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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Nationals star Bryce Harper says he’s OK with suspended closer Jonathan Papelbon returning next year 09.29.15 at 8:08 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: Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Athletics at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (ESPN)
WNBA playoffs: Fever at Liberty, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Champions League, Dinamo Zagreb at Bayern Munich, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Champions League, Leverkusen at FC Barcelona, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jonathan Papelbon is done for the season following his dugout attack on teammate Bryce Harper, but Harper said he’d be OK with the outspoken closer returning next season.

“If Paps can help us win a World Series next year, that’s what I need. That’s what this whole clubhouse needs,” Harper said. “We can’t be fighting or anything like that.”

Papelbon was suspended three games by the league for throwing at Orioles star Manny Machado, and the team gave him a four-game punishment for Sunday’s fight. He initially appealed the league ban but dropped it Monday, meaning he’ll miss all of his team’s remaining games.

Harper sat out Monday’s game, which the team said was discipline for the fight, although he had said Sunday it was a scheduled day off.

Harper also said he’s not sure what he could have done to avoid the scrap. Papelbon was criticizing Harper for not running out a fly ball when the exchange became heated and Papelbon grabbed Harper by the throat and pushed him backward.

“If you’re in a bar or if you’re in the dugout or if you’re anywhere, if someone grabs your neck, your first reaction is to do what I did, I guess,” Harper said.

— There was a scary moment in Monday night’s Cardinals-Pirates game in Pittsburgh, as St. Louis left fielder Stephen Piscotty’s head collided with the knee of center fielder Peter Bourjos while Bourjos made a catch of a fly ball.

Piscotty was knocked unconscious by the blow, and he was bleeding from the mouth. He eventually moved his arms while receiving medical attention. He was taken away on a cart and examined at Allegheny General Hospital, where he remained overnight. Manager Mike Matheny said the initial test results “were as good as we can get.”

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Read More: Bryce Harper, Jonathan Papelbon, kobe bryant, Stephen Piscotty
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jonathan Papelbon apologizes for fight with Nationals teammate Bryce Harper 09.28.15 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.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cardinals at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: Astros at Mariners, 10:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL: Chiefs at Packers, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
Soccer: Premier League, Everton at West Brom, 2:55 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jonathan Papelbon is accepting blame for a dugout fight with Nationals teammate Bryce Harper during Sunday’s 12-5 loss to the Phillies in Washington.

In the top of the eighth inning, Harper popped up to left field and walked out of the batter’s box toward first base. When he returned to the dugout, Papelbon appeared to chastise him for not running out the play. As the confrontation became more heated, Papelbon grabbed Harper by the throat and pushed him backward into the dugout bench as teammates stepped in to break it up.

“I’m in the wrong there. I’ve got to leave that up to our manager,” Papelbon said. “There’s a lot of competition, it’s a long season, it’s a grind. I think we’re going to handle that in-house and stuff like that. I’ve talked to Bryce and told him how we feel. We’re on the same page now, which is good. [We’ll] squash this and head to tomorrow’s game.

“I grew up with brothers, he grew up with brothers, I view him as a brother of mine. Sometimes in this game there’s a lot of testosterone, there’s a lot of intensity that spills over. I think that happened today. For me, I can’t allow that to happen in the middle of a game. You can handle that after the games or allow the manager to handle that. So in that light of it, I’m wrong.”

Harper, who did not play the ninth inning, was dismissive of questions about the incident.

“I mean, he apologized, so, whatever,” Harper said. “I really don’t care.”

Papelbon, who was acquired from Philadelphia in late July, entered Sunday’s game in the eighth with the score tied. He went back out for the ninth and promptly allowed five runs to take the loss.

The Nationals, expected to challenge for the National League pennant, were eliminated from playoff contention Saturday.

— The Jets were off to a 2-0 start, but Sunday was not a good day at the Meadowlands. Not only did New York turn over the ball four times in a 24-17 loss to the previously winless Eagles, the son of one of the Jets coaches found himself in hot water after a couple of antagonistic tweets directed at injured quarterback Geno Smith and cornerback Antonio Cromartie.

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Read More: Antonio Cromartie, Brent Grimes, Bryce Harper, Jonathan Papelbon
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon rips Phillies, then blows save against them 09.15.15 at 7:51 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: Red Sox at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Rays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Astros at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Malmo FF at Paris St. Germain, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester United at PSV Eindhoven, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon’s return to Philadelphia on Monday was an eventful one. Before the game, the outspoken reliever shared his frustrations about his former team. Then he proceeded to suffer his first blown save of the season, allowing a game-tying home run in the 10th inning (Washington went on to win in 11 innings).

