Red Sox make surprising choice for new manager

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Red Sox make surprising choice for new manager

From Comcast SportsNet
BOSTON (AP) -- When Terry Francona left the Boston Red Sox, he said they needed "a new voice" in the manager's office. They've certainly chosen a brash one. Two months after a record collapse kept them out of the playoffs, the Red Sox picked Bobby Valentine to be their next manager. The sides were working to complete a contract, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. Several media outlets in Boston, citing anonymous sources, reported earlier in the evening that Valentine would be the team's new manager. An announcement could come by Thursday. "He's got it. I just spoke to him a little while ago," Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, who managed Valentine in the minors with the Los Angeles Dodgers, said in a telephone interview with the AP. Blunt, cocky and sometimes controversial, Valentine is quite a departure from Francona, a player's manager who rarely went public with criticism of players or internal team problems. As manager of the New York Mets from 1996-2002, Valentine clashed with general manager Steve Phillips. In April 2000, he criticized the team's front office and some players, including Bobby Bonilla and Rickey Henderson, while speaking to students at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business. And famously, after being ejected from a game in 1999, he returned to the dugout wearing a fake mustache and sunglasses. Major League Baseball fined him 5,000 and suspended him for three games. More recently, the 61-year-old Valentine has been working as an analyst for ESPN, where he has commented on several Red Sox players, saying pitcher Josh Beckett should work faster and left fielder Carl Crawford should close his stance. Valentine's style can be abrasive, sure, but few question his baseball acumen. He guided the Mets to consecutive playoff appearances, culminating in a trip to the 2000 World Series, where they lost to the New York Yankees. He went to Japan and managed the Chiba Lotte Marines to a championship in 2005. "He's matured, and I think managing in Japan helped him a great deal," Lasorda said. "Becoming the manager of the Red Sox, that's a privilege and an honor, and I'm sure he's going to do a great job." Valentine also managed the Texas Rangers from 1985-92. His last big league managerial job was with the Mets, and he managed in Japan from 2004-09. He was in Japan this week and said he was about to take off on a flight when he sent the AP a text message at 9:48 p.m. Tuesday saying he had no comment on "the Red Sox situation." The manager's job has been vacant since Francona parted ways with the Red Sox on Sept. 30, saying he wasn't getting through to the players. The team didn't pick up his option for 2012. That ended an eight-year run in which Francona led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. They led the AL East for much of last summer but went 7-20 in September, wasting a nine-game lead in the wild-card race and finishing out of the playoffs for the second straight year, one game behind Tampa Bay. That was followed by reports of starting pitchers drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games in which they weren't scheduled to pitch instead of staying on the bench to support their teammates. "I trusted them explicitly and things weren't getting done the way I wanted it in the end," Francona said at the news conference where his departure was announced, "and I was frustrated because of that. If that's letting me down, maybe it is." With a fresh, forceful voice at the helm, maybe the players will become better listeners. Valentine interviewed on Nov. 21 with general manager Ben Cherington and other members of Red Sox management. Asked at a news conference that day about his philosophy of discipline, Valentine said, "Discipline is not 30 whacks with a whip these days. But I think everyone likes discipline. I think everyone likes structure. Everyone likes to be acknowledged when they do things properly. Discipline and rules and things like that -- it's just about right and wrong." Not since Kevin Kennedy left as manager after the 1996 season have the Red Sox had a manager who seems to enjoy the spotlight as much as Valentine. Jimy Williams, Joe Kerrigan and Grady Little followed Kennedy and preceded Francona. A native of Connecticut and a former roommate of Bill Buckner's, Valentine wasn't on the Red Sox original five-man list of candidates. That group included Gene Lamont, Dale Sveum, Torey Lovullo, Pete Mackanin and Sandy Alomar Jr., all major league coaches. Sveum was hired as manager of the Chicago Cubs by former Boston GM Theo Epstein. Lamont was the only one in that bunch who had managed extensively in the majors, and the Red Sox expanded their search to include Valentine. On Nov. 3, he and Red Sox president and part owner Larry Lucchino took part in Hartford in a program put on by the World Affairs Council on the global rise in the popularity of baseball. At the time, both said they hadn't discussed the job with each other. "He's a great man and a great manager and he has a colorful and successful history, so his name inevitably comes up in this day and age," Lucchino said then. After his interview 2 weeks later, Valentine said if he got the job, "I would feel like it is Christmas." The son-in-law of former major league pitcher Ralph Branca, Valentine has a 1,117-1,072 record as a big league manager but has never finished in first place in 15 seasons. He could have a chance to do that in 2012 with a team that was a popular preseason pick to reach last season's World Series. "I'm happy for him," Lasorda said. "I think the Red Sox got themselves a good manager. In all my years, I've never seen a guy prepare a team for a game like he does. That's what makes him unique."

