Suffering for Takeo Spikes

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Suffering for Takeo Spikes

This afternoon, Tom E. Curran posted an interesting story on Patriots defensive back Derrick Martin, who signed with the team last week, and comes to New England as the only player in the NFL with a ring from each of the last two Super Bowls.

Not that he did anything to earn them he was on the IR with the Packers in 2010 and only made four tackles last season for the Giants but that won't matter 30 years from now. Martin's got rings! Two more rings than Dan Marino and Dick Butkus combined. One more ring than Peyton Manning, Ray Lewis and Brett Favre. And this year, now that he's on board with the Patriots, Martin will look to join Ken Norton Jr. as the only guy in NFL history to play for three consecutive Super Bowl winners. Amazing stuff. Read more about Martin here.

After I was done reading, I thought about Takeo Spikes.

I guess that's pretty random, since he has nothing to do with the Pats, but . . . let's connect it this way: The Pats play the Bills on Sunday. Spikes had two of his best seasons while playing for the Bills. Not to mention, Spikes is also the older cousin of Brandon Spikes. Is that enough? OK, good.

And here's why Derrick Martin made me think about Takeo Spikes:

Now in his 15th NFL season, Spikes is currently playing for his fifth different team (the Chargers). He's seventh among active players with 207 career starts and, over that time, has amassed nearly 1000 solo tackles. But all those numbers pale in comparison to Spikes' true claim to fame: HE'S NEVER PLAYED IN THE POSTSEASON.

Never. Fourteen years and he's never made the playoffs. Not in six years with the Bengals. Not in three years with the Bills. In 2007, Spikes went to the Eagles who had made the playoffs in six of the previous seven years and they fell short. He then spent three years suffering through the Singletary years in San Francisco. Last year, he went to San Diego, a team that had been to the playoffs in four of the previous five years, and THEY fell short.

This season, he's back with the Chargers. At 35 years old, he's started every game. As always, he's playing his ass off. And as always, it probably won't amount to much. San Diego's 4-4, but with Norv Turner at the helm and only one playoff spot realistically up for grabs, it doesn't look good for Spikes. Again.

Crazy how that works, huh? Derrick Martin has two rings (and counting?) without breaking a sweat. Without even playing. He can't stop winning! Meanwhile, a guy like Spikes gives everything and gets nothing. You can't help but feel bad. You can't help but root for the Chargers to sneak into that sixth playoff spot and give Spikes a taste of the real thing.

And then we can go back to pinning our hopes on Derrick Martin winning a third straight Super Bowl.

God knows he deserves it.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

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Price turns in encouraging effort in first 2017 start

CHICAGO — It’s a start, literally and figuratively.

David Price showed some great velocity in his 2017 Red Sox debut Monday afternoon, hitting 97 mph -- heat he didn’t have last year. At times, the pitcher the Sox badly need to return to form flashed high-level effectiveness as well.

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What everyone expected would be off in Price's first start back, his command, was indeed shaky, considering he allowed more runs (three) than hits (two). But he wasn’t expected to be in tip-top form, and he did a decent job overall.

Price's five-inning, three-run performance against the White Sox came almost exactly three months after he first felt elbow soreness during spring training. The lefty exited with the Red Sox ahead 4-3, though he lost the chance at his first 2017 victory when Chicago scored in the seventh.

All three runs off Price scored on a Melky Cabrera homer in the third inning, which put the White Sox ahead 3-1 at the time. Price walked only two batters on the day, but they happened to be the two hitters in front of Cabrera.

The walk started with the No. 9 hitter, Adam Engel. Tim Anderson, who had drawn just four walks in 181 plate appearances entering the day, got a free pass as well.

But besides the Cabrera homer on a first-pitch fastball that was middle-in, the only other hit Price allowed was a shallow bloop single to center field.

Price finished with four strikeouts, including the first batter he faced on the day, Anderson.

His command issues were nonetheless clear. Price hit two batters to begin his final frame, setting up a fine play for Deven Marrero to record a force out at second before Xander Bogaerts started a inning-ending double play with a fantastic dive, bailing Price out of the first-and-third jam with one out.

With 88 pitches and 58 strikes, Price was more efficient than he was in two rehab outings at Triple-A Pawtucket, and he didn’t get rocked. But he also wasn’t as efficient as the Red Sox will need him to be.

Price was pitching in a calm, pleasant environment (clear skies, temperatures in the 70s, low humidity) that might actually have been more comfortable than the colder clime Price faced in Pawtucket -- where both the fans and temperatures were chilly.

The Red Sox were aggressive bringing Price back so quickly, and set themselves up for a second guess if something went wrong. But Price preserved the second of two leads his offense gave him and didn’t let the game get out of hand. After the Cabrera homer put the White Sox up two, the Red Sox answered immediately in the top of the fourth to tie at 3-3.

The argument that Price did better than anyone else would have in his place is a fair one, considering John Farrell and Co. slated Price to pitch Monday before they watched Brian Johnson’s complete-game shutout.

The bigger question was always about what was best for Price’s future, and Monday looks like something he can build on. He may have benefited from the adrenaline of being back in the majors.

Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

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Pedroia lifted in second inning after hurting wrist in collision

CHICAGO -- Injury scares are finding Dustin Pedroia in all the wrong places.

The Red Sox second baseman was pulled in the second inning Monday afternoon against the White Sox because of a left wrist sprain, an injury he seemed to suffer on a collision running to first base in the top of the first inning.

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He and White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu converged on the bag at the same time on a grounder to Abreu, and Pedroia tumbled over Abreu

Pedroia had season-ending surgery on the wrist in September 2014, addressing a tendon issue. Pedroia had surgery on his left knee this year, and missed time after Manny Machado's slide caught him in that leg in April.

Pedroia during the last homestand was pulled as a precaution because of concern for that leg.

Josh Rutledge took over for Pedroia at second base.