Iglesias in majors could have domino effect


Iglesias in majors could have domino effect

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While the Red Sox internally debate the wisdom of opening the season with Jose Iglesias as their starting shortstop, another question looms in the background:

If Iglesias begins the 2011 season as the starter, what becomes of Mike Aviles?

All along, it was presumed that Aviles would be the choice and that he would hold down the position at least for the first couple of months. But Valentine's evaluation of Iglesias has changed the dynamic.

Iglesias's athleticism, range and instincts have convinced Valentine that he -- and not Aviles -- should be the regular.

Such a move has its risks, but it also leaves Aviles without a regular position and leaves the Red Sox, for the time being, with two utility infielders -- Aviles and Nick Punto.

Punto was signed to a two-year deal last winter to provide depth and experience in the infield. But though Aviles is a much better offensive player, the Sox would find themselves with some duplication.

From a sheer numbers perspective, the Sox could carry all three infielders -- Iglesias, Aviles and Punto -- on the roster for the first few weeks as outfielder Carl Crawford recovers from wrist surgery.

But when Crawford returns, the Sox would have 14 position players. It's doubtful that Valentine would want to limit himself to an 11-man pitching staff, especially with so many question marks surrounding the staff.

Even if the Sox worked in some outfield play for Aviles -- and remember, they sent him to play winter ball in Puerto Rico with the idea that he could perhaps contribute in right -- they would have hard a time justifying having Aviles on the roster.

The Sox signed Cody Ross as a righthanded-hitting outfielder and envision him playing much of the time in right.

Boston could shop either Punto or Aviles, but each scenario has some drawbacks.

Because Punto is a newly signed free agent, he would have to give permission to be dealt elsewhere before June 15. Having liked Boston enough to commit to a two-year deal -- rare for a role player -- that permission might not be forthcoming.

The Sox could also deal Aviles to a team looking for infield depth. The Milwaukee Brewers are one such team looked for some insurance in the middle of the infield. His 1.2 million salary would not be an obstacle in getting a deal done.

However, the Sox need to ask themselves what would happen if they dealt Aviles and Iglesias then flopped or got injured. That would leave them with only Punto as an everyday answer, and while the journeyman is a fine player coming off the bench, he is hardly an everyday shortstop for a contender.

Finally, there would be this to consider: for a team which has had a veritable revolving door at shortstop since it traded away Nomar Garciaparra in July of 2004, the Sox could claim the distinction of having traded three shortstops -- Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro and Mike Aviles -- in the same off-season.

Clearly, there will be plenty of repercussions if Iglesias wins the shortstop competition. Determining what to do with the player who lost out to him is only one of many.

Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter


Chicago Bulls sign former Boston Celtics guard R.J. Hunter

Minutes before they opened their regular season Thursday against the Celtics, the Bulls announced the signing of shooting guard R.J. Hunter.

Click here to view the compete story on CSNChicago.com

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Chippy first half between Celtics-Bulls


Halftime stars, studs and duds: Chippy first half between Celtics-Bulls

Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder are former teammates at Marquette. Isaiah Thomas and Rajon Rondo have tremendous respect for one another as competitors.

But in the heat of battle, friendships and respect can at times fall by the wayside which is exactly what happened in the first half between these two Eastern Conference foes.

After a chippy first half, the Bulls went into the half ahead 57-49.

The last couple of minutes in the second quarter were much closer than the halftime score would indicate.

Butler drained a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer sounded that nearly doubled Chicago’s halftime lead.

His shot brought a conclusion to a first half which included four technical being called on one play in which Crowder was whistled for an offensive foul.

On that play, Butler seemed to tie up Crowder’s legs with both players on the floor. Crowder then seemed to forcefully put the ball in Butler’s chest. That led to some back-and-forth smack talk between Thomas and Rondo.

All four players were whistled for technical fouls.

Chicago opened the game with an 8-2 run and led by as many as 15 points.

As the Celtics soon discovered, finding open spots on the floor against the Bulls was much, much tougher than it was 24 hours earlier against the Nets.

Chicago continued to play with control and led by double digits throughout the second quarter.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of tonight’s Boston-Chicago game.



Dwyane Wade

The prodigal son looked good in his first game playing in front of lots of family and friends. He led all scorers with 14 points which included 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

Avery Bradley

The Celtics seemed to have found their stride in the second quarter with Bradley leading the charge. He led all Boston players with 12 points at the half.

Jimmy Butler

The face of the Bulls franchise got off to a slow start, but soon picked up his play at both ends of the floor in the second quarter. He had 11 points at the half along with grabbing five rebounds.



Taj Gibson

He was a problem for the Boston Celtics right from the start, providing the kind of low-post scoring the Bulls will be looking for in the second half. At the half, Gibson had eight points and six rebounds.

Rajon Rondo

The former Boston Celtic was doing what he has done well for most of his career – getting others involved. At the half Rondo had three points and a game-high six assists with four rebounds.

Isaiah Thomas

Boston needed him to be more of a scorer than a facilitator on Thursday, and Thomas was more than willing to oblige. He had 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting.



Celtics 3-point defense

The Bulls got one good look after another from 3-point range, with the Celtics showing few signs of making the necessary adjustments. The Bulls connected on 53.8 percent of their 3-pointers (7-for-13) in the first half.