Star WR lands on injured reserve

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Star WR lands on injured reserve

From Comcast SportsNetEDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings placed ailing wide receiver Percy Harvin on injured reserve Wednesday, abruptly ending a season that began so well for one of the NFL's most versatile players.Coach Leslie Frazier answered questions about Harvin's status cryptically and vaguely at his regular news conference, when he ruled Harvin out of practice again because of the severely sprained ankle that has kept him out of the last three games. Then about six hours later, the Vikings announced the move that declared their top pass-catcher done for the year.During an outstanding first half that put him in the conversation for the league's Most Valuable Player award, Harvin's season sure deteriorated quickly. He was hurt one month ago. Now this."We'll see what happens," quarterback Christian Ponder said before the news came out. "I don't know what or when he'll be back. We're just focused on who's going to be out there, who's going to be practicing today."Even bad sprains don't normally take more than four to six weeks to fully heal, so it's possible the injury is worse than originally revealed, perhaps requiring surgery. Neither team officials nor players were available for comment on the decision.Harvin wasn't on the indoor field at Winter Park as the Vikings went through drills in preparation for another critical NFC North game, this one at home against division co-leader Chicago. He wasn't in the locker room when it was open to reporters, either.Harvin was injured Nov. 4 at Seattle, leaving briefly in the third quarter of that game but returning with an obvious limp. He has missed three games since and only taken part in practice once since the injury, a week ago as a limited participant.Harvin was favoring his right foot running routes that afternoon during the portion of the workout that was open to the media, looking far less than full strength when pushing off or planting to change direction. Ponder has struggled at times even with Harvin, by far his favorite target, so this certainly won't help the team's lagging passing attack.In nine games, Harvin finished with 677 yards and three touchdowns on 62 receptions, 22 rushes for 96 yards and one score and one kickoff return for a touchdown. Now he's headed for the final year of his rookie contract, without any promise of an extension offer from the team."I know that he wants to win like we do, and I'm sure he's going to do everything he can do to help our football team. We'll see where it goes," Frazier said when asked if there were issues with Harvin beyond the injury. The coach said he couldn't go into greater detail about Harvin's condition but said the former first-round draft pick has "done pretty much the things that the trainers have asked him to do" in his rehabilitation.Frazier said he'd probably have a better answer Thursday to the question about whether Harvin would be able to face Chicago, alluding to the injured reserve move before it became known. Frazier said "not a whole lot" has changed with Harvin's condition but alluded to "some things" he's waiting for."Just got to see what's going to happen with him," said Frazier.Harvin caused a stir this summer by expressing unspecified disappointment with the organization and issuing a trade request he quietly rescinded. Harvin's gripe, he later acknowledged, was in part because of the way the team unevenly used him in the offense.He often moved from spot to spot to maximize his versatility and sometimes was limited to certain personnel groups so the Vikings could protect his health. But that became confusing and frustrating to him at times, he said, because he didn't always know what to expect.That fuss was all but forgotten with the season he was having, leading the NFL in total rushing, receiving and returning yards until his injury.Harvin missed a total of three games over his first three seasons, enduring problems with migraine headaches, which haven't given him trouble lately.Notes: DE Jared Allen's back has caused him some discomfort over the last week. He also confirmed after last Sunday's game he's been playing with a torn labrum in one of his shoulders but downplayed any negative effect that has had on his performance. Allen was on the field with the team at the end of Wednesday's practice, but he didn't participate. Frazier said the injury is not to the extent it would keep him out of this week's game, however. ... Allen was originally given half of a sack, shared with DT Kevin Williams, for a takedown of Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers midway through the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. According to the Vikings, the NFL changed the ruling to give Allen the full credit, bringing his season total to nine. Allen had 22 sacks last year, one-half short of the NFL record. He's tied for 10th in the league this season.

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"Part of that job is, when you miss, you have to miss to the extreme.'' - John Farrell on the role of eighth-inning reliever Clay Buchholz, who mislocated a fastball to Evan Longoria.

"We're putting ourselves in position to close games out and yet we've found ourselves a pitch or two from finishing the job.'' - Farrell on the team's bullpen woes.

"Fastball. I was trying to throw it up-and-away, and I pulled it, more inner-third. That's a spot where he hits the ball a long way.'' - Clay Buchholz on the game-winning homer by Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The Rays and Sox have played 21 one-run games in the lasr four seasons and four in the last week.

* David Ortiz's sacrifice fly in the sixth was his 26th go-ahead RBI, fourth-best in the A.L.

* Xander Bogaerts collected his 500th career hit, and became the fifth Red Sox player to reach that milestone before turning 24.

