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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Despite trade deadline sell-off, Yankees manager Joe Girardi insists, ‘This organization never waves a white flag’ 08.01.16 at 8:21 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Mariners, 10:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (ESPN)
Basketball: Exhibition, United States vs. Nigeria, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: Exhibition, Liverpool vs. AS Roma, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)


Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller

— Yankees manager Joe Girardi continues to insist his team has a chance this season, but the actions of the past few days have made it clear that the team has begun a rebuilding process with an eye toward the distant future.

Less than a week after shipping closer Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs for four prospects, the Yankees continued to dismantle their heralded bullpen, sending Andrew Miller to the Indians for another four minor leaguers. And there are rumors that veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran is on the block (with the Red Sox among the teams said to have interest).

General manager Brian Cashman acknowledged that the days of loading up through free agency have passed, as MLB rules changes have made that strategy a less viable one.

“The chessboard that’s lined up that we’re playing is not the same chessboard that we were playing back when I just started in the late ’80s,” Cashman told reporters Sunday after the Miller trade. “It’s a recognition of how the industry’s completely different today and the operating standards are completely different today, and there’s just a sounder recognition of that. And if you want to become a super team, there’s certain ways to go about that that you have to strongly consider. And although they may be tough decisions, the one thing the Yankees have always stood for and do stand for is the effort in trying to become a super team.”

Added Cashman: “We’re trying to get back to a situation where we can build an uber team and a sustainable one. So we’ll see where it takes us, but that’s the effort that we’ve got going on here, and I think fans should be excited by that.”

After their second straight loss to the last-place Rays, the fourth-place Yankees are 52-52 and in danger of finishing with a losing record for the first time since 1992. But that’s not how Girardi views it.

“I don’t ever wave a white flag. This organization never waves a white flag,” the manager said. “I don’t view it as that, and they better not view it in that room as that.”

— Warriors forward Draymond Green’s eventful offseason continued Sunday when he posted a picture of his penis on Snapchat, then took it down and apologized.

“It was a situation where it was meant to be a private message and kind of hit the wrong button, you know?” Green said before the U.S. Olympic team’s practice in Houston. “Like I said, it was meant to be private, but we’re all one click away from placing something in the wrong place and I suffered from that this morning.”

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Read More: Andrew Miller, brian cashman, Draymond Green, Joe Girardi
Alex Rodriguez on Yankees trying to deny $6M bonus: ‘I’m just happy to be playing baseball’ 05.04.15 at 12:21 pm ET
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After Alex Rodriguez hit the 660th home run of his career on Friday at Fenway Park, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the media that the team would not pay the 40-year-old a $6 million bonus for moving up on the all-time home run list. Rodriguez is now tied with Willie Mays at No. 4.

A-Rod responded on Saturday, telling reporters that he is not worried the money and is instead focusing on playing.

“I’m just happy to be playing baseball,” Rodriguez said. “Honestly, I am in a good place. A year ago I wouldn’t be dreaming to be talking to you guys about playing baseball and enjoying the game so much. … I’ve been in a good place for a while now and it’s just fun to be playing baseball.”

The 10-year contract that Rodriguez signed in 2007 promised a $6 million bonus for each time he moved up on the home run list as the Yankees would market the accomplishments. After the veteran’s year-long suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, however, New York no longer believes it is in its interest to market the milestones.

Cashman said that the Yankees “have the right, but not the obligation” to pay the bonuses.

Rodriguez seems to be ignoring the decision instead of disputing it.

“I’ve learned my lesson,” Rodriguez said, discussing his history of publicly going head-to-head with both Major League Baseball and the Yankees organization. “The old [A-Rod] is gone.”

