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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Johnny Damon says Yankees’ ’09 title tainted if Alex Rodriguez was using PEDs 08.08.13 at 8:20 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Royals, 8:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Tigers at Indians, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Little League Baseball: New England semifinals, Rhode Island vs. Vermont, 10 a.m. (NESN)
Little League Baseball: New England semifinals, Maine vs. Connecticut, 1 p.m. (NESN)
NFL preseason: Bengals at Falcons, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NFL preseason: Seahawks at Chargers, 10 p.m. (NFL Network)
WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks vs. Indiana Fever, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Golf: PGA Championship, 1 p.m. (TNT)

AROUND THE WEB:

Johnny Damon

Johnny Damon

Johnny Damon, who helped the Yankees win the 2009 World Series four years after leaving the Red Sox as a free agent, said Wednesday that New York’s title would lose some of its luster if it’s proven that Alex Rodriguez was using performance-enhancing drugs that postseason.

“If that’s how he was able to hit in the postseason, like he did that year, then yeah, absolutely,” Damon said Wednesday on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (via the New York Daily News). “Then you start going, ‘Was anybody on [another] team cheating?’ There’s just so many different factors that determine if a team wins, and A-Rod was a huge determining factor. He played a pretty huge part.”

Along with A-Rod, Melky Cabrera and Francisco Cervelli — both suspended this week for their involvement with PEDs — were on the 2009 roster. But reliever David Robertson downplayed the impact of all three players.

“We had a good team that year,” Robertson said Wednesday in Chicago, where the Yankees were swept by the White Sox. “With or without those guys, we were going to be there. I don’t think it takes anything away from that World Series.”

Damon noted that his longtime friend has “an uphill battle to climb.”

“Alex Rodriguez has always been a great person. I think everyone who knows him, kind of just thought he’s always been misunderstood,” Damon said on Sirius. “If all these allegations are true, [Rodriguez] possibly tried to get another edge in the game. That’s a shame, ’cause he was definitely destined for the Hall of Fame, going down as one of the greatest players of all time.

“I just hope things turn out for him, just because he’s been a friend of mine since he was 14 and I was 15.”

Added Damon to the Daily News: “It’s a soap opera. It always has been with Alex. I’m just glad I get to sleep at night knowing I never got involved with that stuff.”

♦ The Jets named Mark Sanchez their starter for Friday’s preseason opener against the Lions, and he said he deserves it, despite his preseason inconsistency.

“I feel like I’m putting together a good camp. I think I earned the right to start this first game, and we’ll see how it goes from there,” Sanchez said. “[I've] got to keep playing well to stay on the field, and that’s the plan.”

Rookie Geno Smith, who did not dispute offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg‘s assessment that the second-round draft pick had taken a “little dip” in practice this week, offered support for his teammate.

“Of course, I fully back Mark,” Smith said. “I fully back the coaches’ decisions. I’m all about helping this team win. Once they came out with the decision that he would start the first preseason game, I really didn’t have any reaction to it.”

Meanwhile, Lions receiver Chaz Schilens, who played for the Jets in 2012, made it clear he’s happy to have escaped from New York and Sanchez.

Asked if Sanchez can win back the fans, he responded: “Nothing good to say, so I’m not going to say nothing.”

Timberwolves rookie Shabazz Muhammad was sent home Wednesday from the NBA’s rookie transition program after he brought a female visitor to his hotel room the previous night. Muhammad will be fined and have to repeat the program next summer.

“We have been made aware of the circumstances surrounding Shabazz Muhammad’s dismissal from the NBA’s rookie transition program in New Jersey,” Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders said in a team news release. “The team fully supports the NBA’s rules and policies in all matters pertaining to this situation and we will abide by the league’s action.”

Muhammad, chosen 14th in June’s draft after one season at UCLA, is no stranger to controversy. Issues with the NCAA led to his college career being delayed, and there have been questions about his maturity, work ethic and willingness to be a team player that contributed to his slide on draft day.

The rookie transition program is a four-day seminar that is designed to educate and advise young players about making the transition to the NBA.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Aug. 8, 2004, which Red Sox pitcher allowed a team record six home runs but still got the win in an 11-9 victory over the Tigers?

