Sox hope to start season strong for a change

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Sox hope to start season strong for a change

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- In each of the last two seasons, the Red Sox have started poorly, putting them behind in the American League standings from the start.

In 2010, the Sox were 11-12 in April and at one point were 6-10.

Last year, of course, was much worse, as the Sox went winlessin their first six games and dropped to 2-10 before starting to turn it around. They finished April at 11-15 and didn't get tothe .500 mark until the middle of May.

New manager Bobby Valentine has been working the Sox morediligently than did his predecessor, Terry Francona, but Valentinesaid Wednesday it's hard to predict how a team will start the regular season.

"I think sometimes (early-season results) are random,'' he said."Sometimes it's health, sometimes it's competition. It's pretty tough competition out of the chute this year, I guarantee you that. Sometimes it's weather."I've seen guys and teams hot as firecracker in spring (training), then start off slow and (I've seen) just the opposite.''

Valentine said the drills he's putting his team through and the preparation work they're undergoing now doesn't necessarily guarantee a good start.

"I think preparation deals with the entire season,'' he said."Wins and losses, at any segment of the season, I think, are random.You're going to be hot and cold at different points in the season.''

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday in order to shed some light on the prospects who will compete at the combine later this week. One thing that stood out? He's not ready to crown anyone in this year's crop of draftable signal-callers.

As a result of the dearth of pro-ready talent at quarterback, Mayock recognized Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo as perhaps the top target for any quarterback-needy team. Garoppolo might interest the Cleveland Browns in particular, Mayock noted, because of the number of picks they have near the top of the draft.

"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.

"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Haggerty's Morning Skate: NHL teams aren't just making trades for themselves ahead of deadline

Here are all the hockey links from around the world, and what I’m reading while feeling like Warren Beatty took the sneaky way out by handing that wrong Academy Award card to Faye Dunaway last night. Clearly he knew something was amiss and he let her step into it. Kind of a weasel move if you asked me.

-- An interesting letter from FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle about the pay wall involving The Athletic sports website in Toronto.

-- Dean Lombardi and the Los Angeles Kings dealing for Ben Bishop is about more than just an insurance policy for Jonathan Quick.

-- FOH Mike Halford has the Minnesota Wild going for it with their trade for Martin Hanzal, but also keeping him from the other teams in the West.

-- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the Penguins are in great shape after winning the Cup last spring, and it’s clear they’re in good hands after Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle opted not to sell the franchise.

-- Kyle Quincey is being held out of the lineup in New Jersey because of pending trades, and the wonder is who else in New Jersey might be getting dealt.

-- Gabriel Landeskog and his Colorado Avalanche teammates know the trade deadline is coming. It would certainly be weird if they didn’t.

-- The San Jose Sharks feel fortunate for the timing of their bye week as it was clear that they needed a break.

-- For something completely different: Gronk was busy doing Gronk things at the Daytona 500 over the weekend.