Pedroia featured on latest Sports Illustrated cover

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Pedroia featured on latest Sports Illustrated cover

Dustin Pedroia will be featured on the cover of the next issue of Sports Illustrated as the "heart" of the Red Sox.

In the story by Tom Verducci, Pedroia reveals, among other things, how his latest nickname came to be.

Pedroia says his latest moniker, the Muddy Chicken, came about during the postgame meal following Bostons 10, 16-inning win over Tampa Bay in June:

David Ortiz was eating this chicken from the Dominican Republic," he told SI. "I dont know who he got it from. But it was bleeping disgusting. So I said, I want to be called that. Bleeping Muddy Chicken. They started laughing, so they started calling me that. And it was a 16-inning game, and I think there were some cocktails involved in some peoples interviews. Thats basically it. And then we got back home and, thanks to New Balance, there are boxes of Muddy Chicken T-shirts. Im like, Whats wrong with you guys?

Pedroia also gets some backhanded praise from White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen:

I love that little guy," Guillen tells SI. "It looks like he escaped from Cirque du Soleil and they put a uniform on him.

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”