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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Daisuke Matsuzaka picks up save as Mets closer

04.25.14 at 7:17 am ET

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MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Rangers at Flyers, 7 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Stars at Ducks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Raptors at Nets, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
NBA playoffs: Bulls at Wizards, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Rockets at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)


Red Sox castoff Daisuke Matsuzaka in the past year has gone from Mets starter to minor leaguer to reliever to — much to his surprise Thursday — Mets closer.

“I wasn’t told beforehand,” Matsuzaka said after pitching scoreless ninth inning to complete the Mets’ 4-1 victory over the Cardinals for his first MLB save in his fourth career relief appearance. “I assumed if the score didn’t change that [usual closer Kyle] Farnsworth would be going out there. I was ready to go in the eighth if I was needed, and once the eighth ended [bullpen coach Rickey Bones] just told me just to be ready just in case.”

Manager Terry Collins said Farnsworth remains his closer, but he wanted to see what Matsuzaka could do.

“We have to realize there are going to be nights that someone else is going to close besides Farnsworth,” Collins said. “That’s why I wanted to use Dice. ‘€¦ We might need somebody at the end of the game. Today I said I would try Dice.”

Matsuzaka sounded open to helping out however he can.

“I am not trying to get saves, it is not exactly what I want, but as a pitcher I think I want to be that pitcher that the team goes to when we are leading in a tight game, or leading by one run, and we definitely need to get out of the game'” he said.

— Suspended Wild forward Matt Cooke apologized for his hit to the knee of Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie, while insisting he’s no longer the same player who racked up suspensions for cheap shots during his time with the Penguins.

“First and foremost, I want to say that I’m disappointed and sorry that Tyson Barrie can’t play for the Colorado Avalanche [Thursday]. I wish that he could,” Cooke said in a brief press conference before his team evened the series with a 2-1 win in Game 4. “Unfortunately, it was not my intent to collide with him knee on knee. I think it was my intent to finish my check. Playoffs are a hard, physical time, and it’s my job to be physical. I led my team in hits all three games, and it’s an intense time. I’ve led my team this year in hits and in this series.”

With this latest punishment, Cooke has been suspended six times for 34 games, but this is his first in three years.

“I think differently about the game. The stats that I’ve collected over those three seasons prove that I’m a changed player, and the plays that I make and the plays that I don’t make prove that point as well,” said Cooke, who did not answer any questions. “At the end of the day, this situation was not my intent.”

Avs coach Patrick Roy had little to say about Cooke, except that he was “very confident that league would make the right decision” about suspending him.

Wild coach Mike Yeo likewise did not want to allow the suspension to be any more of a distraction.

“We always definitely respect and accept what the decision is from the league, and with that it’s just real important that we put it all behind us,” he said.

— Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar said he was replaced on the team’s preseason TV broadcasts because of his slurred speech that he blames on multiple concussions during his playing days.

“This is very unfortunate, as I believe my football acumen and ability to describe what is happening on the field has been well received by Cleveland Browns fans,” he said in a statement.

WKYC-TV denied that Kosar was replaced for the reasons he claims, and the station added that it has spoken to him about a new role.

“Nowhere in our discussions with Bernie or the Browns has anything ever been said about his speech impairment due to concussions,” station president and general manager Brooke Spectorsky said. “That has simply nothing to do with our decision. The Browns are rebuilding their team, and in reviewing our programming we’ve decided to rebuild as well.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 25, 1950, the Celtics became the first NBA team to draft a black player when they selected which Duquesne star in the second round?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It was a bit ugly at times, but then we got our stuff together.” — Goalie Tuukka Rask, after the Bruins rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 3-2 overtime victory against the Red Wings in Game 4 on Thursday night

STAT OF THE DAY: 5 — Errors committed by the Red Sox in Thursday’s 14-5 loss to the Yankees

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): North Carolina basketball player Marcus Paige does his Pharrell Williams imitation while UNC coaches dance to “Happy.”

A very young Penguins fan has become an Internet phenom for his intensity.

Screaming 2-year-old gets psyched at Pittsburgh… by WTAE


SOOTHING SOUNDS: Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA was born on this day in 1945. He’s the clean-shaven one.

Read More: Bernie Kosar, Daisuke Matsuzaka, matt cooke,