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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.

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)


– 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.

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)


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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Read More: Jonathan Papelbon, Phil Jackson, Steve Kerr,
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.

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)


– 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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Read More: Jonathan Papelbon, Ryne Sandberg,
Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Ex-Dolphin Richie Incognito apologizes in return to Twitter 02.18.14 at 8:10 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.

NBA: Knicks at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA: Spurs at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Wake Forest at Maryland, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Villanova at Providence, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Texas at Iowa State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: South Florida at Louisville, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Kentucky at Ole Miss, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: N.C. State at Clemson, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: George Washington at Richmond, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Iowa at Indiana, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Butler at St. John’s, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Georgia at Tennessee, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Utah State at San Diego State, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: UEFA Champions League, Manchester City vs. Barcelona, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Olympics: Men’s hockey qualification, Russia vs. Norway, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Men’s speedskating, men’s Nordic combined, cross-country, 10 a.m. (NBCSN)
Olympics: Men’s hockey qualification, Switzerland vs Latvia, noon (MSNBC)
Olympics: Men’s speedskating, men’s Nordic combined, 3 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s curling, women’s curling, 5 p.m. (CNBC)
Olympics: Women’s Alpine, men’s freestyle skiing, women’s bobsled, women’s short-track speedskating, 8 p.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Women’s short-track speedskating, 1 a.m. (NBC)
Olympics: Men’s hockey quarterfinal, Slovenia vs. Sweden, 3 a.m. (NBCSN)


Richie Incognito, who deleted his Twitter account Friday after the release of the report that chastised him and two of his Dolphins teammates for creating a culture of harassment in the locker room toward Jonathan Martin and others, returned Monday with a new approach.

Incognito, who blasted Martin last week before the report came out — writing, “The truth is going to bury you” — took a different approach Monday, apparently realizing that he has jeopardized his playing career with his behavior. Incognito, who was suspended for the final two months of the season, is a free agent, and the Dolphins have made it clear he’s unlikely to return.

Tweeted Incognito: I apologize for acting like a big baby the last few days. This has all been so much on me and my family. I just want to play football

And: I want everyone to know I’m in good spirits and looking forward to playing again one day Early Tuesday, he added a note to Martin: I would like to send Jonathan my apologies as well. Until someone tells me different you are still my brother. No hard feelings


Incognito completed his series of apologies with a message to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and investigator Ted Wells.

Wrote Incognito: I would like to also apologize to Mr. Ross and Mr. Wells. [Expletive] got cray cray #MYBAD

– The Phillies are looking to bounce back after a disappointing 2013, and Jonathan Papelbon says he wants to help by bringing a positive attitude.

The former Red Sox closer — who last year stated, “I didn’t come here for this,” and indicated the team needed major changes — is ready for a new start under new manager Ryne Sandberg.

“I know I said a lot of things that have come in the middle of 10-, 12-game losing streaks that come out with emotion,” he said Monday (via the Philadelphia Inquirer), adding: “I’ve always been an emotional-type player. That’s just the way I am. This year, that emotion has turned into so much more of a positive than a negative. I’m not saying we’re going to go out and everything is hunky-dory. We still have a lot of work to put in. That starts from the top with Ryno. A lot of guys are jumping on board.”

That said, Papelbon indicated he doesn’t plan to stop speaking his mind.

“I’ve said a lot of things in my career that may or may not have been right,” Papelbon said. “I won’t take a single one back, though. I say what I say and I mean it. I’m an emotional person. I pitch emotionally. I wear my heart on my sleeve, man. That’s just the way I go about it. If that’s the way I’m going to continue to do it, I want you guys to know I’m a good teammate.”

– The Pennsylvania high school senior with Down syndrome who hit four 3-pointers in a basketball game last week is turning pro.

Kevin Grow, the student manager at Bensalem High who scored a game-high 14 points when given a chance to play (with cooperation from a gracious opponent), was presented with a two-day ceremonial contract by the 76ers. He was given the chance to shoot around with Sixers players toward the end of Monday’s practice, and he’s slated to participate in pregame activities before Tuesday’s game against the Cavaliers.

