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Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner agrees to contract extension 02.24.14 at 11:26 am ET
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Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner

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 WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
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)

AROUND THE WEB:

Masahiro Tanaka was the toast of New York on Tuesday.

New Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was the toast of New York on Tuesday.

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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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 WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
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)

AROUND THE WEB:

• 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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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Texans players irate after Houston fans cheer Matt Schaub injury 10.14.13 at 7:58 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’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.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Red Wings at Bruins, 1 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Wild at Sabres, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB playoffs: Cardinals at Dodgers, 8:07 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NFL: Colts at Chargers, 8:25 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA preseason: Spurs at Nuggets, 9 p.m. (NBA TV)

AROUND THE WEB:

Matt Schaub is helped to his feet after being injured in Sunday's loss to the Rams. (AP)

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is helped to his feet after being injured in Sunday’s loss to the Rams. (AP)

• In the “be careful what you wish for” department: Fans in Houston cheered when struggling quarterback Matt Schaub left Sunday’s game against the Rams with what appeared to be a right ankle injury. Schaub, who had thrown a pick-six in three consecutive games, was 15-for-21 for 186 yards when he left amid calls for backup T.J. Yates.

Yates entered the game and threw two interceptions, including one that was returned 98 yards for a touchdown in St. Louis’ 38-13 rout.

Texans players were not amused by the home fans’ reaction to Schaub’s injury. Linebacker Brian Cushing called it “barbaric,” while cornerback Jonathan Joseph said: “They’re going to do that, don’t show the [expletive] up.”

Added receiver Andre Johnson: “For them to cheer about something like that, it just sows they have no class.”

Meanwhile, unemployed quarterback Vince Young saw an opportunity in his hometown and lobbied for a call.

Tweeted Young: Let them know VY is in shape and ready to go! I always loved by birth place and everyone who lives in it IM READY.

• Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, not frequently known as the voice of reason on anything, waded into the controversy over the ‘Redskins’ nickname prior to Sunday night’s game between the longtime rivals and awkwardly attempted to defend Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

“It would be a real mistake — a real mistake — to think Dan, who is Jewish, has a lack of sensitivity regarding anyone’s feelings.” Jones said in a Q&A with his team’s season ticket-holders (via USA Today).

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, whose support for Snyder’s stance against changing the name has waned in recent weeks, also was in the room and said of Snyder: “I’m confident that he’s listening. I’m confident he feels strongly about that name, but he also wants to do the right thing.”

Added Goodell: “We want to make sure what we’re doing is not insulting in any way to anybody. Again, I think the Redskins have done this in a way that respects the honor and tradition and the history of Native Americans. And that’s something for them to be proud of.”

Alex Rodriguez is suing the Yankees, but the team is taking the high road — at least publicly.

General manager Brian Cashman said in an interview Sunday with ESPN Radio’s “The Ian O’Connor Show” that the Yankees want Rodriguez back, despite previous reports that the team would prefer to not have to pay the third baseman’s exorbitant salary.

“If it comes down to, would we want the player we signed to be playing that position without any problems? Absolutely, no question about that,” Cashman said. “I think if people think there’s some sort of benefit by losing that talent, I mean, you can’t replace it. It’s not like, all right, well, Alex is gone. If he winds up getting suspended and it’s upheld, how do you replace that? It’s not easy.

“It’s not like, all right, we’ll take that money and go in this direction. I think … our fan base saw when we lost significant players at various positions, it was not easy to plug holes because the talent just doesn’t exist.”

Added Cashman: “It’s not like going down to a Home Depot and pulling something out that you need that’s broke and you’ve got to fix it. So, ultimately from a baseball operations standpoint, taking out all the areas of controversy, having Alex Rodriguez man third base is obviously by far the best option for the Yankees than what the alternatives would be in theory.”

Rodriguez, who is appealing his 211-game suspension from Major League Baseball, hit .244/.348/.423 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs in 44 games this season after missing most of the campaign following offseason surgery on his hip.

