Will Derek Jeter be ready for Opening Day?

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Will Derek Jeter be ready for Opening Day?

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Derek Jeter cheerily posed with four student leaders from his Turn 2 Foundation who were wearing Yankees jerseys and elf hats and asked a question to the group of photographers snapping away."Who's going to blow up this photo?" he quipped.Looking trim in a form-fitting shirt and wearing a protective boot on his surgically repaired left ankle, Jeter was in a jovial mood Wednesday night as he returned to the Bronx to surprise more than 500 children from New York City at his foundation's holiday party. It was his first public appearance at Yankee Stadium since that operation in late October, and he used the opportunity to joke about a photo published last week in a New York tabloid that made him appear overweight.Jeter broke his ankle lunging for a grounder in Game 1 of the AL championship series against Detroit on Oct. 13. He had surgery a week later and the Yankees said recovery time would be four to five months.The 38-year-old Yankees captain insists he's on a path that will allow him to be New York's shortstop on opening day, April 1."I feel good. It was a tough first five, six weeks where you sit on your couch with your feet elevated but now I feel as though I'm moving around pretty good," he said. "I think I'm right where I need to be."One thing Jeter wasn't doing while resting was paying close attention to the offseason rumors about free agents and potential trades. That's not his style. Still, he was sad to see infielder Eric Chavez agree to a deal with Arizona earlier Wednesday and catcher Russell Martin leave for Pittsburgh."I check the name tags when we get into spring training," Jeter said about discovering who his new teammates will be.He does know that with Alex Rodriguez out until possibly early summer because he needs left hip surgery "other guys are going to have to step up.""You can't sit around and hang your head. You have to move forward," Jeter said.Jeter wasn't aware that A-Rod expressed discomfort in his right hip during the playoffs. He said he was dealing with his own pain.An All-Star for the 13th time in 2012, Jeter had a resurgent season. He led the American League with 216 hits and batted .316 with 15 homers and 58 RBIs. He first injured his ankle in mid-September and then fouled balls off his foot several times after that. But he wanted to play."It was sore. You don't really talk about it. You play or you don't play. I felt as if I can play on it. I played on it for some time," he said. "I guess I pushed it a little too much."In the holiday spirit with his foundation -- it has doled out more than 16 million in grants since 1996 to organizations that help steer young people away from alcohol and drugs -- one thing Jeter didn't need to do was dress as Santa Claus for the event."The (New York) Post put me into a Santa suit a few days ago," he said.

Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

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Phil Jackson: Knicks' biggest mistake was not trading for Jae Crowder in 2014

BOSTON -- Phil Jackson will be the first to admit he has made some mistakes during his tenure in the New York Knicks' front office.

Among the miscues was a deal that would have landed them Jae Crowder.

"One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics," Jackson told the website, www.todaysfastbreak.com.

Jackson later revealed that in conversations with Boston leading up to the 2014 NBA draft, he was given an option to either keep the second-round pick which was to be conveyed to Boston from Dallas, or take Jae Crowder and allow Boston to keep the second-round pick from the Mavs.

"I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo (Anthony)," Jackson said. "So I took the (second-round) pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early.”

Ouch!

With Crowder left out of the six-player deal between New York and Dallas, the Celtics were able to engineer a trade with the Mavericks six months later that sent Rajon Rondo and Dwight Powell to Dallas in exchange for Brandon Wright, Jameer Nelson, draft picks and what many believed at the time to be a “throw in” player by the name of Jae Crowder.

Less than two years later, Crowder is the lone player acquired by Boston in that deal who remains on the Celtics roster.

And as we have all seen, Crowder is far from just a warm body on the Celtics’ roster.

The 6-foot-6 forward has emerged as a core member of this young, up-and-coming Celtics squad, a key to Boston going from being a team rebuilding just three years ago to one that’s poised to be among the top teams in the East this season.

And the play of Crowder has been a significant part of that growth.

Last season was his first as an NBA starter, and the 26-year-old made the most of his opportunity by averaging career highs in just about every meaningful category such as scoring (14.2), steals (1.7), assists (1.8), rebounds (5.1), field goal percentage (.443) and starts (73).

Meanwhile, Early has had a pair of injury-riddled seasons which have factored heavily into him seeing action in a total of just 56 games (9 starts) while averaging 4.3 points and 2.2 rebounds while shooting 34.6 percent from the field and a woeful 26.3 percent on 3s.

“While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us,” Jackson said, “He still has the potential to be a valuable player.”

That said, Jackson knows he screwed that deal up, big time.

Even with the potential Early brings to the game, Jackson concedes, “I should have taken Crowder."

 

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ratto: Kaepernick controversy touches on hot-button issues in an ugly political year

Ray Ratto joins Chevrolet SportsNet Central to discuss Colin Kaepernick's decision to not stand during the national anthem before the San Francisco 49ers preseason game.

Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

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Bryan Holaday: David Price 'takes a lot of pride in what he does'

BOSTON -- There have been a significant amount of question marks surrounding David Price throughout his inaugural season with the Boston Red Sox.

Is he an ace? Is he mentally tough enough? Can he handle Boston?

Just to name a few.

Much like any player imported to Boston, the claim “He can’t handle the pressure in Boston” arises every so often.

And Price hasn’t always been his own best friend, frequently relying on the line “It’s me going out there and making pitches,” in addition to the claim that he’s never satisfied.

Price’s mellow demeanor isn’t something Boston fans are accustomed to -- they prefer Rick Porcello snarling at opponents.

Sometimes it might have seemed as if he lacked a killer instinct or didn’t have a sense of urgency, but Bryan Holaday, who played with Price in Detroit, has seen that’s not the case.

‘I’m sure he [pressing], it’s the nature of this game,” Holaday said about Price’s struggles earlier in the season. “Everybody wants to be at their best all the time and it’s not easy to do.”

However, he says that knowing full well that Price won’t display those emotions -- to anyone.

“He does such a good job on the mental side of things that even if he was, you wouldn’t be able to tell,” Holaday said before Price’s start Saturday night. “He’s never going to express anything like that. If he was [pressing], it’s nothing that anyone would be able to notice.”

There’s a lot to be said for that, too. Although baseball is driven on analytics, there’s no question that mental game is crucial, especially in the clubhouse. And a fly on the wall can easily see that Price’s presence is not only respected, but enjoyed by his teammates in the clubhouse.

“Everyday he gets up he wants to get better and that’s what makes him so good,” Holaday said. “He has that drive to be better everyday and come out and do his job. He takes a lot of pride in what he does and works his ass off. That’s why he is who he is. Any pitcher at that level, you don’t get that way by luck.”

Price may never be Boston’s favorite pitcher.

He may never be the “ace” in everyone’s eyes.

But based on Holday’s interpretations from his time in Detroit and Boston, Price will work hard to turn his first few months with the Red Sox into a minor footnote of his career.