Papelbon, who left the Red Sox as a free agent to sign a four-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies in 2011, said he is not the one to blame for Philadelphia’s struggles the past couple of seasons, and he doesn’t care if anyone was offended by his desire to be traded.

“If I say something, I mean it,” Papelbon said. “I’m not going to take anything back that I’ve ever said or did because I believe that it’s right. I don’t know if I got a bad rap here or whatever, but I can promise you I was far [from] the bad guy on this team. I was one of the few that wanted to actually win and I was one of the few that competed and posted up every day.”

Papelbon criticized the front office for giving up on the present in favor of a rebuilding plan, noting that president Pat Gillick said last offseason that the team was two years away from competing at the earliest.

“I think the blame goes all the way from the front office all the way down to the bat boy,” he said. “When you don’t have an organization that wants to win it’s pretty evident when they go out and publicly say, we’re not going to win.”

Although he owns the Phillies’ career saves record with 123 (with a 2.31 ERA), Papelbon said he doesn’t care if he’s not welcomed back in Philadelphia going forward.

“I don’t like the barbecues at the alumni weekend anyway,” he said. “It doesn’t really hurt my feelings. The way I look back on it is I came here as a free agent and I looked to produce day in and day out, and I felt like I did that. We had a lot of injuries and a lot of guys fall by the wayside, but I was still be able to be there and grinding every day and posting up so that’s the way I look at it. It just so happened to be an unfortunate situation where you just lost one game after another.”

— The hits keep on coming at Rutgers, as yet another member of the school’s football team is facing legal trouble.

On Monday, one day after Rutgers announced that senior captain Leonte Carroo was suspended indefinitely, it was revealed that he had been arrested for an domestic violence incident Saturday outside the team’s training and administrative building. Carrie is the seventh member of the team to be arrested this month. The other six were kicked off the team.

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Read More: Jonathan Papelbon, Kyle Flood, Leonte Carroo, Ndamukong Suh
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Nationals acquire Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, much to dismay of current closer Drew Storen 07.29.15 at 7:57 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rockies at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Angels at Astros, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
MLS: All-Star Game, 7 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Jonathan Papelbon‘s trade to the Nationals would appear to be a boost to Washington, but not everyone is thrilled with the team landing a new closer.

Drew Storen, who has 29 saves in 31 chances and a 1.73 ERA, was informed Tuesday that he’ll be replaced by the former Phillies closer, demoted to fill-in closing and set-up responsibilities.

“All I’m going to say is obviously I’m aware of the move,” Storen told reporters. “Talked to [general manager] Mike [Rizzo] about it, talked to my agent. We’ve had some ongoing discussions. Until those have progressed, I’m just going to leave it at that.”

As part of the trade, the Nationals agreed to pick up Papelbon’s option for 2016 (albeit reportedly for $11 million, less than the original $13 million). The Phillies, who received pitching prospect Nick Pivetta, are said to be paying the remainder of Papelbon’s 2015 salary ($4.5 million).

While Storen has been solid, the rest of Washington’s relievers have not been as impressive. The team is 42-7 when leading after six innings (46-0 when leading entering the ninth). The bullpen combined has a 3.39 ERA, 12th in the majors. Adding Papelbon and altering Storen’s role should, on paper, make the Nationals much stronger overall.

Rizzo acknowledged that the news “was difficult to take” for Storen, but the 27-year-old “took it like a pro, and he’s going to be a professional in the clubhouse and on the mound.”

As for the 34-year-old Papelbon, a six-time All-Star who starred for the Red Sox before signing as a free agent with Philadelphia, he carries a 1.59 ERA and saved all 17 of his chances for the last-place Phillies this season.

“This guy wants to win,” Rizzo said. “First and foremost, he wants to win. … He excels in pressure situations, and that’s his personality. Does it grate on the opposition at times? Yes, it does. But he comes with high credentials, high praise from his teammates and guys who’ve been around him.”

— Mets management was in disbelief Tuesday after relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia — just weeks back from an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs — was suspended 162 games for another violation.

Mejia first was suspended April 11 after testing positive for Stanozolol, and at the time insisted that he had “no idea how a banned substance ended up in my system.”

According to MLB, Mejia again tested positive for Stanozolol as well as Boldenone, costing him a season’s worth of games.

