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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Former Red Sox pitcher impressed with Tim Tebow after practice sessions 08.26.16 at 8:36 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: Royals at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Orioles at Yankees, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Braves at Giants, 11 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL preseason: Browns at Buccaneers, 8 p.m. (CBS)
NFL preseason: Packers at 49ers, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
College football: Hawaii at California, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA: Liberty at Stars, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA: Sparks at Storm, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
Soccer: Bundesliga, SV Werder Bremen at Bayern Munich, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow

— As he closes in on Tuesday’s showcase for major league teams, Tim Tebow has impressed at least one former major leaguer.

David Aardsma, a 34-year-old journeyman reliever who pitched for the Red Sox in 2008 and most recently played for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A team earlier this season, pitched to Tebow twice in practice sessions, and he told the New York Daily News’ Anthony McCarron that he came away believing the former quarterback has a chance with baseball.

“When I walked away, as a pitcher, I was pretty impressed,” said Aardsma, who has been working out at the same Arizona facility as Tebow, hoping to make a return to the majors. “He needs to see a lot more pitching and understand what the pitcher is watching and seeing from him and adjusting. That’s not something you know until you’re in it.

“I’d get him to instructs [instructional league], work his butt and get him to play winter league. Get him on the field every day, facing different pitchers. I would not be surprised if he’s in Double-A next year. I’d put the talent there right now.”

Aardsma said Tebow did a good job of adjusting to the right-hander’s pitches the first time they faced each other. One week later, the two again shared a field Thursday and Tebow further progressed to the point where the 29-year-old ESPN analyst took Aardsma deep.

“It actually really pissed me off,” Aardsma said of Tebow’s success against him, noting that he was throwing low-90s fastballs as well as breaking balls.

Added Aardsma: “He looked like a much different hitter today. He looked like he is midseason. He got tired at the end, but that was after a lot of work and probably 12 at-bats.”

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy acknowledged Wednesday on Ordway, Merloni & Fauria that Boston will be one of the expected 20 or so major league teams at Tuesday’s workout, although he didn’t sound optimistic about it being worthwhile. Aardsma said he can see why some in baseball have doubted Tebow’s chances of succeeding in his career change, but he doesn’t rule it out.

“It’s understandable,” Aardsma said. “If I’m a scout, outside looking in, I’d say no chance. But there’s always exceptions to that rule, some people who have innate talent. What’s the risk?”

— One day after North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora confirmed that Tim Beckman had been serving as a volunteer assistant coach despite being fired from Illinois for allegedly mistreating players, Beckman announced Thursday that he was leaving because he did not want to be a distraction.

“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Fedora gave me to stay connected to the sport and be around one of the best staffs in the country,” Beckman said in a statement. “His willingness to help a friend was a benefit both personally and professionally. I do not wish to be a further distraction to the team or University and I will no longer serve as a volunteer at UNC. I wish Larry and the program nothing but success going forward.”

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Read More: David Aardsma, James Harrison, Tim Beckman, Tim Tebow
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Referees admit blown call in closing seconds of Thunder’s 1-point win over Spurs 05.03.16 at 8:13 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 White Sox, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
NBA playoffs: Heat at Raptors, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Trail Blazers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Lightning at Islanders, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Sharks at Predators, 9 p.m. (USA)
NHL playoffs: Stars at Blues, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)


— The NBA has made an attempt to me be more accountable regarding its officiating, and Monday night’s finish in San Antonio undoubtedly will lead to another acknowledgement from the league of a refereeing error. In fact, the officials themselves admitted their mistake before they left the building.

With 13.5 seconds remaining and the Thunder protecting a one-point lead, Oklahoma City guard Dion Waiters was having trouble inbounding the ball on the sideline when he leaned over and pushed Spurs defender Manu Ginobili, yet no foul was called.

It didn’t turn out as bad as it could have, as the Spurs ended up stealing the inbounds pass and had a shot to win the game. But still, San Antonio was not pleased that no foul was called.

“I was trying to pressure the ball, and he kind of created room with his elbow,” Ginobili said. “It’s a very awkward play. It doesn’t happen very often. So I guess they didn’t see it. With all that, we complain about that, but what can we do? We had the ball. We had a great shot. We had a few other opportunities. So things happened.”

