Clement notches win number 10

Curt Schilling is headed out to the bullpen to continue his recovery, and this news topped the sports talk community yesterday. It was even at the top of national shows such as ESPN SportsCenter. The Red Sox picked up a win in Texas last night behind Matt Clement. Those are the major stories this morning, but there are also some Celtics stories regarding their summer league entry in Vegas.

The Red Sox made it two in a row over the Rangers and Matt Clement went within one out of a complete game in picking up his 10th win of the season last night in Texas. David Heuschkel says that Clements claims not to have been making a statement last night, but he made one anyway. Sean McAdam notes the Red Sox fine bounceback since Monday night’s disaster with Keith Foulke. Jeff Horrigan notes that it was also a bounceback for Clement, who had been pounded in his previous start against the Blue Jays. Nick Cafardo says that with a depleted bullpen, the Red Sox are showing again that they thrive during gut-check time.

Yesterday the big news of the day once again revolved around the bullpen. During his weekly segment on WEEI, Manager Terry Francona volunteered the information that Curt Schilling will be pitching out of the bullpen tonight for Pawtucket, and that he will continue that role when he rejoins the Red Sox. Amalie Benjamin takes a look at the situation, and how Schilling will be used. She gets Tim Wakefield’s reaction, and the knuckleballer isn’t thrilled with the decision, saying that he’d rather see Schilling back in the rotation. Howard Bryant (subscription only) says that the Red Sox aren’t panicking with this move, but they are desperate. They need some edge, some swagger out of the bullpen to discourage opponents from thinking they can come back on them. Jeff Horrigan notes that the biggest question surrounding Schilling will be how he will handle the physical part of coming out of the bullpen and how his arm will bounce back. Sean McAdam writes that it’s likely Schilling won’t join the Red Sox until after the All Star break next week. David Heuschkel has Johnny Damon saying that he feels Bronson Arroyo would be the best choice to be the closer, with Mike Timlin a close second. Jon Baker has a Pawtucket report, with a look at how the news of Schilling was being received there as well as a look at Jon Papelbon’s first start tonight and Manny Delcarmen being moved up to the AAA club.

Jackie MacMullan has a lengthy column on Foulke, his struggles and how he is dealing mentally with the pressures of Boston. She talks to two former Boston pitchers, Dennis Eckersley and Bob Stanley about the pressures of closing and of pitching in Boston. Damian Vega talks to the agent of Mariners’ closer Eddie Guardado about why he has Boston on his list of 10 teams he can’t be traded to without his permission. Benjamin takes a look at the strong outing for Matt Clement last night, bolstering his case to be added to the All Star team should Kenny Rogers decide to bow out. Howard Bryant looks at Rangers starter Chan Ho Park falling apart after a strong beginning last night. Kevin Henkin says that the Red Sox should pursue Astros setup man Dan Wheeler.

McAdam’s notebook says that Johnny Damon’s sore shoulder has only gotten worse since his diving catch in Texas earlier this week. The centerfielder will get the night off tonight in Baltimore. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Damon’s shoulder. Cafardo’s notebook has Damon saying that there are “a lot of upset people” in the Red Sox clubhouse over the decision to make Schilling a closer, Damon says that he and his teammates would rather see Arroyo or Timlin. It’s amusing that Damon says Schilling is “too old” to be the closer, while pushing for Timlin, who is a little bit older than Schilling. But Timlin of course is used to coming out of the bullpen. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Foulke’s upcoming knee surgery. Cafardo also files a fairly brief All Star Notebook.

WEEI has gotten itself a pair of scoops the last couple days, first getting the news on Tuesday afternoon that Keith Foulke was headed back to Boston for an MRI on each of his knees, and then getting word yesterday directly from manager Terry Francona on-air that Curt Schilling would be used out of the bullpen. They are the Red Sox flagship station, and it is appropriate that this sort of news be broken over their airwaves. They’ve gotten this news with almost exclusively fill-ins appearing during the day this week, with Michael Holley the only regular host working the week.

