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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Ravens bring in former RB Ray Rice to advise rookies 05.27.16 at 8:20 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: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Dodgers at Mets, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Cavaliers at Raptors, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Dream at Wings, 8:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: Exhibition, England vs. Australia, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Ray Rice

Ray Rice

— The Ravens apparently wanted to make sure their rookies understood the importance of staying out of trouble, so the team called in the one player most likely to get the young players’ attention: Ray Rice.

The former Ravens running back, who has been out of the league since video emerged of him punching out his then-fiancee in a hotel elevator in February 2014, lectured the team’s rookis Wednesday in his advisory role.

According to a story on the team’s website, Rice “made a terrible mistake” that caused him to be suspended and then released by the Ravens, who have since “dedicated themselves to the cause of domestic violence awareness and education.”

Explained the team in a statement: “Our 27 sessions to our rookies through our player engagement program review and teach life management and life lessons. Rice, who played for the Ravens from 2008-2014, delivered an important message that included his story, both the good and the bad. He clearly had the attention of our rookies.”

Owner Steve Biscotti indicated after the team released Rice in September 2014 that he believed Rice could help guide the younger players.

“I believe in my heart that Ray would be a great addition to us when it comes to trying to steer these guys from young men to grown men,” Biscotti said then.

— Alex Rodriguez returned to the Yankees on Thursday after a stint on the disabled list, and he picked right up where he left off, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in New York’s 3-1 loss to the visiting Blue Jays.

The Yankees wasted a strong performance from CC Sabathia in losing for the second game in a row after a six-game winning streak.

“Definitely a missed opportunity at home,” Rodriguez said. “Anytime that our big guy gives us seven strong, two runs, we should win those games.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Markieff Morris, Ray Rice,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Jets WR Eric Decker reportedly skips OTAs in support of unsigned Ryan Fitzpatrick 05.26.16 at 8:14 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: Rockies at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Marlins at Rays, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Nationals, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Thunder at Warriors, 9 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Lightning at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Eric Decker

Eric Decker

— Jets receiver Eric Decker commented earlier this month that the AFC East — which the Patriots have dominated the past decade and a half — is “up for grabs,” and the Jets are “ready to make the run now.”

That was before he elected to skip New York’s voluntary OTAs this week, reportedly in protest of the fact that the team has not re-signed quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The cash-strapped Jets have been negotiating with Fitzpatrick for a while but have yet to reach an agreement, despite Fitzpatrick’s optimism that it will happen.

Last week, Decker showed some of his frustration in an interview with Sirius XM NFL Radio, saying he felt like the drawn-out negotiations were some kind of prank.

“We’re waiting for that day. It’s like April Fool’s, wondering when he’s coming back,” Decker joked. “All I have to say is we have to move on without him right now. They’re stuck where they are. It’s a business decision. Where do they want to go with the money? Who’s going to break?

“We have a job to do and that’s to field the best football team with who we have in the locker room right now. I have a lot of respect for Ryan Fitzpatrick, but we don’t have a ton of time left. We’re all getting older.”

Meanwhile, Geno Smith, the likely starter if Fitzpatrick does not return, became annoyed with questions about the unsigned veteran. Speaking to reporters after the team’s second OTA practice Wednesday, Smith made it clear he had no interest discussing Fitzpatrick’s situation.

“That’s up to the front office,” he said. “Why would I speak on that.”

— Bills general manager Doug Whaley backtracked Wednesday, one day after questioning what football does to players’ bodies.

During an interview Tuesday morning on Buffalo radio station WGR 550, Whaley was responding to a question about whether Bills receiver Sammy Watkins is injury-prone, and he replied, “This is the game of football. Injuries are part of it. It’s a violent game that I personally don’t think humans are supposed to play.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Doug Whaley, erick Decker, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Johnny Manziel jokes after domestic violence arrest 05.05.16 at 8:23 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 White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
NBA playoffs: Heat at Raptors, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Stars at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Predators, 9 p.m. (CNBC)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Shakhtar Donetsk at Sevilla, 3 p.m. (FS2)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Villareal at Liverpool, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Manziel_Johnny mug shot 5-4-16— If anyone thought Johnny Manziel would finally get a wake-up call after his arrest Wednesday for domestic violence, the 23-year-old unemployed quarterback quickly made it clear that’s not the case.

