New drill's a hit for Red Sox infielders

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New drill's a hit for Red Sox infielders

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Visitors to spring training this month have noticed that, under new manager Bobby Valentine, Red Sox players -- not just staff members and coaches -- are hitting grounders to teammates during infield practice.

It's not a case of Valentine attempting to humble players by doing the chore. Rather, it's all about being more efficient and getting more out of the drill.

"Because we have infielders there and there's 11 of them,'' said Valentine, ''and we have two coaches to work with them and that would mean nine guys stand and doing nothing while two guys stand and catch the ball, I devised a system to have four guys not fielding and have just those seven guys fielding so they have more repetition and, at times, get a ball that actually hit from a bat that will have proper top spin, rather than backspin.

"It's a way of keeping those guys active. And it's also some simulation of real-life spin on a grounder.''

Valentine corrected a reporter who asked about players hitting fungoes, noting that they were using standard bats and not fungo bats (thinner and tapered from handle to barrel). He then added this caveat:

"Just for the record,'' began Valentine, "if we get off to a slow start and someone says it's because they were hitting fungos -- which they weren't hitting; they were hitting grounder -- and got into bad habits . . . I'm calling (baloney) on that right now, OK? Just for the record."

Brown apologizes for 'distraction' caused by Facebook Live video

Brown apologizes for 'distraction' caused by Facebook Live video

Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown posted an apology on social media Tuesday night for his Facebook Live video that has caused a stir over the last few days.

"I let my emotions and genuine excitement get the best of me, and I wanted to share that moment with our fans," said Brown in a statement on his Twitter. ""It was wrong of me to do, against team and NFL policy, and I have apologized to Coach Tomlin and my teammates for my actions.

"I'm sorry to them for letting it become a distraction and something that they've had to answer questions about while we're preparing for a big game on Sunday."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he has “absolutely no worries on the video's effect" on Sunday's game against the Patriots, but it was "selfish and inconsiderate" of his star wide receiver.

Brown could still be fined for violating the league's social-media policy. The policy states that players, coaches and football operations personnel are banned from using social media on game days 90 minutes before kickoff, during games, and before "traditional media interviews."

Koppen: Antonio Brown should know locker room isn’t time for Facebook posts

Koppen: Antonio Brown should know locker room isn’t time for Facebook posts

Former NFL player Dan Koppen says the team locker room after a win is a sacred place and that Steelers WR Antonio Brown should know not to be posting on Facebook.