Steve Bulpett looks at Marcus Banks, who despite not being on the summer league roster in Las Vegas is there working out and practicing with the team every day. All agree that this is a very positive sign for the young point guard, who has a chance to be the starter next season. Bulpett also reports that Danny Ainge has put a toe in the free agent waters, talking to forward Brian Scalabrine and point guard Will Solomon, as well as the agent for Antoine Walker. The Bergen Record reports that Scalabrine to the Celtics is pretty much a done deal, with the forward getting a 5 year, $15 million dollar deal from Boston. Bulpett’s notebook has Doc Rivers giving his thoughts on some of the players, including Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes and Taylor Coppenrath. He also says that Kendrick Perkins has made the biggest strides over the course of the last year.

Bonnie DeSimone’s Tour De France update reports on Lance Armstrong being ordered to don the yellow jersey, against his original intentions.

John Powers looks at London winning the bid to host the 2012 Olympic games. Powers wonders if New York will make another bid for 2016. You can get more news on NYC losing out on the Olympic games over at the New York Sports News page.

John Molori’s Media Blitz hits on a number of topics this morning, looking at show number 500 for the DieHards, the Keith Foulke situation and NESN’s Corey Masse, among many other topics.

NESN has Red Sox/Orioles at 7:00 (ESPN Nationally) TBS has Braves/Cubs at 7:30.

Wakefield, Manny Slam Rangers

A pretty busy midweek, as the Red Sox slam the Rangers, Bill Griffith looks at the changing face of media access, a couple Celtics items for the upcoming summer league and the daily Tour De France and New York updates.

There were no late inning relief pitching dramatics for the Red Sox last night as they defeated the Texas Rangers 7-4 behind the pitching of Tim Wakefield and the 20th career grand slam of Manny Ramirez. In Nick Cafardo’s story this morning, Johnny Damon makes note of the team’s ability to come back after devastating losses, and he’s absolutely right. Everytime this team suffers a loss that you feel might shake them up a little bit, they seem to bounce right back the next day. Jeff Horrigan notes that Wakefield’s performance might not qualify as an official “quality start”, but he did what the Red Sox needed by going 8 innings and getting the bullpen some rest. Sean McAdam says that the relative ease of last night’s victory helps take some of the sting out of the loss from Monday. David Heuschkel looks at the “gutsy” effort from Wakefield, who tied Luis Tiant for fourth place on the all-time wins list for Red Sox pitchers.

Keith Foulke is still the center of attention, especially after it was revealed on WEEI around 5:00 yesterday afternoon that the closer would be headed back to Boston to get his knees checked out and have an MRI done on each of them. Sean McAdam was on the air for WEEI shortly after the news broke, and he looks at the closer being sent home. In the Globe, Amalie Benjamin has the story, noting the dramatic swing in Foulke’s effectiveness between last fall and now. David Heuschkel also reports that it is possible that Foulke could find himself on the disabled list…whether he’s really injured to that extent or not. Bob Ryan weighs in on the Foulke situation and declares that the Red Sox did the right thing in pulling him in now. He looks at what the options are now for the team, and how important it is that they get that slot fixed. Jim Donaldson talks to a number of fast-food employees about the struggles of Keith Foulke. You knew somebody was going to do it, it might as well have been Donaldson. Bob Halloran writes that the way the Red Sox fans are treating Foulke shows that they are still the fellowship of the miserable. Howard Bryant, (subscription only)writes that Larry Lucchino has ordered Theo Epstein to go out and make a deal for some relief pitching. He says Epstein is currently pressing the Mariners for either Eddie Guardado or Ron Villone…or both.

