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

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
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)

AROUND THE WEB:

Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled for the third straight time since joining the Mets. (AP)

Daisuke Matsuzaka will start the 2014 season in Triple-A despite a solid spring training. (AP)

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

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
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)

AROUND THE WEB:

Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled for the third straight time since joining the Mets. (AP)

Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled Monday for the third straight time since joining the Mets. (AP)

• 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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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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Daisuke Matsuzaka

Daisuke Matsuzaka

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

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
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)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jim Harbaugh has a beef with the officials after the Niners lost to the Giants in the NFC championship game. (AP)

♦ 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’Neal-Kobe 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, “Kobe 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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LEEInks list: Best Red Sox performances of first half 07.14.10 at 11:13 am ET
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Rookie Daniel Nava's grand slam vs. the Phillies was one of the highlights of the first half of the Red Sox' season. (AP)

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 »

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Lights, Camera, Press Conference! 07.09.09 at 9:38 am ET
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A day after the Lakers did the same with Ron Artest, the Celtics are set to unveil one of the craziest players in the NBA today at 4 p.m. in Rasheed Wallace.

elliot-jordansGreg Cameron gave Boston a technical introduction to Wallace on Monday, but there’s no doubt all eyes will be watching this afternoon as the big man is formally introduced.

Press conferences have always been something of a spectacle, but Boston has seen its fair share of introductions that put others to shame. Bill Parcells warranted the governor’s attention back in 1993, and remember the time the Sox brought that Matsuzaka guy over from Japan?

Very few thought John Smoltz would ever be introduced to a city outside of Georgia, so seeing the Braves legend in a Sox cap in January was a headline-grabber to say the least.

But enough about the Pats and Red Sox, this day is about the Celtics, who have had plenty of big-time introductions of their own. Before getting to the one that brought banner 17 to Boston, who could forget Rick Pitino? With fresh, new banners made up for the FleetCenter hanging behind him, the local hero was all but sworn in as Mayor of Boston. Dan Shaughnessy used up an entire column back in ’97 listing all of the things Pitino already knew about the town when he came here. By the time he left, he probably knew a few more things, including which retired players aren’t walking through a certain door.

The biggest non-international press conference in recent memory has to be the one that followed the Kevin Garnett acquisition. What made it so incredible was the way the Celtics went about it by re-introducing Paul Pierce and Ray Allen along with him. They weren’t pushing KG on Boston, they were pushing an idea, and one that the entire city believed in once they saw the new Big Three, Boston Three Party, or whatever else they wanted to be called.

The promotion of that idea continues as Wallace enters the fold. On Sunday Mike Mutnansky rightfully joked that the Celtics are borderline elderly these days, but thanks to what these three guys have done, nobody seems to care. Is there anybody left that still damns Ainge for giving up on Al Jefferson? Is anybody totally up in arms about letting Leon Powe go? The Celtics have placed an incredible emphasis on experience these last couple of years, and it’s led to fantastic results. And for those who do feel that old age will bite the Green in the you-know-what this season, Wallace at the very least can serve as tremendous insurance in case KG goes down again.

"I guess I hate the Yankees now"

"I guess I hate the Yankees now."

Whether it’s the delayed signing of J.D. Drew, or the poor translating at the Matsuzaka introduction, Boston has never shied away from a good ol’ press conference. Even when the Sox brought on a former enemy in David Wells, there were smiles across New England, and the affinity for introductions doesn’t end there.

Tell me you weren’t watching, fists-clenched each time as the Yankees introduced Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon, and Mark Teixeira, and I’ll kindly tell you to get your morning links and videos elsewhere. Likewise, the folks in New York couldn’t have exactly been thrilled when Curt Schilling dropped his famous quote after hitchhiking from Arizona.

There may be no politicians or Japanese media surrounding Wallace as he holds up his green No. 30 jersey today, but one thing is for sure: you, along with the rest of New England and NBA fans, will be watching.

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Monday Morning Leeinks 06.08.09 at 12:31 pm ET
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Good Monday morning (or early afternoon, as the case may be), New England! Let’s not waste one more second and dive right into the best and brightest on the information superhighway.

The Red Sox bat leadoff this morning after another disappointing outing from $50-plus million dollar man, Daisuke Matsuzaka, in a 6-3 loss at the Fens. The Sox dropped two in the three-game set, though the weekend witnessed David Ortiz hitting his second home run of the season, on Saturday night.

Our resident baseball scribes Rob Bradford and Alex Speier each have pieces this morning detailing the series.  Speier tackles Ortiz and the possibility of falsified age and Bradford shows what five things we learned after yesterday’s game.

Also yesterday, Tiger Woods fired his finest round since returning from knee surgery with a 7-under 65 en route to winning the Memorial. Bill Livingston of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer mulls over whether Woods is fully recovered from his knee injury.

Although it was an impressive victory for Woods, was it really more impressive than this?

Moving off the greens and fairways and onto the hardwood, the Lakers are now halfway to possession of the Larry O’Brien Trophy after posting a 101-96 win at the Staples Center. Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel takes a look at Kobe Bryant’s series thus far.

In addition to Bianchi’s Kobe Bryant piece, the LA Times’ Mark Heisler makes the argument that a lot has been decided already after only two games of the NBA Finals.

Finally, the Steel city will be electric with a pivotal Stanley Cup Finals Game Six between the Red Wings and Penguins. Detroit waxed the Penguins 5-0 on Saturday giving the Wings a commanding 3-2 series lead.

ESPN’s Scott Burnside notes the urgency that Sidney Crosby and company have with regards to tonight’s game. Meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press’s Michael Rosenberg has profiled Detroit’s man between the pipes, Chris Osgood.

Finally this morning, there is a bit of controversy coming out of Pittsburgh. Last week, the Pirates traded away All-Star outfielder Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves and Buccos fans are less than pleased.

This has become such a hot-button issue for fans of the once-great franchise that Pirates general manager Neil Huntington issued an e-mail to season ticket holders explaining the rationale behind the deal. Yet another sad chapter for a franchise that will most likely go without a winning season for another summer.

Hopefully you’lhave the opportunity to enjoy a gorgeous June Monday. Stay classy, New England!

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