Loco for Coco

The Red Sox and Indians continue to work towards a deal that would send outfielder Coco Crisp to the Red Sox. After the Herald had the details of the deal first yesterday, Tony Massarotti says today that physicals are the only thing holding up the deal from being made official. He also says in that same report that the Sox are also awaiting a physical on free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez, and once he passes, he will also be a member of the Red Sox. He talks to Gonzalez’s former manager, Jack McKeon, who raves about his defensive abilities. Massarotti and the Herald had Crisp and Gonzalez coming to the Red Sox in yesterday’s paper, giving them a good scoop over the Globe. Chris Snow in today’s Globe also reports on the deal, and says that that only possible deal killer could be Guillermo Mota’s physical status. However Snow’s version of the trade is expanded somewhat to include six players today. The Red Sox would send Andy Marte, Mota, and Kelly Shoppach to Cleveland and in return would receive Crisp, reliever David Riske and catcher Josh Bard. Elsewhere, David Heuschkel builds on the Herald report from yesterday in reporting about Crisp and Gonzalez coming to Boston.

Vin Sylvia in the Union Leader on Saturday asserted that Theo Epstein must now have control of the baseball operations department. There could be no other reason for his return. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that the Red Sox cannot spin this situation. They need to address it with candor, and not try to make it seem like Larry Lucchino had nothing to do with Theo’s temporary exile from the franchise. Lenny Megliola says that we can always count on one thing in Boston with the Red Sox. There is never a dull moment. He too is looking forward to how the Red Sox spin this return.

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Michael Felger says that the Patriots would’ve had their hands full with the Steelers yesterday had that game be held at Gillette, and Pittsburgh deserves to be going to the Super Bowl. Jerome Solomon reports on the Steelers upsetting the Denver Broncos 34-17 to earn a trip to Super Bowl XL in Detroit. Bob Ryan looks at the maturation of Ben Roethlisberger into a playoff tested QB. Solomon’s notebook looks at Jerome Bettis going home to Detroit for what is likely the last game of his career.

Nick Cafardo was in Seattle to report on the Seahawks 34-14 win over Carolina to clinch the NFC Championship and a Super Bowl berth. Cafardo’s running mate, Ron Borges reports on Seattle getting off to a quick start yesterday and never looking back. Cafardo’s notebook looks at Mike Holmgren getting back to the Super Bowl.

Get more on the conference championships and other sports on the New York and Bay Area sports pages.

At the moment, there are still no Celtics trades to report, though the rumor mill has been grinding all weekend. Despite the lackluster blowout loss to the Nets on Saturday night, there is still some reason for optimism around the Celtics given the play of their own young version of the twin towers, Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics need to raise their own expectations as well as their mental toughness. Shira Springer says that the Celtics just need to develop more consistency from quarter to quarter and game to game. Tim Weisberg notes that the Celtics youngsters are getting their shot, and seem to be taking advantage of it. He also has a report on Gerald Green from the NBA Developmental League. Kevin Henkin says that we need to ease up on Doc Rivers. Yesterday, Lenny Megliola caught up with former Celtics coach John Carroll, who is now coaching his son at Belmont Hill and doing some work for ESPN.com.

Stephen Harris takes the unusual (and difficult) task of trying to defend Mike O’Connell. Harris argues that more of the blame should be directed to Jeremy Jacobs and Harry Sinden. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports on Tim Thomas volunteering for some extra work during yesterday’s workout. Harris’ notebook says that Sergei Samsonov should be good to go for the Bruins next game.

OLN/INHD has Bruins/Capitals at 7:00. FSN has Celtics/Hornets at 7:30 (HD). ESPN has Syracuse/Pitt at 7:00 (HD) Oklahoma St/Texas at 9:00 (HD) and Utah State/Nevada at midnight (HD). OLN also has Mighty Ducks/Kings at 10:30.

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