Wakeup Call: A Phil of distractions

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Wakeup Call: A Phil of distractions

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, February 19:

BASEBALL
Charlie Manuel takes the I'll-talk-about-this-one-time-and-one-time-only approach about his lame-duck contract status with the Phillies. But if he thinks that's going to put an end to the speculation about his future, well, history tells us he's mistaken. (CSN Philly)

No such problems in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates are extending Clint Hurdle's deal. (AP)

For the first time in history, all arbitration cases were settled before there were any hearings. (AP)

Boston or Oakland, Josh Reddick doesn't go anywhere without that WWE Championship Belt. (CSN Bay Area)

Roger Clemens says he's not losing any sleep over his failure to be voted into the Hall of Fame. (AP)

Dusty Baker looks and feels healthy after recovering from the mini-stroke he suffered at the end of last year. (AP)

One thing he hasn't recovered from, emotionally: How things ended for him when he was with the Cubs. (CSN Chicago)

On the present-day Cubs, Matt Garza is undergoing an MRI on that balky side muscle. (AP)

Meanwhile, Alfonso Soriano -- who refused a trade to the Giants last summer, costing himself a World Series ring -- is preparing for the day when he's shipped out of town. And it's coming. (CSN Chicago)

The season has barely started and already the Brewers' Mat Gamel finds out he'll miss all of it . . . for the second straight year. (AP)

Russell Martin is taking advantage of the WBC to fulfill his fantasy of playing shortstop. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

BOXING
If Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson can hug it out -- and sell a little barbecue sauce on the side -- there's hope for the world yet. (NBC's Off The Bench)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
The Pac-12 reprimands Cal coach Mike Montgomery for shoving one of his players, though it won't say exactly what the punishment is. (AP)

No. 25 Notre Dame bounces back from its surprise drubbing at Providence on Saturday with a 51-42 win at No. 20 Pitt. (AP)

Miami? No. 2 in the country? Really? (AP)

The team directly ahead of the Hurricanes in the poll, Indiana, should have guard Victor Oladipo back in the lineup for tonight's showdown with No. 4 Michigan State in East Lansing. (AP)

Former N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe fought the law, and the law won. (AP)

R.I.P., Phil Henderson. (AP)

Brittney Griner scores her 3,000th career point as she leads Baylor to a come-from-behind victory over UConn in a battle of women's basketball titans. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
An external probe shows the NCAA just how messed up its investigation of Miami has been . . . (NBC's College Football Talk)

. . . which gives Miami school president Donna Shalala the opening to blast the investigation as "unprofessional and unethical" and demand her school go unpunished because "we have been wronged." (AP)

Oh, NFL docs? Marcus Lattimore says he's got a surprise for you. (College Football Talk)

Manti Te'o doesn't see why the dead-girlfriend hoax should affect his draft status any. (AP)

HOCKEY
The suddenly hot Canadiens win their fourth in a row, 3-0 over the Hurricanes. (AP)

And the suddenly cold Devils lose for the third time in four games, 2-1 in a shootout to the Senators. (AP)

The Flyers' road woes disappear -- for a day, anyway -- with a 7-0 romp on Long Island. (AP)

The time has come, says Chuck Gormley, for Alex Ovechkin to answer his growing number of critics. (CSN Washington)

It may be an "upper-body injury," but not that upper; according to reports, the Panthers' Kris Versteeg doesn't have a concussion. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

More good medical news: Springfield's Wade MacLeod, the ex-Northeastern star, is released from the hospital after suffering a seizure when he was checked into the boards during an AHL game Sunday. Not much word, however, on what, exactly, his condition is or how long he'll be out. (Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS
Prosecutors say there's no evidence to support Oscar Pistorius' claim that he thought his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was an intruder when he murdered her with four gunshots through a locked bathroom door. (nbcnews.com)

An independent review of the Australian swim team's disappointing performance last summer in London reveals a "toxic", leaderless environment that featured "getting drunk, the misuse of prescription drugs, breaching curfews, deceit and bullying." Wow. (AP via nbcsports.com)

PRO BASKETBALL
Jerry Buss was the first NBA owner to recognize that the sport had to sell more than basketball to succeed, and his true legacy reverberates every night across the land in the "game presentation" that includes music, dancers and all the rest of the sizzle that goes with the on-court steak. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Still, asks Ray Ratto, how much credit for the Lakers' success does he actually deserve? (CSN Bay Area)

Buss' six children will continue to own the team, but -- since there's reportedly already discord between Jim, who runs the basketball side of things, and Jeanie, who runs the business end, over the refusal of Jeanie's fiancee Phil Jackson to return as coach -- will things begin to fall apart in what Kurt Helin describes as a "potential Shakespearian-level drama"? (Pro Basketball talk)

Jeremy Lin is "thankful" he wasn't voted into the All-Star Game because, he says, he didn't deserve it. (CSN Houston)

Last week, Derrick Rose said he might not play at all this year. Yesterday, he participates in five-on-five drills for the first team. What, pray tell, does it all mean? (CSN Chicago)

Sounds like the Sixers are finally getting fed up with this ridiculous Andrew Bynum situation. Join the crowd, boys. (CSN Philly)

In routine injury news, Mo Williams is back practicing with the Jazz, six weeks after undergoing surgery on his right thumb. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Darrelle Revis has reached the conclusion that the Jets don't want to pay him what he thinks he's worth, which means his days in New York are probably numbered. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

The Ravens expect to meet with Joe Flacco's agent at the Combine. (Pro Football Talk)

No one really understands why the Eagles brought in ex-Oregon QB Dennis Dixon, not when they'd already decided to keep Michael Vick and still have Nick Foles on the roster. But Dixon said he's been assured by his oldnew coach, Chip Kelly, that there'll be an open competition for the job and "may the best man win". (CSN Philly)

The Dolphins apparently aren't going to tag Sean Smith. (Pro Football Talk)

Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a weapon when a handgun was found in his luggage at LaGuardia Airport. (AP)

TENNIS
Sloane Stephens' Australian Open upset of Serena Williams seems like a long time ago: She lost yesterday to Sorana Cirstea in the first round of the Dubai Championship. (AP)

Porcello 'feels as good as I've felt all spring' in Red Sox' 5-3 loss

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Porcello 'feels as good as I've felt all spring' in Red Sox' 5-3 loss

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20170329/with-josh-rutledge-and-mitch-moreland-ailing-first-base-depth-compromised-for-red-sox)

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.