“Grow has become an inspiration to the Sixers organization, as his story has swept the nation,” the team said in a statement.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 18, 1930, which Bruins goaltender set an NHL record for most wins in a season when he recorded his 31st with a 3-2 victory over the visiting Canadiens?

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Read More: Jonathan Martin, Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Grow, Richie Incognito
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos’ Dan Koppen out for season with torn ACL 07.29.13 at 8:03 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.

MLB: Rays at Red Sox, 6:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Angels at Rangers, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)


‘™¦ Center Dan Koppen, who was preparing for his second season with the Broncos after nine seasons in New England, tore the ACL in his left knee Sunday during practice and will not play this season.

“You always cringe. You never like to see anybody that’s injured severely,” Broncos coach John Fox said. “But you understand ‘€¦ it happens.”

The Boston College product signed a one year-deal worth $940,000 with the Broncos last month after Denver lost J.D. Walton for at least the first two months of the season following a setback in his recovery from a dislocated ankle.

Koppen, 33, started 13 games last season, after starting 119 games for the Patriots from 2003-11.

Sunday night the Broncos signed free agent center Steve Vallos, who is expected to compete for the job with Manny Ramirez, a guard who has taken snaps at center this offseason.

‘™¦ When closer Jonathan Papelbon left the Red Sox to sign a four-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies after the 2011 season, he expected big things. Neither he nor the team has delivered.

The Phillies, who finished last season at 81-81, lost their eighth straight game Sunday, with the 12-4 loss to the Tigers dropping them to 49-56, a season-worst seven games under .500. Papelbon is 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA and 20 saves in 25 chances.

“I definitely didn’t come here for this,” Papelbon said, via MLB.com.

The outspoken right-hander has been the subject of trade rumors the past two months, but he said he doesn’t want to leave Philadelphia — unless this season is a sign of things to come.

“No, I would like to stay here,” he said. “But if I’m going to have to put up with this year after year, then no, I don’t to he here. Why would you? Why would anybody?”

Papelbon said the Phillies might need an overhaul similar to the one that happened in Boston last year.

“It’s going to take, in my opinion, a lot,” he said. “And in my opinion, I think it’s going to have to be something very similar to what the Red Sox went through a couple years ago. From top to bottom.”

And if part of Philadelphia’s overhaul includes moving Papelbon, he said he’ll accept that decision.

“That’s part of it,” he said. “That’s part of the business. If you want to go in a different direction and I’m not a piece of that puzzle, so be it. This is a job. There are no feelings in this game. I left [Boston]. Carl [Crawford] left. [Josh] Beckett left. Adrian [Gonzalez] left. Now look at them.”

‘™¦ Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez resigned following the team’s game Sunday, following accusations that he has regularly been verbally abusing players and had a physical altercation with one of them.

The former Yankees first baseman, in his first year in Miami — and reportedly a candidate for the Red Sox’ opening this past offseason — admitted that he grabbed rookie second baseman Derek Dietrich by the front of his jersey in early May and “overreacted” in his interactions with the team’s younger players.

“I want to apologize to the Marlins organization for my behavior,” Martinez said. “I have made some comments to certain players at certain times that I thought was more constructive criticism. Obviously, they didn’t feel that way, and it kind of backfired on me.”

Added Martinez: “I just thought with some young players you needed to be a little firmer and try to get them on the right track. I probably used some four-letter words. I thought I was doing the right thing. Obviously, I wasn’t.”

The Miami Herald quoted an unnamed player as saying Martinez, 45, has been an issue since spring training.

“It’s all shocked everybody,” the player said. “He uses intimidation. It’s been a problem since Day 1.”

Martinez, whose Marlins rank last in the majors in runs, home runs, batting and slugging, said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll try to coach again.