I am a little surprised that Manny’s 20th career grand slam and move into sole possession of second place all time in that category isn’t getting more attention. To me, that is a huge record, and another that a lot of people thought might stand forever. The Globe does have a little graphic this morning showing the all time leaders in this category and the names are pretty impressive. People might be surprised to see Robin Ventura high on the list with 18, but the others…Gehrig, Murray, McCovey, Foxx, and Ted Williams are all huge names, and Manny has accomplished his 20 slams in about half the at-bats that it took Eddie Murray to hit 19 and about 1200 at bats fewer than Ventura, and almost 2000 fewer at bats than Ted Williams. Everyone else on the list is over 2000 at bats more than Manny. So why doesn’t this get any attention here? Am I overstating the importance of this record? Perhaps. But I also think that because it is Manny, he’s not going to get his due here. People (media) are fixated on Manny’s contract, and so pretty much whatever he accomplishes, those people are going to say he’s still not worth $20 million a season. Instead, they look for reasons to knock him. They say he is uninterested, doesn’t care. Ironically, that perceived laid back attitude is probably what helps him the most to get the Grand Slams. It’s just another at-bat. If this was anyone other than Manny on the Red Sox moving up on this all-time record, I’d venture to say it would be getting a lot more play around here.

Howard Bryant’s Boston Uncommon (Subscription only) says that Terry Francona’s hands were tied in selecting the All Star team, and that it has hurt him. He has a quote from an unnamed player on the Red Sox who states that Francona should’ve taken care of his own guys, that in fact it was his responsibility to do so, just as Joe Torre used to. Bryant also writes that Francona hasn’t gotten the freedom or perks of a World Series winning manager:

He wins the World Series and his front office indirectly undermines him by not rewarding him with a new contract, a move that sends the wrong message to the players both about Francona's long-term stability and management's belief in his abilities. He has no more power or influence post-champagne spray than he did during the title drought. He was big-footed by baseball on the All-Star selections, plain and simple.

Bryant then goes on to talk about Gary Sheffield and why he wasn’t the bad guy for his comments last week about undermining any team the Yankees traded him to. Bryant says that Sheffield took less years, less upfront money, and didn’t ask for a no-trade clause, wanting to show the Yankees that he wanted to be there and would honor his deal and be loyal to them. He then felt that the Yankees were punishing his loyalty by offering him in a trade. There are no good-soldier clauses in baseball.

Jeff Jacobs says that it’s becoming clear that it will once again be a two-team race between the Red Sox and Yankees in the AL East. Craig N Laidis looks at getting Red Sox tickets at a premium through various on-line ticket agencies.

Cafardo’s notebook says that another rehab start is likely for Curt Schilling. That is in fact the lead topic of all the notebooks this morning. Horrigan’s notebook also looks at Francona’s headaches in managing the All Star team, McAdam’s notebook says that the Red Sox are unlikely to hook up with Bret Boone. Heuschkel’s notebook reports that Ortiz and Ramirez are the first set of Red Sox sluggers to each hit 20 home runs prior to the All Star break in consecutive seasons.

Bill Griffith has an interesting look at the changing access to athletes and team personnel for “traditional” media types such as newspapers. Curt Schilling will talk to Dennis and Callahan or call in to the Big Show, but he won’t talk to the beat writers. Keith Foulke does a weekly segment for a truck on WEEI, but doesn’t do all that much talking, either there or in the clubhouse. WEEI has “Patriots Monday” which is a complicated deal now between the station and team. There are many other examples, and many of them boil down to money. He has a couple of smaller side articles with this one, one that looks at the access National TV crews get to NFL teams, access that the local media does not get. He also looks at HBO and ESPN, which will not pay for interviews.

Steve Bulpett takes a look at the Celtics youngsters getting ready for the Las Vegas summer league. Celtics.com has the roster and schedule for the team, and taking a look at the roster, it is stacked with young players. Five first round picks, three second rounders (though Orien Greene will not be playing) and at least a couple other guys (Taylor Coppenrath, Will Bynum) who could very well be on a NBA roster this winter.

Bonnie DeSimone provides the daily update on Lance Armstrong, as he moved into the lead at the Tour De France yesterday.

Get coverage of NYC being ousted from the list of candidates for the 2012 Olympics, Pedro Martinez getting no support as the Mets lose to the Nationals, and the Yankees beating up on the Orioles over at the New York Sports News page.