Read More: alex rodriguez, brian cashman, Yankees,
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees president Randy Levine says team won’t spend big this offseason 12.19.14 at 8:14 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Bruins at Jets, 8 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Timberwolves at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Trail Blazers at Spurs, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Thunder at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: St. Mary’s at St. John’s, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Alabama A&M at Marquette, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Arizona at UTEP, 11 p.m. (FS1)
College football: NAIA final, Southern Oregon vs. Marian, 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: NCAA Div. 3 final, Wisconsin-Whitewater vs. Mount Union, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: FCS semifinal, Sam Houston State at North Dakota State, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Up until the time Jon Lester accepted a deal from the Cubs last week, there was speculation that the Yankees would make a run at the former Red Sox right-hander. However, general manager Brian Cashman said that his team has no plans to spend big this offseason. On Thursday, team president Randy Levine backed up his GM, saying the Yankees have enough high-priced hurlers already.

“As [Cashman] has said, if you look at the construct of our roster, I think [Masahiro] Tanaka is an ace, CC Sabathia hopefully comes back, we get [Ivan] Nova back pretty soon. … You have to build around that,” Levine said. “So the chances of us bringing in another guy who makes $25 million or over are, to my opinion, virtually none.”

This is good news for teams interested in bidding for Tigers ace Max Scherzer (and bad news for agent Scott Boras). Scherzer is expected to land a deal in the $200 million neighborhood.

“I think that’s a lot higher level than we’re willing to play in right now,” Cashman said earlier in the week. “I don’t think Yankee fans will be looking at Max Scherzer.”

MASHUP POLL: Do you believe the Yankees when they say they won't spend big?

  • No, they're just trying to keep Max Scherzer's price down (63%, 105 Votes)
  • Yes, every team has to have its limit (38%, 63 Votes)

Total Voters: 168

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Sabathia made $24 million last year while Tanaka made $22 million. Both missed much of the season with injuries.

“As I said, we’re going to have a payroll in excess of $200 million as we always have,” Levine said. “But at the end of the day, you have to be realistic in any organization.

“I think our payroll is right at the top. I think the Dodgers will be ahead of us. Nobody else,” Levine added. “The Steinbrenner tradition is if there’s a way to make the team better, [Cashman] is out there trying to make the team better, in the reality of building an organization. We’re always out there looking, but it has to be tempered by the reality of an organization. You look at our pitching staff, for example, we have two guys that make a lot of money.”

— Knicks star Carmelo Anthony missed Thursday’s game against the Bulls due to soreness in his left knee, and he said earlier in the day that he’s been advised to “shut it down” for a few weeks.

However, Anthony said he’s inclined to play through the pain due to the Knicks’ horrible start to the season. After Thursday’s 103-97 loss in Chicago, New York is 5-23 — the worst record through 28 games in franchise history.

“I’ve had multiple people say kind of just shut it down or just take time off,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s hard for me to just do that right now amidst what’s happening with the team. So I’m just trying to be smart about it. The more you play, the less recovery days you get.

“I can utilize these three days and get ready for the back-to-back [games Saturday and Sunday] and we get another three days [off] next week. … But it gets frustrating not knowing what’s going to happen.”

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Read More: brian cashman, Carmelo Anthony, James Neal, Max Scherzer
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: U.S. will bid for 2024 Olympics; Boston still in running 12.17.14 at 8:11 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Bruins at Wild, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Avalanche at Penguins, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Magic at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Nets at Raptors, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rockets at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Tennessee at NC State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Hampton at Illinois, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Illinois-Chicago at SMU, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: San Diego State at Cincinnati, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: New Mexico State at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)


— Following presentations from Boston and three other cities, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced Tuesday that it will submit a bid to host the 2024 Summer Games.

The USOC said it will select from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and Boston hopefully early next year. The board is scheduled to meet again in early January.

“The board voted unanimously to move forward with a bid,” USOC chairman Larry Probst said. “We are going to take our time and pick the city we think has the best chance of winning the competition from other cities around the world.

“This is going to be a really, really difficult decision. That is why we want to make sure we get to the best possible decision.”

MASHUP POLL: Do you support having the 2024 Summer Olympics in Boston?

  • Yes (49%, 153 Votes)
  • No (45%, 139 Votes)
  • Undecided (6%, 18 Votes)

Total Voters: 310

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The group No Boston Olympics was represented by a small contingent that held signs outside the meeting, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, who was in attendance.

“We put on a great presentation,” Walsh told WBUR’s Curt Nickisch. “On a scale from 1 to 10, we put on an 11.”

