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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
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Dan Marino files concussion suit against NFL 06.03.14 at 8:04 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: Red Sox at Indians, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Athletics at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: White Sox at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (WGN)
College softball: World Series, Alabama vs. Florida, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks at Atlanta Dream, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Exhibition, Mexico vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: French Open, 8 a.m. (Tennis Channel), 1 p.m. (ESPN2)


— Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino is one of 14 former NFL players who filed a lawsuit last week against the league over concussions.

That ups the total to 41 Hall of Famers (or their estates) among about 5,000 former players who have filed suits against the league.

Marino, 52, did not submit specific information about symptoms he is having, but the complaint indicated that he “sustained repetitive, traumatic sub-concussive and/or concussive head impacts during NFL games and/or practices.”

Marino was not talking about the suit Monday, but he did share some comments about close friend Jim Kelly, whom Marino visited Sunday in the hospital where Kelly was wrapping up chemotherapy treatments to battle cancer. Marino and Kelly are both Western Pennsylvania natives who were in the highly regarded 1983 draft.

“It’s hard to even understand what he’s going through,” Marino told reporters before playing in Kelly’s charity golf tournament in Batavia, N.Y. “Jim is a dear friend. You just wish the best for him.

“He’s a tough guy, you know? He’s at a point in his life that — he’s won a lot of football games and whatever — he’s in the fight for his life. He’ll win.”

— Thunder guard Derek Fisher, who said one day after Saturday’s season-ending loss to the Spurs that he has to decide if he will retire, reportedly will meet with Knicks president Phil Jackson this week about New York’s coaching vacancy.

Fisher, 39, acknowledged Sunday that he sees coaching in his future, saying: “In the last maybe decade or so, I’ve really felt that my purpose in life, my calling so to speak, was to be in a leadership position or some position of impact on other people. Coaching allows for you to positively impact other people’s lives.”

Jackson, who was fined $25,000 by the league for tampering — expressing interest in Fisher while he was under contract with Oklahoma City — reportedly is interested in hiring a young coach he can mentor. He said last week that he had a verbal commitment from Steve Kerr before the Warriors stepped in and hired the TNT analyst. Both Fisher and Kerr won championships playing under Jackson.

Lance Stephenson made more news with his curious behavior than his play in the Pacers’ series loss to the Heat, but team president Larry Bird said the free agent guard would be welcome back.

Stephenson made news for first talking trash to and about LeBron James, and then blowing in James’ ear during Indiana’s Game 5 win. Bird made it clear he did not approve of Stephenson’s antics, but he sees the potential in the 23-year-old who was selected in the second round of the 2010 draft out of Cincinnati.

“I think his ceiling is what he wants it to be,” Bird said. “I always want him back. You just don’t let talent like that walk away if you can help it.”

Added Bird: “When it comes down to it, it’s up to him. [Once he matures] his game is unlimited.”

Bird said Stephenson’s behavior is not what he wants to see from his players.

“I was very disappointed that in Game 5, Paul George put on a spectacular display, hit every big shot, and after the game everyone was talking about all the nonsense,” Bird said. “That’s not what we’re about, and it’s not professional.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 3, 1952, as part of a nine-player trade, the Red Sox sent Johnny Pesky, 1950 American League Rookie of the Year Walt Dropo and three other players to which American League team?

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Read More: Dan Marino, Derek Fisher, Jim Kelly, Lance Stephenson
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon defends Robinson Cano after criticism from Yankees coach 02.19.14 at 7:43 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: Celtics at Suns, 9 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pacers at Timberwolves, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rockets at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Boston College at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN2; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Cincinnati at UCF, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Saint Louis at George Mason, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Northwestern at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: DePaul at Xavier, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Creighton at Marquette, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Houston at SMU, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Notre Dame at Miami, 9 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: TCU at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: La Salle at Dayton, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Washington at Oregon, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Illinois at Minnesota, 9 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: Arizona at Utah, 10 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Arizona State at Colorado, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: New Mexico at UNLV, 11:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
Olympics: Men’s hockey quarterfinal, Finland vs. Russia, 7:30 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Women’s curling semifinal, 9 a.m. (MSNBC)
Olympics: Women’s figure skating, 10 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Men’s hockey quarterfinal, United States vs. Czech Republic, noon (USA)
Olympics: Men’s hockey quarterfinal, Canada vs. Latvia, noon (MSNBC)
Olympics: Men’s curling semifinal, 2:30 p.m. (MSNBC)
Olympics: Women’s speedskating, men’s cross-country, women’s cross-country, 3 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s curling semifinal, 5 p.m. (CNBC)
Olympics: Women’s figure skating, men’s Alpine, women’s bobsled, men’s snowboarding, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s biathlon, women’s biathlon, 1 a.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s Nordic combined, women’s curling bronze medal game, 3 a.m. (NBCSN)


— A day after Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long made comments about Robinson Cano being unable to break his habit of loafing it to first base during his time in New York, Cano’s new manager with the Mariners defended his second baseman.