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Read More: alex rodriguez, johnny damon, Mark Sanchez, Shabazz Muhammad
LEEInks List: Top 10 Red Sox All-Star moments since 2000 07.16.13 at 9:46 am ET
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Baseball’s biggest names and top talent — including David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and Clay Buchholz — are descending upon The Big Apple in preparation for the 84th annual MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field. As your own prep for the exhibition that counts, take a walk down memory lane with a look at the top 10 Red Sox All-Star moments since 2000.

David Ortiz won the Home Run Derby in 2010. (AP)

David Ortiz won the Home Run Derby in 2010. (AP)

10. 2002: Johnny Damon voted in as 30th man

In his first season as a Red Sox, Damon was elected as the “The All-Star 30th man,” the inaugural version of what has become the “Final Vote,” for his first of two All-Star appearances. Damon, who joined Manny Ramirez to land two-thirds of the Sox outfield in the Midsummer Classic, started a four-run, seventh-inning rally when he singled and stole second before scoring.

9. 2007: Hideki Okajima gets in on Final Vote

The Red Sox brought in two Japanese pitchers prior to the 2007 season, but only one of them was an All-Star. Okajima, a left-handed reliever known in part for his unorthodox delivery that featured him looking away from home plate, beat out Roy Halladay and three other pitchers in that year’s Final Vote to join fellow Sox hurlers Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon.

8. 2006: With all-Red Sox/Yankees infield, AL wins again

With Yankees Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter starting on the left side of the infield, Ortiz was voted the AL’s first baseman (the game was played under NL rules at PNC Park in Pittsburgh) and Mark Loretta, in his only season as a Red Sox, played second. Jeter, Ortiz and Rodriguez were 2-3-4 in the batting order, but the foursome went hitless.

In the fifth, Loretta gave way to the Rangers’ Michael Young, whose two-run triple in the top of the ninth was enough to earn him MVP honors and give the AL a 3-2 win.

7. 2005: Four Red Sox voted in as starters

A year after winning the World Series, four Red Sox — Jason Varitek, Manny Ramirez, Ortiz and Damon — were selected by fans to be starters for the AL squad managed by Terry Francona. (Right-hander Matt Clement also made the team after a 10-win first half.)

The Red Sox crew went a combined 4-for-8 with two runs scored, an RBI and a walk. Ortiz drove in Damon with a line-drive single to right in the third as the AL won, again, 7-5.

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Read More: David Ortiz, Derek Lowe, hanley ramirez, jason varitek
Yankees GM Brian Cashman: Johnny Damon ‘just not going to fit our needs’ 02.27.13 at 10:13 am ET
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Johnny Damon

Johnny Damon expressed an interest in returning to the Yankees while outfielder Curtis Granderson recovers from his broken arm, but he acknowledged that it’s unlikely the team would reach out to him. On Tuesday, general manager Brian Cashman responded to an exploratory text from Damon’s agent, Scott Boras, and confirmed Damon’s thinking.

“It’s just not something we’re going to pursue.” Cashman said (via the New York Daily News). “I love Johnny, a lot of leadership and everything else. But it’s just not going to fit our needs. It’s the same reason we didn’t bring him in last year. We need somebody who can play the outfield every day.”

Damon, 39, last played with the Yankees in 2009. He was a member of the Tigers in 2010 and the Rays in 2011, and he played 64 games last season with the Indians before being released. With his outfield skills deteriorating, he’s been used more as a designated hitter the last three years.

“That’s what he was towards the end with us,” Cashman said. “But he was a great Yankee, has a World Series ring to show for it, and it was a good marriage while we had it. Johnny’s great. Listen, I love Johnny Damon, and he was an awesome Yankee when we had him — but that was a while ago.”

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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Johnny Damon lobbies for return to Yankees 02.26.13 at 7:46 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:
NHL: Bruins at Islanders, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN, NHL Network)
College basketball: Indiana at Minnesota, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Memphis at Xavier, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Auburn at Alabama, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Towson at George Mason, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Florida at Tennessee, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Nebraska at Wisconsin, 9 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Florida State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
MLB preseason: Yankees at Phillies, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Diamondbacks at Angels, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Johnny Damon

♦ With Curtis Granderson out for an estimated 10 weeks after breaking his arm, the Yankees are looking for outfield help. Former Yankee (and Red Sox) Johnny Damon is eager to return, but he isn’t expecting he’ll get a call.