The United States has not hosted an Olympics since the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. The last time the Summer Games were on American soil was 1996 in Atlanta.

— One day after announcing the re-signing of Chase Headley to play third base, the Yankees made it clear that their expectations for Alex Rodriguez are limited.

“I can’t expect Alex to be anything,” general manager Brian Cashman told The Associated Press. “I’ve got to think the worst and hope for the best. Even before the suspension, he wasn’t the same player at third base on the defensive or offensive side. And that was before the suspension.

“And now he’s been out of the game for a year. He’s approaching 40 years of age. And just to automatically assume given his circumstances that he’ll be able to plug right in, play third as an everyday guy and hold up and be productive, I think that would be dangerous thinking from my perspective, in the seat I’m sitting in.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, brian cashman, Olympics,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Cardinals OF Oscar Taveras reportedly drunk at time of fatal accident 11.13.14 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Bruins at Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Bulls at Raptors, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Nets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NFL: Bills at Dolphins, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: East Carolina at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Bethune-Cookman at Hampton, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Southern Mississippi at Texas -San Antonio, 8 p.m. (CBSSN)
College football: California at USC, 9 p.m. (ESPN)


— According to a report out of the Dominican Republic, Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras was driving drunk when his car went off a highway on Oct. 26, killing him and his girlfriend.

A spokeswoman for the Dominican attorney general’s office said Taveras’ blood-alcohol level was fives times the legal limit, toxicology tests showed.

Taveras, a 22-year-old who made his major league debut May 31, was buried late last month.

“While we are still working to obtain the facts, it won’t change the fact that this is a terrible tragedy,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “We have an obligation to use this as an opportunity to educate out players that they must take responsibility for themselves on and off the field.”

The Cardinals stopped providing alcohol in their locker room and banned it on team charter flights home following the death of pitcher Josh Hancock in a car accident early in the 2007 season. Hancock’s blood-alcohol level was almost twice Missouri’s legal limit when he was tested after the accident.

— One day after Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi offered seemingly different opinions about Alex Rodriguez‘s standing with the team, Cashman insisted the two are in agreement about the player who was suspended for the 2014 season.

“We’re definitely on the same page,” Cashman said, before joking about the New York tabloids playing up his comments from the previous day. “We’re on the front and back page; of course we’re on the same page.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Blake Griffin, brian cashman, Oscar Taveras
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees ‘disappointed’ with elbow injury to Masahiro Tanaka 07.11.14 at 8:18 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Braves at Cubs, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cardinals at Brewers, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
Softball: World Cup, United States vs. Japan, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
MLS: DC United at San Jose Earthquakes, 11 p.m. (NBCSN)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)


— Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka was diagnosed with a small ligament tear in his pitching elbow, but general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday the pitcher will not have Tommy John surgery — at least for now.

“All three doctors agree on the diagnosis and the rehab protocol,” Cashman told reporters in a conference call. “We are going to follow their recommendation, and none of them recommend surgery at this time. They’re all hopeful that in roughly maybe a six-week period that we will have a pitcher back if he responds positively.”

Added Cashman: “If he’s a failed rehab, certainly it does not rule out that Tommy John would be the recommendation. If the pain doesn’t subside or it comes back like he’s currently experiencing right now, continuing to reappear, then I think the rehab and recommendation factors would change.”

Manager Joe Girardi said he is keeping his “fingers crossed” that Tanaka returns this season to a rotation that saw CC Sabathia ruled out for the season only days earlier. Already, the team lost starters Ivan Nova for the season and Michael Pineda until at least August.

Tanaka has not been the same since allowing a game-deciding home run to Mike Napoli in the ninth inning of New York’s 2-1 loss to the Red Sox on June 28. Since then, he’s allowed 20 hits and 10 runs in 13 2/3 innings. After starting the season 11-1 with a 1.99 ERA, he’s 1-3 with a 4/25 ERA in his last four outings — the last two of which came on the standard four days’ rest after he was given an additional day off between nine of his first 14 starts.

“I think we managed him the best we could,” Girardi said. “We were careful. We did everything we could to give him extra rest and not have him throw too many pitches. And we’ll continue to do that because we know we’ve got to keep him healthy.”