Manziel, who is expected to appear before a judge in a Dallas courtroom Thursday morning, commented on Twitter about his mug shot photo, in which a smirking Manziel is wearing a gray T-shirt — unlike when he appeared shirtless when he was arrested in 2012 after a fight outside a bar near Texas A&M.

Tweeted Manziel: Just thankful I had a shirt this time.

Manziel was indicted by a grand jury last month after being accused of hitting and threatening to kill his former girlfriend during an incident in January. He faces a Class A misdemeanor and could be penalized with up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

The former Heisman Trophy winner remains without a job after being released by the Browns following the season.

— Alex Rodriguez’s strained right hamstring has sent him to the 15-day disabled list, much to his dismay.

Rodriguez ended an early season skid and started producing in his previous four games — including a weekend series against the Red Sox in which he hit two home runs and had a four-RBI game — before he was injured running out a grounder in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Orioles.

“I can’t think of a worse time to go on the DL,” said Rodriguez, who is hitting .194. “The whole offense has been struggling. I talked to the team [Tuesday] and I said there is no reason we can’t score five runs per night.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Charles Barkley, Johnny Manziel,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez injured as offensively challenged Yankees lose 6th straight 05.04.16 at 8:08 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:
MLB: Red Sox at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mariners at Athletics, 3:35 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Hawks at Cavaliers, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Capitals at Penguins, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester City at Real Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— One of the few brights spot for the Yankees during their three-game weekend sweep at the hands of the Red Sox was Alex Rodriguez, who had two home runs and five RBIs as he showed signs that he was coming out of his early season slump.

As they lost for the sixth straight time Tuesday night — a 4-1 setback vs. the Orioles that dropped them to 8-16 — the Yankees lost Rodriguez as well, as the 40-year-old left after the fifth inning with a sore right hamstring. An “extremely frustrated” Rodriguez is scheduled to have an MRI Wednesday morning.

“It wasn’t a big pop; I’ve done that before in my career,” Rodriguez said (via the New York Daily News). “I’m hopeful for the best. We’ll see how I wake up in the morning.”

Before he was lifted for pinch-hitter, Rodriguez went 0-for-3 to drop his batting average back below the Mendoza line at .194. He had raised it from .145 to .203 by going 6-for-14 over his previous four games against the Rangers and Red Sox.

“I was really excited about coming here to Baltimore and continuing what I started in Texas and Boston,” he said. “Hopefully it’s just a small setback.”

Manager Joe Girardi expressed concern after Rodriguez’s potential absence, after his team went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position against the O’s.

“It’s definitely worrisome,” Girardi said. “If he’s out, someone’s going to have to step up in his place, that’s all. That’s the nature of the game. Hopefully it’s not much and he won’t go on the DL but we’ll see.”

The Yankees, off to their worst start since 1991, are trying to remain positive despite being mired in last place in the American League East.

“We keep showing up and we keep grinding,” Brian McCann said. “This is adversity. This is when you keep pushing forward. We just started May. We have five months to clean it up and play better baseball.”

— The Marlins and Pirates are scheduled to play a two-game series in Puerto Rico at the end of the month, but concerns over the Zika virus might curtail those plans.

Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler, the team’s player representative, said the Miami players became more concerned after attending a seminar on Zika, which is being blamed for a birth defect called microcephaly.

“The information was more shocking to both sides,” Koehler said (via The Associated Press). “Maybe shocking isn’t the correct word, but there was a lot more information and data and numbers thrown our way that we didn’t have.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Dana Stubblefield, Joe Girardi, Tom Koehler
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Curt Schilling will return to ESPN despite controversial comments 03.24.16 at 8:09 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:
NHL: Panthers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Pelicans at Pacers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Miami vs. Villanova, 7:10 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma, 7:37 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Maryland vs. Kansas, 9:40 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Duke vs. Oregon, 9:55 p.m. (TBS)
MLB preseason: Astros at Mets, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Mariners at Rockies, 4:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Cubs at Giants, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Dodgers at Indians, 10:05 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

— Outspoken former Red Sox star Curt Schilling has acknowledged he’s on shaky ground with ESPN. When he made a donation to Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson last fall, Schilling wrote in the employer section of the donation form: “ESPN (not sure how much longer).”

However, despite being pulled off the network’s Sunday night baseball broadcasts for the final month of last season for making controversial comments — and then continuing to speak his mind about the presidential race and other political issues — Schilling will return to ESPN this year. The network confirmed Schilling’s status to the website Vocativ.

