Wakeup Call: No gain, plenty of pain for 'Skins and RGIII

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Wakeup Call: No gain, plenty of pain for 'Skins and RGIII

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, January 8:

BASEBALL
The Rocket's rehabilitation continues. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

It's finally official (or will be once he passes his physical): Lance Berkman's a Ranger. (AP)

The D Train is pulling -- or is that limping? -- into Chicago. (AP)

Jose Lopez' long, steady decline from 2006 All-Star to 2012 minor-leaguer is now taking him to Japan. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
At least Notre Dame won something last night. (AP) See below for sadder details.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
No controversy over the national champion this time, is there? (AP)

Eddie Lacy may leave Alabama for the NFL; he'll decide in the next few weeks. If he goes, we'll all remember his last game as a member of the Crimson Tide as a doozy. (AP)

There's a new Bear in Alabama, and his name is Nick. (nbcsports.com)

Barrett Jones played the game despite torn ligaments in his left foot (AP), though he was healthy to shove his own quarterback when they had an argument after being unable to get a play off on time.

There were lessons to be learned from last night's blowout; here are five of them. (NBC's Inside The Irish)

Another lesson -- as Manti Te'o goes, so goes Notre Dame -- was painfully evident, as well. (CSN Chicago)

And adding injury to insult . . . (CSN Chicago)

If you answered "everything" to this question, you were probably in the ballpark. (NBC's College Football Talk)

But the Irish say they're here to stay, and they certainly seem to be building the foundation of a program that can consistently compete for the national championship. (CSN Chicago)

Bill O'Brien "can't think of a better place to be" than Penn State. (AP)

Stanford's losing two of its tight ends. (AP)

GOLF
Underway at last! (AP)

HOCKEY
And now the fence-mending begins. Good luck, boys. You'll need it. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

When all is said and done, it looks like it'll be a 48-game schedule. (AP)

The Blackhawks don't agree with Kevin Paul Dupont. (CSN Chicago) In case you're wondering what the Dupes reference is all about, click here. (CSN New England)

Once they finally get back on the ice, Vegas says the Penguins are the team to beat. (CSN Washington)

But the Devils hope that what happened once, will happen again. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
I know we all hate the Lakers up here, but after a while you have to start feeling sorry for them, don't you? No? (AP)

On any give Sunday (or Monday) . . . (AP)

Attention, Mark Cuban: Dirk Nowitzki's not crazy about your team-building strategies. (NBC's Pro Basketball)

And the Bucks aren't crazy about Scott Skiles' coaching. (AP)

Sixers, meet Andrew Bynum. Andrew Bynum, meet . . . (CSN Philly)

PRO FOOTBALL
To quote Archie Bunker on RGIII's knee: It don't look, eh, whaddya call, good. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

And to quote Ricky Ricardo, Mike Shanahan's got some 'splainin' to do. (CSN Washington)

Guess there were no postgame tea and crumpets for the Redskins and Seahawks. (Pro Football Talk)

Nor for Bernard Pollard and a member of the Colts' coaching staff. (CSN Baltimore)

Speaking of the Seahawks, their worst fears were confirmed when Chris Clemons was ruled out for the rest of the playoffs. (AP)

Maybe it's me, but counting on Billy Cundiff to save the day doesn't seem like an optimal strategy. (CSN Bay Area)

Don't expect to see Willis McGahee on the field Saturday when the Broncos play the Ravens. The AFC Championship Game, now that's another story. (AP)

The latest name on the Eagles' checklist: Jay Gruden. (CSN Philly)

The Bears apparently hope that what the 49ers felt about Mike Singletary -- can't win with 'im; can't do it -- isn't true. (CSN Bay Area)

Bruce Arians is out of a Baltimore hospital and back in Indianapolis, though no one's saying what's wrong with him. (AP)

Old friend Matt Cavanaugh -- remember his days as the Patriots' backup QB, way back when? -- is out of a job, another victim of the SanchezTebow madness. (AP)

TENNIS
Australian Open officials, apparently feeling that past actions are the best indicator of future performance, make Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka the top seeds. (AP)

Somewhere in the world, it's "too hot to play tennis". (AP)

Young one of the 'tough decisions' facing Celtics

Young one of the 'tough decisions' facing Celtics

BOSTON – Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge have conversations all the time on a wide range of topics which includes but is certainly not limited to, the Celtics players.
 