“I was totally shocked,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “Incredulous — whatever the right term is — that this could happen so swiftly on the heels of a past suspension. Couldn’t understand it.”

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Read More: Drew Storen, Jenrry Mejia, Jonathan Papelbon, Miguel Herrera
Report: Cubs, Blue Jays have spoken to Phillies about trade for Jonathan Papelbon 06.11.15 at 9:25 am ET
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Closer Jonathan Papelbon has drawn interest from the Cubs and Blue Jays, according to Ken Rosenthal, and the Phillies seem likely to trade him.

Since Papelbon is making more than $8 million for the remainder of the year and has a $13 million option for next season that will vest if he finishes 26 more games than the 22 he’s already completed, Rosenthal noted both the Jays and Cubs would like to get away with paying as little as possible for the closer financially as well as prospects, but talks are at an “impasse.”

After the Phillies spoke with Toronto late last week, they began more intently scouting the Blue Jays’ minor league affiliates, and “the sense among the industry,” according to Rosenthal, is that Philadelphia would prefer the Jays swap over one with Chicago.

Papelbon, who has a no-trade clause and can refuse a deal if he desires, expressed his willingness during spring training to try a a trade to Toronto.

“Yes, Toronto interests me — if it interests [Phillies general manager] Ruben [Amaro Jr.],” Papelbon told CSN Philadelphia. “I know some of the guys on their coaching staff. They’re a good team. If Ruben can do a deal with them, I’d be interested.”

But, the Cubs could still have a chance at reuniting Papelbon with Theo Epstein, than man who drafted him with the Red Sox in 2003. The Cubs picked up free agent righty Rafael Soriano in part because they’re trying to build up as many late-inning options as they can.

“While Epstein and Hoyer know that Papelbon occasionally is brash and outspoken, they also know that players respect his work habits and competitive spirit — and that he likely would not be a distraction in manager Joe Maddon‘s clubhouse,” Rosenthal wrote.

Papelbon is an unblemished 12-for-12 in save situations this year, posting a 1.13 ERA with 29 strikeouts, six walks and one home run over 24 innings. He was 39-for-43 last season with a 2.04 ERA, striking out 64, walking 15 and surrendering just two home runs in 66 1/3 frames.

Read More: Jonathan Papelbon,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Cardinals RB Jonathan Dwyer latest NFL player to face domestic assault charges 09.18.14 at 7:50 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 Pirates, 3:30 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rangers at Athletics, 3:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Brewers at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
NFL: Buccaneers at Falcons, 8:25 p.m. (CBS, NFL Network)
College football: Auburn at Kansas State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Alabama State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: UEFA Europa: Partizan vs. Tottenham, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Wolfsburg at Everton, 3 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: Women’s exhibition, Mexico at United States, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— A difficult month for the NFL got a little more challenging Wednesday when Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer became the latest player to be arrested on charges related to domestic violence.

Dwyer was charged with aggravated assault for his role in two altercations at his home in July involving a 27-year-old woman and their 18th-month-old child. Police said the 25-year-old Dwyer denied committing any assault, although he admitted other facts about the confrontations.

“Given the serious nature of these allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities,” the team said in a statement.

Following two incidents days before training camp opened, the woman moved out of state with the child. She contacted police last week with new information, including text messages that indicated Dwyer “was going to harm himself because of what had been going on.”

Dwyer was freed on $25,000 cash bond early Thursday, wearing an electronic monitoring device. He was ordered to stay in the state and avoid contact with the alleged victims. He also cannot have involvement with weapons, drugs and alcohol.

Dwyer, who signed a one-year, $795,000 contract with the Cardinals as a free agent on March 12, has 16 carries for 51 yards and a touchdown in two games this season.

Meanwhile, attorney Gloria Allred claimed in a press conference Wednesday that Bears receiver Brandon Marshall assaulted his former girlfriend in 2007, and commissioner Roger Goodell failed to investigate the situation after promising to do so.

Marshall was arrested after an incident seven years ago, but he claims he never hit his ex-girlfriend, despite her repeated accusations of domestic violence.

— Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston acknowledged his mistake after being suspended for the first half of this Saturday’s game against Clemson for shouting an inappropriate comment on campus.

“I have to tone it down,” he said during his weekly press conference before Wednesday’s practice.

