with multiple golds in Alpine skiing

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): A baseball game in Cuba on Monday night turns into a brawl, and a player comes off the bench and attempts to hit the pitcher with a bat.

From a hockey game in Nova Scotia on Saturday, a fan wins $10,000 for shooting a puck from center ice through a small hole in a board in front of the net, then another fan wins a truck for hitting the puck from one faceoff dot across the ice to another.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Phil Esposito

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Smokey Robinson was born on this day in 1940.

Read More: Dan Marino, Kevin Long, Lloyd McClendon, Robinson Cano