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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Daisuke Matsuzaka reportedly set to return to Japan 11.26.14 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.

NBA: Knicks at Mavericks, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: North Carolina vs. Butler, noon (ESPN2)
College basketball: Oklahoma vs. UCLA, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Missouri vs. Chaminade, 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Purdue vs. BYU, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Furman at Duke, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Minnesota vs. St. John’s, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Campbell at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Kansas State vs. Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Lehigh at DePaul, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Georgia vs. Gonzaga, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Pacific at Alaska-Anchorage, 11:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Tulsa vs. Oklahoma State, 11:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Missouri State vs. Colorado State, 2 a.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Flyers at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Arsenal vs. Dortmund, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


— Almost eight years after he arrived in Boston with great fanfare, Daisuke Matsuzaka reportedly is headed back to Japan.

The Japan Times reports that Matsuzaka has decided to return to his home country, with the reigning Japan Series champion Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks expected to sign him.

“Pitchers who can start are a valuable commodity, so we will do our best to get him,” Fukuoka team president Yoshimitsu Goto said in a Monday story. “We hope to get this done in the coming days.”

Matsuzaka starred for the Japanese Pacific League’s Seibu Lions from 1999-2006. He left Japan in 2007, barely beating a deadline to sign a six-year, $52 million contract with the Red Sox (the Sox also had to pay a $51 million posting fee).

Matsuzaka helped the Red Sox win the World Series in ’07, and he was fourth in American League Cy Young balloting in 2008 after winning 18 games and posting a 2.90 ERA. He never came close to matching that performance again, however.

The 34-year-old right-hander started the 2014 season in the minors but quickly earned a promotion to the Mets, for whom he appeared in 34 games and posted a 3.89 ERA.

— The feel-good story of the NFL season just got a little less positive.

Leah Still, the 4-year-old daughter of Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, has been an inspiration as she has battled a rare form of pediatric cancer. Her father appeared to carry himself with grace and class while being thrust into the spotlight. Behind the scenes, however, he apparently has not been living up to his responsibility.

Civil right attorney Gloria Allred, representing Leah’s mother (Still’s ex-girlfriend), on Tuesday claimed Still has not paid child support for the past four months. She asked the NFL to investigate if this means Still has violated the league’s personal conduct policy.

“I don’t think it is fair that Devon Still, who is Leah’s father, has refused to pay any child support for her for the months of August, September, October and November of this year,” Leah’s mother, Channing Smythe, said in a note to the league. Smythe said she has not been able to work because of the time needed to care for Leah, and she would have been homeless if a family friend had not offered to let them live with her.

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Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Devon Still, Doug Baldwin, Richard Sherman
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Dwyane Wade insists Heat ‘have no reason not to be proud’ after being routed out of NBA Finals 06.16.14 at 8:04 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: Twins at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN: WEEI-AM)
MLB: Mets at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College baseball: World Series, Texas vs. Louisville, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
College baseball: World Series, UC Irvine vs. Vanderbilt, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
World Cup soccer: Ghana vs, United States, 6 p.m. (ESPN, Univision; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Germany vs. Portugal, noon (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
World Cup soccer: Iran vs. Nigeria, 3 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)


— Heading into Sunday night’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Heat star LeBron James looked at a 3-1 series deficit no team had ever overcome in Finals history and said, “Why not us?”

The answer came swiftly: Because the Heat’s supporting cast was not up to the challenge.

San Antonio roared back from an early 16-point deficit and routed the Heat for the third straight game, 104-87, clinching its fifth title and denying the Heat a three-peat.

“They played exquisite basketball this series and in particular these last three games and they are the better team. There’s no other way to say it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

James recorded 31 points and 10 rebounds, including 17 points in the first quarter. Miami raced out to a 22-6 lead but was trailing by halftime, 47-40.

Ray Allen started in place of the slumping Mario Chalmers and scored five points on 1-of-8 shooting with four turnovers.