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Read More: Brandon Marshall, Jameis Winston, Joe West, Jonathan Dwyer
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Jonathan Papelbon apologizes but still denies intent after being suspended 09.16.14 at 7:53 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: Red Sox at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Brewers at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Reds at Cubs, 8 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Mariners at Angels, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Minor League Baseball: Triple-A championship, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Arsenal at Dortmund, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: CONCACAF Champions, Olimpia at Portland, 10 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended seven games for his behavior Sunday, when he grabbed his crotch as he walked off the field, apparently in response to booing home fans who were upset that he blew a three-run ninth-inning lead.

Papelbon was ejected from the game and proceeded to argue with umpire Joe West, insisting that he was only adjusting his cup and was not responding to the crowd. He maintained his innocence Monday, while apologizing to those who might have misunderstood his actions.

“While I completely understand how the fans would perceive my gesture while being booed, it was not my intent whatsoever to insult the fans of Philadelphia,” the former Red Sox star said in a statement. “If it was perceived in that manner, I sincerely apologize.”

The team, however, appeared to agree with MLB, while implying it had no authority to punish the pitcher itself.

“The Phillies fully support the decision of the Commissioner’s Office, which has exclusive jurisdiction for on-field player behavior,” the team said in a statement. “By Major League Baseball rules, the Phillies have no authority to make official judgments about activity which occurs on the field or to determine the appropriate penalty for misconduct. We apologize to our fans for the actions of our player yesterday.”

MASHUP POLL: Do you believe Jonathan Papelbon that he was not responding to booing fans in Philadelphia when he grabbed his crotch?

  • No, he's clearly not telling the truth and deserves his suspension (84%, 383 Votes)
  • Yes, Papelbon deserves the benefit of the doubt (16%, 73 Votes)

Total Voters: 456

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The outspoken Papelbon, who had overcome some early season struggles, had converted 14 consecutive save opportunities since July 22 before blowing Sunday’s game and taking the loss.

Derek Jeter is going out not with a bang but with a whimper in New York, and it’s gotten so bad that the Yankees benched their captain for Monday’s game.

Jeter entered the night without a hit in his last eight games (0-for-24), reaching base just once during that span, via a walk. He is hitting .116 in September (5-for-43) after hitting .207 in August. His season batting average has dipped 10 points to .250, and he has just three home runs.

“He’€™s just scuffling; he had somewhat of a tough August, and September has been even tougher,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “There are a few guys that are going through that. It’€™s not the time of year that you want it to happen. We’€™ll give him a day off today, see if we can get him out of it and get him going.”

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Read More: Derek Jeter, Jonathan Papelbon,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Pacers’ Lance Stephenson convinced he’s in LeBron James’ head 05.26.14 at 8:21 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 Braves, 1:10 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Cardinals, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Cubs at Giants, 4 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Tigers at Athletics, 4 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
MLB: Reds at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Pacers at Heat, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
WNBA: Minnesota at Chicago, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL playoffs: Blackhawks at Kings, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College lacrosse: NCAA championship, Duke vs. Notre Dame, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tennis: French Open, 10 a.m. (Tennis Channel), noon (NBC)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Pacers are down 2-1 to the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals heading into Monday night’s Game 4, but Indiana guard Lance Stephenson is confident that he’s in LeBron James‘ head.

Stephenson said Sunday that James does not usually engage in trash talk during the game, as he did in the first half of Saturday’s Game 3.

“To me, it’s a sign of weakness,” Stephenson said. “[People] used to say that to me. I’m going to do something to get you mad. Now he’s trying to do it to me. I feel like there’s a weakness and I feel like I’m doing something right to get underneath his skin.”

Stephenson conveniently ignored the fact that James and the Heat overcame a 15-point first-half deficit to win Game 3 by 12 points, 99-87.

James, who traded barbs after Stephenson drew a charge on him, said he’ll only get involved in trash talk if the other player starts it, as Stephenson did in this case.

“I’m not much of a talker, but I can,” James said. “I don’t ever start it, but I can get involved in it and still keep my head. Winning the game is more important. I understand what the main goal is.”

Stephenson, who drew criticism for making a “choke” sign toward James after a missed free throw when the teams met in the 2012 playoffs, is averring 17.3 points and 6.7 assists through three games, as compared to James’ 24.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists.

“I’ll never back down,” Stephenson said. “He’s the best player in the league. I will refuse to back down to him.”

— Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, whose popularity continues to dip, had a confrontation with veteran Philadelphia radio talk-show host Howard Eskin before Saturday’s game.

