DETROIT -- The Red Sox settled on their final 25-man roster Wednesday, a day before the season opens.
The Sox opted to begin the year with a 13-man pitching staff featuring five starters (Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard and Felix Doubront) and an eight-man bullpen (Alfredo Aceves, Mark Melancon, Matt Albers, Franklin Morales, Michael Bowden, Vicente Padilla, Justin Thomas and Scott Atchison).
"Just in case,'' said manager Bobby Valentine of the 13-man staff. "Obviously, what we're doing here without Andrew Bailey has not been totally planned for. So we're going to try to protect other members of the bullpen as we iron out this entire situation. I don't expect to be 13 for the entire season - or possibly, even by the homestand (which begins April 13).
"But it could be.''The 13-man staff leaves the Sox with just three bench players (Kelly Shoppach, Nick Punto and Darnell McDonald) in addition to the starting nine of catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, seconed baseman Dustin Pedroia, shortstop Mike Aviles, third baseman Kevin Youkilis, DH David Ortiz and outfielders Ryan Sweeney, Jacoby Ellsbury and Cody Ross.
The Sox will have to make some additional roster moves since Padilla, Thomas and Atchison were all on minor league deals with invites to major-league spring training.
The most likely move will involve putting some injured players (Daisuke Matsuzaka, Rich Hill) on the 60-day disabled list.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while picking the San Jose Sharks over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final.
*Patrick Lalime hopped on sports radio in Ottawa, and said the Chris Phillips/Zdeno Chara defense pairing was the best he ever played behind.
*Don Cherry had a major problem with Steven Stamkos suiting up and playing in the losing Game 7 to the Penguins.
*Phil Kessel gets pretty emotional about finally getting to the Stanley Cup Final after years of struggle in Toronto.
*USA Today’s Kevin Allen says the gap between the No. 1 goaltender and the backup isn’t what it used to be.
*Speaking the Sharks, the trip back to Pittsburgh for the Cup Final brings back memories for Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.
*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) writer has the news about Dustin Brown getting stripped of the captaincy with the LA Kings.
*Bryan Rust was in the AHL to start this season, but much like Mike Sullivan and Matt Murray he killed it for the Penguins in the playoffs.
*For something completely different: It’s official that moving Jackie Bradley Jr. in the lineup wasn’t what killed his hitting streak.
As expected, Eduardo Rodriguez will start for the Red Sox on Tuesday in Baltimore and Clay Buchholz will go to the bullpen, manager John Farrell told reporters in Toronto.
The move became apparent after Buchholz (2-5, 6.35 ERA) struggled again Thursday night, allowing three two-run home runs in an 8-2 loss to the Rockies.
Rodriguez, who hurt his knee in spring training, has yet to pitch for the Red Sox this season. The left-hander, who was 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA as a rookie last season, made three rehab starts at Triple-A Pawtucket.
"The bottom line is the results, and there's been a strong precedent set with that," Farrell said of Buchholz in annoucning the move.
BOSTON – Celtics fans are slowly but surely getting over the disappointment of the team not landing the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft lottery earlier this month.
As cool as that would have been, the conference finals serve as a reminder that while having the top pick can be a good thing, most teams have to take a different route when it comes to getting on track towards and NBA title.
Of the four remaining teams in the playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the only one that has truly been elevated to their current lofty status courtesy of landing the number one overall pick (first with LeBron James back in 2003 and more recently with Kyrie Irving in 2011).
That means the rest of the remaining field built their way up into an NBA power relying on a combination of making wise draft picks and shrewd additions via free agency and trades.
So much of that has to do with leverage, something the Celtics have plenty of on all three fronts.
They have the potential to free up enough salary cap space to sign a pair of max players, a first for this franchise. Boston also has eight draft picks in next month’s draft (three in the first round, five in the second), the most of any team leading up to the draft since it went to a two-round system in 1989.
Those picks plus a roster full of really good but not great talent, gives them the kind of ammunition to pull the trigger on a trade that could add that much-needed All-Star caliber talent.
But it’s like a high school chemistry experiment as the Celtics try to figure out the right combinations to avoid having it all blow up in their face.
For now, the emphasis has to be on the June 23 draft.
A big part of that planning process involves figuring out what to do with the No. 3 pick, the highest selection the Celtics have had since they took Jeff Green (and traded him that night) with the fifth overall selection in 2007.
If the Celtics keep the pick, it will certainly bring about some controversy regardless of who they select.
By taking Dragan Bender of Croatia, the Celtics will be selecting the youngest player in the draft (he turns 19 in November) who may take years to develop into a legitimate contributor.
Selecting Providence College’s Kris Dunn, arguably the best perimeter defender in this draft, seems a bit redundant considering all the guards Boston has under contract whose strengths are essentially the same as Dunn’s.
Buddy Hield of Oklahoma is another option. He’s the best shooter in this draft, but doesn’t provide much other than scoring. Is that really worthy of a No. 3 overall pick?
Regardless of who the Celtics take with the No. 3 pick (and that’s assuming they keep it and not trade it away which is indeed an option), one thing we know for sure.
History tells us that if the Celtics keep the pick, he will wind up being a pretty good player.
In the past 20 years, the No. 1 overall pick has produced 12 All-Stars.
Among top six picks in that same span of time, the No. 3 selection has generated the second-highest number of All-Stars (8), while the No. 2, 4, 5 and 6 picks each had five All-Stars.
That’s important to note because the need to have multiple All-Stars is paramount to a team’s chances at making a deep playoff run.
Take a look at the four remaining teams.
There’s the defending champion Golden State Warriors, whose roster includes a quartet of current (Stephen Curry; Klay Thompson and Draymond Green) and former All-Stars (Andre Iguodala).
Cleveland’s roster includes a similar breakdown of recent (LeBron James; Kyrie Irving; Kevin Love) and not-so-recent (Mo Williams) All-Stars.
And then there’s Oklahoma City (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook) and Toronto (Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan) who each have a pair of All-Stars.
For Boston, the team's lone All-Star is Isaiah Thomas, who knows all too well that he can’t carry this team to a deep, meaningful playoff run without getting some All-Star caliber help.
The top two picks in this year’s draft – Duke’s Brandon Ingram and LSU’s Ben Simmons – are head and shoulders above the rest of the draft class, but the Celtics are in a good spot if you’re talking about adding a key piece to a potential title contender.