Schilling’s return seemed in doubt following his comments earlier this month, when he appeared on a Kansas City sports radio show and blasted Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Said Schilling on March 1: “If I’m going to believe — and I’m not sure I would have any reason not to believe — that she gave classified information on hundreds if not thousands of emails on a public server, and after what happened to General [David] Petraeus [the former Director of the CIA who resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after reportedly sharing classified information with his biographer], she should be buried under a jail somewhere.”

The day after that interview, ESPN said it was addressing the matter, which appeared to be a violation of an edict it made in January, when it warned employees to avoid “political editorializing, personal attacks or ‘drive-by’ comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns.”

The network told Vocativ, “We’ve addressed it with Curt.”

— Alex Rodriguez on Wednesday said in no uncertain terms that 2017 would be his final season. However, hours later he already started hedging.

“I won’t play after next year,” the three-time AL MVP first told ESPN. “I’ve really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be Dad.”

By Wednesday evening, when asked by New York reporters, Rodriguez seemed less sure.

“I’m thinking in terms of my contract which ends in 2017,” he said. “After that, we’ll see what happens. I’ve got two years and more than 300 games to play.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Christian Laettner, Curt Schilling, ESPN
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Roger Clemens insists Hall of Fame ‘doesn’t really make a difference in my life’ 07.24.15 at 8:17 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: Tigers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Nationals at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Cycling: Tour de France, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Roger Clemens stopped by the NESN booth during Thursday night’s Red Sox-Astros game in Houston and continued to claim that he played the game the right way despite evidence that he used performance-enhancing drugs, adding he does not need the validation of the Hall of Fame to feel complete.

“Congratulations to the guys that go,” he said of the Hall, which will welcome fellow Sox legend Pedro Martinez this weekend. “It doesn’t really make a difference in my life, not that it would matter.”

The seven-time Cy Young Award winner has never received more than 37.6 percent of votes (75 percent is needed for induction) despite his 354 wins and 4,672 strikeouts for the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros. He said he appreciates those who have written his name on the ballot but claims it’s not a big deal to him.

“It’s not something that I went to, to play — play the game to make the Hall of Fame. It was the furthest thing from my mind. I played the game because I loved to play it,” Clemens said.

“I knew early in my career that once I seized that moment that I could make a little money and take care of my family. Then it started to get to a World Series and playoffs in Boston and the history that came along with it. That’s really it.”

— Another player likely to be kept out of the Hall is Alex Rodriguez, who continues to have a stellar comeback season, helping the first-place Yankees to a 9-3 victory over the Orioles on Thursday for a sweep of their three-game series.

Former Yankees manager Joe Torre credits Rodriguez for turning things around after missing last season while on suspension for his role in the Biogenesis PED scandal.

“I think what’s surprising is Alex,” Torre said from a charity golf tournament in New York on Thursday. “I’m happy for him. Miss a whole year at that age — there was never an issue of his ability to work at it. But with all the physical problems that he’s had and missing a year, it’s been, I think, remarkable how consistent he’s been and his power numbers.”

Torre, now an MLB executive, said Rodriguez called him in January as he reached out to people in baseball trying to mend fences before his comeback. Torre, in his autobiography “The Yankee Years,” was critical of A-Rod, but he says they now are “friendly.”

“I had heard that he was calling some people, so I really wasn’t surprised,” Torre said of their offseason conversation. “Actually, it started out with a text and he asked me if it would be all right to call me. I said, ‘Sure, anytime.’ I’m there for any player who wants to pick my brain over anything and for any team. He had some issues with what he thought I said in the past. I think he just wanted to make sure that all the air was clear. He asked about some advice and I said, ‘Just go play baseball.’ ”

Added Torre: “He paid his debt. He was suspended. He did that. Hopefully he learned something from it. He’s been determined to come back and play the game that he’s loved. I know baseball’s been a huge part of his life. He just craves it. He’s been a force, no question. People in New York love it. That’s what’s important for us. Once people pay their penalty, you can’t root against them. It’s not the right thing to do.”

— Outgoing ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd drew the ire of Blue Jays star Jose Bautista for a disparaging comment he made about Dominican players Thursday.