Bears agree to deal with quarterback Brian Hoyer

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Bears agree to deal with quarterback Brian Hoyer

The Bears have agreed to a deal with free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer, Ryan Pace confirmed Saturday.

The Bears opted not to draft a quarterback with any of their nine selections but will have an experienced backup behind Jay Cutler.

Hoyer, a 31-year-old seven-year veteran, started nine games for the Houston Texans last season. In 11 games he threw for 2,606 yards, 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions. In the Texans' 2015 playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Hoyer was 15 of 34 for 136 yards and four interceptions.

The Bears will be Hoyer's fifth team. He was drafted out of Michigan State in 2009 by the New England Patriots. He made stops in Arizona, Cleveland and Houston.

Current Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains was the Browns' quarterback coach in 2014 when Hoyer started 14 games in Cleveland.

Stay with CSNChicago.com for more updates throughout the night.

White Sox Avisail Garcia out but maybe not for long

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White Sox Avisail Garcia out but maybe not for long

BALTIMORE -- Early indications are that Avisail Garcia has avoided serious injury.

The White Sox outfielder may not play again until Tuesday with a right hamstring strain, but as of now he isn’t headed for the disabled list.

Garcia is out of action for Saturday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles and likely Sunday as well to rest a hamstring he tweaked on the final play of Friday’s loss. The White Sox also are off Monday, which would give Garcia three days to rest before he could potentially return at home against the Boston Red Sox. Jerry Sands is starting in Garcia’s place as the team’s designated hitter.

“It’s a little tight,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I don’t think it’s a DL situation there, but he definitely did something going down the line there. Get Sandsy in there and stay away from Avi tonight and reassess it tomorrow. He seems confident it’s not going to linger too long.”

This is the second time Garcia has injured his hamstring in his career. He also suffered one in 2012 while at High-A Lakeland. Garcia tested his hamstring Saturday and determined he’d be out of action, though he feels better with early treatment.

“When I started running, I tried to put 100 percent, and then I started feeling it,” Garcia said. “When I jumped, that’s when I feel it the most. But it’s nothing serious. I feel a little bit pain, a little bit tight, but I can move my leg. I don’t want it to get worse. I just want to get the treatment today and tomorrow and we have a day off on Monday. So let’s see how I feel on Tuesday, hopefully ready though.”

The timing couldn’t be worse for Garcia, who had begun to find his stroke. Garcia has displayed more confidence on this trip than he has all season and had gone 8-for-18 with a double, triple, homer and four RBIs and two walks. The spurt has helped Garcia raise his average by 79 points to .214.

Ventura said he’s just glad the injury doesn’t seem too serious after three White Sox players hit the DL earlier in the week.

“You can’t plan for that stuff,” Ventura said. “It’s a good sign to see he’s swinging the bat and doing that. You just take care of him, get him healthy and keep back at it. You can’t ever plan, no matter what you just keep playing. For him it’s more confidence that he has of what he’s doing right now that he can keep.”

Patrick Nyarko haunts former team, Fire settle for draw against D.C. United

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Patrick Nyarko haunts former team, Fire settle for draw against D.C. United

Patrick Nyarko has made a number of big plays in Toyota Park over the years. He added another one Saturday, but did so for the visiting team.

Nyarko, who played eight seasons with the Chicago Fire, scored on a header following a corner kick in the 65th minute to deny the Fire three crucial points at home.

Jonathan Campbell's first professional goal had given the Fire the lead, but the match finished 1-1.

The Fire (1-2-4, 7 points) needed to get some points before heading into a three-game road trip that will take place over the span of eight days. A draw at home isn't what the team needed heading into that road trip.

Campbell's goal came following an Arturo Alvarez free kick in the 41st minute. Alvarez curled in a quality delivery that Campbell flicked into the goal with the outside of his foot. D.C. (2-3-4, 10 points) goalkeeper Travis Worra got a hand on it, but wasn't able to keep it out.

Nyarko's goal was the only serious threat for either team in the second half.

Entering the match, the Fire had to deal with a number of injuries leading up to the match. David Accam is still out with a knee injury. Rookie Alex Morrell, who was been used as a substitute the past two matches, was ruled out with a calf injury late in the week. On Friday John Goossens suffered a sprained LCL in training and is expected out 1-4 weeks. Matt Polster was a gameday scratch due to a calf injury of his own.

All those injuries led to the Fire having just 15 healthy field players to choose from. Accam made the sub list to fill out the lineup, but was likely never going to play.

With all that working against them the Fire weren't able to hold onto the win in wet and windy conditions. Razvan Cocis returned to the attacking midfield position and Nick LaBrocca made his first start with the Fire. LaBrocca was subbed out for Joey Calistri in the 53rd minute, who had his longest appearance of the season.

The Fire return to action Wednesday, May 11, in Vancouver.