FORT MYERS, Fla -- The start of exhibition play is now just days away, with the Red Sox meeting the Minnesota Twins in a 'B' game Thursday, followed by the traditional college doubleheader Saturday and the official beginning of the Grapefruit League season Sunday.
Here are the scheduled pitchers for the first week:
Thursday, at Minnesota ('B' game): Alfredo Aceves; Daniel Bard; Clayton Mortensen; Jesse Carlson.
Saturday vs. Northeastern (afternoon): Jon Lester; Justin Germano; Michael Bowden; Matt Albers.
Saturday vs. Boston College (night): Felix Doubront; Junichi Tazawa.
Sunday vs. Minnesota: Josh Beckett; Andrew Miller; Mark Melancon.
Monday at Minnesota: Clay Buchholz; Vicente Padilla; Will Inman; Carlson; Brandon Duckworth.
Tuesday vs. Baltimore: Bard; Aceves; Alex Wilson; Mortensen; Bowden.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while watching the worlds of sports and politics collide this weekend.
-- Can former Boston University standout Clayton Keller become the NHL’s newest rookie sensation for the Arizona Coyotes? The skills and the skating are certainly there, but we’ll have to see if he can remain in one piece all season with a middling team around him.
-- PHT writer Cam Tucker has Kris Letang returning to the Penguins on Sunday. It still blows my mind that Pittsburgh was able to win the Cup without him in its lineup last spring.
-- Speaking of the Penguins, they say they will accept the White House invitation to visit after last year’s Cup win, and offer a pretty non-committal statement about what’s going on in the other three major sports right now.
-- It was a tremendously successful opening of Little Caesar’s Arena for the Detroit Red Wings last night as they stomped the Bruins in preseason action.
-- The Maple Leafs' Nazem Kadri is out to prove that last season wasn’t a one-year wonder.
-- For something completely different: Good to see another Stoneham guy getting some accolades for a dead-on impersonation.
Sunday morning, as President Donald Trump resumed his attack on the National Football League, Patriots president and CEO Robert Kraft issued a statement condemning Trump's call for NFL owners to "fire" players who protest against social injustice during the playing of the National Anthem.
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"I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday. I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger. There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal. Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”
Trump, meanwhile, was back on Twitter, renewing his demand for punishment -- or employment termination -- against such players: