From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Phillies filled their biggest need right before the winter meetings ended, acquiring center fielder Ben Revere from the Minnesota Twins for right-handers Vance Worley and Trevor May on Thursday.The 24-year-old Revere is expected to be Philadelphia's answer in center. He batted .294 with 40 stolen bases in 124 games last season."Ben is an outstanding, young, controllable center fielder who fits nicely with our club," general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.The Phillies were seeking an everyday center fielder after trading two-time All-Star Shane Victorino last July. They pursued free agents B.J. Upton and Angel Pagan before turning to the trade route. Upton left Tampa Bay for a 75 million, five-year deal with Atlanta. Pagan got a 40 million, four-year deal to stay in San Francisco.Michael Bourn and Josh Hamilton drew Philadelphia's interest. Both All-Stars are still free agents and expected to command significant contracts.Desperate to improve their pitching, the Twins have traded two center fielders in a week. They sent Denard Span to Washington for minor league right-hander Alex Meyer. Before acquiring Worley, left-hander Scott Diamond was Minnesota's only starter assured of a spot in the 2013 rotation.Darin Mastroianni is expected to get a chance to start in center for the Twins He hit .252 in 163 at-bats last season. Aaron Hicks, the team's first-round draft pick in 2008, could be the long-term solution. Hicks finished the season in Double-A, hitting .286 with 13 homers, 61 RBIs, 11 triples, 32 steals and a .384 on-base percentage in 129 games for the New Britain Rock Cats. Prospect Joe Benson also will be in the mix after an injury-ruined season in the minors."They had a lot of interest in a center fielder, and they had some pitching they were willing to give up," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said.Ryan acknowledged trading both Span and Revere was "a risk." But he said Benson, Hicks and Mastroianni are all "pure center fielders" who are capable of handling the defensive part of the job."We don't know quite yet about whether they're ready offensively, but we're going to find out," Ryan said.In many ways, Revere is a younger, cheaper version of Bourn, who was drafted by Philadelphia and traded to Houston for Brad Lidge before the 2008 season when the Phillies won the World Series.Both are speedy, small and left-handed hitters. Revere is listed at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, two inches shorter and 10 pounds lighter than Bourn.Bourn had a .261 average, .325 on-base percentage, 61 extra-base hits and stole 102 bases in his first two full seasons -- both with the Astros. Revere had a .281 average, .322 on-base percentage, 33 extra-base hits and 74 steals in his first two full seasons. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is bat control. Bourn struck out 251 times to only 100 for Revere.A former first-round pick by the Twins, Revere is a .278 career hitter with 64 RBIs in his two-plus seasons with Minnesota. He has zero home runs in the majors in 989 at-bats and only five in 2,573 professional at-bats.Revere hit .314 against left-handed pitchers last year, had 37 infield hits and six triples. His eight outfield assists led the Twins. Revere made 126 career starts in center field, 84 in right field and 19 in left field.Worley was 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA last year after going 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA as a rookie in 2011, helping the Phillies win their fifth straight NL East title. He had elbow surgery in September, but is expected to be ready for spring training.Worley became a fan favorite his first season in Philadelphia. He stood out as much for his quirky look -- he had a Mohawk haircut and wears glasses -- as he did for his strong performance on the mound that helped him finish third in NL Rookie of the Year voting.Worley had a 5.80 ERA in his last 11 starts before he went on the disabled list. The Phillies now will likely look for another starter in free agency or through a trade. They still have Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee as the top three. Kyle Kendrick and Tyler Cloyd finished last season in the rotation.May was 10-13 with a 4.87 ERA at Double-A Reading. He was Philadelphia's top prospect before his so-so season.The Phillies finished 81-81 in 2012, ending their string of postseason appearances at five. They still have to fill several needs, including another starting outfielder and a third baseman.
FOXBORO – Four quarters left in Tom Brady’s suspension, an undetermined (but also dwindling) number of days remaining in Rex Ryan’s tenure as a head coach, this game is intriguing for a lot of reasons. The Patriots can close out a remarkable quarter-season performance without Brady and put him back in the driver’s seat with a three-game edge over the Bills simply by taking out Rex. How they manage that – and which quarterback manages that – is the question that’s swirled all week.
WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL
Traditionally, the Patriots have thrown over and around the Bills’ front-seven with great success. Tom Brady’s good at that. Jimmy Garoppolo, with a bad shoulder, or Jacoby Brissett, with limited experience, may not be able to pull off the same act. Which means this could be a day for LeGarrette Blount who so far is leading the league in rushing. Many of those yards have come at the closeout juncture of games. This week, he may asked to do the damage early. The Bills have allowed five touchdowns on the grounds this season but only 3.4 yards per carry.
