Mariano Rivera discusses A-Rod situation

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Mariano Rivera discusses A-Rod situation

From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- Sitting on a stage with their manager and GM during a fundraiser, Mariano Rivera and Mark Teixeira vowed to welcome Alex Rodriguez back to the New York Yankees following the latest drug allegations against the New York Yankees star.Rodriguez is recovering from hip surgery expected to sideline him until at least the All-Star break. The Miami New Times reported last week that Rodriguez is included in records the paper claims show he bought performance-enhancing drugs from a defunct Florida anti-aging clinic. Rodriguez denied the charges."We have to embrace him. He's our teammate," Rivera said.Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team will wait for Major League Baseball to determine the truthfullness of the allegations, and manager Joe Girardi said there's no way to tell whether the All-Star third baseman will regain his offensive production following him surgery."This involves some very nasty facts," Cashman told about 150 fans at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square. "There needs to patience here as they thoroughly investigate this to determine the accuracy or inaccuracy, or where are there accuracies or inaccuracies in the story, and see if we can come up with what is fact and what are provable facts.""Everybody, they deserve due process and right now you have just a very nasty story," Cashman added. "We'll just have to wait and let it all play out."Rodriguez was among a half-dozen major leaguers accused in the report by the alternative weekly and could face a 50-game suspension. He admitted four years ago that he used PEDs while with the Texas Rangers from 2001-03, before MLB and the union started their joint drug program. He has denied using PEDs since."He wears that uniform, that New York Yankees uniform, and I have to go out and be there for him," Rivera said. "Besides, he's my friend and I will respect and wait for him to give you the answer that you want."Teixeira echoed Rivera's thoughts."Just like Mo said, you support your family," the first baseman said.Teixeira spoke out against PEDs when asked about the rejection of all candidates in this year's Hall of Fame vote, a group that included seven-time MVP Barry Bonds and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens."As a sport, we've stood up and said enough is enough because there is no place for steroids in sports," Teixeira said to applause. "It's a little bit embarrassing to go up to somebody and have people talk about baseball, and the first thing they talk about is steroids. And I'm tired of it, frankly. So for the Hall of Fame, the No. 1 highlight of anyone's career and what we all strive to become, for Hall of Fame voters to stand up and make a stand, I think that is a positive thing."Even before last week's report, Rodriguez had lived through a tumultuous offseason following his repeated benching for lack of production during last year's playoffs. A-Rod, who turns 38 in July, has not played a full season since 2007 because of injuries. It's not clear whether he will report to spring training with the Yankees in Tampa, Fla."I'm not sure exactly where he'll be from a rehab standpoint and where they feel the best place for him to be," Girardi said.He will watch Rodriguez's progress from surgery but won't predict whether A-Rod will regain the offensive form that led to three AL MVP awards and 647 home runs -- 115 shy of tying Barry Bonds' career record."We're hopeful and we're confident that he's going to come back healthy but you've got to find out," Girardi said. "There's no guarantees when they cut you."Rivera, the career saves leader, missed most of last season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while tracking down a fly ball during batting practice in Kansas City on May 3. Now 43, he expects to be on his normal spring training routine. He joked about his disdain for exhibition road games in Florida."For me it's a challenge, but I can't wait to get there," he said. "I'm going to start sweating and running and doing all that stuff, getting in the outfield. You won't see the last of me there."NOTES:Working out at the Yankees' minor league complex in Tampa, Fla., captain Derek Jeter deferred on publicly discussing the charges against Rodriguez. "I don't comment on anyone until they speak first," Jeter said. "Let him address his situation before I comment on it. Let him speak first and then we'll talk about that." ... Girardi has not ruled out moving Brett Gardner to center and Curtis Granderson to left, but says for now he hasn't decided to make a switch. ... Girardi and Cashman said Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli are likely to compete for the starting catcher's job. After missing most of last season because of a back injury, Austin Romine has only an outside chance. ... An auction raised money for Carlos Silva, a producer and engineer for Yankees games on WCBS radio since 2006, who is fighting esophageal and stomach cancer.

Blakely: Tatum's character separates him from many of the other rookies

Blakely: Tatum's character separates him from many of the other rookies

BOSTON – With his new head coach Brad Stevens and Boston Celtics ownership and front office officials surrounding him, Jayson Tatum’s mind seemed to be somewhere else briefly.

He looked ahead, way, way ahead to the other end of the Celtics’ practice court where there were banners, lots of banners, raised high above all else in the gym.

This wasn’t just a passing glance, either.

TATUM SPEAKS

It was clear that the newest Celtic was in deep thought as he stared at the 17 banners and the one left blank, a steady reminder of what this franchise is about, past and present.

Yes, it’s a lot to soak in for anyone let alone a 19-year-old kid whose career with the Celtics can be timed on a stopwatch.

But the soft-spoken 6-foot-9 forward has been here long enough to understand that success around here is about more than playing well; it’s playing to win a championship.

And that in many ways separates Tatum from his teenage brethren who made up the majority of Thursday night’s NBA draft which included an NBA-record 17 players taken in the first round who like Tatum, were just one year removed from high school.

All come into the NBA with lots to learn, as well as goals and aspirations for this upcoming NBA season.

During an interview with CSN on Friday, I asked Tatum about what in his mind would make for a successful season.

And his answer initially was to ask me a question, “Individual or team?”

