Red Sox still bitter over clubhouse "snitches"

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Red Sox still bitter over clubhouse "snitches"

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In an interview over the weekend, starting pitcher Josh Beckett claimed there were "snitches'' in the clubhouse, a reference to the fallout from last September and ensuing reports of beer and fried chicken being consumed mid-game in the clubhouse.

On Monday, manager Bobby Valentine said he would take a wait-and-see approach in determining whether it needs to be further addressed.

"Maybe as the group gets smaller,'' said Valentine, "and it seems like it's a situation that is festering and hasn't come to a head (late in March), maybe. I don't know.''

Beckett, in an interview with WEEI.com, said he was still resentful that details were leaked to the media.

"Teams are built on trust and teamwork,'' said Valentine. "Those are probably the two most important things championship teams have. So if there is distrust, I think it eventually would have to be addressed. But in my experience, those things usually present themselves.''

In the first two weeks of camp, a number of players and officials have expressed hope that the club could "turn the page'' on the disastrous finish to 2011, stressing the need for a fresh start for 2012.

"I don't think you turn the page on it,'' said Valentine. "You work through things and time is a great healer. But it's not the only healer. If someone was burned in (the Red Sox clubhouse), it's going to take some time for the sting to leave. And it's probably going to take some actions, too.

"I don't know that they have to be in a meeting form, or caucusing or small groups, big groups. Usually, they present themselves. And when they do, you'll find the true spirit.''

Valentine acknowledged that in conversations with some players, resentment over clubhouse leaks have surfaced.

"Saying 'Forget it,' '' said Valentine, "is like saying, 'Relax.' Those words mean nothing. It takes breathing and confidence and all those wonderful things to relax. It takes time and possibly, at times, apologies. But apologies come with actions to heal. I don't think you can just say, 'OK, we're going to have a meeting. OK, forget it, we're turning the page, it's over.'

"I don't particularly believe that.''

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Report: Cavs. Pacers, Nuggets discuss deal involving George, Love

Don’t count the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the Paul George sweepstakes just yet.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Haynes, the Cavaliers are still working on a way to get George with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Ohio.

The latest rumor involves a three way deal being discussed between the Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and Denver Nuggets. According to Hayes, the deal would send George and Kenenth Faried to Cleveland and Kevin Love to Denver.

Presumably, Indiana would end up with good picks and a few young assets.

Click here for the complete story.

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

Will the Harris signing mean more time on the edge for Hightower?

David Harris is expected to be a savvy middle linebacker who will line up his teammates when they help. He's expected to provide some level of leadership, even in his first year in New England, as an accomplished-but-hungry 33-year-old who has not yet reached a Super Bowl. 

What Harris is not expected to do is improve the Patriots pass rush. He was in on one sack in 900 snaps last season.  

But in a roundabout way he might. 

MORE: How does Derek Carr's new deal impact Jimmy Garoppolo?

There are dominos to fall now that Harris has been added to Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. How much will Harris play, and whose playing time will he cut into? Those questions don't yet have answers, but one of the more intriguing elements of the Harris acquisition is how he will benefit Dont'a Hightower's game.

If Harris can pick up the Patriots defense quickly -- and all indications are that there should be few issues there -- he could take some of the all-important communication responsibilities off of Hightower's shoulders. 

Ever since taking the reins from Jerod Mayo as the team's signal-caller, Hightower has had to be on top of all requisite pre-snap checks and last-second alignment changes. It's a critical role, and one that Hightower performs well, but those duties place some added stress on the player wearing the green dot. Perhaps if part of that load can be heaped onto Harris' plate, that might allow Hightower to feel as though he's been freed up to focus on his individual assignments.

Harris' presence might also impact where on the field Hightower is used. Hightower may be the most versatile piece on a Patriots defense loaded with them, but with Harris in the middle, Hightower could end up playing more on the edge, where he's proven he can make a major impact (see: Super Bowl LI).

For Belichick and his staff, having the ability to use one of their best pass-rushers -- and one of the most efficient rushers league-wide, per Pro Football Focus -- on the edge more frequently has to be an enticing byproduct of the move to sign Harris. Especially since there are some question marks among the team's end-of-the-line defenders behind Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich. 

We'll have to wait for training camp before we have an idea of how exactly Harris fits in with the Patriots defense. But the effect he'll have on his new teammates, and Hightower in particular, will be fascinating to track.