During his midday show, Cowherd was trying to make a point that baseball is a relatively easy sport to manage. He went on to say:

“The game is too complex? Like, I’ve never bought into that, ‘Baseball is just too complex.’ Really? A third of the sport is from the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic has not been known in my lifetime as having world-class academic abilities A lot of those kids come from rough backgrounds and have not had opportunities academically that other kids from other countries have. Baseball is like any sport, it’s mostly instincts.”

After Cowherd’s comment made it around the web, Bautista, a Dominican native, tweeted: Dear Mr. @ESPN_Colin before i rip you a new one i would like for you to explain what u meant to say about baseball and dominicans, please.

Cowherd is headed to Fox Sports when his contract with ESPN expires later this year. He discussed his departure during Wednesday’s show, crediting ESPN for taking a chance on him in 2003 and calling his stint with the company “the best 10 years of my life.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 24, 2004, Jason Varitek fought with Alex Rodriguez as the Red Sox and Yankees played an intense game at Fenway Park. The Red Sox got the last laugh when which player hit a three-run home run off Mariano Rivera for an 11-10 Red Sox victory?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The results haven’t been nearly good enough. We’re responsible for that and we have to get better quickly.” — Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, during a Thursday morning appearance on Dennis & Callahan, on the team’s struggles

STAT OF THE DAY: 8 — Consecutive losses by the Red Sox, a season high, following Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Astros on Jose Altuve’s walkoff home run in the ninth inning

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez makes a diving stop behind second base and throws the ball with his glove to get the out against the Indians.

A’s right fielder Josh Reddick races into foul territory to make a diving catch against the Blue Jays.

A Japanese high school baseball player puts on a show in the batter’s box with a series of creative and artistic movements.

Spurs guard Tony Parker gets up close with a tiger during an appearance on a French game show.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Bill Mueller

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Former Extreme drummer Paul Geary was born on this day in 1961.

Read More: alex rodriguez, Colin Cowherd, Joe Torre, Jose Bautista
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez gracious despite All-Star snub 07.07.15 at 8:03 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: Marlins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cardinals at Cubs, Game 1, 1:20 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Cubs, Game 2, 8:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Shock at Dream, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Gold Cup, Honduras at United States, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 8 a.m. (ESPN, ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Alex Rodriguez might be winning back some respect in New York with his productive season and exemplary behavior, but it appears the rest of baseball isn’t giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Despite having an impressive comeback season after missing 2014 on an MLB suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis — he leads all American League designated hitters with 16 home runs to go along with 47 RBIs and a .903 OPS — Rodriguez was not among the reserves named to the All-Star Game on Monday night.

Rodriguez, who finished fifth in fan balloting (Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz, another admitted PED user, will be the starting DH), took the latest slight in stride, consistent with his humble public approach this year.

“As I’€™ve said all season, my No. 1 goal is helping the Yankees win a championship,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “I’m excited that we’re in a good position to get there. Of course it would have been an honor to represent the American League next week, but I’€™ll have fun cheering on the guys who were put on the team and watching them protect home field.”

Rodriguez, who is stuck on 14 All-Star appearances, having not earned a spot since 2012, was under consideration, AL manager Ned Yost of the Royals told ESPN.

“We talked about A-Rod a lot,” Yost said. “You look back at this five-man vote [for the final roster spot] and we have three infielders, two outfielders, and we felt that it was important that we don’t — we have Brock Holt that can play anywhere in the infield, but any other position we have a starter and a backup. In the outfield we have three starters and three backups.

“So I just felt very strongly that if we could get another infielder or another outfielder out of that five-man vote it would help us. That’€™s what went into that decision.”

Yankees co-owner Hank Steinbrenner, who last week reached an agreement with Rodriguez in which the team will donate $3.5 million to charity rather than pay A-Rod his $6 million bonus for his latest home run milestone, said the 39-year-old is having “an amazing comeback year” with or without the All-Star nod.

“The bad hips, all the other stuff, the more than a year off, at his age as well, and then to come back and do what he’s done is pretty amazing,” Steinbrenner said.

— Florida State freshman quarterback De’Andre Johnson was dismissed from the team Monday after security video was released of him hitting a woman in the face during a confrontation at a Tallahassee bar two weeks ago.

Johnson, a standout high school player in Jacksonville, had been indefinitely suspended by the team last month after he was charged with misdemeanor battery.