Chris Bosh — who before the game insisted, “We’re not going down. We’re going to win this game” — finished with 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting. He was 0-for-5 on 3-pointers.

Dwyane Wade shot 4-for-12 and finished with 11 points and three turnovers. He shot 7-for-25 in the last two games as the Heat’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NBA Finals ended badly.

“We’d love to be 4-for-4,” Wade said, “but we have no reason not be proud of each other.”

Said James: “We went to four straight Finals in four years. We’€™re not discrediting what we were able to accomplish in these four years. We lost one, we won two, and we lost another one. [We will] take 50 percent in four years in championships any day. Obviously, you want to win all of them, but that’€™s just the nature of the game. You win some,  you lose some. You’€™ve just got to come back the next year and be better as an individual, as a team, and go from there.”

The Spurs, meanwhile, celebrated their first title since 2007 and made amends for last season’s collapse vs. the Heat in the Finals.

“It makes last year OK,” Tim Duncan said.

— Mets starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka tried to play with a “severe upset stomach” Sunday — delaying the start of the game before taking the mound — but he lasted just one inning before leaving the game.

Matsuzaka, who is not aware of what he might have eaten that caused his issues, said he’s hoping to pitch in relief Monday.

“I’m fine physically,” he said through his translator (via the New York Daily News). “I’d definitely like to help the bullpen.”

Manager Terry Collins might take the former Red Sox hurler up on that offer.

“We’re going to talk about possibly [Monday] if he’s feeling good,” Collins said. “If he feels all right [Monday] we could use him for a couple of innings.”

— Former Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent, who was convicted of intoxication manslaughter in the death of teammate and friend Jerry Brown, was released from jail Sunday, one month before his six-month sentence was to end.

Brent, 26, had been sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation. He had faced up to 20 years in prison.

Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, asked for leniency for Brent, saying at the trial, “You can’t go on in life holding a grudge.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 16, 1978, which Red Sox player announced he was quitting the team, directing his anger at manager Don Zimmer and general manager Haywood Sullivan, only to return the following day?

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Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Dwyane Wade, Josh Brent, LeBron James
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Daisuke Matsuzaka returns to rotation (temporarily) for Mets 06.04.14 at 8:01 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.

MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mariners at Braves, noon (MLB Network)
MLB: Athletics at Yankees, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: Mets at Cubs, 8 p.m. (WGN)
Stanley Cup finals: Rangers at Kings, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Tennis: French Open, 8 a.m. (ESPN2), 1 p.m. (Tennis Channel)


— Former Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka has become a jack of all trades for the Mets, and on Wednesday he’ll return to his roots when he starts against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Matsuzaka is expected to make at least two starts while teammate Dillon Gee is on the disabled list with a strained lat. The Japanese right-hander has been serving as a reliever since being called up from Triple-A on April 16 — including a stint as a closer — and made one start on May 25, picking up a win after allowing two runs over six innings against the Diamondbacks. In 17 appearances, he’s 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA.

“He’s saved us in a lot of ways,” manager Terry Collins said (via the New York Post). “He’s pitched in every role you have asked him to pitch. He’s pitched in the middle, he’s saved a game, he’s set up and he’s started.”

While the Mets continue to struggle along at 28-30 and in fourth place in the National League East, Matsuzaka has been a rare bright spot, establishing a reputation as a team player in New York.

“He and [Carlos] Torres have become valuable utility guys,” pitching coach Dan Warthen said. “They have no complaints, they are wonderful people and do whatever is asked of them.”

Dan Marino is withdrawing from a concussion lawsuit filed against the NFL, saying he suffers no effects from head injuries and that he did not intend to be included as a plaintiff.

“Within the last year I authorized a claim to be filed on my behalf, just in case I needed future medical coverage to protect me and my family in the event I later suffered from the effects of head trauma,” Marino said in a statement Tuesday. “I did not realize I would be automatically listed as a plaintiff. … I have made the decision it is not necessary for me to be part of any claims or this lawsuit, and therefore I am withdrawing as a plaintiff.”