Rodriguez is due to make $25 million in 2014, and he would get a $6 million bonus if he hits seven home runs to pass Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time list.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Oct. 14, 1975, the Red Sox lost Game 3 of the World Series to the Reds, 6-5, in 10 innings. The game is remembered in Boston for a controversial play in the 10th in which which Sox catcher Carlton Fisk made contact with which Reds player who had dropped a bunt in an effort to move the eventual winning run to second base?

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Yankees look to retain manager Joe Girardi amid reports of interest from Cubs 10.02.13 at 11:38 am ET
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Yankees manager Joe Girardi meets the media at spring training Tuesday in Tampa, Fla. (AP)

Yankees manager Joe Girardi could be a popular free agent this offseason. (AP)

Despite missing the playoffs for the first time since Joe Girardi took over the Yankees in 2008, New York wants its manager back.

The Yankees finished 85-77 and in third place in the AL East. But between injuries to key players like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Kevin Youkilis; the departures of a number of vital players from the 2012 AL East winning team; and the intense battle between Alex Rodriguez, MLB and the Yankees, the fact that Girardi kept New York in contention for a wild card spot was an impressive accomplishment.

“He knows we’d like to have him stay and continue as manager of the New York Yankees as we move forward,” general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday. “I feel we hired a good one. He’s been a world champion player for us. He’s been a coach, a broadcaster and obviously a world champion manager. So we’ve benefited from having him and we’d like to do that going forward, but we’ll have to speak with him and see how it plays out.”

Girardi, 48, signed a three-year, $9 million extension at the end of the 2010 season, which expires on Oct. 31. New York may have to compete with the Cubs who recently fired coach Dale Sveum, and are believed to be interested in Girardi.

Girardi has posted a 564-408 record as the Yankees manager, and his team claimed the 2009 World Series.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Yankees defend post-9/11 actions after criticism from Bobby Valentine 09.12.13 at 8:29 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 Rays, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Orioles, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Pirates, 7 p.m. (WGN)
NFL: Jets at Patriots, 8:25 p.m. (Ch. 5, NFL Network)
College football: Troy at Arkansas State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: TCU at Texas Tech, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Tulane at Louisiana Tech, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
WNBA: Minnesota at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)

AROUND THE WEB:

2012 Boston Red Sox Photo Day

Bobby Valentine

Bobby Valentine is at it again. During an interview with New York radio station WFAN on Wednesday, the former Red Sox manager was talking about his recollections of the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, when he was serving as manager of the Mets. The only problem is, his recollections continue to be different than reality.

Valentine criticized the Yankees for what he claims was a lack of effort helping the city heal after the terrorist attacks. The Yankees captured the attention of the nation after advancing to the World Series that fall, but Valentine claims his Mets were more deserving of praise.

“Let it be said that during the time from 9/11 to 9/21, the Yankees were [AWOL],” he said. “You couldn’t find a Yankee on the streets of New York City. You couldn’t find a Yankee down at Ground Zero, talking to guys who were working 24/7. Many of them didn’t live here, and so it wasn’t their fault. Many of them did not partake in all that, so there was some of that jealousy going around [from Mets players]. Like, ‘Why are we so tired? Why are we wasted? Why have we been to the funerals and the firehouses, and the Yankees are getting all the credit for bringing baseball back? And I said, ‘This isn’t about credit, guys. This is about doing the right thing.’ ”

Mariano Rivera, one of the Yankees players who did in fact spend time with families of victims in the weeks after the attacks, struggled to understand Valentine’s comments.

“It’s ridiculous,” Rivera said, via the New York Daily News. “For him to say that, I don’t know what basis he has to say that. I was there. I’m part of the Yankees. And it wasn’t just myself; a bunch of players and front office [personnel] were there.”

Added Rivera: “I don’t want to get into a ‘he said, I said.’ We know what we did. I’ll leave it at that. We know exactly what we did.”

Yankees president Randy Levine said it was “sad” that Valentine chose to “seek credit” on the 12th anniversary of 9/11. General manager Brian Cashman also questioned Valentine’s motive.

“I don’t know what to say to that, to be honest,” Cashman said. “I would point anybody who was covering us to go back and look what we were doing because that’s not what I remember. I don’t know what the purpose of him raising those issues is. I don’t agree with him. I personally was proud of our team. We did everything we thought we should be doing.