Tanaka was signed to a seven-year, $155 million deal in January after being posted by his Japanese team, and he had rejuvenated the Yankees before his recent struggles.

“I’m certainly disappointed for our player,” Cashman said. “I’m disappointed for our organization. He’s an important piece.

“It’s a disappointing situation and one that none of us wanted to be talking about or experiencing. Unfortunately, the facts are the facts.”

— The trial in Los Angeles regarding the sale of the Clippers was postponed Thursday for two weeks, putting the closing date past the deadline to finish the $2 billion sale as set by buyer Steve Ballmer.

However, Ballmer’s attorney said there is a provision to extend the deadline assuming there is progress in court.

The delay was due to two of Donald Sterling‘s lawyers having plans for personal time — a vacation and a wedding anniversary. The next hearing is set for July 21 and closing arguments will be heard one week after that.

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Read More: brian cashman, Donald Sterling, Joe Girardi, Masahiro Tanaka
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Soccer player dies after taking cleat to stomach 05.20.14 at 7:50 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Nationals, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Cubs, 8 p.m. (WGN)
NBA playoffs: Heat at Pacers, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
NBA: Draft lottery, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Hockey: IIHF World Championships, Germany vs. United States, 5:30 a.m. (NBCSN)


— A soccer player in Indonesia died from internal injuries sustained when he took a cleat to the stomach during a game six days earlier.

During an Indonesian Premier League game May 10, Akli Fairuz, a forward for Persiraja Banda Aceh, raced after a loose ball in the box and kicked it into the net while PSAP Sigli goalie Agus Rahman came high with his cleat and caught Fairuz in the side (the goal was disallowed on an offside call). Fairuz left the game but remained on the sideline to watch his teammates.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Fairuz eventually began to feel sick and was rushed to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with severe internal injuries and bladder leakage. Emergency surgery could not save him, and he died Friday.

The team reportedly is investigating the handling of the situation.

— The Rams dodged a bullet with the termination of a potentially distracting reality show about openly gay draft pick Michael Sam, and now they’re hoping to avoid another closeup look at the team this preseason.

Coach Jeff Fisher said Monday that he believes the NFL will not choose his squad to be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”

“I think it’s unlikely,” Fisher told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We are eligible, but I think it’s highly unlikely they’d ask us to do it. I think it’s organization has a right to go through training camp with some normalcy.”

The Rams, who have never been featured on the program, meet the eligibility requirements set by the league, but after the team’s experience with the Oprah Winfrey Network, which had the rights to the proposed show on Sam, it’s clear how the Rams feel about Sam and the rest of the team being in the spotlight.

“Not good for the locker room,” Fisher told The Associated Press. “Nor Mike to get involved at this point.”

Added Fisher: “We had a meeting and we got it resolved satisfactorily for everybody. The best thing for Mike right now is to just focus on football.”

— The Red Sox might be struggling, but the Yankees have issues as well, including the health of ace CC Sabathia. General manager Brian Cashman said Monday that Sabathia is likely to be out until at least July 1 due to breakdown of cartilage in his right knee.

“It’s an unpredictable time frame,” Cashman told ESPN’s Buster Olney. “I’d say you’re talking at least six weeks until you see him on a major league mound again.”

Added Cashman: “If we predict anything before six weeks, then we’re probably setting ourselves up for disappointment.”

Sabathia was placed on the disabled list May 11, one day after allowing three home runs in a 5-4 loss to the Brewers. He received a stem-cell injection in his knee from orthopedic surgeon James Andrews.

Despite the loss of Sabathia, the Yankee held a half-game lead in the American League East heading into Monday’s action.

“The AL East is as tough as they get,” Cashman said. “All the teams in the division have a great deal of talent and have dealt with a great deal of injuries. We’re all still bunched together. It’s a constant battleground as managers, general managers try to move the chess pieces to stay in the race.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): Which Red Sox player had a streak of homering on May 20 for five straight years, starting with a three-home run game in a 10-3 victory over the Royals in 2001?