Marino, 52, was one of 15 players included in the suit filed last week in federal court in Philadelphia. Almost 5,000 other players already have accused the league is misleading players and mishandling head injuries.

“I am sympathetic to other players who are seeking relief who may have suffered head injuries,” Marino said.

Marino recently was let go by CBS after working as an analyst from 2002-13. He has talked to the Dolphins — for whom he played his entire 17-year career — about the possibility of joining their front office. It’s been speculated that he might have withdrawn his name from the lawsuit because it could hurt his chances of landing a job in Miami.

— Rangers forward Dan Carcillo had his suspension reduced from 10 games to six by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, allowing him to return to action for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Kings.

Carcillo was suspended for elbowing linesman Scott Driscoll in the head while trying to get at Canadiens winger Brandon Prust.

“I respect the league’s decision,” Carcillo said Tuesday. “Gary called me this morning and dropped [the suspension] a category down, which is what I felt should have happened. The bottom line is, it was an emotional time in the game and I’€™m an emotional player. Sometimes you cross that line. Obviously — whether it was an accident or not — you can’€™t hit an official. I know I was wrong and I apologized and owned up to my part of it. Like I said before, I respect the league’€™s decision.”

Bettman took into consideration the fact that Carcillo apologized to Driscoll immediately after being told he hit the linesman, and there was no history of problems between the two. The commissioner also said he considered the importance of these games.

“While there is no precise formula that places a ‘premium’ on playoff games, I note that the length of the suspension here might well have been longer had it involved regular-season games,” Bettman wrote in a statement.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 4, 1976, the Celtics outlasted the Suns in triple overtime, 128-126, in Game 5 of the NBA finals. Who led the C’s with 33 points?

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Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Dan Carcillo, Dan Marino, Gary Bettman
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Daisuke Matsuzaka picks up save as Mets closer 04.25.14 at 7:17 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 Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Rangers at Flyers, 7 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Stars at Ducks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Raptors at Nets, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
NBA playoffs: Bulls at Wizards, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Rockets at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)


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

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

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

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

Matsuzaka sounded open to helping out however he can.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Read More: Bernie Kosar, Daisuke Matsuzaka, matt cooke,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Mets’ Daisuke Matsuzaka solid in new role as reliever 04.21.14 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: Orioles at Red Sox, 11:05 a.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Reds at Pirates, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Avalanche at Wild, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NHL playoffs: Blues at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Stars, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Grizzlies at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Warriors at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Running: Boston Marathon, 8:30 a.m. (WBZ-TV, Universal Sports)
Soccer: West Bromwich at Manchester City, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)


— Mets right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka was thrust into an unfamiliar role over the weekend, as the the former Red Sox hurler came out of the bullpen to pitch in Saturday and Sunday’s games against the Braves.

Matsuzaka was sent to Triple-A to start the season, but he was recalled Wednesday to provide relief depth.

After allowing one run in one inning Saturday on two hits and a walk, Matsuzaka threw three hitless innings in Sunday’s 4-3 victory that took 14 innings.

“I spoke with [pitching coach] Dan [Warthen] before the game and I told him I’€™d be ready, that I can go. Of course it went into extra innings so I knew I had to pitch,” Matsuzaka said (via the New York Post). I was mentally prepared, so it wasn’€™t too difficult. I’€™ve never done it, so it’€™s hard to say [how it’€™ll go]. This is my role for the time being so I have to just do what I can and make sure I pitch well whenever I go out there.

“I don’€™t want to use not being used to and not having done it as an excuse. This is my role for the time being, so I just need to go out and pitch well. … [Saturday] I only pitched one inning. I didn’€™t expect back-to-back days to be a problem.”

The Blackhawks, already down 2-0 in their series vs. the Blues, got some more bad news Sunday, as defenseman Brent Seabrook was suspended three games for his hit on David Backes late in the third period of Saturday’s Game 2.