“I don’t understand the conversation, why we’re even having it here. It’s hard to speak to it, given everything else that’s going on. … I like Bobby. But in this case, I don’t understand it.”

• A Massachusetts man attending Tuesday night’s Red Sox-Rays game was arrested Tuesday after grabbing Tampa Bay’s fuzzy blue mascot, Raymond, and was charged with disorderly intoxication, according to police in St. Petersburg, Fla. (via the Tampa Bay Times).

Trevor James Martin, 27, twice reached over a railing and grabbed Raymond by the neck, police said. The mascot pushed back and broke free.

Martin admitted that he had been drinking beer, and he was staggering and slurring his words, according to the arrest affidavit. He was released from jail early Wednesday on $100 bail.

Raymond declined to press battery charges.

• Grambling State coach Doug Williams became the first casualty of the college football season when he was fired Wednesday after the Tigers opened the season with two losses.

Williams, a former Super Bowl-winning quarterback (Washington, 1988), led Grambling to a Southwestern Athletic Conference title in 2011, his first season in his second stint as coach at his alma mater, but he went 1-10 last year.

Williams, whose son, D.J., is a quarterback on the team, said he learned of his fate during a meeting Wednesday morning in the office of school president Frank Pogue.

“There wasn’t a lot of conversation. I told him, ‘OK,’ and I was gone,” Williams told The News Star of Monroe, La.

Running backs coach George Ragsdale, another former NFL player, is the interim head coach.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 12, 2005, David Ortiz hit his 40th home run of the season, a solo shot in the 11th inning to give the Red Sox a 6-5 victory over the Blue Jays in Toronto. With that clout, he became just the second Red Sox player to have back-to-back 40-home run seasons. Who was the first?

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Dramatic day ends with Yankees, Alex Rodriguez settling on Aug. 1 target date for rehab assignment 07.26.13 at 9:45 am ET
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Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

Another day, another twist.

By the time all was said and done Thursday, Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees were publicly on the same page: The injured and controversy-prone third baseman, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery and more recently a Grade 1 quad strain, will begin a rehab assignment Aug. 1 and could return to the majors shortly thereafter.

“Obviously, I’m an employee. I have to follow my bosses and I was on the phone with both of my bosses,” Rodriguez told WFAN radio in New York. ”They said there is a protocol.”

Before that apparent agreement, however, was a drama straight out of daytime TV.

It started when Rodriguez publicly urged the Yankees to remove him from the disabled list for Friday’s contest with the Rays in the Bronx by insisting that his quad, which he injured while on a rehab assignment last weekend, was fine.

“I don’t want any more mixups,” A-Rod said in a statement. “I’m excited and ready to play and help this team win a championship. I feel great and I’m ready and want to be in the lineup Friday night. Enough doctors, let’s play.”

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman countered by mentioning the Aug. 1 target date to restart a rehab assignment, a plan Rodriguez begrudgingly agreed to.

ESPNNewYork.com reported Rodriguez and organization president Randy Levine spoke Thursday night, and Rodriguez mentioned his distrust in team doctor Chris Ahmed. There also was a conference call with Cashman, Levine, Rodriguez and the player’s lawyer, Jordan Siev, to formally set a course of treatment.

Aside from his timetable to return, A-Rod reportedly will be punished by the Yankees for Wednesday’s chapter of this never-ending story. He received a second opinion on his quad from a doctor who said there was nothing wrong after viewing the MRI results, but since he did not get team approval beforehand as per the collective bargaining agreement, he likely will be fined.

All of that is starting to weight on his teammates, according to one New York newspaper. The Daily News has one Yankeee anonymously ripping Rodriguez, saying teammates “are just tired of it,” with “it” being the media circus that has picked up in recent weeks.

“I would like his bat in the lineup,” the unnamed Yankee said. “We could obviously use it because the potential for some home runs would help us a lot. But with the circus that’s surrounding him right now, I don’t think anybody wants that.”

Rodriguez, of course, still is embroiled in the Biogenesis scandal and could face a suspension from MLB sooner rather than later.

Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader who is also the only living person with a lifetime suspension from MLB, took to the airwaves Thursday to advise cheaters to “come clean as quickly as you can.”