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Read More: alex rodriguez, De'Andre Johnson, Floyd Mayweather, Hank Steinbrenner
Yankees make deal to acquire ball from Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit 07.03.15 at 1:47 pm ET
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After a couple of weeks of negotiations, the Yankees will hold a press conference before Friday’s game against the Rays at Yankee Stadium in which they will receive the ball Alex Rodriguez hit into the right-field bleachers for his 3,000th hit last month.

Zach Hample, the fan who caught the ball, agreed to relinquish it in exchange for a $150,000 donation to his favorite charity, Pitch In For Baseball, along with some memorabilia, tickets and other perks, according to reports out of New York.

Hample, who claims to have caught thousands of baseballs during games and batting practice over the years, was not cooperative with the team when first contacted during the June 19 game against the Tigers after Rodriguez recorded his historic hit.

Hample answered some critics of his decision to settle with the team when he tweeted Friday morning: So let me get this straight — I was “disrespecting the game” when I kept the ball & now I’m an “idiot” for giving it back? Ha, whatever.

Read More: alex rodriguez,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: NHL plans move to 3-on-3 OT 06.24.15 at 8:10 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:
MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Phillies at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Dodgers at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: World Series, Virginia vs. Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Awards show, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLS: Revolution at Crew, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
MLS: Timbers at Galaxy, 11 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Good news for Bruins fans: There should be fewer shootouts next season.

NHL general managers and players agreed Tuesday to change the overtime format from four-on-four — which it has been since 1999 — to three skaters per side. Now the proposal needs approval from the Board of Governors during Wednesday’s meeting in Las Vegas.

“We’ve already seen that it works in the AHL,” Flames GM Brad Treliving said. “And when you translate that to the skill level of the NHL players, I think it’s going to be very exciting.”

The AHL starts with four minutes of four-on-four, then goes to three minutes of three-on-three. The NHLPA opposed that format last year, apparently preferring to avoid extending games, but supported this year’s proposal.

“I think management preferred what they’ve done in the American league,” Reds Wings GM Ken Holland said. “But management wanted a higher percentage of games decided in overtime, and three-on-three is going to do it. We think it’s going to be a much higher percentage.”

The shootout still remains should teams stay tied after the five-minute overtime. The Bruins had just four wins in 14 shootouts last season, tied for the third-worst percentage in the league.

Also agreed to Tuesday: Coaches will be able to challenge goals based on goalie interference and offsides, and the salary cap was set at $71.4 million.

— The fan who caught Alex Rodriguez‘s 3,000th hit — a home run to the right-field bleachers — has softened his stance somewhat on making a deal to return the ball.

Zack Hample, who claims to have caught thousands of baseballs over the years, initially was uncooperative when approached by Yankees management. And a day before he caught the ball, he tweeted that if he did come up with it he would “give [Rodriguez] the finger and a dummy ball. That man deserves favors from no one, least of all a fan.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Pete Rose,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Ravens LB Terrell Suggs surprisingly supports Tom Brady, plays down Deflategate 06.17.15 at 8:08 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:
MLB: Red Sox at Braves, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rays at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Mexico vs. France, 4 p.m. (Fox)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, England vs. Colombia, 4 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s World Cup, Costa Rica vs. Brazil, 7 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs rarely misses an opportunity to take a shot at Tom Brady — on and off the field. However, Suggs was surprisingly supportive of the Patriots quarterback when asked about Brady’s legacy following the QB’s four-game suspension for his role in Deflategate and his failure to cooperate with the league’s investigation.

“The guy is a winner,” Suggs said Tuesday (via The Baltimore Sun). “He’s won with whatever kind of personnel that he’s had. So I don’t think it really tarnished it. You need something to write about. Everybody needs something to write about, needs something to talk about, I guess. There’s is that. Ours was the deer antler [controversy involving Ray Lewis three years ago]. It’s always something.”

Last month, Suggs was spotted by TMZ leaving a Beverly Hills restaurant and was a little more willing to tweak the Pats over Deflategate, noting, “The last coach that got caught cheating got suspended for a whole year. So …”

This time, however, the normally outspoken Suggs said he didn’t want to wade into this controversy.

“I’m not stepping into that,” he said Tuesday. “I’m leaving that alone.”

— Michael Sam remains on the suspended list of the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes after leaving the team over the weekend, with no immediate resolution in sight.

Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, reportedly was struggling in Montreal’s training camp, leading to speculation that he left because he was afraid he would be cut.

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Michael Sam, Terrell Suggs, Tom Brady