Seabrook, who recorded a goal and an assist in each of the first two games, delivered an elbow to Backes’ head near the corner boards with 4:51 remaining. He received a five-minute major and game misconduct.

Backes was helped off the ice and did not return to see his team — still on the power play from Seabrook’s penalty — tie the game with 6.4 seconds left in regulation before winning in overtime.

The Blues, already upset about a knee-to-knee hit from Chicago’s Bryan Bickell on Vladimir Sobotka, were incensed when they learned that a Blackhawks player — reportedly Duncan Keith — taunted Backes after the hit, telling the dazed Blues captain, “Wakey, wakey, Backes” (audible on the video below at the 45-second mark).

“I saw them talking to him,” Blues enforce Ryan Reaves said. “It makes it a little more gutless. I don’t think there’s any need for that when a hit like that happens. You don’t need to be going after him when he doesn’t even know where he really is.

“I’m not happy about that. I don’t think anybody in this organization is happy about it. To see that happen, I think is just embarrassing in that organization.”

Backes’ availability for Monday’s Game 3 was not clear Sunday.

— Former boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, who served 19 years in prison for three murders before having his verdict overturned in 1985, died Sunday at the age of 76 after a battle with prostate cancer.

Carter, whose story was dramatized in the Bob Dylan song “Hurricane” and the 1999 movie “The Hurricane,” began his boxing career in 1961 after serving four years in state prison for a series of muggings. He went 27-12-1 and got as far as fighting for the middleweight title in December 1964, losing a unanimous decision to Joey Giardello.

In 1966 he was convicted of killing three people in a bar in Paterson, N.J. He received a second trial in 1976 but was convicted again. After years of more appeals and accusations of racial bias, he was freed in 1985 and eventually settled in Toronto, working for the Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 21, 1990, in Game 2 of the Adams Division finals against the Canadiens, Garry Galley gave the Bruins a 5-4 victory when he scored 3:42 into overtime on a goal that was reminiscent of the Bobby Orr tally that clinched the 1970 Stanley Cup finals. Which Bruin had four assists in the game, including on the game-winner?

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Read More: Brent Seabrook, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Backes, Rubin Carter
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Daisuke Matsuzaka ‘shocked’ at demotion to Triple-A by Mets 03.31.14 at 8:08 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 Orioles, 3:05 p.m. (NESN, ESPN2; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cubs at Pirates, 1 p.m. (ESPN, WGN)
MLB: Cardinals at Reds, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Rockies at Marlins, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: Mariners at Angels, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)
NBA: Celtics at Bulls, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Spurs at Pacers, 7 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: CBI, Siena at Fresno State, 10 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Panthers at Devils, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Wild at Kings, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Sunderland vs. West Ham, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)


Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched well at Mets spring training, including five scoreless innings Saturday against the Blue Jays, and the former Red Sox hurler was surprised to be sent to Triple-A to start the season.

“I always knew there was a possibility I would be going to the minors, but with what I have been doing in the past few games, I have had confidence in what I am doing,” Matsuzaka said through his interpreter (via the New York Daily News). “But I am definitely shocked at this.”

Matsuzaka, who was in camp on a minor league contract, had a 1-1 record with a 3.04 ERA and 1.27 WHIP at spring training, allowing nine runs (eight earned) and 26 hits in 23 2/3 innings. He struck out 25 and walked only four — three coming in his previous start against the Cardinals. He had no walks and eight K’s in Saturday’s game.

He pitched in seven games for the Mets last season, going 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.

Jenrry Mejia, a 24-year-old right-hander who was limited to 50 innings between the majors and minors last season last season due to surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow, grabbed the No. 5 spot in New York’s rotation and is slated to start Friday against the Reds.

‘€œThe situation with Dice-K was very difficult. He pitched very well,” general manager Sandy Alderson said. “Jenrry Mejia also pitched very well.”