NESN has Red Sox/Rangers at 8:00. ESPN has Cubs/Braves at 7:00. ESPN2 has Cardinals/Diamondbacks at 10:00.

This entry sponsored by:

GoToMeeting

Present 1,000 Miles Away

Another Foulke Meltdown

The Red Sox recent struggles continue on the first game of their road trip. After a Manny Ramirez blast put them up 5-3 in the eighth, the bullpen once again floundered. There are reports on Curt Schilling’s outing in Pawtucket last night and just a few other sports items as we hit the halfway point of the baseball season.

The Red Sox fell to the Rangers last night 6-5 after Keith Foulke allowed another lead to slip away. Following the game, Dennis Eckersley on NESN, who has had Foulke’s back for the most part during the closer’s struggles, stated that Foulke looked scared out on the mound, especially after giving up a one-out triple to Michael Young. Eckersley stated that a change needs to be made, but he really doesn’t know what that change can be. It seems like Mike Timlin is the only alternative at this point, and he gave up a run in his inning of work last night as well.

Nick Cafardo writes that people might mistakenly call Foulke ‘Kevin Faulk’ because the Patriots running back might be a better choice to close games at this point. Jeff Horrigan writes that manager Terry Francona stated after the game that no change in the closer role is imminent. Sean McAdam has the same quote, and notes that with the season officially half over, its obvious that the bullpen is a full-fledged issue for this team. The headline writers for David Heuschkel’s article and Cafardo’s story above seem to have consulted each other while naming their articles. Heuschkel notes that Francona is just about out of answers regarding Foulke at this point.

In essence, there were two Red Sox games last night, and nether really went well. Curt Schilling was in Pawtucket to make his second rehab start for the PawSox, and struggled, giving up eight hits and five run in his five innings of work. Adam Kilgore writes that though Schilling’s mere presence made the night a winner for the Pawtucket fans, the Red Sox would’ve like to have seen a better outing from their ace, who appeared to regress last night. Steve Buckley says that Schilling was frustrated by his lack of feel for his fastball. Steven Krasner writes that we shouldn’t expect to see Schilling with the big club this week, based on last night’s outing. Jeff Goldberg has a similar thought, while noted that it was Schilling’s mechanics, not his ankle which are holding up his progress. Eric Benevides in the Pawtucket Times says that PawSox pitching coach Mike Griffin was able to find a few positives in the five inning stint.

Howard Bryant says that the Rangers were not fooled at all by Foulke last night, sitting on his pitches all the way. Bill Reynolds in one of his “three columns for the price of one” outings notes that if Foulke can’t handle the negative attention, then perhaps he should’ve stayed in Oakland. (Reynolds also looks at Celtics draftee Ryan Gomes and the soap opera of the Yankees in the other two parts of his column.) Amalie Benjamin analyzes the performance of the Red Sox starter last night, Wade Miller, who settled down after a rough start and turned in a solid performance. Horrigan writes that Matt Clement may yet find a way to the All Star game.

Steve Buckley (subscription only) writes that the Red Sox desperately need Schilling back at a 100%. Without him he says, they have no ace, and are merely the Cleveland Indians of the late 1990′s. Benjamin also looks at Lenny DiNardo’s rushed return to the Major Leagues. Jon Couture looks at the All Star selection process, noting that while it is a mess, it certainly does create “buzz” for the game and is not an easy process for the manager. John Tomase says that by selecting “deserving” Angels starter Bartolo Colon, Terry Francona “stuck it” to his own guys, creating an unhappy clubhouse.

Gordon Edes looks at the sensational, unexpected success of the Washington Nationals in their first season in D.C. – noting that while the club and fans have enjoyed a rebirth this season, political issues are always close behind the scenes of anything in the Nation’s Capital. Lenny Megliola looks at “The truly amazing William Roger Clemens”, who just continues to roll on and put up incredible numbers at the age of 43. Howard Bryant (subscription only) says that the punishment handed out to Kenny Rogers wasn’t nearly harsh enough, he still gets to pitch in the All Star game, for which he gets a $50,000 bonus, which coincidentally is the same amount as his fine. Because of appeal, he is also able to continue pitching now.