* Brock Holt's double in the fifth lifted his average to .337 with two outs.

* Hanley Ramirez's home run was his first against Tampa Bay since May 21, 2011 when he was with the Marlins.

* Ramirez has 19 extra-base hits in the last 27 home games.

* Dustin Pedroia was 1-for-3 and and is now 15-for-his-last-19 at Fenway.

* The Sox dropped to 7-37 when they score three runs or fewer.

* Brad Ziegler was unavailable, suffering from the flu.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

It wouldn't be a Rays win over the Red Sox without the third baseman doing some damage. Sure enough, he smoked a tape-measure shot over everything in left in the eighth to provide the winning margin for the visitors.

2) Luke Maile

Drew Pomeranz struck him out twice, but Maile more than got revenge in the seventh with a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to tie the game.

3) Hanley Ramirez

The first baseman had a three-hit night, including a solo homer and a run-scoring single, accounting for two of the three Red Sox runs.

 

First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

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First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay:

* There's a steep learning curve for a set-up man, as Clay Buchholz discovered.

Although he's pitched out of the bullpen for the last couple of months, most of those appearances weren't of the high leverage variety. More often than not, the Sox had a sizeable lead, or Buchholz was brought in earlier in the game. Or they were behind and he was mopping up.

But Tuesday was different. The Rays had battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, and after Matt Barnes got the final out in that inning, Buchholz came in to start the eighth.

After getting Kevin Kiermaier on a groundout to lead off the inning, Buchholz threw a four-seamer to Evan Longoria that the Tampa Bay third baseman launched toward the Charles River, clearing everything and putting the Rays up by a run.

It was a reminder that in late innings of close games, one pitch, with missed location, can really hurt.

 

* Hanley Ramirez knocked in two runs. He was sort of lucky.

In the fifth inning, Ramirez hit a twisting opposite-field fly ball down the right field line. It landed just past the Pesky Pole in right, measured at 307 feet, the shortest homer in baseball this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

Then, an inning later, Ramirez hit a pop fly that drifted into shallow right. Three Rays defenders converged -- first baseman, second baseman and right fielder -- and somehow the ball dropped in between all three for a run-scoring single.

Two cheap hits, two RBI.

At times, you'll see hitters mash the ball, only to have it hit right at someone for an out. Rotten luck, and all.

Tuesday night, Ramirez got to experience the flip side of that.

 

* Drew Pomeranz had an excellent outing -- until his final pitch of the night.

Through 6 2/3 innings, Pomeranz had allowed a single run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight.

He had retired 10 of the previous 11 hitters he had faced, and while he was approaching his 100th pitch, showed no evidence of tiring.

Then, Pomernaz hung a curveball to No. 9 hitter Luke Maile -- with two strikes, no less -- and Maile hit into the Monster Seats for a game-tying, two-run homer.

It was the first homer on a curveball allowed by Pomeranz in 153 innings this season, and all of a sudden, the outing wasn't so special.

 

Gronkowski presented with 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award

Gronkowski presented with 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award

At Tuesday night’s Patriots Premiere event, tight end Rob Gronkowski was presented with the 2016 Ron Burton Community Service Award.

Gronkowski is the 14th player to have received the award that is named for the late Ron Burton. The first player the Patriots organization ever drafted, Burton was well-known for his charitable work.

“Ever since I’ve been here, following the Krafts, the whole Kraft family, from Myra Kraft, Mr. Kraft, all his sons, seeing everyone lead by example, how they give back to the community every single week was just an honor to see,” said Gronkowski, “I just wanted to be a part of it and give back to the community in a positive way.”

Those who have received the award in the past include Nate Solder (2015), Devin McCourty (2014), Matthew Slater (2013), Zoltan Mesko (2012), Jerod Mayo (2011), Vince Wilfork (2010), Kevin Faulk (2009), Larry Izzo (2008), Ty Warren (2007), Jarvis Green (2006), Matt Light (2005), Troy Brown (2004) and Joe Andruzzi (2003).

"Rob is just as fun to watch at a community event as he is on the game field," said Kraft. "Giving back to the community is a big part of being ‘Gronk.' He is engaging with fans of all ages. His gregarious personality makes him one of our greatest ambassadors, especially when spreading cheer to children at local hospitals or schools. We love the devotion and enthusiasm that he shows in the community and are proud to present him with this year's Ron Burton Community Service Award."

Gronk, never shy about cracking a joke, entertained the crowd like only he can.

“Who would have ever thought five years ago when I was on ESPN every weekend drunk that I’d be accepting this award?”