No more Mr. Nice Guy for Green

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No more Mr. Nice Guy for Green

MILWAUKEE After Boston's 96-92 win over Milwaukee, Jeff Green sat in his locker stall, sharing a few laughs with teammate Courtney Lee.

There he was, the seemingly always-jovial Jeff Green.

It was in a sense a Jekyll-and-Hyde moment because the happy-go-lucky Jeff Green in the locker room was an absolute monster on the floor just a few minutes prior to that for Boston.

And nobody seemed to relish this fiesty, bad-boy side of Green more than Kevin Garnett.

"Jeff's a really, really nice guy," Garnett said. "Some nights, you just gotta be an asshole."

And the turning point for Green seemed to be an attempted dunk early in the fourth quarter in which he was fouled on the play.

"After the dunk he was aggressive; he was greedy Jeff," said a visibly excited Garnett.

Not only was the 12 points scored by Green a season-high, but it came on a night in which he played with the greatest amount of aggression we've seen from him this season.

Green said his strong play was fueled in large part by the Celtics defense getting multiple stops which allowed the C's to get out in transition.

"I just have to stay aggressive," Green said. "As long as I'm aggressive, that's all that matters. I'm not going to get every call, I'm not going to make every shot. But as long as I stay aggressive, I'll be good."

Green's strong performance on Saturday served as both a reminder of his immense potential in addition to the fact that he's still working his way back into shape - both physically and mentally - after a long layoff.

"I think we forget Jeff sat out a whole year last year," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "And just because he played well in the preseason, it's going to take him time, it's going to take him time to get comfortable."

But the Green on display Saturday was indeed a welcomed sight for Rivers.

"When he plays like that," Rivers said. "We're a better team. He made defensive plays, he got rebounds, committed some hard fouls ... a lot of good things."

And although Green has maintained his confidence has been unaffected by his struggles leading up to Saturday, teammates and coaches are quick to point out how a performance like Saturday's can do nothing but help him going forward.

"That's just what he needed to get his confidence," said Paul Pierce. "Sometimes when a player is struggling a bit, he just needs to see a couple baskets go in the hole, couple guys high-five him, encourage him; that can get you going sometimes."

Je-Vaughn Watson scores late, Revs beat Fire 1-0

Je-Vaughn Watson scores late, Revs beat Fire 1-0

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Je-Vaughn Watson scored on a header in the 85th minute and the New England Revolution beat the Chicago Fire 1-0 on Saturday night.

The Revolution (6-7-8) had a flurry of attempts leading up to the goal and Fire (4-10-5) goalkeeper Sean Johnson made three saves in the 2 minutes prior.

But Johnson came off his line to defend Chris Tierney's corner and failed to clear it with his outstretched hand while Watson connected and sent the header into the empty net.

Bobby Shuttleworth earned his fifth shutout of the season for New England.

Could Chris Sale's altercation open the door to get him at a lower cost?

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Could Chris Sale's altercation open the door to get him at a lower cost?

Chris Sale -- this year’s American league starting pitcher in the All-Star game -- was a late scratch and sent home before his scheduled Saturday start.

This of course comes after the White Sox have begun to listen to offers for their bonafide ace -- including the Red Sox.

Preceding the game, the White Sox released a statement from senior vice president/general manager Rick Hahn explaining that Sale’s removal was “due to a clubhouse incident before the game.”

After ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported the altercation was with staff from the front office and had nothing to do with his teammates, there was another report that the issue pertained to the throwback uniforms the White Sox planned to wear for Saturday’s game.

Fox’s Ken Rosenthal has additionally been told the issue “was bigger than that.” 

Sale is a huge addition to any starting rotation -- never mind the Red Sox staff.

His stats are without a doubt impressive. An All-Star every season since 2012 thanks to his career 2.95 ERA and 10.1 K/9 -- this year posting a 3.18 ERA and 8.7 K/9.

But numbers can be deceiving -- especially with players playing for a small market club. That’s not the case with Sale though. While the White Sox haven’t contended in the postseason with the lefty, there’s no denying that Chicago isn’t a small market by any means.

The jump from Chicago to Boston is nothing compared to players coming from places like Miami or Atlanta -- or San Diego. So Sale presents a good fit in terms of approach -- in addition to having good stuff.

The incident makes Sale come across as a prima donna, the fact that the issue went past the uniforms shows there could be a deeper issue at hand -- and not so much an indictment of his mental make-up.

Additionally, this altercation could open the door to get Sale at a lower value. If it was that bad that he was sent home, it could take a lot more than a stern talk and hand shakes to resolve the issue, giving interested teams a much better chance to obtain the Cy Young candidate.

However, if the Red Sox do manage to strike a deal with the White Sox, they’d be wise to throw someone else on throwback nights.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar

Mookie Betts' injury likely just a short-term issue

Mookie Betts' injury likely just a short-term issue

BOSTON -- After leaving Friday night’s game with right knee soreness, structural damage has been ruled out regarding Mookie Betts, but he could still be out for a bit.

Testing was done on Betts’ knee, removing any doubt of a deeper issue, revealing it was just build-up of fluid, causing swelling in his knee.

“Day-to-day is the status. It may take a couple for him before he’s back to us.” John Farrell said. “Everything points to this being a short-term situation.”

Betts explained that his condition had improved from Friday night, but -- much like Farrell -- doesn’t know how quickly he can bounce back. He wouldn’t make a definitive statement on whether or not he’d be available Sunday.

“It feels pretty good now,” Betts said. “We’re going to do some treatment on it, make sure everything is good and hopefully get back out there.”

Betts joins the list of pivotal players unavailable in Saturday’s game, including Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara who are both on the DL.

Farrell couldn’t commit to a timetable for when he expects Uehara should be back, but hopes he’ll be available during the regular season.

“We’re hopeful of that,” Farrell said when asked if he thought Uehara would be back before the postseason. “There’s no number of day’s that says Koji’s going to put a ball back in his hand . . . To give you a time frame, it’s too early to tell.”

Kimbrel, on the other hand, has bounced back well, and is expected to throw his first bullpen Sunday or Monday. The hope is that he’ll throw twice off the mound before the trip to the West, which would set him up for a simulated game.

“We need to get some PFP involved -- just some change in direction, fielding the position,” Farrell said on Kimbrel. “But in terms of amount of time missed, and that fact that he’s able to as get aggressive right now in long toss. I would think it would be on the shorter end of appearances if it’s even more than one. He feels very good. If he wasn’t making the ultimate decision medically [he’d] probably say ‘Give me the ball tonight.’ That’s how good he feels -- that’s encouraging.”