Cafardo’s notebook looks at strategies by the Red Sox for combating the heat of Texas and conserving energy. He also notes a Seattle Post-Intelligencer report that the Red Sox are “in the mix” for Brett Boone. Horrigan’s notebook says that David Ortiz will take part in the Home Run Derby next Monday night. McAdam’s notebook says that there is still plenty of frustration in the Red Sox clubhouse over the All Star omissions of Matt Clement and Mike Timlin. Heuschkel’s notebook says that Francona expects Kenny Rogers to accept his spot on the All Star team and play. Benevides’ notebook looks at pitching prospect Jon Papelbon getting the call to Pawtucket.

Frank Dell’Apa and Joseph D

Blog Thoughts

Just a few thoughts around the Blogosphere for your perusal this Holiday Monday.

Chad Finn plays nine innings of Touching All The Bases, looking at how to fix the Yankees, (as a Birthday gift to George) an in-person look at Hanley Ramirez, the NESN taxi-squad, Peter Gammons‘ comments on Carl Everett (at the end of Gammons’ column) and several other items.

A post on Dave Doyle’s blog looks at how and why the NESN broadcasts have become unwatchable. The author however, (not Dave) seems to only address the main issues after making sure he doesn’t offend the people who are actually responsible for making the broadcasts what they are.

Football Outsiders and Cold Hard Football Facts have reviews of the NFL preseason publications.

Beth of Cursed to First is totally depressed about Keith Foulke and his “probably short-lived career in Boston.”

Jeff examines the Celtics depth chart as he sees it now (and plenty of other Celtics stuff) over at Celtics Blog.

Sunday Notes

A somewhat quick look at the major articles from this morning.

Michael Silverman has the full text of his Q&A session with Pedro Martinez in this morning’s Boston Herald. Gordon Edes has a look at the relationship between George Steinbrenner and John Henry. It appears that the Boss may not be as grouchy as he may seem. There’s also a lengthy feature on Steinbrenner by Bob Sudyk in the Hartford Courant. Tony Massarotti has his Sunday edition of Covering All The Bases, and he looks at Award winners around MLB at the halfway point of the season. Steve Buckley takes a look at Jon Papelbon’s younger twin brothers, who also play baseball, but have been through a lot in life together as well. Edes’ Baseball Notes looks at the short lifespan of Red Sox closers, trots out his All-Bargain team and has several other items.

For some reason the Globe decided to split up the Football and Basketball Notes into several separate columns for the online version. Why?

Nick Cafardo is back at the helm of the football notes and you’ve got your usual items in the lineup:

  • The Jets could challenge the Patriots, as they’re trying to emulate them. Chad Pennington will regain the “zip” on his throws after offseason surgery on a torn rotator cuff. (Question – Did Pennington ever have “zip”?)
  • Quotes from Pete Kendall regarding the Patriots and Jets.
  • How it would be “nice to picture (Randy) Moss split right and (Terrell) Owens split left opening night at Gillette Stadium against the Patriots.” Nice?
  • All these ex-players becoming coaches. Because they played for Bill Parcells. Not noted is the fact that they also played for Bill Belichick, Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis.
  • Ty Law is in huge demand around the league.
  • Plenty of Agents and Contract stuff galore. Cafardo is surely being well-received in the agent community.
  • Don’t be surprised to see Richard Seymour dig in for an extended holdout.

But…we’ll give Nick and the Globe credit for having an NFL/Patriots column. The Herald doesn’t. The ProJo doesn’t. The MetroWest Daily News doesn’t.

Peter May’s NBA Notes are also split up, and also somewhat head scratching .

