Ortiz, Red Sox 4 million apart in arbitration filings

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Ortiz, Red Sox 4 million apart in arbitration filings

If the Red Sox and David Ortiz are to settle on a salary for the 2012 season without having the matter settled in arbitration, they've got a gap of almost 4 million to close in the next few weeks.

One of four Red Sox players still eligible for salary arbitration, Ortiz filed a request for 16.5 million, while the Red Sox countered at 12.65 million. Should the matter go to a hearing, an arbitrator must choose either one figure or the other, with no middle ground as an option.

The 16.5 million is the highest salary requested by a full-time DH, while the Red Sox filed a figure only slightly higher than Ortiz's base salary of 12.5 million from 2011.

In fact, when Ortiz's performance bonuses are added to his base last season, he earned exactly 12.65 million in 2011, meaning the Red Sox are effectively not offering him a raise at all.

Ortiz finished fourth in the American League with a .952 OPS in 2012 while hitting 29 homers and knocking in 96 RBI. It was his best season since 2007, but the Red Sox are betting that the depressed market for DHs -- only Adam Dunn and Travis Hafner are scheduled to make more than 12.65 million in 2012 and no other full-time DH will make an eight-figure salary.

Increasingly, American League teams are utilizing several players in the DH spot, providing payroll and lineup flexibility.

Three other Red Sox players also filed for salary arbitration Tuesday.

Reliever Andrew Bailey, obtained from Oakland last month, filed a request of 4.7 million while the Red Sox countered at 3.35 million. Daniel Bard, arbitration eligible for the first time, filed at 1.825 million with the Sox coming in at 1.4 million.

Finally, Alfredo Aceves requested 1.6 million, with the Red Sox filing a figure of 950,000.

The Red Sox can continue to negotiate with the four players up until the date of scheduled hearings, which are scheduled to run between Feb. 1-21 in St. Petersburg, FL.

The Sox haven't gone to a hearing since 2002, when they beat pitcher Rolando Arrojo.

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

Thomas strains right groin, says he'll 'be fine for Wednesday'

The bumps and bruises continue to pile up for Isaiah Thomas, adding a new one to the group during Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston. 
 
The 5-foot-9 guard said he strained his right groin in the second quarter, but added that the injury won’t force him to miss any games. 
 
“I’ll be alright,” Thomas told reporters after the loss. “I’ll get treatment. I’ll be fine for Wednesday (against Orlando).”
 
The injury appeared to have happened shortly after Houston’s Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer that put the Rockets ahead 55-45.
 
At the time it didn’t seem all that serious as Thomas, who had 20 points on the night, came down and drained a 3-pointer. 
 
But after the game, Thomas acknowledged his groin did bother him during the game in which he played 33-plus minutes. 
 
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” said Thomas, who finished with 20 points. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
 
Thomas, who played in all 82 regular season games last season in addition to each of Boston’s 21 games this season, has dealt with an assortment of injuries including but not limited to, a swollen middle finger injury on his left (shooting) hand. 
 
Thomas, an All-Star last season for the first time, has played at an elite level that should once again position him to be represent the Eastern Conference. 
 
Following Monday’s game, Thomas is averaging a career-high 26.0 points per game which ranks ninth in the NBA along with 6.1 assists. 

Smart: 'Can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game'

Smart: 'Can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game'

The fact that the James Harden of the Houston Rockets went to the free throw line 18 times which was more than the entire Celtics roster (12 free throw attempts total) certainly fired up conspiracy theorists among Celtics Nation. 
 
But what seemed to draw the most ire was what appeared to be a 3-pointer by Avery Bradley late in the fourth quarter that was initially called a long two-pointer. 
 
And after it was reviewed by the good folks in Secaucus, N.J., they allowed the ruling to stand because there wasn’t enough proof in the many replay angles for them to overturn the original call. 
 
The missed lay-ups by Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas in the closing seconds stand out, obviously. 
 
But the 3-pointer that wasn’t a 3-pointer was one of the more talked-about topics in the Celtics locker room afterwards. 
 
“From the angle we saw, it was a three,” Boston’s Marcus Smart told reporters after the game. “We definitely thought it was.”
 
Said Jae Crowder: “I thought it was a three. Nothing we can do about it now.”
 
It was that kind of game for the Celtics, one in which plays that could go either way more often than not, went against them. 
 
And while Bradley’s questionable two-pointer certainly was a factor in the game’s outcome, as was the free throw discrepancy and the late-game misses, ultimately the blame for Monday’s loss falls upon the Celtics players who were still in position to win despite all those setbacks.

They simply didn't get it done, when it mattered.
 
Smart, who had 13 points off the Celtics bench, understands that fans like to blame the officials when a game ends like Monday’s loss to Houston. 
 
“Officials, they did their job,” Smart said. “You can’t blame the officials for the outcome of the game. We made some costly plays down the stretch. Give credit to the Rockets. They made plays and executed down the stretch.”