On Saturday morning the two were discussing James Young, one of the players whose future with the Green team is anything but a certainty at this point.
 
Part of the challenge in evaluating Young is that unlike most first-round picks, getting on the floor to play – big minutes in the D-League don’t count – has not been easy.
 
“He hasn’t gotten a chance to play as much as other guys and that’s hard,” Stevens said prior to Saturday’s practice.  “We see the progress here, we see the growth here. We’ll just keep chipping away.”
 
Young, drafted with the 17th overall pick in 2014, has appeared in 60 games while averaging 2.2 points, 1.1 rebounds while shooting 34.1 percent from the field and 25 percent on 3s in 8.9 minutes per game.
 
Of the 13 players drafted after Young in the first round of 2014 draft, seven have appeared in more games with nine having a higher minutes played per game average.  
 
But here’s where Young’s situation sets himself apart from the others. Five of the seven players drafted after him who have appeared in more games have never seen action in the postseason  compared to Young, who has played for nothing but playoff teams in Boston.
 
That distinction speaks volumes as to why the Celtics will be hard-pressed to make the right call when it comes to deciding Young’s fate.

“We’ve got some tough decisions at the end of the month,” Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, told Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn at the Celtics' Green and White scrimmage, which was livestreamed on CSNNE.com. “We have about five guys fighting for two spots.”
 
Young is well aware of the precarious position he’s in at camp.
 
“I haven’t been thinking much about it,” he told CSNNE.com. “I know the system very well. It’s just about playing basketball. That’s the main thing; just try to contribute.”

To Young’s credit, he did a lot of nice things on Friday that didn’t show up in the final stats but were instrumental in him being a positive contributor while on the floor. There were the deflected passes which slowed the White team down from getting into their offense quickly. He had a steal, attacked the paint and made the right pass in one sequence which led to another good pass and then a lay-up for a teammate aka the “hockey assist.” And defensively, he was solid throughout his time on the floor.
 
Said Young: “I’m just playing for the team and be myself and not let things weigh on my head; just go out and play basketball, do what I need to.”
 
In doing so, Young would create more than just a spot on the roster for himself but potentially a role off the bench.
 
And doing that would lead Ainge and Stevens into having a very different kind of conversation when it comes to Young.
 

Saturday's Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: E-Rod on mound, Bogaerts back to 2-hole

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Saturday's Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: E-Rod on mound, Bogaerts back to 2-hole

The Red Sox (93-67) look to close in on the No. 2 seed in the A.L. playoffs and home-field advantage in the Division Series with the Cleveland Indians (92-67) with a victory over the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (3-7, 4.68 ERA) to the mound against left-hander J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.20). Rodriguez is expected to pitch either Game 3 or 4 of the Division Series against the Indians next week.

If both teams finish with 94 wins, the Red Sox hold the tiebreaker over the Indians, based on Boston winning the season series, 4-2. The Indians may have to play a makeup game Monday with the Detroit Tigers.

The Jays are a game behind the Baltimore Orioles for the top A.L. wild-card spot and hold a half-game lead over the Detroit Tigers for the second wild-card spot. 

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts moves back to his customary No. 2 spot in the batting order after hitting sixth Friday night. Right-handed hitting Aaron Hill is at third base and Christian Vazquez catches for Boston.

There will be the second of three ceremonies this weekend to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz before the game.  

The lineups:

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Aaron Hill 3B
Christian Vazquez C
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Eduardo Rodriguez LHP

BLUE JAYS
Devon Travis 2B
Josh Donaldson 3B
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Jose Bautista DH
Russell Martin C
Troy Tulowitzki SS
Melvin Upton LF
Kevin Pillar CF
Ezequiel Carrera RF
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J.A. Happ LHP