It’s believed that Papelbon was upset with Eskin claiming Papelbon was out late the night before a recent game against the Mets in New York. Papelbon said he was not available to pitch in the Sunday game — which would have been his third consecutive appearance — and Eskin implied the closer’s partying the night before might have had something to do with it.

Eskin, never one to shy away from controversy, then engaged in a Twitter back and forth with Papelbon’s wife, Ashley, who denied Eskin’s claim. Eskin had reported that the Papelbons were out partying with Jacoby Ellsbury‘s family, but Ashley noted that the Ellsburys were out of town (the Yankees were playing in Milwaukee) and explained that Eskin was “misinformed.” Eskin stood by his story.

— In a Friday press conference, Ravens running back Ray Rice admitted he “failed miserably” and apologized for his actions that led to assault charges following an incident with his wife in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City where she appeared to be knocked out. However, it was a comment from his wife that got the most attention.

“I do deeply regret the role I played in the incident that night,” Janay Rice said. “But I can say that I am happy that we continue to work through it together. I love Ray, and I know that he will continue to prove himself not only to you all, but to the community, and I know he will gain your respect back in due time.”

The Ravens Twitter account was bombarded with criticism after tweeting the first part of Janay’s comment, as fans accused the team of insensitivity toward the victim.

Rice’s lawyer then appeared on the radio and implied that Rice was “getting repeatedly hit” before hitting back, and that he could have won a court case but decided to accept a pretrial diversionary program for the benefit of all involved (he’s still expected to receive a suspension from commissioner Roger Goodell).

“I think it puts this matter behind him not only for his NFL career, but it was the right choice for his family as well,” attorney Michael Diamondstein told New Jersey’s ESPN Radio 97.3-FM (via The Baltimore Sun).

Diamondstein could not explain why Rice’s wife appeared at the press conference, noting: “That press conference is something that was done with Ray and Janay and the Ravens. I wasn’t a part of that.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 26, 1987, in the Celtics‘ 108-107 victory over the Pistons in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Larry Bird stole Isiah Thomas‘ inbounds pass and fed which player for the game-winning layup with one second remaining?

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Read More: Jonathan Papelbon, Lance Stephenson, LeBron James, Ray Rice
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Steve Kerr surprisingly chooses Warriors over Knicks 05.15.14 at 8:00 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 Twins, 1:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Padres at Reds, 12:30 p.m. (FS1)
MLB: Yankees at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA playoffs: Pacers at Wizards, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA playoffs: Thunder at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Hockey: IIHF World Championships, Latvia vs. United States, 9:30 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Steve Kerr, long targeted by the Knicks and new president Phil Jackson, instead decided to become coach of the Warriors on Wednesday, as his agent revealed that he accepted an offer of $25 million over five seasons.

“I told Phil, ‘I think I have to pursue this other opportunity,’ ” Kerr told NBA.com. “He gave me his blessing. He said, ‘Go look at it,’ and see what was in my heart.”

Kerr, who has no coaching experience, won three titles as a Bulls guard when Jackson was coach. He went on to win two more rings as a member of the Spurs toward the end of his 15-year playing career. Kerr subsequently spent three seasons as general manager of the Suns until quitting in 2010 and has since served as an analyst for NBA games on TNT.

Rumors that Jackson wanted Kerr to coach the Knicks began right after Jackson was hired as president in mid-March. The Warriors, meanwhile, were said to favor Stan Van Gundy, but when he accepted the Pistons job Wednesday, that opened the door for Kerr to accept a job in his home state.

Kerr, 48, replaced Mark Jackson, who had on-court success in three seasons but clashed with members of his staff and the front office. The Warriors won 51 games before losing to the Clippers in seven games in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Knicks reportedly will consider soon-to-be-retired Thunder guard Derek Fisher and Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis.

Jonathan Papelbon saved back-to-back games against the Mets on Friday and Saturday, but his decision to make himself unavailable for Sunday’s series finale did not sit well with manager Ryne Sandberg. Especially after the Phillies blew a ninth-inning lead in a 5-4 loss.

“We need a closer that can go three games in a row and close three games,” Sandberg said. “No question about that.”

Papelbon said he was bothered by back soreness, swing Toronto’s Rogers Centre turf might have contributed to the problem. He declared himself ready to go on Tuesday and insisted, “I play through a lot of soreness.”

“I wasn’t comfortable with throwing,” Papelbon said. “I felt like it could create more injury. Instead of missing 30 or 40 or 50 games, I decided it would be best for my team and my career to maybe sit one out.”