His bi-polar week continues. Monday, Gerald Green was awesome. Thursday he was a bad pick. Today he is, as the headline to the notes say a “perfect strike for Celtics”. He notes several examples of “sliders” in the draft, with more of them going on to stardom then not. Of course one of the ones who didn’t was Acie Earl, who fell to the Celtics at 19 in 1993.

He looks at the class of 2001 hitting restricted free agency.

Taylor Coppenrath getting a shot with the Celtics summer league entry.

Various notes wrapping up the draft and looking ahead to free agency. Included in this section is this curious statement.

To all the e-mailers complaining about my recent Pierce trade proposals (including Leo from Kazakhstan), be advised they were made with the intention of getting good locker room guys and, just as important, No. 1 draft picks. And also be aware that you may not be able to get what you might think of equal value for Pierce now, which may be why he ends up going nowhere.

I don’t recall May ever making acknowledgment of reader feedback before, he must’ve been besieged. However, the probably I had with him this week was not really the trade proposals, though Pierce for Eric Williams, Lamond Murray and a number one pick was pretty lame. My issue was his turnaround on his opinion on Green, though I did get a few emails defending May and saying that taking the best player available isn’t always wise if it isn’t a good fit for the team. I betcha Portland if given the chance over again would take Michael Jordan over Sam Bowie, even though they already had Clyde Drexler and Jordan might not have been the best fit. However, I digress. May’s article on Thursday is only made worse with his thoughts today about Green and his sliding to the Celtics. He’s all over the place on this issue.

Mark Murphy has NBA notes in the Herald, and he looks at Danny Ainge just getting started on building his 2005-2006 Celtics. He also looks at Dr. Arnold Scheller stepping down as well as Gerald Green’s educational goals and what if anything, can be done with the salary cap about it.

Bob Hohler has a feature on troubling incidents involving Boston College Basketball players and the Law over the last several years.

Get the Sunday sports news from the Big Apple over at the New York Sports Headlines page.

Jays Celebrate with Early Fireworks at Fenway

The Sox dove into a stretch of games against divisional rivals with a belly flop, a 15-2 spanking at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays, an unheralded team ranked twenty-fifth in salary yet with just enough pitching to hang around the wild card race at the midway point of the season. Starting pitching, relief pitching and offense were all problems for the Sox last night. In today

Long Weekend Ahead

Plenty going on heading into the Holiday weekend. Even though the Red Sox didn’t play last night, there’s still lots to talk about. There are some lingering stories around the Celtics draft, David Scott weighs in on the Globe sports editor’s “update”, and Jim Baker reports on rumors surrounding Ted Sarandis at WEEI.

With the Red Sox off yesterday, there was plenty of time to reflect on the mess that is the bullpen. Art Martone notes the offensive prowess of the club, but then looks at the ‘pen, where the problems begin with Keith Foulke. Jeff Goldberg suggests that Bronson Arroyo might be the guy to move into the bullpen and help fix some of the issues there. John Tomase agrees that Arroyo could be the answer. Mike Fine analyzes the struggles of Foulke. Jeff Horrigan says that the numbers out of the bullpen are just plain embarrassing. The Herald does a little back-and-forth routine between Tony Massarotti and Howard Bryant. (Subscription only) The subject is Keith Foulke and his comments after giving up the grand slam Tuesday night where he made reference to “Johnny from Burger King”. Massarotti says that Foulke was perfectly within his rights to be upset. He says that fans may have the right to boo, but that they can’t expect that he’ll just take that and smile. He concludes:

Foulke has no obligation to keep his mouth shut. Neither do you. But when a man succeeds as the last line on a team that wins a championship for the first time in 86 years, you simply cannot be surprised if he elects to defend himself.

Bryant, however, believes that Foulke went too far with the Burger King comment. He says that Foulke divided his attack by income and came off as an elitist. After noting that Foulke makes $7.5 million this season which comes out to $312,500 per week, he notes what “Johnny” likely made:

For the record, the minimum wage in Massachusetts is $6.75 per hour, which is what the Burger King on the corner of Boylston Street and Kilmanrock Street by Fenway Park pays. A person working a full, 37.5-hour work week at minimum wage earns $253.12.
Two face-value tickets to last year's World Series games at Fenway Park last year cost $290.

