Beckett: We made mistakes in the clubhouse


Beckett: We made mistakes in the clubhouse

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Two weeks ago, Josh Beckett, making his first public comments about the disastrous end to the Red Sox 2011 season, was strident and seemed more angry about the fact that information was leaked than anything else.

Sunday morning, facing questions from reporters, Beckett took a slightly more contrite stance while addressing last September.

On the way things ended: "Nobody was more disappointed than the players were. I didn't pitch well. That was the bottom line. The last two starts against Baltimore, they weren't good.''

On the clubhouse behavior and misdeeds: "I'm not saying that we didn't make mistakes because we did make mistakes in the clubhouse. But the biggest mistakes I made were not pitching well against Baltimore. I was prepared to pitch every time I went out there. I just didn't execute pitches when I needed to.

"We made mistakes in the clubhouse and that's about as far as I'll go talking about the clubhouse . . . I'm upset with myself for the lapses in judgement. But there's also some ill-feelings toward some people.''

On whether as the acknowledged leader of the staff, he should take more responsibility for the clubhouse scandal: "I can only speak for myself here. I had lapses in judgement; I can't speak for anybody else. I want to try to keep it at. I can't speak (for other starters); I want this to be about me.

"I had things going and I got distracted and I think that was the biggest thing for me, going forward, that I would change, just not to be distracted.''

Asked to elaborate on being distracted, Beckett was asked if he was referencing becoming a parent, he repeated: "I was distracted.''

On his conditioning and apparent weight gain by the end of the season: "I never missed a workout . . . I was ready to pitch every time I pitched and I didn't execute pitches in my last two starts.

"I put on a little bit of weight. I don't have a reason for it, but it happened. I'm looking forward to going forward from here.''

On whether he understands the fans' anger: "Absolutely. I've been a fan of (teams), too. It stinks whenever things don't go the way they're supposed to go. We were a really good team and we were the best team in baseball for about five months. It sucks the way things ended and yeah, we're just as let down as they are.

"That doesn't make it right, but we were very let down as well.''

On needing to win back the fans: "I think we need to earn that trust back. I think they're the best fans in baseball. There's some good and some bad, but I think they're the best fans in baseball and I definitely think we need to earn that trust back and the way we have to do that is just go about the business the way we have in previous years and win ballgames. That's probably going to be the best way.''

Horford-Celtics partnership gives both stability, chance to win


Horford-Celtics partnership gives both stability, chance to win

BOSTON –  This is not where Al Horford thought he would be right now.
Back in May, the Atlanta Hawks had just been swept out of the playoffs by the soon-to-be NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Disappointed with the outcome obviously, Horford was a free agent-to-be who was confident that he would be back in Atlanta and the Hawks would retool by adding to their core group which he was a major part of, and they would be back to making another run at it this season.
First there was the draft night trade of point guard Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers. 
And during Horford's negotiations with the Hawks in July, they were also negotiating with Dwight Howard and ultimately signed the Atlanta native to a three-year, $70.5 million contract. 
Before the Howard deal was complete, the Celtics had already made a strong impression on Horford during their presentation to him. 
So the choice was pretty clear.
Return to Atlanta and potentially have a major logjam up front with himself, Howard and Paul Millsap, or join a Celtics team that’s on the rise where his five-tool skillset – passing, rebounding, defending, scoring and making those around him better – could be put to great use on a team that’s clearly on the rise. 
Horford chose the latter, giving both himself and the Celtics exactly what they wanted – stability and a chance to win at the highest of levels.
The first shot to see how this basketball marriage looks on the floor will be tonight when the Celtics kick off the 2016-2017 season at the TD Garden against the Brooklyn Nets. 
The preseason isn’t the best indicator of what’s on the horizon now that games count, but Horford’s presence was undeniable.
Boston’s starters which includes Horford, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Amir Johnson, each finished with a positive, double-digit plus/minus in the preseason. 
“He just makes the game so much easier for all of us,” Johnson told “He can do so many things out there at both ends of the floor. He’s going to be big for us this season.”
And his impact can be felt both on the floor and inside the locker room, similar to what he brought to the Atlanta Hawks.
“With the way that I go about it is, I’m trying to win,” Horford told “I’m gonna work, put in my work, try to help guys get better not only on the court but off the court as well. That’s how I carry myself.”
 And it is that approach to the game that has made his transition to the Celtics a relatively seamless one. 
Horford holds many fond memories of his time in Atlanta, a place that will always be near and dear to his heart. 
But he’s a Celtic now, coming in with the same single-minded focus that drives this organization to continue pursuing the only thing that truly matters to them – an NBA title. 
"Even though I’m leaving a lot behind, as a player you always want to be in the best position you can,” Horford said. “I felt for me being on this team would put me in a position to be able to contend and win an NBA championship. That’s my ultimate goal.”

Report: Patriots RB Lewis expected to return to practice this week


Report: Patriots RB Lewis expected to return to practice this week

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will have a familiar face back on the practice field, it appears. 

According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, running back Dion Lewis is expected to begin practicing this week. Lewis has been on the physically unable to perform list since the start of the regular season. 

Lewis tore his ACL in a Week 9 win over the Redskins last season, landing him on season-ending injured reserve. He was able to participate on a limited basis during OTAs but then experienced a setback that required surgery before the start of the season. 

Once Lewis hits the practice field, the Patriots have a three-week window to place him on the active roster. The team currently has an open roster spot and could, in theory, activate him as early as this week. 

When healthy last season, Lewis as a dynamic all-purpose back whose quickness allowed him to make defenders miss both in tight spaces between the tackles and in the open field as a receiver. The Patriots have used James White as their primary sub back in Lewis' absence, and he's on pace for a career year, with 27 receptions for 244 yards and three touchdowns.