— The Los Angeles reunion between former Celtics coach Doc Rivers and forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis doesn’t appear to be going so well.

Rivers had Davis removed from the bench during the Clippers’ victory over the Rockets on Saturday in Houston after the two exchanged words.

Davis, who joined the Clippers last month after being cut by the Magic, was taken out of the game in the second quarter when he yelled something at Rivers. According to the Los Angeles Times, Rivers responded by saying, “Sit your big [expletive] down.”

Associate head coach Alvin Gentry talked to Davis before Rivers had team security escort Davis to the locker room. Davis did not return in the second half.

“I thought Baby was just too emotional, and for me, if you’re too emotional I always send you back to the locker room and keep you back there until the next game,” Rivers said (via “I love Baby. I just didn’t think emotionally he was ready to play tonight, so we told him to go to the locker room.”

Davis was known to be emotional during his time with Rivers in Boston, but the coach never sent him off as he did Saturday.

“No, I haven’t, but I’ve talked about emotional hijacks,” Rivers said. “If you have one, I’ll send you back. We’ve talked about that as a group. I didn’t make a big deal, didn’t address it halftime and it’s not a big deal. We needed him tonight, but he wasn’t here emotionally, so you tell him to go and sit.”

— Boys basketball player Pat Welch, a guard at Pembroke Academy in Concord, N.H., was stripped of his NHIAA Division 2 Player of the Year award after he sent out a tweet following his team’s state title win over Portsmouth in which he sent an obnoxious tweet capped by an obscenity.

Wrote Welch on March 15: Shout out to Portsmouth, you may have won in the regular season’€¦’€¦ But we won the ship you suck #[expletive]yourself

According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, Welch deleted the post shortly after writing it, and he apologized in person to the Portsmouth administration. But the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Organization still stripped Welch of his honor (giving it instead to Bishop Brady’s Jourdain Bell) and rescinded his invitation to two all-star games.

NHBCO president Gary Noyes said in a statement that the organization could not tolerate the “flagrant unsportsmanlike behavior.”

“It is with great sadness that this committee has to act on this situation, but we strive to uphold the tenet that this award is not based solely on a basketball player’s ability but also on that player’s character and demonstrated sportsmanship,” Noyes said.

“I don’t believe the punishment fits the crime,” Pembroke coach Matt Alosa said, adding: “They basically took away Pat’s body of work this season because of a tweet that ended up online for 15 minutes.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 31, 2003, the Red Sox opened the season with a game in Tampa and unveiled their “closer by committee” to disastrous results. The bullpen gave up five runs in the ninth in a 6-4 loss as Boston wasted a seven-inning, one run effort from which starter?

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Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, doc rivers, Glen Davis, Pat Welch
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Mets pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka ‘very disappointed in myself’ after getting drilled again in loss to Braves 09.03.13 at 8:02 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: Tigers at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: White Sox at Yankees, 7 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Cardinals at Reds, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Women’s soccer: Exhibition, United States vs. Mexico, 8 p.m. (FS1)
Tennis: U.S. Open, 11 a.m. (ESPN2), 7 p.m. (ESPN)


‘€¢ The Daisuke Matsuzaka experiment in New York is not going so well. The former Red Sox pitcher was lit up for the third straight time Monday as the struggling Mets lost a 13-5 decision to the Braves in Atlanta.

Matsuzaka allowed six earned runs, including a long three-run home run to Freddie Freeman, in just three innings of work.

“You guys saw the results. I’m very disappointed in myself today,” Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. “The difference between my good pitches and my bad pitches is just too big, and that’s something that needs to change.”

Said manager Terry Collins: “One of the things we’ve been a little surprised at is [Matsuzaka] has been so known for locating his pitches. And that’s something he’s not doing.”

The pitcher acknowledged that time might be running out. He’s 0-3 with a 10.95 ERA since being signed last month, following his release from the Indians, for whom he had been pitching in Triple-A.

