Gomez named International League MVP

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Gomez named International League MVP

Mauro Gomez was named the International League's Most Valuable Player on Tuesday, joining Jose Iglesias and Ryan Lavarnway as IL postseason All-Stars as well.

Gomez hit .310 with 24 home runs and 74 RBI in 100 games with the PawSox this season. He has made four separate trips to the big league club this year and is currently with the Red Sox.

Iglesias batted .266 with 46 runs and 12 steals. He also put together a .966 fielding percentage with Pawtucket and was voted the league's best defensive shortstop.

Lavarnway hit .295 with 8 homers and 43 RBI in 83 games primarily as the PawSox' backstop. He was also named the best defensive player at his position in the IL.

Postcard from Camp: Garoppolo takes first team 11-on-11 reps

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Postcard from Camp: Garoppolo takes first team 11-on-11 reps

FOXBORO -- Every day from Patriots training camp, we'll provide you with some notes and observations from the Gillette Stadium practice fields. Here's what we saw at the first day of on-the-field work for Bill Belichick and his club. 

* Linebacker Jamie Collins was not spotted at practice, one of only two players that were not seen for the summer's first practice. (Running back Dion Lewis, who is on the physically unable to perform list, was also not present.) It's unclear what might have been keeping Collins off of the field as he was present for spring workouts, and he was not one of the seven players placed on PUP earlier this week, but CSN Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran is told Collins' absence "was expected and is not contract-related."

* Jonathan Freeny saw reps at linebacker next to Dont'a Hightower with Collins out.

* Even after coach Bill Belichick made it clear that it was a priority to get Jimmy Garoppolo ready for Week 1, it was Tom Brady who was first in line to take reps with the Patriots offense during 7-on-7 portions of practice. When the team went to 11-on-11 work, it was Garoppolo who took over with what projects as the first team offensive line. 

* Several players on PUP were present for Thursday's workout, but did not participate outside of early conditioning work. Receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola were on the field early but not in helmets. Same went for offensive linemen Sebastian Vollmer and Tre' Jackson. Tight end Clay Harbor was also present but not participating. Alan Branch, who was placed on the active/non-football injury list on Wednesday, was present early but did not have a helmet. 

* Shaq Mason appears to have been removed from the PUP list as he practiced with the team with his helmet on. Fellow offensive linemen Josh Kline and Nate Solder were present and participating at practice. Neither player was seen during spring practices. 

* Running back LeGarrette Blount was another player who was on the field and participating Thursday after having missed spring work. Blount's 2015 regular season came to an end when he suffered a hip injury late in the year. 

* Players wore shorts, shells and helmets for the workout. Players in red jerseys included all three quarterbacks, safety Duron Harmon and corner Logan Ryan. Both Harmon and Ryan were not seen during OTAs or minicamp practices open to reporters. 

* Matthew Slater's No. 18 was not spotted on the field, but the special teams captain was out there. He gave a nod to his teammate Nate Ebner -- who is with the USA Rugby Men's Sevens team at the Rio Olympics -- by wearing No. 43 for the practice. 

* The first day of training camp often brings with it some different contraptions used by the team in drills. On Thursday, the Patriots broke out large foam wheels that were rolled by coaches and then hit by players working on their form tackling. 

* During special teams work, Brady worked off to the side with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett. At the same time, Garoppolo handled hand-off duties during a period focused on offensive and defensive line play.

* A little over an hour into the session, Jabaal Sheard spent some time on the turf, apparently tending to his left foot or ankle. Eventually he got to his feet and stayed on the field. 

* Rookie second-round pick Cyrus Jones, Keshawn Martin and Chris Harper spent time returning punts. 

* When Garoppolo got reps with the first-team offensive line in 11-on-11 work, Brady chatted with Patriots owner Robert Kraft. 

* For a time, Amendola and Edelman ran routes near a back corner of the practice fields while their teammates practiced. They finished up their workout about 15 minutes before the rest of the team finished their on-the-field work.

7-on-7 RED ZONE

Brady: 5-for-8

Garoppolo: 6-for-8

Brissett: 2-for-4

Brady complete to Bennett on a back-shoulder throw with Freeny in coverage

Brady incomplete (deflected by a racquet)

Brady complete to Bennett with McCourty in coverage. 

Brady incomplete to Gronkowski. Pass was dropped. Chung was in coverage. 

Garoppolo complete to AJ Derby over the middle

Garoppolo incomplete for Martin. Pass broken up by Justin Coleman. 

Garoppolo complete to Martin

Garoppolo complete to Washington with EJ Biggers in coverage.

Brissett incomplete to Devin Lucien

Brissett incomplete (deflected by racquet)

Brissett complete to Lucien

Brissett complete to Gaffney (scrambling)

Brady complete to Bolden on back-shoulder

Brady complete to Boldenon wheel  with Hightower in coverage

Brady incomplete to Bennett

Brady complete to Dobson with McCourty in coverage

Garoppolo complete to Develin

Garoppolo complete to Hogan. Good adjustment by Hogan to come back to the ball. 

Garoppolo incomplete (deflected by racquet)

Garoppolo complete to Gronkowski with Jordan Richards in coverage. 

7-on-7 and 4-on-3 RED ZONE WORK

Brady: 4-for-6

Garoppolo: 3-for-5

Brissett: 3-for-5

Brady complete to Gronkowski with Chung in coverage

Brady complete to Martin

Garoppolo complete to Nate Washington

Garoppolo complete to DeAndre Carter

Brissett incomplete

Brissett incomplete

Brady complete to Hogan

Brady incomplete to Dobson with Ryan in coverage

Garoppolo incomplete 

Garoppolo holds

Brissett complete to Steven Scheu

Brissett complete to Blount

Brady complete to Gronkowski in the back of the end zone. 

