Solder will step up for Light when time comes

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Solder will step up for Light when time comes

FOXBORO -- Reports of Matt Light's impending retirement have likely reached Nate Solder's ears. But if the team has had internal discussions of how one tackle's career will impact the other's, Solder isn't saying.

"I don't know what my role is going to be," he told reporters Thursday. "Right now, my mindset is to get better. There's a lot I have to improve on and that's what I'm going to work on right now and improve on."

Little else was expected from the second-year Patriot. Solder said at a March Pop Warner event that he does feel he was brought to New England to be a starter, and that he's excited at the prospect. But Solder's tone was respectfully different with the end of Light's career seemingly around the corner.

"Matt's been great," he said. "He helps me -- he helps me to continue to develop. He knows a lot about the game. He has a ton of experience. It's been really good having him here."

Being compared to Light's 11-year career could daunt even a 6-foot-8, 310-pound Patriot. Experience carries its own weight, after all. Solder said that, despite the fact he's no longer a rookie, he's "still the new guy" in some respects.

Think of the leadership that will be lost with Light's departure.

Solder was reminded of the draft day call he received from Logan Mankins. The then six-year veteran wanted to welcome Solder into the fold and guide the rookie through the acclimation process. Could Solder see himself making such a call if New England drafts another offensive lineman?

"I definitely see Logan as a great leader, and that did mean a lot to me. I'll do what's appropriate. I don't know exactly if that's my duty on this team, but whatever is my role, I'll definitely play it."

One gets the impression Solder is capable of answering the bell. He just plans to wait until it rings.

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Felger: Crazy can be good, but Sale needs to harness it

Chris Sale brings with him to Boston some attitude. He also brings a measure of defiance and, perhaps, a little bit of crazy.

All of which the Red Sox starting staff just may need. And if Sale pitches as he has for much of the past five years, he'll probably be celebrated for it.

I still wonder how it will all play here, especially if he underachieves.

What would we do to him locally if he refused to pitch because he didn't like a certain kind of uniform variation the team was going with? What would we say if he not only refused to pitch, but took a knife to his teammates' uniforms and the team had to scrap the promotion? Sale did exactly that in Chicago last year, after which he threw his manager under the bus for not standing by his players and attacked the team for putting business ahead of winning.

All because he didn't want to wear an untucked jersey?

"(The White Sox throwback uniforms) are uncomfortable and unorthodox,'' said Sale at the time. "I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ... There's a lot of different things that went into it.''

Wearing a throwback jersey would alter his mechanics? Was that a joke? It's hard to imagine he would get away with that in Boston.

Ditto for his support of Adam LaRoche and his involvement of that goofy story last March.
 
LaRoche, you'll remember, retired when the White Sox had the nerve to tell him that his 14-year-old son could not spend as much time around the team as he had grown accustomed to. Sale responded by pitching a fit.

“We got bald-face lied to by someone we’re supposed to be able to trust,'' said Sale of team president Kenny Williams. ``You can’t come tell the players it was the coaches and then tell the coaches it was the players, and then come in and say something completely different. If we’re all here to win a championship, this kind of stuff doesn’t happen.”

On what planet does allowing a 14-year-old kid in a clubhouse have anything to do with winning a title? In what universe does a throwback jersey have anything to do with mechanics? If David Price had said things that stupid last year, he'd still be hearing about it. And it won't be any different for Sale.

Thankfully, Sale's defiance and feistiness extends to the mound. Sale isn't afraid to pitch inside and protect his teammates, leading the American League in hit batsmen each of the last two years. He doesn't back down and loves a fight. And while that makes him sound a little goofy off the field, it should play well on it.

In the meantime, the Sox better hope he likes those red alternate jerseys they wear on Fridays.

E-mail Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m. on 98.5 FM. The simulcast appears daily on CSN.