“I don’t know long term how it’s going to affect me,” Martinez said. “Right now I’m disappointed in myself. I’m embarrassed. Right now I’m not worried about the future. I just want to make sure my family is OK.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On July 29, 1988, the Red Sox traded Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling to the Orioles for which player?

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Read More: Dan Koppen, Jonathan Papelbon, Tino Martinez,
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.

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 ‘€œFinal 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
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Phillies GM says Jonathan Papelbon not on market 06.21.13 at 8:00 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’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.

MLB: Red Sox at Tigers, 7:08 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Rangers at Cardinals, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
College baseball: World Series, Oregon State vs. Mississippi State, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
College baseball: World Series, UCLA vs. North Carolina, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Soccer: U-20 World Cup, United States vs. Spain, 1:45 p.m. (ESPN2)
Major League Lacrosse: New York Lizards at Boston Cannons, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)


‘™¦ Red Sox fans fed up with Andrew Bailey‘s struggles — he apparently will be removed from the closer’s role after blowing Thursday’s game in Detroit — might want to think twice about pinning their hopes on the team reacquiring Jonathan Papelbon.

First off, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Thursday that he has no plans to trade Papelbon or ace left-hander Cliff Lee.

“Absolutely not, because those are guys I’€™d be better off having on my club than not,’€ Amaro told The Associated Press. ‘€œWho am I going to replace these guys with to win a championship?”

Added Amaro: “These are championship-caliber players. If we think about moving these guys, then I better be getting someone of better or equal value, and I just don’t see that happening.”

Meanwhile, Papelbon, who left Boston for Philadelphia as a free agent after the 2011 season, ended his season-long streak of successful saves by blowing two this week, and he’s taking some heat for his comments after one of those games.

In the ninth inning of Wednesday’s loss to the Nationals, the Phillies misplayed a ground ball and Papelbon couldn’t catch a low throw from second baseman Freddy Galvis. Papelbon questioned why the infielders weren’t positioned farther back on a 3-1 count.

“This is a game of fundamentals, and we’ve got to do fundamentals right and keep grinding,” said Papelbon, who has 14 saves in 16 chances, a 1.95 ERA and a 0.795 WHIP. “Everything from the pitchers making the correct pitches to pitchers backing up the right bases to the outfield moving on counts to the infield moving on counts. Everything that goes into every pre-pitch. We’ve got to do better.

“I’m not pointing fingers at anyone. It’s a team effort here. ‘€¦ I’m seeing some of the same mistakes. I think for us, we have to make the fundamental plays we’re supposed to make.”

‘™¦ The attorney for embattled Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez lashed out at Major League Baseball officials and said their investigation into the Biogenesis situation is “irreparably tainted.”

David Cornwell also represents two other players who have been identified as having a relationship with the since-closed Miami clinic that allegedly dealt performance-enhancing drugs: Yankees cacther Francisco Cervelli and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal.

“The conduct of Major League Baseball with the Tony Bosch investigation is despicable, unethical and potentially illegal,” Cornwell told USA Today. “Paying for evidence. Offering to pay for evidence. Intimidating witnesses.

“One thing we know: That evidence is unreliable. They have tainted the evidence beyond the point that you can rely on it, from their own conduct. And it’s because of this hysterical reaction to the concept [that players acquired PEDs from Bosch's clinic]. It’s absurd.”

MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred responded to Cornwell’s attack in kind.

Said Manfred: “At the conclusion of this investigation we hope that there will be a full airing of what we have learned about what Mr. Cornwell and his clients have done, so that the public can decide who has behaved despicably, unethically and illegally.”

‘™¦ Jay-Z was certified by both the NBA and MLB players unions, the hip-hop star’s Roc Nation agency announced, making him officially eligible to represent players in both leagues.

Jay-Z lured Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano from Scott Boras earlier this year, and Thunder star Kevin Durant reportedly is considering joining the firm as well.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On June 21, 1916, which Red Sox hurler pitched the first no-hitter in Fenway Park history, a 2-0 victory over the Yankees that included three walks? Hint: The player shares a name with an outfielder from Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine of the 1970s.