Brady incomplete for Washington

Garoppolo complete to James White. 

Garoppolo incomplete to Malcolm Mitchell

Brissett complete to Harper 

11-on-11

Garoppolo: 4-for-6

Brady: 3-for-6

Brissett: 3-for-6

Garoppolo complete to Blount

Garoppolo incomplete to Carter. Hightower broke up the pass. 

Garoppolo incomplete to James White. White was out of bounds. 

Garoppolo complete to Bennett with Rob Ninkovich in coverage. 

Garoppolo complete to Dobson in the back of the end zone. 

Garoppolo complete to Hogan over the middle with Freeny in coverage

Brady complete to Harper with Cyrus Jones in coverage

Brady incomplete to Donald Brown. Biggers swatted the ball out of Brown's hands

Brady incomplete to Gronkowski. Pass was broken up by Richards. 

Brady complete to Hogan in the back corner of the end zone with Biggers in coverage

Brady complete to Gronkowski on a back-shoulder throw

Brady incomplete to Dobson. Throw was out of reach of Dobson's dive. 

Brissett complete to Gaffney

Brissett incomplete to Mitchell. Pass was dropped.

Brissett complete to Lucien

Brissett incomplete to Bryce Williams. Sunseri in coverage. 

Brissett incomplete. Bad snap from Ted Karras. 

Brissett complete to Harper. 

OFFSEASON

Rivers dismisses Griffin-to-Boston rumors, wants Pierce to retire with Celtics

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Rivers dismisses Griffin-to-Boston rumors, wants Pierce to retire with Celtics

Doc Rivers appeared on The Vertical Podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski and dismissed the Blake Griffin trade rumors, claiming that “bloggers” who “have nothing to do with the sport” were the cause of the Blake-to-Boston gossip.

“We are hoping that Blake ends his career playing for the Clippers,” Rivers told Woj. “No team is calling because teams know we don’t have any interest. It just tells you the different times. Things have changed. Everyone believes that they’re media now. There are so many good, credible guys, but then there’s some of the guys who are bloggers and have nothing to do with the sport.”

Rivers went on to explain that his youngest son, Spencer, even took the time out to trace the source of this "groundless" rumor.

“Danny [Ainge] and I have talked twice this summer. One was about the British Open, and the other was about another golf tournament. That’s about it,” Rivers explained. “But my son traced [where this rumor started] it to I think a Boston radio talk show and the guy didn’t say that we had been talking, but that Blake would be one of the guys the Celtics should go after. That started the next step, and then the next thing you know, it blew it up.”

Glenn Rivers sounds more like a politician than a doctor. Everyone knows politicians lie.

So Doc says he’s spoken to Danny only twice this summer -- both times about golf and “that’s about it.” But it's good to know they did apparently find the time to lay the groundwork for Paul Pierce to retire with the Celtics, if he does choose to call it a career.

“If Paul does decide to retire, we’re gonna make sure that Boston picks him up for one day and he retires a Celtic because that’s what he should retire as,” Rivers said. “We have all that in place. We just don’t know what he’s gonna do.”

Allowing Pierce to retire as a Celtic would be the right thing to do, for sure. He spent 15 seasons with the Celtics, won a title, and someday No. 34 will be hanging in the rafters. Ainge has also made it clear before that he'd love for Pierce to take on some type of front office role with the team after he retires from his playing career.

But Blake is the guy Celtics fans want now, so it’s understandable Doc would dispel the rumors regarding his four-time All-Star.

It doesn’t mean those conversations didn’t take place because trade talks happen every single day in the NBA. But considering Doc spent the opening minutes of the podcast discussing Blake, it certainly makes it seem like a deal is dead. At least for now.

Backes: 'Time will be the judge' on his long-term deal with Bruins

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Backes: 'Time will be the judge' on his long-term deal with Bruins

JAMAICA PLAIN – Newest Bruins forward David Backes has heard the trepidation from Bruins fans about the five-year term of his contract, and he’s probably also caught wind of St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong stating publicly that contract length was an area he was uncomfortable getting to on a theoretical extension with his outbound.

The prevailing wisdom is that the decade of rugged, physical play from the 32-year-old in St. Louis will cause him to start slowing down sooner rather than later, and the last couple of seasons won’t be as high quality as the first couple in Boston.

So what does the actual player think about any questions surrounding his five year, $30 million contract?

The 6-foot-3, 221-pound Backes confidently said that concerns about his age, or him slowing down demonstrably in the last few years of his new contract, are “a bunch of malarkey” to borrow a favorite phrase from Vice President Joe Biden.

“I’m 32, not 52. Time will tell, but I feel really good and I take care of my body. I lay it all on the line, but when I’m not at the rink I’m resting and recovering for the next time I have to pour it all into a game,” said Backes, who logged 727 hard-hitting games all with the St. Louis Blues organization over the last 10 seasons. “Time will be the judge, but I feel like [after] five years I’ll even have a couple more [seasons] after that.

“I don’t think this is going to be end. That’s my plan. I’m still going to get better over the next five years, and hopefully have a couple of opportunities to hoist that big trophy I’ve been chasing around for the last 10 years.”

One area of concern from last season: the 21 goals and 45 points in 79 games for the Blues were Backes’ lowest totals over a full season since his first few years in the league. It might be the first signs of decline in a player that’s logged some heavy miles, or it could be a simple down season for a player that’s always focused on setting the physical tone, and defense, just as much as his offensive output at the other end of the ice.

As Backes himself said, “time will be judge” of just how well the five year contract turns out for a natural leader that will undoubtedly give the Bruins a boost as a hard-nosed, top-6 forward as he moves into the Boston phase of his NHL career.