In his spot on ESPN Radio, Rose also said Rodriguez has a considerable “lack of confidence,” even with his natural talent.

“All the texts I had with A-Rod and I got a lot of them from him and I texted him back they were all about his confidence,” Rose said. “For a guy making $25, 27 million a year, hitting 50 home runs, knocking in 120 runs, hitting .300, I never seen a guy that was so lack of confidence like he was. All he needs someone to do is pat him on the ass every damn time, [say] how good he is or how good he was.”

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Yankees captain Derek Jeter returns from DL, batting second vs. Royals Thursday 07.11.13 at 12:19 pm ET
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Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter

He’s baaa-aaack.

Nine months after breaking his ankle in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Tigers last October, Derek Jeter has been activated from the disabled list and is batting second as the designated hitter in the Yankees’ Thursday matinee against the Royals, the finale of the four-game set.

First baseman/designated hitter Travis Ishikawa was designated for assignment to make room for Jeter.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters in New York that the captain and 13-time All-Star, who next week will miss the All-Star Game for the first time since 2005, could return to his usual position of shortstop as soon as Friday.

“It is fair to say,” general manager Brian Cashman also told reporters, “with his age and with a double break that he’d lose a step or a half a step.”

Jeter, 39, managed just one hit in nine minor league at-bats with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He also walked four times and struck out twice while making the necessary plays at shortstop.

Jeter’s debut is the first of what the Yankees hope is a handful of comebacks that would bolster their lineup for the second half. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez, recovering from hip surgery, could return later this month pending a reported possible suspension for PEDs. Center fielder Curtis Granderson is out with a broken finger, his second extended DL trip of the season, and could return in August.

The Yankees, who sit in fourth place and six games behind the Red Sox in the AL East at 49-42, had lost three in a row before beating the Royals, 8-1, Wednesday night.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez finally set for first rehab assignment 07.02.13 at 7:55 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: Padres at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Giants at Reds, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
WNBA: Seattle Storm at Chicago Sky, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
WNBA: Minnesota Lynx at Los Angeles Sparks, 10 p.m. (NBA)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN2), 8 a.m. (ESPN)
Cycling: Tour de France, 9 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez

♦ Following last week’s confrontations and conspiracy theories, Alex Rodriguez finally will make his first rehab assignment Tuesday when he suits up for the Yankees’ Class-A affiliate in Charleston, S.C.

“Awesome,” Rodriguez said at the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa on Monday. “I’m really excited.”

Following last week’s snit, when general manager Brian Cashman lashed out at Rodriguez for tweeting about his return without the team’s approval and then reports came out in the New York papers claiming that the player or team was posturing the timing of his return for financial reasons, Rodriguez said all parties are on the same page.

“It’s all been very positive. We’re all looking in the same direction: … Get back to New York as soon as possible, and [Tuesday] is the first big step,” said Rodriguez, who had surgery on his left hip on Jan. 16. “We’ve all talked to our doctors. Everyone has approved it.”

The Yankees are in need of a boost, with a handful of key injuries leaving them shorthanded as they continue to slide in the American League East following a surprisingly strong start. Manager Joe Girardi is hopeful Rodriguez can return to form rather than be the player who struggled so badly last postseason that he was benched.

“I expect him to be a productive player,” Girardi said. “The last time he got his hip fixed, he came [back] productive. Hopefully this will solve some of the things he was dealing with last year, and I expect him to be productive.

“I can’t tell you exactly what he’s going to do, but I think he’s going to be a good player.”

♦ The Islanders confirmed that they will buy out the remaining eight years of Rick DiPietro‘s contract and place him on waivers Tuesday, ending the former Boston University star’s rocky tenure with the team.

DiPietro, the top overall pick in the 2000 draft, signed a 15-year, $67.5 million contract before the 2006-07 season, but his career since then has been marked by injuries and inconsistent play.

DiPietro, 31, has a career record of 130-133-8 with 28 overtime losses and a 2.86 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage in 315 games over parts of 11 seasons. He played only three games for the Islanders last season, allowing 12 goals and posting no wins, before being waived and assigned to AHL Bridgeport, where he went 9-9.