WHEN THE BILLS HAVE THE BALL
Without Sammy Watkins and dealing with issues at left tackle, the Bills are going to have to get a productive, 25-to-30-touch game out of running back LeSean McCoy. He’s handled the ball 59 times so far in three games (11 catches) and has been by far the focal point of the Bills offense. But with the Patriots having the chance to fixate on McCoy, Buffalo and newly-minted offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn better have a backup plan if and when the Patriots send multiple players to dog him. The Bills’ will be in a position where it’s on Tyrod Taylor to figure something out. The Patriots aren’t going to aggressively rush him. If the rush gets past him, it was done by mistake. Force Taylor to be a passer, find Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin and ailing tight end Charles Clay. Meanwhile, the Patriots figure to have Donta Hightower back to help with quarterbacking the defense. The Patriots are in a position defensively to really put the screws to a Bills team that doesn’t seem to have a lot of options.
THE KICKING GAME
Old friend Brandon Tate is the Bills’ return guy on both punts and kickoffs. He’ll get a good test from the Patriots special teams corps which has been a major story this season. Ryan Allen had a career game last week against Houston with six punts inside the 20 and one sitting on the 20. There were no return yards. The Patriots kick coverage created two turnovers last game against Houston and hasn’t allowed a return past the 25.
PATRIOTS MEDICAL REPORT
QUESTIONABLE: QB Jacoby Brissett (thumb), QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder), T Marcus Cannon (calf), G Jonathan Cooper (foot), LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder), TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring), LB Dont’a Hightower (knee), CB Eric Rowe
BILLS MEDICAL REPORT
OUT: WR Sammy Watkins (foot), T Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle), C Patrick Lewis (knee) and WR Greg Salas (groin) QUESTIONABLE: S Colt Anderson (foot), TE Charles Clay (knee), CB Ronald Darby (hamstring), T Cordy Glenn (ankle), QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder), S Jonathan Meeks(foot) and S Aaron Williams (ankle)
GAME WITHIN THE GAME
The speed with which Buffalo adjusts to the Patriots offensive game plan and whether or not the Patriots have an adjustment to the adjustment. The uncertainty of the Patriots quarterback situation has been a distraction for the Bills and Rex Ryan this week and – given the Bills leaky pass defense – how Buffalo decides to deploy will matter a lot depending on who’s at quarterback.
BILLS GOTTA STOP
Jannyris Edeldolagan. That’s just an amalgamation of the three wideouts of similar talent, pallor and quickness that kill defenses in the receiver shell game the Patriots play every week. Just when a defense thinks it’s got it figured out on a key third down and has set itself to take away Edelman, for instance, the dagger gets inserted by Amendola or Hogan. It’s like a shell game.
PATRIOTS GOTTA STOP
LeSean McCoy. That’s the whole damn game. Cuz you. Don’t wanna mess with Shady. Cuz Shady. Will … cause big problems.
THAT SUMS IT UP PATRIOTS STYLE
“I fly around every day. You can’t land this jet, you know what I’m saying? It’s like having a private plane, wherever I want to go, I just go. I don’t have to worry about no jet fuel. I would say Gatorade but they don’t sponsor me so I’ll just go get me some good ole’ something to drink, and Gatorade can have the plug.” – Martellus Bennett, Patriots tight end, on the team flying around in September.
THAT SUMS IT UP BILLS STYLE
“It’s more of a ‘this is still a game.’ It’s a billion dollar industry and things but it’s still a game and you’ve got to be true to yourself and I’m true to myself. To me it’s just a thing where, you know, I enjoy Belichick’s press conferences and everything else because he’s true to himself and he does a great job. It’s pretty funny to me because you guys can never get anything out of him and I just think it’s great. It’s kind of funny that way. I pulled it knowing that every question is going to be about who’s the quarterback and all that. One thing I know for sure is that Tom Brady is not the quarterback and I feel good about that.” – Simple Rex, after being asked why he mimicked Bill Belichick during his week-opening press conference
THE WINNER IS...
Patriots 23, Bills 13
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while gearing up for Big Papi weekend.
*A “behind-the-scenes” look as Jimmy Vesey was sold on the New York Rangers, but there’s not too much detail about the pitches from the other teams. Feels pretty apparent at this point that Vesey wanted to live, and work, in New York City.
*Damien Cox says that the World Cup of Hockey better get it right the next time, or else…or else what, Damien? You’re going to block them on Twitter?
*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Patrick Kane, Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban making their preseason debuts on Saturday. David Backes and David Pastrnak will play their first preseason games for the Bruins as well.
*It’s a complicated, strange story with Vladimir Sobotka, the KHL and the contract he seemingly can’t get out of to again play for the St. Louis Blues.
*Oliver Ekman-Larsson is ready to get back to work with the Arizona Coyotes after his World Cup experience.
*San Jose Sharks prospect Timo Meier is out for the next month with mono, which is definitely worse timing than Zach Senyshyn getting hit with the mononucleosis bomb over the summer.
*A quick look at the Philadelphia Flyers in advance of their preseason meeting with the Black and Gold tonight, which won’t be televised.
*For something completely different: there will be some pretty funky stuff happening on The Walking Dead this season.