Wakeup Call: Rivera says Yankee players have A-Rod's back

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Wakeup Call: Rivera says Yankee players have A-Rod's back

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Tuesday, February 5.

BASEBALL
Yankee fans may have turned on Alex Rodriguez, but Mariano Rivera says Yankee players haven't. (AP)

While you're enjoying today's parade, Baltimoreans, Adam Jones wants you to start preparing for another one in November. (CSN Baltimore)

Oakland made the Astros an offer they couldn't refuse . . . (CSN Houston)

. . . and, as a result, Jed Lowrie is now an A. (CSN Bay Area)

Pressure's on, Donnie Baseball. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

You may know Hawk Harrelson as the cheerleader in the White Sox broadcast booth. History will know him as the only man who ever fired Tony La Russa as manager . . . and he regrets that. (CSN Chicago)

Sergio Romo's in the clear. (AP)

Next stop on the Jonathan Sanchez Reclamation Tour: Pittsburgh. (Hardball Talk)

If you haven't pitched in going on four years, can you actually retire? (AP)

The Mets are talking to Scott Boras about Michael Bourn. Or not. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
One day after one of his brothers-in-law won the Super Bowl -- same day another one lost it -- Tom Crean's Indiana Hoosiers regained the No. 1 ranking in the AP poll. (AP)

In the women's poll, that honor still belongs to Baylor . . . (AP)

. . . though the UPS Team Performance Index continues to think UConn's the best. (AP)

The Ivy League season has barely begun, but the Princeton women are already looking ahead to the NCAAs. (AP)

Back on the men's side, No. 9 Syracuse put the clamps on No. 25 Notre Dame. (AP)

Remember that horrific fall North Carolina's P.J. Hairston took last week at Boston College? It's going to keep him out of tonight's game against Wake Forest. (AP)

Tragic news: An assistant coach on the Cal State Fullerton women's team and her fiancee were found murdered in their car outside their upscale condominium complex in Irvine, Calif., and police say they have no suspects or motive. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Guess that Auburn tattoo wasn't such a good idea after all. (AP)

Bret Bielema trots out his Brother Love Traveling Salvation Show routine for the good folks at Arkansas. (AP)

Cal agrees to pay Jeff Tedford 5.55 million to not coach the Bears. (AP)

Boise State suspends safety Lee Hightower and tight end Hayden Plinke for violating university rules. (AP)

HOCKEY
Looking forward to the Shawn ThorntonMike Rupp rematch? You'll have to wait awhile; the Rangers traded Rupp to the Wild, whom the Bruins don't play this year. (AP)

Caps' GM George McPhee shoots down the Roberto Luongo-to-Washington talk. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

So why, then, was Canucks GM Mike Gillis at the Capitals' game on Sunday? (CSN Washington)

The Sharks suffer their first regulation loss of the season. (AP)

It took a day, but Chris Kunitz finally got his fourth goal from Sunday's game. (AP)

The Red Wings will be without rookie Brendan Smith for the next 2-4 weeks, further depleting their defense corps. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
This is why they say "Buyer beware" when it comes to DeMarcus Cousins. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Memo to Michael Beasley: If you plan on driving a) with a suspended license and b) without plates or registration, don't go 71 in a 45-mph zone. (AP)

The Clippers, without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, lose to the Wizards, but Washington coach Randy Wittman is shedding no tears for L.A. (AP)

The Pacers beat the Bulls for their 14th consecutive home victory. (AP)

California native, and 49ers fan, Tyson Chandler lost his bet with teammate, and Ravens fan, Carmelo Anthony. So when he spoke to the media after his third straight 20-rebound game in the Knicks' win over the Pistons, he was wearing a Baltimore Super Bowl championship hat. (AP)

Talk about a lose-lose night: The Magic drop their 10th straight -- and become the only NBA team with multiple double-digit losing streaks this year -- in Philly's 78-61 victory, but the Sixers may be without leading rebounder Thaddeus Young, who strained his left hamstring, for the next two weeks. (AP)

Happy birthday, Linsanity. (CSN Houston)

PRO FOOTBALL
Turns out the power outage came as no surprise to Superdome officials. (AP)