♦ Wide receiver Victor Cruz and the Giants are closing in on a long-term contract that should be finished in time for the former UMass star to attend training camp, according to an ESPN report.

Cruz and the team have been negotiating for months with little progress, forcing him to miss the team’s offseason functions.

The 26-year-old has 168 receptions for 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 2, 1975, which Red Sox hurler, in a bid to become the third pitcher ever to have a no-hitter in both leagues, came within one out of a no-hitter before allowing a walk and two home runs in a 6-3 victory over the Brewers?

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Man injured in Red Sox-Yankees dispute receives $4.3M jury award 06.28.13 at 8:02 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: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Rangers, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Cubs at Mariners, 10 p.m. (WGN)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 7 a.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

♦ A Red Sox fan from New Hampshire who was severely injured after being stabbed through the neck by a Yankees fan at a Connecticut restaurant in 2010 received a $4.3 million judgment against the restaurant for being negligent in failing to prevent the attack.

The jury in New Haven ruled in favor of 45-year-old Monte Freire and against the restaurant, U.S.S. Chowder Pot III, in Branford, Conn.

Freire’s attorney, Timothy Pothin, said bartenders ignored warnings that Jon Mayor — now serving a 10-year prison sentence for the attack after being convicted of assault — was harassing patrons and trying to start a fight because he thought they were Red Sox fans in Yankees territory, and the establishment continued to serve Mayor alcohol up until the unprovoked attack.

Pothin said that Freire suffered life-altering injuries, including a brain injury, a stroke, impaired speech and vision, and severe scarring.

“We’re grateful that the jury was very attentive. They understood our case and held the Chowder Pot responsible for its employees’ negligence,” Pothin said. “Perhaps this will provide a lesson to other bars and nightclubs in our community and their insurance carriers who continue to maintain untenable positions in cases of clear negligence.”

The restaurant’s attorney claimed restaurant staff was monitoring the situation in a reasonable manner, and he plans appeal the verdict.

“They warned the bartender the guy was acting like a jerk,” Jan Trendowski said. “How they make the jump from jerk to stabbing, that’s the real issue here. What is the sane response to the insane situation? If you don’t know why he stabbed him how can you possibly say that something contributed to it?”

♦ The Alex Rodriguez saga took another turn Wednesday, with a report that the third baseman told the team in a conference call that he is not ready to return to the field, despite excitedly tweeting out a message the other day that he had been cleared by his doctor.

“I’m not sure when I can come back,” Rodriguez told general manager Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine, according to an ESPN report. “It could be in July. It could be in August. It could be I won’t be able to play at all this year.”

A day earlier, the New York Daily News quoted a source as saying that Rodriguez was rushing his return but planned to quickly retire and claim a medical disability, allowing him to collect his full salary ($114 million over the next five years) even if Major League Baseball suspends him for his latest performance-enhancing drug issue.

ESPN, meanwhile, had a source claim that the team was delaying Rodriguez’s return in order to collect insurance on his $28 million salary this year. Cashman and Levine denied that accusations, and they reportedly told A-Rod the same in Wednesday’s phone call.

“Make no mistake, if Alex Rodriguez is healthy, we want him and I want him playing third base for us yesterday,” Cashman said. “He’s doing everything, I know, in his power to get here to do that. We’re clearly a better team with him. We’re not holding him back. We’re not trying to hold him back. We’re obviously taking every step in the process.”

Said Levine: “Nobody wants to delay him. The sooner he comes back, the better. If he comes back healthy, he’ll really help us.”

Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 wrong first picks in the NBA draft — where the No. 2 pick proved to be far better.

No. 1 is the Rochester Royals’ selection of Si Green over Bill Russell in 1956. Green, a 6-foot-2 swingman from Duquesne, bounced the around the NBA for nine years (ending with the Celtics in 1965-66), averaging 9.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 504 career games. Russell, whom the Royals were hesitant to take because they didn’t want to pay him the $25,000 singing bonus he was requesting, went on to win 11 titles and five MVP awards with the Celtics.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 28, 2003, the Red Sox made a trade with the Rockies to acquire which player who went 4-for-5 with three RBIs in that night’s game against the Marlins (a 10-9 loss)?

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