Wakeup call: Cubs beat the buzzer with Dempster deal; is Sept. 15 magic?

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Wakeup call: Cubs beat the buzzer with Dempster deal; is Sept. 15 magic?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, August 1:

BASEBALL
The Cubs were finally able to trade Ryan Dempster, and without much time to spare. (CSN Chicago)

When the dust settled, the Cubs emerged from the deadline with five prospects for two rotation starters, a former Rookie of the Year and a valuable bench player. A little different than feeding the monster, eh, Theo? (CSN Chicago)

They're not feeding the monster any more in Philadelphia, either, though they hope to start doing it again next year . . . and feel that the moves they made at the deadline will help. (CSN Philly)

Psst: That's 9 losses in 12 games for the Yankees. (AP)

And adding insult to injury: A.J. Burnett, once the bane of Yankee fans' existence, nearly pitched a no-hitter last night and is now 13-3 with a 3.27 ERA. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

At least the Yanks have Joba back. (Hardball Talk)

Which is more than the Rays can say about Evan Longoria. (Hardball Talk)

It may only be August 1, but the season's over for John Danks. (CSN Chicago)

BASKETBALL
Retiring? Who's retiring? Certainly not Brandon Roy. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Say what you will about Notre Dame, but it punishes behavior that wouldn't raise an eyebrow elsewhere. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Penn State's loss is USC's gain. (AP) And it could be a big one.

Now that the Penn State case is closed, the NCAA turned its attention to Central Florida. (AP)

HOCKEY
Worried about an NHL lockout? Well, Donald Fehr says there's no reason negotiations can't continue past the Sept. 15 deadline with the players still at work "unless someone wants to make" Sept. 15 "a magic date". (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk) If I know the NHL owners and commissioner Gary Bettman -- men who traditionally never use a feather when a sledgehammer's available -- I think it's magic to them.

Meanwhile, labor negotiations continue. (AP) Click the link if you're interested in expansion of revenue sharing, team financial reports, proposed limitations on contract lengths, and . . . yawn . . . sorry, what was I saying?

If they ever settle this, the Senators' Daniel Alfredsson will be back on the ice. (AP)

Patrick Kaleta is staying in Buffalo. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Nice to see Jerry Jones has made up with Dez Bryant . . . sort of. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The Bengals have given Marvin Lewis a two-year extension. (AP)

Braylon Edwards has landed in Seattle, the latest stop in his troubled career. (AP)

The NFL suspends the Giants' Tyler Sash. (AP)

And the Packers' Erik Walden. (AP)

You won't be seeing Jeff Otah on the Jets this year. (AP)

Miller callup to Red Sox 'a dream come true' after remarkable journey

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Miller callup to Red Sox 'a dream come true' after remarkable journey

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - For any player, reaching the big leagues is an accomplishment in its own right. For infielder Mike Miller, summoned by the Red Sox from Pawtucket Monday, the callup couldn't be more improbable.

Start with the fact that Miller, listed officially five-foot-nine, is, in reality, five-foot-six - tops. Add in the fact that he was 11th round pick as a senior from Cal Poly Tech and you begin to understand how much of a longshot Miller is.

Then, add in the fact that injuries conspired to have him miss almost all of 2013 and half of 2014, and Miller's journey is truly a remarkable one.

All of which made it all the more difficult for Miller to keep his emotions under wraps late Sunday night. Miller was riding a bus outside Rochester, N.Y. with the rest of the Pawtucket Red Sox when manager Kevin Boles, sitting a few rows ahead of him on the bus, sent Miller an email informing him that he was going to the big leagues.

But the email contained a caveat from Boles.

"He didn't want to make a big commotion of it on the bus,'' said Miller, "so he told me to keep it quiet and don't show a lot of emotion, but congratulations. It was hard because you've got all your friends on the bus and you want to talk to them about it and share your excitement. But at the same time, you respect the manager's wishes, but there were (corresponding) moves to make and he didn't want it getting out because someone else might not know what's going on.

"It was hard (keep quiet), but you do what you're told.''

Between making phone calls to family members and friends and the natural excitement he felt, Miller got virtually no sleep before a 4:30 a.m. trip to the airport. But sleep could wait on a night like that.