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Read More: Akli Fairuz, brian cashman, cc sabathia, Jeff Fisher
Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner agrees to contract extension 02.24.14 at 11:26 am ET
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Just over a month after signing a one-year contract, outfielder Brett Gardner and the Yankees agreed to a deal that could keep Gardner in pinstripes until 2019.

The contract includes $52 million from 2015-18 and an option for 2019.

“It shows the level of confidence, belief and trust, and the type of player and person he is,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “We’€™re excited to know that he’€™s going to be a part of this team going forward. We’€™re a better team with Gardy on it, that’€™s the bottom line.

“This is a good day for him, and we believe it makes the future for us better.”

If Gardner had not agreed to the deal, which was announced Sunday, he would have made $5.6 million during the 2014 season and become eligible for free agency once the season ended.

“Free agency is something that, it kind of intrigued me, but it also kind of scared me,” Gardner said. “I’€™ve never been anywhere else. I love it here. I love putting on the pinstripes everyday.”

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Masahiro Tanaka ‘looking forward’ to Yankees-Red Sox rivalry 02.12.14 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Spurs at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Kings at Knicks, 7:30 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Heat at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Boston College at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Syracuse at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Villanova at DePaul, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: South Florida at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Tennessee-Martin at Southeast Missouri State, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: George Washington at VCU, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Baylor at TCU, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Penn State at Indiana, 7 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: Duke at North Carolina, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UCF at Memphis, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Stanford at Washington, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Illinois at Nebraska, 9 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: New Mexico at Boise State, 9:15 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: California at Washington State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: Premier League, Arsenal at Manchester United, 2:40 p.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Women’s hockey, Canada vs. United States, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Pairs figure skating, men’s nordic combined, 10 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Men’s hockey, Latvia vs. Switzerland, noon (MSNBC)
Olympics: Men’s hockey, Czech Republic vs. Sweden, noon (USA)
Olympics: Men’s luge, 1:45 p.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Men’s nordic combined, 3 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s curling, Switzerland vs. Britain, 5 p.m. (CNBC)
Olympics: Women’s alpine, pairs figure skating, women’s snowboarding, men’s speedskating, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s luge, 12:05 a.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s hockey, Finland vs. Austria, 3 a.m. (NBCSN)


Masahiro Tanaka was welcomed to New York by the Yankees on Tuesday, with about 200 media members there to see him — the largest turnout since the 2003 introduction of outfielder Hideki Matsui.

“This is Yankee big,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “This is Steinbrenner big.”

Owner Hal Steinbrenner expressed no regret in shelling out $155 million (plus a $20 million posting fee) for the 25-year-old right-hander who went 24-0 in Japan last year.

“We needed another starter,” he said. “When we do things, we try to do them right. This guy is tough, he’s got tremendous ability and he’s going to be very exciting to watch. He’s going to be great for the team.”

Cashman said earlier in the week he considered Tanaka too be a solid No. 3 starter, despite his top-of-the-rotation salary. Asked if he viewed himself as an ace, Tanaka expressed confidence.

“When I take the mound, I feel that I like to win every single game,” he said through a translator. “Being an ace is something that not myself but other people label. What I want to do is go out there, compete and do my best.”

Tanaka said his goal is to win the World Series, which would mean getting the better of the rivalry with the defending champion Red Sox.

“Just by watching over the television of the Yankees-Red Sox games, you can see how intense the games are,” Tanaka said. “I’m very much looking forward to playing in that environment.”

— With two NBA titles and four MVP awards under his belt, LeBron James apparently is feeling better about his place in history.

During an interview with Steve Smith for NBA TV, James said he believes he will go up on the NBA”s “Mount Rushmore” as one of the game’s four greatest.

“I’€™m going to be one of the top four to ever play this game. For sure,” James said. “And if they don’€™t want me to have one of those top four spots, they better find another spot. We’€™ve got to bump somebody. Somebody got to get bumped. That’€™s not for me to decide. That’€™s for the architects, to chisel somebody’€™s face out and put mine up there.”

Asked who belongs on the current Mount Rushmore, James threw out some familiar names from his childhood.