“I was very disappointed,” Lloyd McClendon said. “I’ve been in this game a long time, particularly at the major league level. And one thing I was taught was you worry about your players and getting them ready. I didn’t know [Long] was the spokesman for the New York Yankees.”

Long had many good things to say about Cano — who left the Yankees to sign a $240 million deal with Seattle this offseason — but he noted that the team could not convince him to run hard to first all the time.

“I just said he loafed sometimes,” Long said. “I’ve said 9,000 good things about him. He just had one issue.”

Cano didn’t seem too offended, telling the New York Post that Long texted him to make sure there were no hard feelings, and, “I told him, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ ”

McClendon said he wants all of his players to play hard, but as a former player, he understands why sometimes they don’t.

“My talk with Robbie was real simple,” McClendon said. “I expect all my players, including Robinson, to give me a fair effort down the line. I’€™m not too far removed from playing. I could remember the days when I hit a pop-up and I’€™m pissed off and you don’€™t run to first. Is that dogging it? I don’€™t think so.

“There’€™s a human element that comes with this game. You roll over, hit a ground ball to second base, your head drops, you’€™re a little disappointed. In the big scheme of things, would I rather have a guy out there for 160 games, hitting .300 and driving in over 100? I’€™ll take that.”

— CBS Sports announced Tuesday that retiring Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez will be joining “The NFL Today” pregame show, and veteran analysts Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe are no longer part of the crew.

James Brown will continue to host, and panelists Bill Cowher and Boomer Esiason are sticking around.

“Having just stepped off the playing field, Tony brings a fresh and insightful perspective,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said. “As a future Hall of Famer, we are excited for him to share his knowledge, experiences and opinions with our viewers. Tony was one of the most respected and hardworking players in the NFL and a tremendous teammate. We look forward to him bringing these attributes to CBS Sports.”

Added McManus: “While we welcome Tony, we want to acknowledge Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe who have contributed greatly to the success of ‘The NFL Today’ for more than a decade. Dan and Shannon are true Hall of Famers on the field and in front of the camera. As they pursue other professional opportunities, we thank them for their hard work and dedication and wish them nothing but the best.”

— Veteran major league reliever Tim Byrdak is looking for a job, and he’s taking an unconventional route to get one. The 39-year-old lefty, a 12-year MLB veteran who spent the past three seasons with the Mets but was limited to eight games in 2013 due to injuries, posted a picture of a note on Twitter. The note reads:

Attention: MLB GMs

For sale, late model LHR, high mileage but VERY serviceable! Doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of newer models (i.e. 97 mph) however I can still break a pane of glass with my fastball! Comes with warranty, too (I will sign medical release!!!). Please call ASAP. I am driving my wife crazy being home during spring training.

Thank you,
Tim Byrdak


ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 19, 1972, which Bruin became the first player in NHL history to record 100 points in a season three times when he assisted on a goal in a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota North Stars?

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Read More: Dan Marino, Kevin Long, Lloyd McClendon, Robinson Cano
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Terrell Suggs says Ravens would accept gay teammate 02.01.13 at 7:49 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.

NBA: Magic at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Heat at Pacers, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Lakers at Timberwolves, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Manhattan at Siena, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Youngstown State at Detroit, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Blues at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
College hockey: UMass-Lowell at Merrimack, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College hockey: Dartmouth at Union, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)


‘™¦ While 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver continued to apologize for his anti-gay remarks from Tuesday — “That’s not what I feel in my heart,” he said Thursday — Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs went out of his way to say that his team would have no issue with a gay teammate.

“We wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Suggs told reporters in New Orleans for the Super Bowl. “We don’t care. Our biggest thing in the locker room is to just have fun and stay loose. We don’t really care too much about that. We’re a football team. I said it [Wednesday], everybody deserves a certain amount of privacy. Who cares? Whatever a person’s choice is, it’s their choice.”

Added Suggs: “On this team, with so many different personalities, we just accept people for who they are and we don’€™t really care too much about a player’€™s sexuality. To each their own. You know who you are, and we accept you for it.”

Culliver spent most of an hour-long media session Thursday trying to mend fences, saying, “I’m sorry if I offended anyone. They were very ugly comments. Hopefully I learn and grow from this experience and this situation. ‘€¦ I treat everyone equal. That’s not how I feel.”

Meanwhile, Seahawks punter Jon Ryan weighed in and opined that commissioner Roger Goodell should suspend Culliver.

Tweeted Ryan: If Chris Culliver isn’t suspended by Goodell then I am absolutely embarrassed to be part of a league that accepts this type of behavior.

