Varitek speaks to prospects at Red Sox rookie program

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Varitek speaks to prospects at Red Sox rookie program

After a one-year hiatus, the Red Sox rookie development program got underway on Monday at Fenway Park.

The program is designed to help familiarize young players with big-league life, both on and off the field. In the past is has been held for two weeks, but this year it will be a one-week course consisting of twice-daily workouts along with presentations from speakers both within and outside the organization. Former Sox catcher Jason Varitek, now a special assistant in the organization, will be one of the featured speakers.

The players chosen to participate are those the organization believes could impact the major league team within the next 18 months. This year, 11 players -- including highly regarded prospects shortstop Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley -- will be among the participants. Of the 11 players, nine were in the organization in 2012.

Also participating are pitchers Drake Britton, Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, and Steven Wright; catchers Daniel Butler and Christian Vazquez; infielder Brock Holt, and outfielders Bryce Brentz and Alex Hassan.

De La Rosa was acquired in the August blockbuster trade with the Dodgers. Holt was acquired in the December trade with the Pirates for closer Joel Hanrahan.

In addition to Varitek, the players are also expected to hear from Sox general manager Ben Cherington, manager John Farrell, pitching coach Juan Nieves, hitting coach Greg Colbrunn, special assistant Jason Varitek, strength and conditioning consultant Mike Boyle, mental skills coordinator Bob Tewksbury, and COO Sam Kennedy. Celtics coach Doc Rivers will once again be among the presenters this year.

Turner jokes that Celtics will retire his number

Turner jokes that Celtics will retire his number

It’s not the craziest thing someone has said on Twitter, but Evan Turner tweeted Monday that the Celtics should retire his number. 

It was a joke, of course, as the former Celtic was reacting to news that Isaiah Thomas had said he liked the No. 11 and would change his jersey number if so many people in Boston hadn’t already purchased his No. 4 jersey. 

After Turner joked that No. 11 was going to be retired, Thomas joked back that he would wear No. 11 as a tribute to the current Trail Blazer. 

Prior to being traded to Boston, Thomas wore No. 22 for Sacramento and No. 3 for Phoenix. 

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

For weeks the speculation regarding Josh McDaniels wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."

But while national media had McDaniels signed, sealed and delivered to multiple landing spots, the proposition that he'd leave at all was never a likelihood. 

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The Rams weren't attractive to him from the outset. Jacksonville didn't excite him, either. And on Monday, he passed on the 49ers opportunity. 

The lure of a blank slate in San Fran at quarterback and GM didn't outpace the uncertainty of going cross-country to work for a seemingly dysfunctional franchise that's cycled rapidly through coaches and has an unrealistic sense that it's a long, long way removed from its glory days, the only remnant remaining from that being perhaps the logo on the helmet. 

With four kids and a job McDaniels considers one of the 10 best on coaching -- head man or no -- he will stay on as the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

"I was really impressed with (Niners owner) Jed York and (team executive) Paraag Marathe . . . and the people that came from the 49ers organization," McDaniels said on a conference call this morning. "They did a great job with their presentation. Humbled to be included in that process. At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

The same faulty speculative reasoning that had McDaniels as good as gone from the Patriots will move on undeterred today and surmise that McDaniels is staying with the Patriots because he knows, or has been promised, that he'll receive the head coaching job when Bill Belichick steps aside. 

While the Kraft family certainly thinks highly of McDaniels and that could come to pass, anyone tapping their foot and checking their watch waiting for Belichick to step down is in for a long wait. He's showing no signs of wrapping it up and, while I haven't been told directly McDaniels isn't the automatic successor, he wouldn't be taking interviews at all if he were assured that. 

What will be interesting to see is whether interest remains high in him for other jobs or the perception that he's never going to leave means teams don't bother to ask. San Fran obviously had its heart set on McDaniels. Even though Nick Caserio passed on the chance to interview with the Niners for their open GM job, the team did talk to Louis Riddick about the spot. He and McDaniels have high regard for each other. 

Between McDaniels, Caserio and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the people closest to Belichick on the coaching flow chart all had chances to go somewhere else and all passed on the chance. It's another example of not why the Patriots are good but why they remain good. Stability.