“Four NBA greats — I would say, obviously, the easy three, that we all talk about in our league: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson,” he said. “I would say my fourth, wow, this is so tough. The greatest players of all time, that I would like to see on Mount Rushmore. This is not fair. This is not fair. You know how many great players there is? Oh my god, Oscar Robertson. Those are my four.”

— Wichita State, owner of the No. 4 ranking in college basketball, improved to 26-0 with Tuesday’s 78-67 victory over Southern Illinois, but it wasn’t the team’s smoothest performance. However, the Shockers got some advice from a former “Cheers” star on how to handle the ugly win, as Wichita native Kirstie Alley spoke to the team.

“She said to the guys, ‘Don’t read the reviews, the positive ones and the negative ones. Just play the game,’ ” coach Gregg Marshall said. “So, you’re getting it from a Hollywood star.”

Even the visiting coach was impressed with Alley — along with the rest of the sellout crowd that helped inspire the Shockers to rally from a four-point deficit early in the second half to become the first team since Memphis in 2008 to start the season 26-0.

“Kudos to them, seriously,” Southern Illinois coach Barry Hinson said. “High-five to 10,505 — and Kirstie Alley, because I love her. I think she’s great.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 12, 1981, which Bruin recorded his 200th career goal when he scored twice in a 3-3 tie vs. the Colorado Rockies?

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Read More: brian cashman, Hal Steinbrenner, Kirstie Alley, LeBron James
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Clippers’ Matt Barnes crosses line in tweeting frustration after ejection 11.14.13 at 8:03 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NHL: Blue Jackets at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NFL: Colts at Titans, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Rockets at Knicks, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Thunder at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College football: Georgia Tech at Clemson, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Marshall at Tulsa, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Morgan State at South Carolina State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Toledo at Boston College, 7 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Temple at Towson, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Texas Tech at Alabama, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Arizona at San Diego State, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Northwestern at Stanford, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: Boston College at UMass, 7:30 p.m. (WRKO)


‘€¢ Veteran NBA enforcer Matt Barnes appears to be running out of patience with his Clippers teammates.

Barnes was ejected from Wednesday night’s victory over the Thunder later in the second quarter after pushing Serge Ibaka, who had gotten tangled up with Clippers star Blake Griffin. Ibaka was ejected as well.

After pulling his son out of the stands and going to the locker room, Barnes tweeted his frustration. Although he soon deleted it, it was retweeted and saved for posterity:

I love my teammates like family, but I’m DONE standing up for these [N-word]! All this [expletive] does is cost me money..

“I think he’s very emotional and down that he got thrown out,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I get that part, but the choice of words obviously, that’s not a word I’m a fan of in all venues.”

Added teammate Jared Dudley: “He’s a really tough guy and sometimes he wants that [from] everybody. It goes both ways. We’ve got to be a little bit tougher, and he’s got to be a little bit smarter.”

‘€¢ Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, a favorite for the Heisman Trophy, was the subject of a sexual battery complaint last December, and the police investigation remains active.

A lawyer for Winston claimed he was told in February that the case is closed, but a representative for the Tallahassee Police said differently Wednesday. “The case is open and active, and the victim is working with the State Attorney’s Office.” said spokesman David Northway.

Florida State coach Jumbo Fisher would not comment on the allegations, but he said of Winston: “I think the world of the young man. Always have.”

A redshirt freshman, Winston has passed for 2,661 yards 26 touchdowns against seven interceptions in leading the Seminoles to a 9-0 record and the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings.

‘€¢ Veteran relief pitcher Brian Wilson is known as much for his beard as his success on the mound. Wilson, a free agent after spending the past season with the Dodgers, is so serious about his beard that he reportedly won’t consider negotiating with the Yankees because of the team’s policy against facial hair.

The Yankees apparently are moving on as well, as general manager Brian Cashman said, “Cross him off the list.”

Earlier this year, Wilson allegedly turned down a $1 million offer from a razor company to shave his beard, saying the beard is “going with him to the grave.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Nov. 14, 1967, which Red Sox representative was named Major League Executive of the Year for helping put together the Impossible Dream team that reached the World Series?

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