There's a ton of smoke regarding Danny Amendola and the Patriots. Is there fire? Since free agency began on Tuesday, there have been consistent but unconfirmed rumors that the Rams restricted free agent wideout would be visiting New England. It's a possibility I broached before free agency opened, reasoning that Amendola's situation now is identical to the one Wes Welker was in back in 2007 before the Patriots ultimately traded for Welker. The first murmur of Patriots interest came Tuesday night from PFT poobah Mike Florio who said he'd heard a rumor Amendola was visiting. Amendola's agent, Erik Burkhardt, has steadfastly said that he "can't help."This morning,Scott Zolak of 98.5 The Sports Hub tweeted(@ScottZolak) that "Danny Amendola was at The Place last night...hmmm"Burkhardt, in turn,would not confirm or deny Amendola's presence in Boston. Meanwhile, in came another tweet from a follower that Amendola's aunt died and his father lives in Scituate. The Patriots are extremely cloak and dagger to begin with, but, in the case of Amendola, one could see why they'd be even more secretive. Hosting Welker's obvious replacement on a free agent visit will make things sticky with an invaluable player. The Patriots put the franchise tag on Welker and are committed to pay him 9.5 million. They have until July 15 to work out an extension or Welker will play 2012 under the franchise tag. The Patriots want Welker to stay and reportedly offered him a fully guaranteed two-year deal worth 16 million last fall. Welker's camp wants a longer term and -- with the money flung at free agent wideouts over the past 40 hours -- probably wants more than 8 million per year. And the case could easily be made that he deserves both. If there's no extension, the Patriots will be in the position next offseason of franchising Welker for even more money (likely around 11 million). Again, 20 million for two years of ridiculous production without the payout of a huge bonus isn't totally absurd. But it's not going to be the first option for either side. So now, if the Amendola rumors and purported sighting are accurate,the Patriots are looking at options. Amendola missed 2011 with a dislocated elbow suffered in the season opener but Josh McDaniels got enough of a look at Amendola in St. Louis to know what he's dealing with. And what he's dealing with in Amendola is a Welker clone. We'll keep you up to date on this as information comes in.
BOSTON - Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon hit two-run homers and the Boston Red Sox beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-4 on Friday to cap a night in which David Ortiz's number became the latest retired at Fenway Park.
It was the 250th career home run for Ramirez, a good friend of Ortiz who was also born in the Dominican Republic. Leon finished with three hits and four RBIs.
The homers helped provide a nice cushion for Rick Porcello (4-9), who gave up four runs and struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory. It was the 13th straight start Porcello has gone at least six innings.
Alex Meyer (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings.
Los Angeles scored three runs in the seventh, but cooled off after Porcello left.
Boston got out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring on an RBI double by Xander Bogaerts and then getting two more runs off wild pitches by Meyer.
Ramirez gave Porcello a 5-1 lead in the fourth with his two-run shot to right field.
This could serve as a needed confidence boost for Porcello, who had been 0-4 with a 7.92 ERA in his previous five starts, allowing 47 hits and 27 earned runs.
He had command of his pitches early, holding the Angels scoreless until the fourth, when a catching error by Leon at home allowed Albert Pujols to cross the plate.
TORONTO - Drew Moor scored early and Sebastian Giovinco struck late and Toronto FC overcame a tight schedule turnaround to beat the New England Revolution 2-0 on Friday night.
Toronto was coming off a 1-1 tie Wednesday night in Montreal in the first leg of the Canadian Championship final. The Revs had been off since a 2-1 home loss to Chicago on Saturday.
Moor's 11th-minute goal looked to be enough, with Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono preserving the win with a save on Teal Bunbury's header in the 88th minute. But Giovinco added an insurance goal deep into stoppage time, bringing down a high ball before beating a defender and banging a left-footed shot home for his 50th goal in MLS regular-season and playoff action.
MLS leading Toronto (10-2-5) has won seven straight at home. New England (5-7-5) is 0-6-3 on the road.