“I don’t think it will [happen],” Damon told the New York Post. “They’ve had plenty of opportunities since 2009 and it hasn’t happened. But if they call, I’m ready to go.”

Damon was released by the Indians after hitting .222 in 64 games last season. He lobbied for a chance to prove his worth to the Yankees, for whom he hit 24 home runs during their 2009 World Series championship season — although even then he was moved to a DH role as his outfield skills deteriorated.

“I would play for the minimum [$490,000 one-year deal] for six weeks,” Damon said. “If Granderson returns, I would leave. If there’s no room for me, I am gone.”

♦ The Jets added to speculation that they want to part ways with cornerback Darrelle Revis when they avoided contact with Revis’ camp at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, according to a New York Daily News report.

Jets general manager John Idzik, coach Rex Ryan and owner Woody Johnson reportedly had no contact with Revis’ representatives, who were staying at a hotel a few blocks from the Jets brass before departing Monday. Meanwhile, the Jets executives met with representatives of a number of other Jets players.

Revis suffered a season-ending knee injury after playing just two games last season. He is scheduled to earn $6 million in 2013 and is looking for a long-term deal, ideally to remain in New York.

Dennis Rodman and three members of the Harlem Globetrotters are part of a group heading to North Korea as part of an HBO show. Rodman, the controversial former NBA star, is visiting the country that is in a state of war with the United States two weeks after North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test in defiance of a United Nations ban.

“Is sending the Harlem Globetrotters and Dennis Rodman to [North Korea] strange? In a word, yes,” said Shane Smith, VICE media company founder who is host of the upcoming series. “But finding common ground on the basketball court is a beautiful thing.

“These channels of cultural communication might appear untraditional, and perhaps they are, but we think it’s important just to keep the lines open,” he said. “And if Washington isn’t going to send their generals, then we’ll send our Globetrotters.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 26, 1994, Patriots fans bought 5,968 season tickets, a team single-day record, following the previous day’s announcement that Robert Kraft had purchased the team from which man?

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Read More: Darrelle Revis, Dennis Rodman, Harlem Globetrotters, johnny damon
Johnny Damon would ask to wear Royals cap if elected to Hall of Fame 07.22.11 at 1:24 pm ET
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Johnny Damon

Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon told MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian Thursday that if he were elected to the Hall of Fame, he would wear a Royals hat.

“Well, it’s a tough decision … four years in Boston … four years in New York … five and a half years in Kansas City,” Damon said. “If you go by the numbers, that’s where my best years were. So, if they’d have me …”

Baseball-reference.com compares Damon favorably with several Hall of Famers, including Roberto Alomar, Paul Molitor and Rickey Henderson.

Read More: johnny damon, Kansas City Royals, Matt Vasgersian, Paul Molitor
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Trial begins for former Patriots LB accused of murder 06.20.11 at 7:12 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.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY MONDAY:
MLB: Padres at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)

AROUND THE WEB:

♦ Former Patriots and Colts linebacker Eric Naposki will go on trial starting Monday in the 1994 shooting death of Southern California multimillionaire Bill McLaughlin. Prosecutors say Naposki’s ex-girlfriend, Nanette Packard, convinced Naposki to kill McLaughlin so she could collect $1 million in life insurance. Packard also had been dating McLaughlin. In 1996, she pleaded guilty to stealing $500,000 from McLaughlin before and after his death and served a year in prison.

Naposki attended UConn and was on the Patriots roster in 1988 and 1989. He joined the Colts in 1989 and later played four seasons for the Barcelona Dragons of the World League of American Football. He was a personal trainer and nightclub security guard at the time of the crime. In 2009, when prosecutors finally determined they had enough evidence to press charges, Naposki was serving as a personal trainer in Connecticut and engaged to a schoolteacher.

Johnny Damon‘s solid season for the Rays has revived talk about the former Red Sox outfielder having a shot at the Hall of Fame. Roger Mooney in The Tampa Tribune looks at Damon’s candidacy and quotes the player as saying: “I think I can [get in] now. … If you ask a lot of former teammates, they would believe so.”

Johnathan Taylor, the paralyzed University of Georgia outfielder who was drafted by the Rangers, met the media at a Saturday press conference along with two other draft picks. Jeff Schultz in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about the inspirational day.