Lakers legend Magic Johnson was more direct, tweeting: Waiters foul on Ginobili was the worst missed call in playoff history.

Lead official Ken Mauer explained to a pool reporter that his crew simply blew it.

“On the floor, we did not see a foul on the play,” Mauer said. “However, upon review we realize and we agree we should have had an offensive foul on the play. It’s a play we’ve never seen before, ever. We should have had an offensive foul on the play.”

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who talked to the referees when the game ended, echoed previous comments from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade when asked if the league’s acknowledgement of a mistake would lessen the blow.

“No, it won’t mean anything if they do that,” Popovich said. “The game’s over.”

— Leicester City, a 5,000-to-1 shot at the start of the Premier League soccer season, clinched its first-ever title Monday night when second-place Tottenham settled for a 2-2 tie with Chelsea, much to the chagrin of English bookmakers.

The Foxes’ title reportedly will cost the gambling houses $11.4 million.

Leicester players watched the game at the home of leading scorer Jamie Vardy, after the celebrated with chants of “Championes! Championes! Ole! Ole! Ole!”

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Read More: James Harrison, Leicester City,
Steelers LB James Harrison not quite done yet 03.23.15 at 10:29 am ET
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Steelers linebacker James Harrison is rejoining his team this season. The five-time Pro Bowler signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh on Sunday after he had been tempted out of his brief run at retirement last year. He announced the signing on Instagram with a picture of him signing his contract.

In 2014, the 36-year-old was retired for 18 days before the Steelers got him back on the roster in September. With little time to train or prepare, it took Harrison a few games to get his legs under him. This go around, he has time to get ready for his 13th NFL season.

Harrison began a training program as the offseason began and had been considering either returning to Pittsburgh or heading to the Titans with former Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, whose contract was not renewed in January.

With linebackers coach Keith Butler taking over for LeBeau, Pittsburgh’s defense will have a different look to it.

The signing also comes in handy for the Steelers, who had linebacker Jason Worilds announce his retirement a couple of weeks ago, as Harrison is one of two players on the roster with more than nominal experience at the position. The team is expected to pick up another edge pass rusher in the draft, though.

Read More: James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers,
Steelers unsure of what James Harrison can offer after LB comes out of retirement 09.24.14 at 9:13 am ET
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Ten-year linebacker James Harrison has come out of retirement to help a depleted Steelers defensive corps.

The Steelers began the 2014 season with Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier manning the linebacker position. But injuries have forced the Steelers to get creative, which meant coaxing Harrison back to the field. Jones suffered a broken wrist last week against the Panthers and will miss at least eight weeks. Shazier will sit out at least one game with a sprained right knee.

Coach Mike Tomlin said is unsure of Harrison’€™s role with the team right now, despite the little depth the team has.

“We need to see what he is capable of doing before we etch out any roles for him or others,” Tomlin said.

Harrison had a strong nine-year career with the Steelers, averaging at least nine sacks per season from 2008-2011. After recording 67 tackles and 16 sacks in 2008, the linebacker was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

But last year, Harrison joined the Bengals after he refused to take a pay cut with the Steelers. He recorded two sacks and 16 total tackles in a limited role. Tomlin said he isn’t concerned about how Harrison played with the Bengals and wants to see what the linebacker can bring to the table in 2014 with Pittsburgh.

“I don’€™t care about what he did in Cincinnati or what their schematics are,” Tomlin said. “€œI’€™ll base my judgments based off of his capabilities based on what I see back in this setting among us.”

Read More: James Harrison,
NFL roundup: Titans, Wesley Woodyard agree to 4-year deal 03.14.14 at 12:36 pm ET
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Just two days after he visited with the Patriots, Wesley Woodyard agreed to a reported four-year deal with the Titans. According to, the contract is worth $16 million.

“Wesley is a player who has experience playing both 3-4 and 4-3 systems and in our new scheme he fits as one of those inside linebackers,” said Titans general manager Ruston Webster. “He is smart and fast. He also brings the leadership qualities and intangible that we look for in a player, which makes him a good fit for us.”

The former Broncos linebacker has served as a captain either on special teams or defense since his rookie season with the Broncos in 2008. He moved to the middle linebacker spot in 2013 after Stewart Bradley suffered a season-ending injury during a preseason game against Seattle.