‘™¦ Following rumors that the Yankees would attempt to get out from under the final five years of Alex Rodriguez‘ contract, perhaps with the player’s cooperation following his latest PED controversy, the New York Post reports that A-Rod continues to work toward returning to the team following his offseason hip surgery.

“Alex is working diligently on his rehabilitation and looks forward to getting back on the field as soon as possible,” a source told the paper.

The report indicates that the team and the league are being patient regarding Rodriguez’ situation, and preparing for the possibility that an investigation into the South Florida situation ends up failing to prove anything.

‘™¦ CBS Sports NFL studio panelist Dan Marino confirmed a New York Post report that he had an affair with a CBS production assistant in 2005 that led to the birth of a daughter. Marino, who has six children with his wife, agreed to a settlement with the woman and kept the secret from the network and his own agent for seven years.

“This is a personal and private matter. I take full responsibility both personally and financially for my actions now as I did then,” the Hall of Fame quarterback said in a statement. “We mutually agreed to keep our arrangement private to protect all parties involved.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 1, 2004, which Bruin recorded a hat trick in a 4-1 victory over the Penguins and in the process set a team record by scoring six consecutive Bruins goals over three games?

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Read More: Chris Culliver, Dan Marino, Pau Gasol, Ricky Rubio
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Joe Namath questions Rex Ryan’s preparation of Jets 09.27.11 at 7:35 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: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)


‘™¦ Jets legend Joe Namath apparently puts the blame for his old club’s loss to the Raiders Sunday on coach Rex Ryan. Appearing on ESPN Radio Monday, Namath questioned Ryan’s method of preparing his players. “It’s rather alarming,” Namath said. “It starts at the top. Coach Rex Ryan, he’s been doing a great job, getting us to two conference championship games, but there’s one thing about the athlete: You keep telling him how good he is, he’s going to start believing it to the point that he may not be preparing quite the way he should. He may be losing some respect for the other team.”

Responded Ryan: “I’m not going to change who I am because Joe Namath said something. Joe Namath can come in here and if he can still throw we’ll have him as a backup quarterback. But you know what? He doesn’t know our team. He’s on the outside, even though he’s a Jet and once you’re a Jet you’re always a Jet. But he’s on the outside. He’s not in these meetings. I think if he was he’d be shocked at the preparation.”

‘™¦ With Cam Newton off to a fast start with the Panthers, Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 rookie quarterbacks of the Super Bowl era. The list includes No. 10 Rick Mirer, who the Patriots passed over for Drew Bledsoe, and No. 5 Matt Ryan, who starred at Boston College before joining the Falcons. The top three are all AFC rivals of the Patriots: No. 3 Peyton Manning, No. 2 Ben Roethlisberger and No. 1 Dan Marino.

‘™¦ With people flocking to see “Moneyball,” the movie about the A’s front office that stars Brad Pitt, has its list of the 10 best baseball movies of all-time. The top three are “Field of Dreams” followed by “Major League” and “Bull Durham.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Sept. 27, 1977, which player recorded his 30th save to break the Red Sox single-season record set in 1964 by Dick Radatz?

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Read More: Ben Roethlisberger, Brad Pitt, Cam Newton, Dan Marino
LEEInks list: Most accomplished non-champions 07.19.10 at 7:15 am ET
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When LeBron James made the televised ‘€œDecision’€ on July 8 that he was headed to South Beach to join forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to play for the Heat, he left millions of devastated Cavs fans renouncing their love for the King and a few other disappointed franchises who were hoping LeBron would help lead them to a title.

‘€œWinning is a huge thing to me,’€ he said to Jim Gray in the ESPN special watched by 7 million viewers.

After weeks of nationwide scrutiny and speculation about where James would end up, it didn’€™t come as such a shock to many questioning the King’€™s star status without a single title to his name.

James, a two-time NBA MVP who has yet to capture an NBA championship in his seven seasons with Cleveland, left over $30 million on the table in his decision to head south and play with former gold medalist Olympic teammates Wade and Bosh in a Miami power trio.

‘€œThe major factor was this is the best opportunity for me to win and win now and in the future. The No. 1 thing with me is to help my teammates get better and to win,” he said explaining his ‘€œDecision.’€

Here’€™s a list of the most accomplished athletes without a title in sports history. Though they’€™ve graced the record books and their respective games as some of the best players to touch the field, court, or ice, they can never call themselves champions.

King James can win all the accolades around, but he’€™ll stay stuck in a category with these guys until he adds an NBA crown to that list.

MLB: Ty Cobb

Since Cobb took the field in 1905, he has been etched in MLB record books as one of the greatest baseball players of all time and still maintains the record for the highest career batting average (.367). Many of his other professional records, including most career hits, most career runs, most career runs, and most career games played, he held for a half-century or more. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Barry Bonds, Barry Sanders, Charles Barkley, Dan Marino