So I replied, either one.

“To get back to where they were last year and get over that hump,” he said. “Championships, chasing that number 18, that would be the ultimate success for me.”

That served as a reminder as to why despite having a handful of players under consideration at No. 3, the Celtics did the right thing in selecting Tatum.

His words may seem like the politically correct response, but take a look at the kid’s basketball resume and you’ll quickly see he is indeed about winning and doing so in whatever way possible.

After missing his first eight games at Duke with a foot injury, Tatum gradually improved as the season progressed and wound up on the all-rookie team as well as being named to the All-ACC third team.

Once the Blue Devils got to the ACC Tournament, Tatum became a different, better, more dominant player.

Indeed, Tatum led the Blue Devils to their first ACC championship since 2011 and did so in historic fashion as the Blue Devils became the first ACC school to win the conference tournament with four wins in four days.

Late in the title game against Notre Dame, Tatum put together a sequence of plays that speaks to why the Celtics were seriously considering taking him with the number one overall pick had they not been able to trade it for the No. 3 and a future first-round pick.

With the scored tied at 65, Tatum made a free throw that put Duke ahead.

Moments later, he blocked a shot and finished off the play with a lay-up that gave Duke a three-point lead.

After a Notre Dame basket, Tatum connected with a teammate for a 3-pointer that pushed Duke’s lead to four points with around a minute to play.

And then there was the 3-point play Tatum converted after getting fouled on a dunk which secured a 76-69 Duke win over the Fighting Irish.

Free throws. Blocks. Getting out in transition. Passing.

When his team needed him most, he gave whatever was required at that moment which is one of the intangibles that makes Boston feel good about his future.

“He does whatever he has to do to help you win,” said an NBA scout who said he has seen Tatum play “at least a dozen times.”

He added, “Like all of these kids coming into the league now, he has some things he has to get better at, get more consistent with. But he makes winning plays, whether it’s for himself or others. He’s a lot more unselfish a player than he’s given credit for being.”

And he’s 19 years old, which is both a blessing and a burden when you’re an NBA team executive charged with committing at least two years and millions of dollars into a young man.

Part of the process when making a draft choice, especially when it’s one of the top picks, is character evaluation.

Of the players at or near the top of the draft board, multiple league executives contacted by CSNNE.com in the past couple of weeks said this was an area where Tatum stood out in comparison to all of the top prospects.

“He’s the kind of young man you’d love whether he was a basketball player or not,” one Western Conference executive told CSNNE.com. “If you’re ranking guys on character alone in this draft, he’s your number one pick.”

Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, acknowledged the challenge of differentiating between miscues made by a teenager as being problems of concern going forward, or whether that’s a teenager making the kind of bad/questionable decisions most teens make.

“It’s dangerous to play too much into a 19-year-old kid’s behavior,” Ainge told CSN’s A. Sherrod Blakely and Kyle Draper on Friday. “But I think that, with all the things we do, from physical, emotional, mental, character, work ethic and their skills … it’s just really hard at 19. You hate to just be labeled what you are at 18.”

But in regards to Tatum specifically, Ainge added, “Jayson is a high character guy. We know he will get better because of his character and his work ethic.”

Said Tatum: “It’s a great feeling. Being part of a great organization like the Celtics; think of all the great players of the past and you can follow in their footsteps.”

And in doing so, blaze a trail of his own in the pursuit of Banner 18.

David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

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David Price improves command, indicates he's pitching through ailment

BOSTON — David Price and Rick Porcello showed improvement on back-to-back nights Friday and Saturday, important signs for the Red Sox after a difficult month for both pitchers prior to this homestand.

Price on Saturday night went six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, in a 6-3 loss to the Angels. He fanned five and his velocity has been consistently better this year than last year.

But the most important number was his walk total: one. He walked three batters in his previous start, and four in both of his starts prior.

“Two outings ago, the first start here in Fenway,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “There was better timing in his delivery and overall better separation over the rubber. And he carried that through I thought, even though there's a higher pitch count in Houston, and has been able to maintain it here. I can't say there was one specific thing. It's been more the timing over the rubber. And you're seeing him pitch out of the stretch exclusively. Just less moving parts in a better position to repeat it.”

After Price’s final inning, the telecast captured Price calling pitching coach Carl Willis into the tunnel. Neither Farrell nor Price detailed the conversation. 

“Yeah, everything was fine,” Farrell said of the conversation. “Everything is OK there.”

Price made it sound like he’s dealing with some sort of physical ailment, but was vague.

“There's a lot of stuff going on right now,” the pitcher said when asked about the desire to stay out there. “You don't want it to linger into the next start, or two or three weeks from now, and that's why we did what we did.”

Asked to elaborate, Price reinforced that the decision was to save his body for another day.

“You never want to come out of a game. But you have to look forward at the time,” Price said. “You don’t want today to cost you your next start or you know, the start after that. So that’s what happened.

“It has nothing to do with my elbow or anything like that. This is — you get past one thing and there’s another So that’s what it is.”

Price in New York in early June felt a blister develop on his ring finger. He missed an in-between start bullpen because of it.

Asked about the blister Saturday, Price said, “That one’s gone.”

Farrell indicated the blister was diminished, if not entirely gone.

“He's been dealing with that,” Farrell said. “I think while it's still present and maybe not as severe as it was when it first happened, I'm sure he's going to check on it occasionally."