— The Lions have re-signed tight end Brandon Pettigrew to a four-year deal, Detroit announced Friday. Pettigrew will reportedly make $16 million, $8 million of which is guaranteed.

Over the course of five seasons with Detroit, the 28-year-old Pettigrew has caught 284 passes for 2,828 yards and 16 touchdowns in 71 games. At the same time, Pettigrew has had six fumbles and 34 drops.

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Read More: Brandon Pettigrew, James Harrison, Jason Hatcher, Justin Tuck
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Mets manager Terry Collins says, ‘I don’t answer to fans’ 05.15.13 at 8:04 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Rays, 7 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Tigers, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: White Sox at Twins, 1 p.m. (WGN)
NHL playoffs: Red Wings at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Bulls at Heat, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Grizzlies at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)


‘™¦ The struggling Mets have lost four straight games, but the bigger news out of New York on Tuesday was manager Terry Collinsswipe at the fans in an attempt to defend his handling of controversial outfielder Jordany Valdespin.

Valdespin irked the Pirates on Friday when he flipped his bat in celebration after hitting a meaningless home run in a 7-3 loss. On Saturday, Valdespin was sent up as a pinch-hitter and was drilled by Pittsburgh pitcher Bryan Morris. Valdespin went to first base without incident, but when he eventually returned to the dugout he slammed down his helmet. The Mets did not retaliate.

Media members and some fans on Twitter questioned whether the team put Valdespin in a bad situation. Collins would have none of it.

“I don’t answer to fans. They don’t play this game,” Collins said Tuesday. “They have no idea what goes on. They have no idea what goes on in there.”

Added Collins: “I don’€™t care what the perception is. All I know is what goes on here. I’€™ve been doing this for 42 years. I don’€™t care what anybody on the outside thinks. I know how to get it done in the clubhouse. I’€™ve been doing it a lot longer than a lot of people. He’€™s fine. He handled it great, I thought, the way he went about it. He went to first base. He didn’€™t throw his bat any place. ‘€¦ He did it the right way. And now it’€™s over. Now we move on.”

Collins said if Valdespin had been hit a second time Saturday, the Mets “would have answered.” He also acknowledged that Valdespin’s antics can rub people the wrong way.

“[Valdespin] is an energetic guy, he plays with flair, he’€™s going to [tick] people off once in a while,” Collins said. “The issue is we have to be careful he doesn’€™t [tick] those guys [his teammates] off. That’€™s where he has to be careful what he says and how he handles himself, because everybody has tried to help.

“In the four years I’€™ve been around him, there’€™s been a number of people that have thrown their hands up, but you can’€™t ever give up on talent like that.”

‘™¦ Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison, in his introductory press conference Tuesday with the Bengals, revealed that he spends between $400,000 and $600,000 per year on “body work.”

“I’ve always been what everybody’d like to call — excuse my English — is ‘massage whore,’ ” Harrison said. “I can’t think of nothing else. They done called me it so long I’m starting to believe it.”

Added Harrison: “I have a hyperbaric chamber. I rent a hyperbaric chamber when I’€™m in Arizona. I have massages and I bring people in from New York, Arizona to where I’€™m at. There’€™s that cost. Like I said, I get body work almost every single day except Saturday and Sunday. I have a homeopathic doctor and I do a lot of homeopathic things.  It’€™s just a lot, supplements, so on and so forth.”

The 35-year-old said he feels as good as he has in a few years, although the Steelers apparently weren’t convinced, as they released him after a nine-year run.

‘™¦ A man who was trying to dribble a soccer ball 10,000 miles from Seattle to Brazil in time for the 2014 World Cup died Tuesday morning after being hit by a pickup truck in Oregon, two weeks after his trip began.

Richard Swanson, 42, was raising awareness for the One World Futbol Project, which donates soccer balls to people in developing countries. He was on Highway 101 South near the Oregon coastal town of Lincoln City when he was struck from behind around 10 a.m. by a driver who remained at the scene.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 15, 1990, the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted four former stars: Elvin Hayes, Neil Johnston, Earl Monroe and which seven-time All-Star guard who ended his NBA career by playing one season with the Celtics in 1977-78?

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Read More: James Harrison, Jordany Valdespin, Richard Swanson, Terry Collins
NFL poll: 61 percent of players disapprove of commissioner Roger Goodell 01.28.13 at 10:10 am ET
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According to a poll of 300 NFL players conducted by USA Today between Dec. 19 and Jan. 2, 61 percent of the players said they disapprove of the job done by commissioner Roger Goodell.

Most of the players’ displeasure centered around increased fines for dangerous hits on receivers and quarterbacks, as well as Goodell’s handling of the Saints’ bounty scandal.

The players were granted anonymity, although Steelers linebacker James Harrison didn’t need it.

“I think it’s obvious that I disapprove,” said the oft-fined Harrison. “I feel like what he’s doing is not totally for the safety of players. … A lot of stuff they’ve done, [such as] fining guys crazy amounts of money for helmet-to-helmet hits and all that and saying you’re doing this for the safety of players — but yet you want to add extra games to the regular season.

“In the true interest of player safety, I would have no issue with it. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about money. Who hired Roger Goodell?”

Responded league spokesman Greg Aiello: “Roger Goodell has tremendous respect for NFL players and always seeks their views on a wide range of issues. He values their input tremendously in working to make the game better. Roger broke into the league 30 years ago working closely with players, and he hasn’t changed that approach.”

Read More: James Harrison, NFL, Roger Goodell, Rumor Mill
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Kobe Bryant tries to boost confidence of Alex Rodriguez 10.17.12 at 7:33 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 playoffs: Giants at Cardinals, 4 p.m. (Fox; WEEI-AM)
MLB playoffs: Yankees at Tigers, 8 p.m. (TBS; WEEI-AM)
NBA preseason: Cavaliers at 76ers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA preseason: Jazz at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA finals: Fever at Lynx, 8 p.m. (ESPN)


‘™¦ Lakers star Kobe Bryant said he got in touch with struggling Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez a couple of days ago, trying to boost the confidence of the third baseman who was batting .130 in this year’s playoffs before being benched for Tuesday night’s Game 3 of the ALCS against the Tigers.

“I just said to him, ‘You’re Alex Rodriguez. You’re A-Rod. You’re one of the best to ever do it,’ ” Bryant said after scoring 31 points in Tuesday’s preseason loss to the Jazz. “I think sometimes he kind of forgets that and wants to try to do the right thing all the time. Which is the right team attitude to have. But other times you really have to put your head down and say, ‘Hell with it,’ and just do your thing.

“Hopefully the next game they’ll kind of give him a chance, maybe put him back at third and let him respond to the pressure, which I think he’ll do.”

Bryant, who expressed his displeasure after A-Rod was removed for a pinch-hitter in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Orioles, explained that he and A-Rod became friends after appearing in a commercial together a few years ago, and they bonded despite their dissimilar approaches.

“We’re different,” Bryant said. “But you’re talking about, he’s one of the best to ever play. I think really the difference is, sometimes he forgets he’s the best. … Where, I don’t.”

‘™¦ Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith announced that he will be selling his 13 Gold Gloves (which he won consecutively between 1980 and 1992), 11 of his All-Star Game rings and two World Series rings among more than 100 pieces of memorabilia he collected during his distinguished career with the Padres and Cardinals.

The Southern California auction house that is handling the sale indicated that Smith is selling “as part of his estate and family planning.” Bidding opens Nov. 14 and concludes Dec. 1.

“I am honored to share a portion of the memorabilia from my professional baseball career with fans and collectors,” Smith said in a statement. “My family and I have decided together which of my pieces to keep and which to share. I will forever cherish every experience associated with earning these awards that I shared with the Cardinal Nation and the baseball community. I hope those who are passionate about collecting and preserving such items will gain a similar measure of joy through their ownership.”

‘™¦ Controversial Steelers linebacker James Harrison, the first NFL player to use CRT padding in his helmet, said he has not had any concussion-like symptoms since using the technology.

“I haven’t seen any spots or had any blackouts,” said the hard-hitting Harrison, who estimated that he has had “double digit” occasions when concussion-like symptoms have occurred.