♦ ESPN.com NBA writer Chris Sheridan filed suit against the New York Post and columnist Peter Vecsey, accusing the paper of publishing “a maliciously false article” that impugned “Sheridan’s veracity and competence as a journalist.” It’s based on a Dec. 14 article in which Vecsey wrote: “No doubt the same fountains of misinformation that frequently play make-believe with ESPN’s Chris Sheridan, whose latest fairy tale had Carmelo Anthony notifying the Nuggets he won’t accept a trade to any team but the Knicks.” Anthony, of course, eventually was traded to the Knicks.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On June 20, 1955, the Red Sox signed which local high school star who would go on to pitch eight seasons for the team?

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Read More: Chris Sheridan, Eric Naposki, Johnathan Taylor, johnny damon
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Autographed football helmet sells for $2 million 04.18.11 at 7:40 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.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY MONDAY:
MLB: Blue Jays at Red Sox, 11:05 a.m. (NESN; WEEI)
NHL Playoffs: Bruins at Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)

AROUND THE WEB:

♦ In what is believed to be the highest price paid for a piece of football memorabilia, an autographed Houston Oilers helmet was auctioned for $2 million late last week. Houston lawyer Steve Mostyn outbid his wife Amber for the helmet signed by coach Bum Phillips and players.

Manny Ramirez was a bust, but the Rays hit it big with Johnny Damon, their other major free agent signee with a Red Sox connection. Damon has two walkoff hits already this season, and he helped Tampa Bay beat the Sox twice last week. In the St. Petersburg Times, John Romano writes that Damon is the Rays’ first rock star.

♦ With Barry Bonds‘ trial over and Roger Clemens‘ trial upcoming, Katie Thomas in The New York Times compares the two and ponders whether Clemens will have a tougher road because of the situation in which he is accused of lying.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On April 18, 1966, Red Auerbach named Bill Russell as his replacement as coach of the Celtics (Russell also continued to play). How many seasons did Russell go on to coach the C’s?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Once it starts to go all together, it’ll be scary.” — Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, after the Red Sox beat the Jays on Sunday for their second straight win

STAT OF THE DAY: 1-for-11 — Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony‘s shooting numbers in the second half of the Celtics’ 87-85 victory Sunday

‘NET RESULTS: A member of the Mariners grounds crew fell victim to the tarp roller at a game last week.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Three seasons, of which two ended with NBA titles

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Country Joe McDonald turns 70 Monday.

Read More: Barry Bonds, Bum Phillips, johnny damon, roger clemens
Report: Johnny Damon close to deal with Rays 01.21.11 at 9:53 am ET
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Johnny Damon and the Rays are closing in on a deal, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports. Brown says there is still some work to be done, though.

Damon hit .271 with eight home runs, 51 RBIs and 81 runs scored in 145 games with the Tigers last season. He made just 36 starts in the outfield, as the bulk of his time came as the team’s designated hitter.

Read More: johnny damon, Rumor Mill,
Johnny Damon discussing return to Yankees 12.23.10 at 1:00 am ET
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According to Newsday, which cited four sources, free agent Johnny Damon is in talks with the Yankees about a possible return to the Bronx. According to the story, the two sides are discussing a scenario in which the 37-year-old would get “occasional at-bats” as a designated hitter and left fielder, spelling Jorge Posada as a DH and either filling in for Brett Gardner in left or permitting Gardner to slide to center on days when Curtis Granderson gets the day off.

While the article suggests that Damon would prefer a job that had more certain playing time, making it unclear whether there is a deal to be struck, it also notes that “neither Damon nor the Yankees are thrilled with their other options.”

Damon spent the 2010 season with the Tigers, hitting .271/.355/.401/.756. That followed four years with the Yankees (.285/.363/.458/.821) from 2006-09 and four years with the Sox (.295/.362/.441/.803) from 2002-05.

Damon told WEEI.com earlier this month that he would welcome a return to the Red Sox, but the team has subsequently signed Carl Crawford, leaving it without an outfield need.

Read More: johnny damon, Yankees,
Report: White Sox consider Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui 11.18.10 at 7:39 am ET
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According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the White Sox are considering making offers to Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui as they search for a left-handed bat. The report indicates that the team likely will wait until next month before making a decision. Damon played for the Tigers last season while Matsui played for the Angels.

Read More: Hideki Matsui, johnny damon, Rumor Mill,