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Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon: ‘Since I’ve been here, I haven’t seen any leadership’ 02.22.13 at 9:44 am ET
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While the Red Sox have been blasted for their problems in the locker room over the past season-plus, former Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon apparently isn’t finding the situation much better after one season in Philadelphia.

“Since I’ve been here, I haven’t seen any leadership,” Papelbon told the Allentown (Pa.) Morning Call.

Papelbon acknowledged his own failure in that department.

“I felt like I could have been a little bit better leader than what I was, and I held back at some times,” he said. “Hindsight’s 20-20.”

The Phillies won their fifth straight National League East title in 2011, winning a team-record 102 games. But they dramatically underachieved in 2012, finishing 81-81 and in third place, and Papelbon said a change in attitude is needed for 2013.

“I think we’re capable of greatness,” Papelbon said from Phillies spring training in Clearwater, Fla. “I think we’re capable of a world championship. I really, truly believe that. But the biggest key for us is that we’re going to have to find our identity, and we’re going to have to find our identity quick.”

Added Papelbon: “Every good team that I’ve been a part of has had a good core group of veterans and an influx of a good group of young guys and I think that’s a recipe for success,” he said. “But at the same time, that doesn’t mean we’re going to have success. In my opinion, this team has way more to lose than to prove. I think a lot of guys on this team have proved a lot. But I think this year if we don’t go out and do what we’re capable [of] and supposed to do, then we have a lot more to lose.”

Papelbon has the support of manager Charlie Manuel.

“I’m not answering nothing for him, but he won’t tell you because he’s a little stubborn in some ways, but I think he expected us to play better, he expected us to win more games,” Manuel said. “I think he can be good for us. He’s very serious about winning and he loves to pitch. I like everything about Papelbon.”

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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jonathan Papelbon says Red Sox promoted controversial drug Toradol, but not PEDs 02.11.13 at 7:58 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.

NBA: Celtics at Bobcats, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Spurs at Bulls, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Marquette at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Old Dominion at Delaware, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: TCU at Oklahoma, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kansas State at Kansas, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Alcorn State at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Kings at Blues, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: Beanpot final, Boston College vs. Northeastern, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)


‘™¦ Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon told ESPN that he was regularly injected with Toradol, a legal but controversial anti-inflammatory drug, during his time in Boston. Papelbon said his current team, the Phillies, told him he no longer would use the non-steroidal drug when he signed as a free agent after the 2011 season.

“They told me, ‘We don’t do that here. That kind of surprised me,” Papelbon said. “I haven’t had a single Toradol shot since.

“But here’s the thing you have to understand. There are so many organizations that do it. Not only baseball, but every sport. Football, basketball, hockey. It’s not just the Red Sox.”

The drug was the subject of some discussion last year when Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz was hospitalized with esophagitis, said to be a side effect of Toradol. In December 2011, some retired NFL players filed a lawsuit accusing the league of indiscriminately administering the drug before and during games.

Following Curt Schilling‘s accusation that a member of the Sox’ medical staff recommended he consider performance-enhancing drugs, Papelbon said he did not have a similar experience.

“No, no, no — never,” Papelbon said. “I think that would be pretty asinine for any team doctor or trainer to say that don’t you?”

‘™¦ An autobiography from former Mets catcher Mike Piazza reveals details about his feud with pitcher Roger Clemens, who beaned Piazza with a 98 mph fastball in 2000. Piazza said he refused an apology from Clemens and took karate lessons to prepare for another altercation, which occurred in the 2000 World Series when Clemens threw a piece of a broken bat at Piazza. However, only words were exchanged.

“There were complications,” Piazza explained. “The least of them was the realization that Clemens was a big guy, and I stood a pretty fair chance of getting my ass kicked in front of Yankee Stadium and the world. That was a legitimate concern.”

Piazza regrets his failure to act in that situation.

“It was not only possible but — circumstances be damned — it was in order.” Piazza said. “It was the story of the Series. I couldn’t deliver a punch.”

Also in the book, Piazza denies rumors that he took illegal steroids, although he admits to using muscle-building supplements and stimulants.

‘™¦ Rapper Lil Wayne claims he was kicked out of Sunday’s Lakers-Heat game in Miami because he was cheering for the visiting team.

Tweeted the rapper:

So I’m @ da Heat game right, rootin 4 da Lakers kuz dats my team & would u believe they got police 2 make me leave?! Wow [expletive] da Heat.

Wayne previously made news during the 2012 Western Conference finals when he complained he was “denied by the team to be in their arena” in Oklahoma City to see the Thunder play the Spurs in Game 3. However, a Thunder spokesman explained that Wayne demanded a front-row seat but was told there were none available.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Feb. 11, 1973, which 35-year-old rookie goalie recorded his first NHL shutout in the Bruins’ 2-0 victory over the visiting Kings?

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Read More: Curt Schilling, Jonathan Papelbon, Lil Wayne, Mike Piazza
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Kevin Youkilis shines again for White Sox, Jonathan Papelbon blows one for Phillies 07.06.12 at 7:59 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’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.

MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Braves at Phillies, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 8 a.m. (ESPN)

MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, Game 1, 12:35 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, Game 2, 7:15 p.m. (Fox; WEEI)
MLB: Cubs at Mets, 4 p.m. (WGN)
MLB: Orioles at Angels, 10 p.m. (MLB)
MLL: Cannons at Nationals, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 9 a.m. (ESPN)

MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 8:05 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI)
MLB: Braves at Phillies, 1:30 p.m. (TBS)
MLB: Blue Jays at White Sox, 2 p.m. (WGN)
MiLB: All-Star Futures Game, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLS: Red Bulls at Revolution, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 9 a.m. (ESPN)


‘™¦ A couple of former Red Sox players are in the news for opposite results from Thursday night. In Chicago, Kevin Youkilis continued to deliver key hits for the first-place White Sox, while in New York, Jonathan Papelbon said, “This one’s on me,” after blowing a save for the last-place Phillies.

Youkilis completed a memorable first homestand at U.S. Cellular Field as a member of the White Sox, as he hit a game-winning home run in the sixth inning for a 2-1 victory and series sweep of the Rangers.

Youkilis is batting .307 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in his 10 games with the White Sox, even though he claims he hasn’t found his comfort zone in his new home.

“I haven’t gotten too good of a feel for [U.S. Cellular Field] yet, but hopefully the ball keeps jumping,” he said.

Papelbon, who left Boston as a free agent after last season, entered his team’s game in the ninth inning with a 5-4 lead but allowed two runs as the Phillies dropped a 6-5 decision to the Mets at Citi Field.

“The way I look at it, this one’s on me,” said Papelbon, who is 2-3 with a 3.45 ERA and 18 saves (but two blown saves in his last three opportunities). “This ain’t on nobody else. I thought the team went out and grinded as hard as we could, every out, every inning. This one’s on my shoulders. When I take it on my shoulders, I take it pretty serious. I’ve just got to come back and keep fighting.”

‘™¦ The Tony La Russa-Dusty Baker feud continues, as La Russa said Thursday that he isn’t ready to forgive Baker after the Reds skipper accused him of holding a grudge when he left two Cincinnati players off the All-Star team. Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips were key figures in a brawl between the Reds and Cardinals two years ago, and Baker said that’s why La Russa passed them over when naming his reserves.

La Russa, who retired after leading the Cardinals to a World Series championship last year, defended his decision earlier in the week, then he appeared on Thursday’s Dan Patrick Show and didn’t hide his feelings.

“I feel betrayed by him,” La Russa said of Baker. “Professionally is one thing. That was personal. ‘€¦ That was a knife in the back I don’t think I’ll forget.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On July 6, 1966, the Red Sox swept a doubleheader from the Yankees. Which Red Sox pitcher won both games, and which Sox closer saved both games?

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