Lester feels good, but pitches bad


Lester feels good, but pitches bad

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Jon Lester said his mechanics Wednesday afternoon were the best he's had this spring.

But that didn't seem to help him much on the mound against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Lester was shelled for eight hits and four runs in just three innings in the Red Sox' 6-5 loss to the Pirates.

"I felt probably the best I've felt mechanically and able to repeat my delivery in a long time,'' he said. "To waste it is bad.''
Lester blamed the outing on "riding the fastball up a little bit. Obviously, the results showed today and they were able to whack me around a little bit."

Lester has been named the Opening Day starter, so he's not fighting for a spot in the rotation. Still, the results unnerved him some.

"I'm a competitor,'' he said. "I want to win. I don't care if it's the back field against Minnesota or in Fenway or wherever. I always want do well and win and get the results that I put the work in for.

"This is not something I take lightly, even though it's spring training. I don't think there's anything we need to address. I felt really sound. I was just that little bit under it with my fastball. Instead of being at the knees, I was at the thigh and when you face big-league hitters, that's what happens.''

Lester blamed his poor fastball command on "trying to do too much at the end. I was just getting my hand under it. I felt a little too amped up and the pitch flattens out. A difference of three inches is huge.

"You have days like this and hopefully, you get rid of them here in spring training."

With two starts remaining before the season opener, Lester said he will focus on throwing the ball downhill and getting on top of the ball.

"Now it's just about results,'' said Lester, who sports an unsightly 5.73 ERA. "I've got to get the ball down and get some people out."

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres


Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins hold off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their past four.

Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.

The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.

The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.

Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:10 of the second at 7:44 of the third when he knocked on the rebound of his own missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and slip a backhand past Lehner.

The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.

NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Rask got a shutout in Boston's 4-0 win over Buffalo on Nov. 7.


Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.

Sabres: At Washington on Monday.


© 2016 by STATS and The Associated Press.

Gronkowski put on IR, officially ending his season

Gronkowski put on IR, officially ending his season

The Patriots have placed Rob Gronkowski on injured reserve, officially ending the injured tight end's season. 

The Patriots have added running back D.J. Foster to the 53-man roster. 

Gronkowski underwent surgery on his back Friday in Los Angeles. There was some hope he might be able to return if the Patriots reached the Super Bowl, but this move ends that.

More to come...