Red Sox 'had more dialogue' with Napoli

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Red Sox 'had more dialogue' with Napoli

BOSTON On Wednesday, 16 days after reports of a three-year, 39 million deal, there was no news on the Mike Napoli front, as both the Red Sox and Napolis agent remain mum on the topic.Theres really nothing to comment on, said general manager Ben Cherington Wednesday afternoon. As with any free agent, until its done, its not done. We continue to work on different ways to improve the team.Ill comment on it as soon as I can, but I cant right now. Weve had some more dialogue. I wouldnt classify it as one way or the other. Well see what happens. Were trying to improve the team and hopefully we can do that.Napolis agent did not respond to requests for comment.Asked about a report by SI.coms Will Carroll that the Sox wanted to reduce the number of years of the deal to protect themselves, Cherington could not clarify.I havent seen that, Cherington said. Im not going to comment on discussions were having, other than to say were still talking. Were still working through some issues and will continue to do so.Cherington did say, however, the Sox continue to work on other fronts, in case they are not able to work things out with Napoli.Sure, weve got to keep active, he said. Until something is done, its not done. Even then we cant be blind trying to improve the team in other ways. Were still working on a number of fronts so hopefully we can add to the team. That will continue through January and until spring training.Were working on a number of fronts, not just first base but other areas on the team. Cant give you a time line on whether this or that will happen or if itll happen.First base is the area as we go back to the beginning of the offseason we clearly identified as a need. We havent been able to address that yet. Still working on it, still working for ways to improve the team across the scope of the roster well see what opportunities come our way. Theres usually a little bit of a lull Christmas and thereafter. Things pick up in January.
-- The Sox have not officially announced the addition of shortstop Stephen Drew yet. He has not yet had a physical, but Cherington expects that to happen soon.
With the addition of Drew, it appears Jose Iglesias could be starting the season at Triple-A Pawtucket.At this point in his career he should be playing every day, Cherington said of Iglesias.
-- Cherington said the Sox remain committed to having Jacoby Ellsbury as their starting center fielder in 2013.-- While the Sox have had no discussions with outfielder Cody Ross recently, Cherington said they remain open to talks.
We have not closed the door by any means, Cherington said. I have not had a conversation recently with him. But no we have not closed the door.
-- The addition of Dempster gives the Sox a starting rotation of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, and Felix Doubront.We have a number of guys that are proven winners at the major league level Lester, Buchholz, Dempster, Lackey, Doubront, who had a really promising first full season, Cherington said. And then other guys on the team who are capable of pitching in that role Franklin Morales, Alfredo Aceves has done it some. So at the major league level I also think our depth underneath that is improved compared to where we were a year ago, guys who are getting towards the top of the system and could be options at some point during the 2013 season.So I think were in solid shape but were always open-minded about ways to improve. Ive said before, Ill say it again, I think were excited to have Ryan Demspter here. The performance of the other guys that were already here is going to have a bigger impact on our overall rotation performance than any one player we were going to add. We think Dempsters a really good fit for a lot of different reasons.
-- To make room on the 40-man roster for right-hander Ryan Dempster, Pedro Beato was designated for assignment. After being acquired from the Mets in August, Beato made four relief appearances for the Sox in 2012, going 1-0 with a 4.70 ERA. He also made seven appearances, including three in the postseason, for Pawtucket.

Isaiah Thomas won't make trip to Oklahoma City for Sunday game

Isaiah Thomas won't make trip to Oklahoma City for Sunday game

BOSTON – Facing Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook with a fully healthy squad is tough. 
 
Doing so without your leading scorer makes the challenge all that much greater. 
 
That is where the Celtics find themselves heading into Sunday night’s game against the Thunder without Isaiah Thomas, who did not travel with the team when they left for Oklahoma City today. 
 
Boston’s leading scorer this season with 26 points per game, Thomas suffered a right groin injury against Houston on Dec. 5 and has missed the Celtics’ past two games because of it. 
 
He was hoping to convince Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to let him travel with the team, but Thomas acknowledged convincing Ainge was a long shot. 
 