Said Matsuzaka: “Looking at the way I pitched today, if I’m told this is my last start, then it’s something I’ll have to accept.”

Collins, however, said he he plans to get Matsuzaka ready for his next outing, which could come Sunday in Cleveland.

“He’s got to get it going for us because we’ve got a lot more games to play this month and he’s going to be a part of those games right now,” Collins said. “But he’s got to get it going. We need him for innings, and that’s why we got him.”

‘€¢ Onetime heavyweight boxing champion Tommy Morrison, also known for starring in “Rocky V,” died Sunday night at a Nebraska hospital at the age of 44.

Morrison was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1996 but later denied he had the virus, insisting there was a conspiracy even as he lived out the final days of his life.

Morrison won the vacant world title in the summer of 1993, beating George Foreman in Las Vegas. But he was upset by Michael Bentt shortly thereafter and never reached the same heights. After receiving his HIV diagnosis, he was banned from boxing.

He had numerous legal troubles — including assault, weapons charges and multiple DUI arrests — and was sentenced to two years in prison in 2000, with another year added to his sentence in 2002 for violating parole. He returned to the ring after his release, posting two wins to finish with a record of 48-3-1 with 42 knockouts.

‘€¢ Diana Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, as the 64-year-old endurance swimmer completed the approximately 110-mile journey Monday afternoon when she arrived at Key West.

It took Nyad about 53 hours to finish, which she did in her fifth attempt. Her last bid, in 2012, ended with her face puffy and swollen due to jellyfish stings. This time she had more protection, including a mask that she wore at night, when jellyfish rise to the surface.

“I am about to swim my last 2 miles in the ocean,” Nyad told her support crew as she closed in on the shore, according to her website. “This is a lifelong dream of mine and I’m very glad to be with you.”

Nyad was greeted by cheering spectators as she touched ground and then was put on a stretcher and given medical treatment, including an IV.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Sept. 3, 2005, which Red Sox reliever picked up the save in a 7-6 victory over the Orioles and in the process became the first pitcher in team history to appear in at least 70 games three years in a row?

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Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Diana Nyad, Terry Collins, Tommy Morrison
Daisuke Matsuzaka reportedly signs with Mets, expected to pitch for big league team 08.22.13 at 1:01 pm ET
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No one knows for sure if Daisuke Matsuzaka still has what it takes to pitch ‘€” and pitch effectively ‘€” at the major league level, but baseball apparently is about to find out.

Matsuzaka, a right-hander fresh off his release from the Indians, has signed a deal with the Mets and likely will the join their major league team, according to multiple reports. Jon Heyman of was the first to report the news.

The addition could bolster an injury-plagued Mets rotation. In the last 10 days alone, New York has lost right-handed starters Jenrry Mejia (right elbow bone spurs) and Jeremy Hefner (torn right elbow ligament) to the disabled list.

Matsuaka had spent all of 2013 with the Columbus Clippers, the Indians Triple-A affiliate, until this week when he exercised an opt-out clause in his contract. In 19 games he had a 3.92 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, as well as 8.27 strikeouts per nine innings.

Before that, of course, Matsuzaka pitched for the Red Sox for six seasons but never quite lived up to the high expectations that came with him when he arrived as a 26-year-old who had dominated the highest levels of professional baseball in Japan. In his injury-riddled Sox career that lasted until the end of last season, Matsuzaka owned a 4.52 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with a strikeout-to-walk rate of less than two. Tommy John surgery wiped out most of his 2011 and 2012 campaigns, and he averaged 111 1/3 innings and about 19 starts per season while compiling a 50-37 record.

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Jim Harbaugh compares Giants’ non-fumble to Patriots’ tuck rule call 01.24.12 at 7:49 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.