"It's a dream come true,'' said Miller. "I wasn't expecting it -- at all. So to get the opportunity to come up here and play at the highest level is a dream come true. I started my Red Sox career with Mookie Betts in Lowell, so it's cool to catch up to some of those guys and see them a few years later. I'm just really happy and excited to be here.''

Miller's numbers aren't eye-popping at the minor league level. He was .256 with seven doubles in 46 games, and he's not likely to stay with the team past Friday, when the Sox are expecting Brock Holt to return.

But the Sox needed another infielder to get back to a four-man bench, and Miller was the consensus choice. For however long his callup lasts, he'll enjoy it, especially considering what he's overcome.

"You're not a bonus baby,'' he said. "But at the same time, you just go out and compete. When you're on the field, you don't think anybody is better than you. It doesn't matter what round they were (selected) or whether they're a high school guy or (drafted as a) junior or senior. So when you put the cleats on, you play to the best of your ability and see where that takes you.''

The injuries in 2013 (torn quad) and 2014 (broken hammate bone) only fueled his desire.

"There were some tough moments, some frustration over not being able to play,'' he said. "Not being able to control things (was tough). But it also teaches you some things about patience and there's that appreciation that when you are healthy, make sure you go out and play hard every day. If you take the right mindset, you learn from it and get better.''

Miller can play all over the infield. He played shortstop in college, but has mostly played third and second in the minors.

"I've been acclimated to all three,'' said Miller. "I work hard with our instructors to understand all the nuances of all the positions, so I'm comfortable at any of them. Wherever I get the chance to play, I just want to help the team win that night.''

For however long it lasts, Miller will savor it.

"I couldn't ask for a better feeling,'' said Miller. "There are some odds against you -- senior, smaller guy, not a big-time college program. So I've had kind of fight my whole career to keep moving, keep moving. To get here is a really good feeling.''

 

Holt (concussion) still not symptom-free, target weekend series vs. Angels

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Holt (concussion) still not symptom-free, target weekend series vs. Angels

ST. PETERSBURG, FL. - Brock Holt's return to the Red Sox is going to have to wait a little longer.

The Sox had held out some hope that Holt might be ready to rejoin the club here for the start of a three-game series. But Holt, who is recovering from a concussion suffered in early May, is still not symptom-free while on a rehab assignment at Triple A Pawtucket.

The target now is for Holt to return Friday when the Red Sox begin a homestand that will take them up to the All-Star break.

"He'll come off and hopefully join us for the weekend series with the Angels,'' said John Farrell. "(He had a) good day (Sunday), but just didn't feel like he's ready to take that next step, so we have to respect that. He'll get full number of at-bats (Tuesday) and Wednesday, before we get back home.''

Farrell said Holt is still experiencing some post-concussion symptoms as he plays in games.

"This is a very unique (case),'' said Farrell. "We've talked a lot about his form of a concussion and we felt like the best way for him to be capable of being back with us is to push forward and stress the intensity, the level of play. Because the symptoms aren't going to go away just by sitting around. This is a matter of being active and being aggressive with it, so hopefully everything calibrates within his system. That's the recommendation of the medical staff.''

Farrell said Holt continues to feel some imbalance and light dizziness.

"There are those slight, disoriented feelings that's we working through,'' Farrell said. ''We're talking about the inner ear speaking to the brain and that's only going to continue to improve but stressing it -- not by sitting back. The fact that he was set out on a rehab assignment with some of those symptoms was part of overall recommendation.

"I wish we could say this is a straight-line end result from a timing standpoint, but we're seeing that it's not.''

 

Monday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Sox hope to extend Tampa Bay's misery

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Monday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Sox hope to extend Tampa Bay's misery

The Red Sox may be stumbling through the month of June, but they're flying high compared to their opponent tonight.

The Sox are in St. Petersburg, Fla., to take on the free-falling Rays, losers of 11 straight. They'll be sending Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound in hopes of continuing Tampa Bay's misery, at least for the next three games.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Bryce Brentz LF
Sandy Leon C
Marco Hernandez 3B
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Eduardo Rodriguez P

RAYS
Logan Forsythe 2B
Tim Beckham SS
Evan Longoria 3B
Logan Morrison 1B
Desmond Jennings CF
Oswaldo Arcia RF
Taylor Motter LF
Nick Franklin DH
Curt Casali C
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Blake Snell P