Rondo returns, hopes to put Celtics on right track

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Rondo returns, hopes to put Celtics on right track

WALTHAM The veterans were back on the floor for the Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers was running practice and Rajon Rondo - back from a two-game suspension - was running the show.

His return always bodes well for the Celtics who are looking to get on a roll after a lackluster start to the season that has them at 9-8 with the Minnesota Timberwolves in town on Wednesday.

Doc Rivers doesn't for a minute take for granted the impact of having his three-time all-star back in the fold.

"Rondo's is important," Rivers said. "But Kevin (Garnett) is important, Paul (Pierce) ... we should have won both games without Rondo. Having said that, we need him. It's a team game, guys. The day that one guy is going to change a team, make them win every game, that's not going to happen."

Maybe not, but having Rondo certainly gives the Celtics as good a chance as they'll have in reaching their max potential.

While away from the game, Rondo had a chance to watch the C's battle on without him, and came away impressed.

"They moved the ball really well without me," said Rondo, the league's leader in assists with 12.9 per game.

Indeed, his absence afforded other players an opportunity to play more extended minutes and just as important, contribute in ways that might prove beneficial to the Celtics later this season.

"That'll help anybody out," said C's Courtney Lee, referring to extended minutes in Rondo's absence. "You can play through your mistakes, you can play (more) aggressively."

But Rondo's back, and his mindset now is to get the Celtics back to winning.

"I want to get better," he said. "I want to run off by eight or nine games straight. I just want to go out there and give it my all for my teammates, and get some wins."

Said Jeff Green: "When he's there, he's our captain, he's our leader. He knows where everybody is supposed to be on the floor. It's a lot easier when he is here."

Paul Pierce echoed similar comments about Rondo.

"A lot of things we do revolve around Rondo," Pierce said. "Our tempo, our offensive sets ... he's vital to this offense."

But as important as it is for Rondo to be back, Rivers understands that the C's success has to involve others as well.

"It's a team game, guys," Rivers said. "The day that one guy is going to change a team, make them win every game, that's not going to happen."

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

BOSTON (AP)  Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners to earn their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third consecutive win for Rodriguez (4-1), who went six innings, gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span.

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs. Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help from his defense. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBI in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what manager John Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.

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