“He’s not really in favor of me going,” Thomas told reporters on Friday. “I’m trying to convince them to let me go. If I’m there, they know I’m going to try and play. I’m shooting for Wednesday [at San Antonio] for the most part. That’s more realistic than Sunday. Hopefully I can play on Wednesday.”
 
Boston has split the two games with Thomas out, beating the you-know-what out of Orlando 117-87 on the road, but dropping one at home 101-94 to Toronto on Friday night. 
 
As disappointed as Thomas is with not being able to play – it’s the first games he has missed since the 2014-2015 season – he understands the potential problems that could surface with an injury like this if he and the Celtics aren’t careful. 
 
“They keep wanting to be very patient with this,” Thomas said. “They don’t want to re-injure it. It is an injury that can get re-injured and be a problem the rest of the season. I don’t want that. On top of that, it gives me time to heal all the other injuries I have.”
 
Among the other injuries Thomas was referring to, is a still-swollen finger on his left (shooting) hand. 
 
The injury was believed to have happened on Nov. 12 against Indiana. 
 
While it was painfully sore, it didn’t seem to be an issue in Boston’s next game against New Orleans when he scored a season-high 37 points. He followed that up with a 30-point performance in a 90-83 win over Dallas.
 

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

Heinen looking to show his offense in his shot on Krejci line

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins mixed things up with their roster a bit on Saturday after dropping a couple of games in a row to Washington and Colorado. 

Fourth-line energy winger Noel Acciari and playmaking forward Danton Heinen were called up from Providence and will be in the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at TD Garden on Saturday night. 
Acciari went to Providence the past couple of days to get some game action in after missing the past month with a lower body injury, but clearly showed he’s ready to go. 

So, Acciari is back to provide the same hard-hitting and energy he showed before he was hurt and Heinen is looking to show off a little more offense than in his first stint with the Black and Gold this season. He’ll be featured in a top role as left wing with David Krejci and David Backes and with marching orders to shoot the puck like he never shot it in his previous stint in Boston. 

For the Bruins, it’s about getting another look at a candidate to play left wing beside Krejci with both Ryan Spooner and Tim Schaller, with limitations to their respective games, unable to fully grasp that same opportunity. 

“My hope is that Heinen can come in and give us some good hockey. He’s a skill player and he’s been down there for a while, and he’s back up again because he’s been playing well,” said Claude Julien of the Bruins rookie, who had four goals and seven points in his past five games with Providence. “Hopefully he can play well here also. It’s about getting some confidence. When he went down to [the AHL] the pace of his game had to get a little bit better, and in the battles coming up with the puck along the walls. Those are the kinds of things we thought he could work on down in Providence.”

Heinen knows he needs to shoot the puck a bit more to show off his offense after a seven-game stint with the Bruins where he went scoreless, was a minus-2 and had just six shots on net.

“Being hard on the walls, playing fast and shooting the puck, those were all things I was working on [in Providence],” said Heinen, who has seven goals and 13 points in 13 games for the P-Bruins after being assigned to Providence. “I was doing what they told me to do [in Providence] and that’s shoot the puck. They were going in, and I was getting some good opportunities on the power play. It’s seriously tough to get chances [at the NHL level], so you can’t pass them up when you have chances. That was kind of my focus down there.”

Fellow fourth-line energy winger Anton Blidh has been shipped to Providence after three solid games with the Black and Gold. 

Julien said Blidh goes back to Providence having adequately shown that he can play in the NHL. He clearly showed the Bruins that he understands his role as a player that stirs things up a bit and gets his nose dirty on a regular basis.

“[Blidh] was fine. No issues there. He does his job. He plays with lots of energy and obviously he’s getting more experience. He’s a lot better at understanding his positioning within the game and what he has to do,” said Julien. “I thought he helped us out for the time that he was here.”

With Heinen and Acciari both in the lineup and Blidh back in Providence, that means Jimmy Hayes will be scratched after dressing for three of the past four games for Boston.