About 100 players have since started using the extra padding.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Oct. 17, 2004, the Red Sox began their comeback against the Yankees in the ALCS, winning Game 4 on David Ortiz‘ home run in the 12th inning. Which Yankees reliever — a former Sox hurler — surrendered Ortiz’ homer?

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Read More: alex rodriguez, James Harrison, kobe bryant, Ozzie Smith
Steelers’ James Harrison: Jonathan Vilma’s lawsuit is ‘win-win’ 05.25.12 at 3:46 pm ET
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Steelers linebacker James Harrison, notorious for his questionable hits as well as criticism of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, said Wednesday that Jonathan Vilma‘s lawsuit can help the players even if the Saints linebacker loses.

“It is really a win-win, whether [Vilma] wins the case or if he loses it,” Harrison told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review following an OTA. “If he loses it, it shows that Goodell does have too much power, and if he wins it, it opens up the floodgates.”

Vilma’s lawsuit is another extension of the NFL’s bounty scandal, in which the Saints set up a system that encouraged and rewarded players for harming opponents. The lawsuit claims Goodell’s statements about Vilma were false and damaging to his reputation.

Harrison criticized the penalties handed down to Saints coach Sean Payton and Vilma, saying they were much harsher than the punishment given to the team as a whole.

“He only gave the team a half-million dollar fine and two second-round draft picks, and that’s a billion-dollar organization,” Harrison said. “But yet you take a whole year’s pay away from the guy that is below him and you take a whole year’s pay away from the head coach. But the actual team themselves, you slap them on the wrist.”

Harrison has been fined by the NFL on multiple occasions for dangerous hits. He was suspended in December for an illegal hit on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.

Read More: Colt McCoy, James Harrison, Jonathan Vilma, Roger Goodell
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Amar’e Stoudemire chides Knicks teammates 01.30.12 at 7:51 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.

NBA: Bulls at Wizards, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Thunder at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at West Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Missouri at Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)


‘™¦ The Knicks entered the season with high expectations. It started well, with a Christmas Day victory over the Celtics. However, New York has lost nine of its last 10 games to fall to 7-13, and now there is speculation that coach Mike D’Antoni is on the hot seat, although the front office isn’t talking — about anything.

Amar’e Stoudemire vented after Saturday’s loss to the Rockets, urging his teammates to make D’Antoni’s job easier.

“We have to prepare ourselves better as individuals,” Stoudemire said. “Coaches give the game plan. We have to be ready to execute the game plan. If we’€™re not ready to execute the game plan, we’€™re not helping our teammates.

‘€œWe have to learn to comprehend and learn from our mistakes, and right now we’€™re not doing that.”

Meanwhile, veteran point guard Baron Davis, acquired before the season, has been practicing with the team but has yet to appear in a game as he returns from a back injury. According to a New York Post report, some Knicks are surprised Davis did not make his debut during the team’s four-game road trip.

One player who has benefited from Davis’ absence is former Harvard standout Jeremy Lin, who played the final 20 minutes of Saturday’s game, finishing with nine points and six assists.

‘™¦ Steelers linebacker James Harrison is at it again. This is the guy who was offended by being invited to the White House after a Steelers Super Bowl victory, because, he said, the president didn’t invite the Steelers when they didn’t win. He took a similar approach to the NFL’s decision to allow players to tweet during Sunday’s Pro Bowl.

Tweeted Harrison before the game: Why u think the NFL “wants us” to tweet during the Pro Bowl but wont “let us” till 90 min AFTER a real game? I wont tweet during today’s game.

For the record, the NFL ban on tweeting is for 90 minutes before a game, not after.

‘™¦ Following the arrest of Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona on charges of identity fraud, the issue of Dominican players using different names and birthdates in an attempt to make themselves more attractive to major league teams has come to the forefront. The New York Times takes a closer look at the situation and quotes some major league executives who appear hopeful that the situation will improve, although not before a few more players are exposed for similar violations.

“These are like time bombs,” Yankees senior vice president for baseball operations Mark Newman said. “But people are absolutely getting the message. Major League Baseball, the consulate and the major league clubs are all committed to this, and it will get better.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 30, 1973, the Patriots had perhaps their best draft ever. Which three players did they select in Round 1?

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Read More: Amar'e Stoudemire, Fausto Carmona, James Harrison, Mike D'Antoni