NHL: Bruins at Capitals, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Wild at Avalanche, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Michigan at Purdue, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Kentucky at Georgia, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Miami at Georgia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)


‘™¦ With 2:29 remaining in Sunday’s NFC championship game, Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled the ball on the New York 21-yard line and it was recovered by the 49ers. However, the officials ruled that Bradshaw’s forward progress had been stopped, so the Giants retained possession. That doesn’t sit well with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who compared the play to the infamous tuck rule call that helped Tom Brady and the Patriots defeat the Raiders in the Snow Bowl 10 years ago.

“In my opinion, that was a fumble,” Harbaugh said Monday. “I’m sure the league will defend it and the officials will defend it. But to me, that play was still going on. There was still struggling by Bradshaw. ‘€¦ I felt like it was analogous with the tuck rule.”

‘™¦ Former Lakers forward Robert Horry offered his take on the Shaquille O’NealKobe Bryant feud, blaming Phil Jackson for inciting the two players.

“I think Phil Jackson started that feud,” Horry told a Russian sports website. “It happened many times that after team practice he would say, ‘€œKobe said this about Shaq, and Shaq said that about Kobe. ‘€¦ We couldn’€™t believe how could that happen, because just the day before we saw them together, jumping on one another. Phil liked it when there was conflict of some sort.

“I always tell people; if you look at those championships, you’€™ll see who were the closest players on the team. Normally those are the guys who are the first to hug each other. And when we were winning, it was always Shaq and Kobe who hugged. I think this will answer your question. Later it was blown out of proportion by the media, and both players started doing something that didn’€™t make sense.”

‘™¦ Real Clear Sports has a list of the 10 most hyped foreign players. Daisuke Matsuzaka is No. 5, and Hideo Nomo, another Japanese pitcher who spent some time with the Red Sox, is No. 9. Yao Ming takes the top spot, ahead of Pele and Hideki Matsui.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 24, 1971, which Bruin was honored in a pregame ceremony before the B’s beat the Canadiens, 4-2, to extend their home winning streak to 15?

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Read More: Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jim Harbaugh, kobe bryant, Phil Jackson
LEEInks list: Best Red Sox performances of first half 07.14.10 at 11:13 am ET
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Though the Red Sox are 88 games into the season with another 74 to go, the All-Star break generally is regarded as the midway point of the season. As such, it’€™s time to reflect on what’€™s been largely considered an up-and-down season for the Sox. With a large number of injuries handcuffing the team from the beginning of 2010, the fact that the Red Sox have largely remained in contention is nothing short of amazing. In honor of that, we’€™ve come up with a list of the best single-game performances from the first half of the season, divided by pitching and offensive performances.

Looking back on Boston’s 51 wins, there have been players that have stepped up and filled holes, especially from the rookie replacements. The interesting thing to note is that between the six All-Stars on the team (Dustin Pedroia, Víctor Martínez, Adrián Beltré, David Ortiz, Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester), only four of them account for the 10 performances on our list.

Let’€™s kick off the list with a few honorable mentions, starting off with Opening Night:

John Lackey, April 7 vs. Yankees: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 K, 2 BB

On Opening Night, John Lackey showed why he was one of the big-name acquisitions during the offseason. Unfortunately for everyone involved, this first game would be Lackey’€™s best outing of the year.

Jon Lester, May 25 vs. Rays: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 9 K, 5 BB

Lester has had an amazing year so far. So much so, that he’€™s motivated his bullpen to continue his work. April 25 was the perfect example, as Lester only allowed a single to Willy Aybar in the fourth and that was it. Lester pitched six innings, then handed it to the ‘pen. The relievers didn’€™t allow another hit for the rest of the game.

Clay Buchholz, May 29 vs. Royals: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 4 K, 4 BB

If Lester’€™s been amazing this year, Buchholz has been Cy Young-like this year. Just four days after Lester’€™s game, Buchholz took the mound and handled the Royals with ease. He allowed some sporadic hits over seven before delicately handing the 1-0 lead to the dynamic duo of Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon, who successfully got the hold and the save, respectively. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: clay buchholz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, red sox