But Roger Goodell says he's not going to hold it against New Orleans when it comes to scheduling future Super Bowls. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

My apologies, Beyonce, for suggesting otherwise. (Pro Football Talk)

Here are the five plays that turned the Super Bowl in the Ravens' favor. (CSN Baltimore)

Say what you will about Bernard Pollard, but playing most of the season with six cracked ribs? Wow. (Pro Football Talk)

MVP Joe Flacco starts hitting the late-night talk-show circuit. (AP)

The Ravens and 'Niners didn't have quite the ratings power of Patriots-Giants or Packers-Steelers. (AP)

As soon as the 49ers finish the 2013 season -- and then move into their new Santa Clara home -- the city of San Francisco is going to blow up the 'Stick. (Yahoo! Sports)

Our only question to the Lions: What took you so long? (AP)

But not to worry, Thaddeus Young. If this guy can find work in the NFL after getting out of jail, there's hope for you yet. (AP)

R.I.P., Walt Sweeney. (AP)

SOCCER
A match-fixing scandal is exploding in Europe, where 680 contests -- including some World Cup games -- are under investigation. (NBC's Pro Soccer Talk)

FIFA says greater cooperation between law-enforcement agencies and sports' governinhg bodies will be required in order to fix the problem. (Pro Soccer Talk)

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

Red Sox taking stricter luxury tax penalties into consideration this offseason

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The newly agreed upon Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement features higher taxes and additional penalties for exceeding the competitive balance threshold -- and don't think the Red Sox haven't noticed.

The Red Sox went over the threshold in both 2015 and 2016, and should they do so again in 2017, they would face their highest tax rate yet at 50 percent. Additionally, there are provisions that could cost a team in such a situation to forfeit draft picks as well as a reduced pool of money to sign its picks.

None of which means that the Red Sox won't definitively stay under the $195 million threshold for the upcoming season. At the same time, however, it remains a consideration, acknowledged Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.

"You would always like to be under the CBT (competitive balance tax) if you could,'' offered Dombrowski. "And the reason why is that are penalties attached for going over, so nobody likes to (pay) penalties.

"However, the Red Sox, if you follow history, have been up-and-down, right around that number. We were over it last year and the year before that. So I would prefer (to be under in 2017). However, a little bit more driving force in that regard is that there are stricter penalties now attached to going over. And some of them involve, for the first time, differences in draft choices and sacrificing money to sign players and that type of thing. So there's a little bit more drive (to stay under).

"But I can't tell you where we're going to end up. Eventually, does it factor (in)? Yeah. But until we really get into the winter time and see where we are, will I make an unequivocal (statement about staying under the CBT)? Maybe we won't. But there are penalties that I would rather not be in position to incur.''

Dombrowski stressed that he's not under a "mandate'' from ownership to stay under the CBT.

"But I am under an awareness of the penalties,'' he said. "Last year, I would have preferred to be under, too, but it just worked for us to be above it, because we thought that would be the best way to win a championship at the time.''

He added: "I think we're going to have a good club either way.''

But it's clear that the CBT is part of the reason the Red Sox aren't being more aggressive toward some premium free agents such as first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion, who is said to be looking for at least a four-year deal at an annual average value of more than $20 million.

Currently, the Red Sox have nearly $150 million in guaranteed contracts for 2017, plus a handful of arbitration-eligible players, some of whom (Drew Pomeranz, Jackie Bradley Jr.) will see significant raises.

Together, with insurance premiums and others costs tallied, the Sox stand at nearly $180 million, just $15 million under the 2017 tax.

"I've said all along I've wanted to stay away from long-term contracts for hitters at this point,'' Dombrowski said of the current free agent class, "(especially) with some of the guys we have in our organization coming. I just haven't felt that that's a wise thing to do.''

The Sox saw two potential DHs come off the board over the weekend, with Carlos Beltran signing a one-year $16 million deal with Houston and Matt Holliday getting $13 million from the Yankees. Either could have filled the vacancy left by David Ortiz's retirement, but Dombrowski would also be taking on another another eight-figure salary, pushing the Sox well past the CBT.

"I figured we would wait to see what ends up taking place later on,'' said Dombrowski, "and see who's out there.''