So the two writers took entirely different points here. Massarotti looking at whether Foulke had the right to speak out, while Bryant isn’t concerned with that fact that he did speak out, but rather with the content of what he said when he did so.

Stan Grossfeld has an article this morning entitled “Birth of a New Nation”. The subject? Red Sox fans who had private “celebrations” last October, who are now expecting children as a result of said “celebrations”. I was initially skeptical, but the article is tastefully done and as always with Grossfeld, you get a really good feel for the lives of the people involved. David Borges looks at John McDonald coming into Fenway tonight with the Toronto Blue Jays. McDonald is the final member of the Providence Friars baseball program still in the Major Leagues. Dave Doyle attacks the notion that Manny Ramirez is an awful outfielder. He provides some examples of great plays made by Manny in the field, and why the perception persists that he’s terrible in Left Field. Jeff Horrigan reports that Curt Schilling appears to be on schedule to rejoin the Red Sox as early as a week from tomorrow. Nick Cafardo’s notebook says that the Blue Jays are not planning on holding any fire sales come the end of this month. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the status of the Red Sox draft picks…negotiations with Craig Hansen continue to be slow, but the others are nearly complete. Chris Snow files a Minor League notebook, where he looks at Manny Delcarmen, who has been coming out of the bullpen for Portland and has touched 98 on the radar gun.

Believe it or not, today is July 1st, the start of the NBA free agent period, although no deals can be made until the 15th. Shira Springer looks at what is on Danny Ainge’s plate for the next two weeks. Steve Bulpett writes that the Celtics best chance for success lies in Paul Pierce growing up. He notes that if Ainge simply wanted to ship Pierce out of town, he’d be gone by now. He reports Western sources telling him that Clippers called offering Corey Maggette and more, and that Ainge wasn’t interested. Mark Murphy clarifies a story that had been going around regarding top pick Gerald Green, he was never cut from his high school teams for lack of ability, but rather because of academic issues. Jeff Goodman looks at another facet of Green, this time the rumor that he slipped because he is missing about an inch off his right ring finger. The part about the finger is true, but it was not the reason he was available at number 18. Michael Muldoon also has a look at Green’s finger.

Dan Shaughnessy has a “Picked up pieces” column today. It’s not bad. Really. Other than a gratuitous and unnecessary shot at Michael Holley, there were a couple interesting or amusing items. I liked the one about Bridget Moynahan. Cheers to Shaughnessy for mentioning Jose Offerman without prefacing it with “piece of junk”. A light day for Dan though, 840 words…Bill Simmons hasn’t even made his first Starbucks run after that many words.

Kelsie Smith and John Connolly look at Boston College officially joining the ACC today. Connolly reports that the conference has its eye on Fenway Park as a possible location for the ACC Baseball tournament.

Bonnie DiSimone files the daily Lance Armstrong update, while Kevin Paul Dupont reports from Wimbledon. Bud Collins says that Venus Williams isn’t quite finished yet. Dupont also files a Wimbledon notebook.

David Scott has a look at the Patriots Season tickets which arrived in the mail this week, a look at the new “Memo from the Sports Editor” paragraph in the Globe which appeared yesterday, plenty of random thoughts on subjects such as Boston Dirt Dogs, the Tour De France and an interview Scott did with Craig Biggio.

Pedro Martinez improved to 9-2 on the season and the Yankees had a bloodletting in their bullpen yesterday. Isiah Thomas is looking to further ruin the Knicks in free agency. Check those stories and more at the New York Sports News page.

Jim Baker reports on rumors that “roundly disliked” WEEI program director Jason Wolfe is trying to force Ted Sarandis into quitting. Joe Sullivan of the Union Leader looks at ESPN coming to Manchester on July 18th. Bill Griffith and John Howell look at the race heating up for NASCAR broadcasting rights.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00.