Wakeup call: Welcome back, boys

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Wakeup call: Welcome back, boys

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, September 28:

BASEBALL
The Yankees aren't in yet. (AP)

That's eight in a row for the Rays. (AP) And to think, it all started after we thought the Red Sox had left them for dead with two straight victories at The Trop.

Is it time for the Orioles to start talking contract extension with Buck Showalter? (CSN Baltimore)

The Tigers are suddenly taking command of the A.L. Central. (AP)

And that's because the White Sox are going down quietly. (CSN Chicago)

But they're still talking bravely. (CSN Chicago)

The Rangers are closing in on the A.L. West title. (AP)

And the Dodgers are closing in -- at least a little -- on the Cardinals in the N.L. wild-card hunt. (AP)

Manny Acta's out in Cleveland. (AP)

And Bo Porter's in, in Houston. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
University of Tennessee officials aren't commenting on the age and sex discrimination charges brought against them by former Lady Vols media director Debby Jennings, but they angrily deny her allegation that the school forced Pat Summitt to step down as women's basketball coach after she was diagnosed with early onset dementia. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
The first upset of the weekend happened early: Washington 17, Stanford 13. (AP)

Remember, West Virginia students: The couch you save may be your own. (NBC's College Football Talk)

GOLF
Jose Maria Olazabal has two words for Ryder Cup fans in Medinah: Be nice. (AP)

HOCKEY
Good to see the owners are going into the resumption of labor talks with such a positive attitude. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Another way to describe the lockout: "A cash-flow challenge." At least it is for the CBC. (AP)

Don Cherry sticking up for Europeans?? The lockout sure makes strange bedfellows. (Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
If you flop in the NBA from now on, you're going to get hit. In the pocketbook. (AP)

But is this really such a good idea? (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Erik Spoelstra spent the summer picking the brains of coaches who've won consecutive titles as he attempts to bring another championship to Miami. (AP) No word if the consensus advice was: Give the ball to LeBron and step back.

But they play the games on the court, Bob. (AP)

Lakers forward Jordan Hill pleads no contest to assaulting his former girlfriend. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
The Browns dared Joe Flacco to beat them. So he did. (CSN Baltimore)

The biggest cheers in Baltimore last night, though, were for the men in stripes. (AP)

Someone finally tracked down the replacement referee whose call in Monday night's Green Bay-Seattle game was the straw that may have broken the lockout, and guess what? He still thinks he got it right. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

It's supposed to hurt, Kyle. (CSN Washington)

To the surprise of no one -- except maybe Champ Bailey -- the NFL denied Joe Mays' appeal of his one-game suspension. (AP)

Andre Carter may play for the Raiders Sunday in Denver, less than a week after signing with Oakland. (CSN Bay Area)

And Matthew Stafford may play for the Lions Sunday against the Vikings, a week after hurting his hip. (AP)

The guy who was trying to extort money from RGIII pleads guilty. (AP)

Brandon Marshall's not sorry for the things he said about Warren Sapp. He's just sorry he said them publicly. (AP)

Ortiz to play rest of regular season for Sox with guaranteed rest before playoffs

Ortiz to play rest of regular season for Sox with guaranteed rest before playoffs

NEW YORK -- Now that the division title has been wrapped up, the Red Sox turn their attention to getting ready for the post-season -- but not at the expense of trying to win as many games as possible.

Part of the planning for the Sox involves how much to play David Ortiz, who is retiring when the Red Sox are through in the post-season.

On Thursday night, his final road game and last appearance at Yankee Stadium, the Sox planned to have Ortiz get at least two at-bats in recognition of the fans in New York who wanted to see him one more time.

As for the last series at Fenway, it will be business as usual with Ortiz playing all three.

"We don't foresee any pullback in terms of his number of at-bats," said Farrell of the weekend series with Toronto. "It's a weekend of celebration well-deserved and we'll have time to recover."

Farrell noted that under the current playoff format, teams which win their division get three full days off after the final regular season games. That helps in preparation.

"The importance of winning and maintaining our daily approach is priority No. 1," said Farrell. "How that might affect how deep a starter goes in the upcoming games might be looked at a little more closely. Still, we feel it's imperative to secure as much home field as we can."

On Thursday night, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon were all given the night off. Others will get the same opportunity over the weekend.