Sandberg said he’d like to be able to count on the game’s highest-paid reliever to go three days in a row in the future.

“I sure hope so,” Sandberg said. “That’s his job.”

— The NCAA decided to allow Boise State to provide “immediate assistance” to a football recruit who is homeless after an Idaho TV station aired a documentary about his situation.

Antoine Turner, who said he has at times slept at a motel, in his girlfriend’s car and on park benches, will graduate from Fullerton College (a junior college) before moving to Boise for the start of classes on June 9. Per NCAA rules, players cannot receive any assistance until arriving on campus and attending school. However, the NCAA realized the seriousness of the situation and allowed Boise State to help Turner right away.

Turner had a rough childhood in New Orleans, losing his mother when he was 4, having a strained relationship with his father, surviving Hurricane Katrina and breaking free from gang connections. He said he ran drugs for gangs but when he played football as a senior gang members “gave me a pass.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On May 15, 1990, the Basketball 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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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon implodes in loss to Rangers 04.03.14 at 8:14 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 Orioles, 7 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Cardinals at Reds, 12:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Twins at White Sox, 2 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Blue Jays at Rays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Bruins at Maple Leafs, 7:30 p.m. (NESNPlus)
NHL: Wild at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Kings at Sharks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Spurs at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Mavericks at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NIT championship, SMU vs. Minnesota, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: CIT championship, Yale at Murray State, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Juventus at Lyon, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The Phillies are trying to turn things around after a disappointing 2013, but they’ve gotten the 2014 season off to a rocky start. Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the Rangers was tough to take, as closer Jonathan Papelbon squandered a two-run lead in the ninth inning and walked home the winning run.

Papelbon, the former Red Sox reliever who is struggling to live up to the four-year, $50 million free agent contract he signed with Philadelphia before the 2012 season, retired only one of seven batters in the frame. After allowing a leadoff single to Adrian Beltre (who had the game-winning RBI in the ninth inning the night before) and a double to Mitch Moreland sandwiched around a strikeout of Alex Rios, Papelbon induced a slow roller to third from pinch-hitter Jim Adducci that turned into an RBI infield single. Leonys Martin then singled in the tying run. After a four-pitch walk to Donnie Murphy, Papelbon walked Shin-Soo Choo on a 3-2 pitch that was not close.

“The whole inning was kind of just one of those innings,” Papelbon said. “You get a cue ball down the third base line. Then you get a double-play ball, which you think is the game-ending double play. It’s not. My whole focus was get a ground ball, get a double play and get us out of the inning.”

Papelbon questioned his team’s defensive approach on Martin’s single, as the infield was partially moved in before Martin drove the ball past third baseman Chase Utley.

“Obviously I don’t know whether that’s called for the bench or called from the middle infielders, but less than two outs I’m thinking ground ball and I’m thinking let’s get this double play and go home,” Papelbon said. “Obviously I’m not going to second-guess my teammates or my coach.”

Papelbon’s fastball averaged 91.6 mph, down from his average of 93.8 in 2012, and he appeared to struggle with control.

“He was just up in the zone,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “He featured a lot of fastballs. They just happened to be up. Even an 0-2 fastball shoulder-high was a hittable pitch.”

The Phillies, won the opener 14-10, have not won a road series since Sandberg took over as manager last August.

— Former Red Sox pitcher Frank Viola, now a Triple-A pitching coach for the Mets, was resting comfortably in the hospital after successful heart surgery Wednesday, the Mets announced.

Viola, who pitched for the Twins, Mets, Red Sox, Reds and Blue Jays in his 15-year MLB career that was highlighted by a Cy Young season in 1988 with Minnesota, had his heart issue detected when he took a physical at spring training in preparation for his fourth season as a coach.

The 53-year-old made it clear to the team that he wants to return to the field this season.

“He certainly wants to be back, but I think we’ll let the doctors dictate when he does come back,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “When he’s ready and he’s able, I’m sure he’ll be out there, but we want to make sure he’s fully recovered from this surgery first.”

— A high school pitcher from Long Island made his first varsity start a memorable one, striking out all 21 batters for a perfect game in a 15-0 win.

Right-hander Mike Delio, who pitched for the Carle Place junior varsity the last two seasons, dominated Hempstead in the nonleague game Tuesday.

“I’ve had dreams of throwing no-hitters and perfect games, but nothing like this,” Delio said (via Newsday). This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 3, 1996, which Bruins goaltender recorded his 200th career NHL victory with a 4-1 win over the Canadiens in Montreal?

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