How J.D. Martinez Believes Players Should Be Selected For All-Star Game Rosters

He may hold first place among American League designated hitters for a spot in this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game, but J.D. Martinez isn’t a huge fan of how players are named to the teams each year.
So what’s his solution?
“I believe that the players and coaches should vote,” the Boston Red Sox DH said, according to the Eagle Tribune’s Chris Mason.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t think his idea would fly with the league.
“I get that it’s fun for the fans and stuff like that, I get why MLB does it,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s a business and they have to promote it.”
Although Martinez and outfielder Mookie Betts were voted finalists for this year’s All-Star game, a number of other Boston players who were just as deserving weren’t as lucky. Xander Bogaerts finished fifth among AL shortstops, while Rafael Devers placed fourth among third basemen.
This year’s All-Star Game will take place on June 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

Steven Kampfer Shares Message For Fans After Re-Signing With Bruins

The Boston Bruins locked up some depth on their backend Monday in re-signing Steven Kampfer.
The 31-year-old defenseman reached a two-year agreement to remain in the Boston, where he began his career in 2010. Kampfer served mostly as the Bruins’ seventh defenseman last season, playing in 35 games, but played a role in the B’s playoff run, scoring the first goal in the Eastern Conference Final.
And on Tuesday, Kampfer expressed his excitement to be staying with the Bruins, sharing this message in an Instagram post.
“Excited to come back to Boston for another 2 years! Can’t say thank you enough to my @nhlbruins teammates, coaches, management and staff. Let’s continue to push towards the cup!”
(You can view the post on Instagram here)
Boston is chalk-full of youngsters that will compete to fill out the blue line next season after Connor Clifton’s emergence and with Urho Vaakanainen  knocking on the door for a more extensive look. Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril may not be far off as well.
Kampfer provides the Bruins with some experience — and a right-handed d-man — while Kevan Miller and John Moore work their way back from injuries.

Stuart Sternberg Admits Rays ‘Not Well-Suited’ To Be Full-Time Florida Team

Add the Rays owner to the list of people who are all for splitting time in St. Petersburg, Fla. and Montreal.
The possibility has been speculated ever since the Rays were granted permission from Major League Baseball to explore the potential of being a two-city team. While Florida and Montreal aren’t the closest to one another, team owner Stuart Sternberg admitted his team is just not fit to be in the Sunshine State full time.
“In spite of our successes on the field and the development of a growing fan base across this wonderful region, we greatly lag behind the rest of the league,” he said in a press conference Tuesday, as transcribed by theScore. “We are at or near the bottom in every economic category in Major League Baseball.
“… We are simply not well-suited for a Major League Baseball team that needs to draw tens of thousands of people each of its 81 games to its ballpark,” he added. “… And to force that to happen here when the conditions are not right could be more than damaging to a team, to Major League Baseball, and, most importantly, to a community. (We must) confront that reality and have a conversation about how to keep baseball here for generations to come.”
He certainly does make some valid points. The Rays have struggled mightily with attendance, despite Tampa Bay winning 90 games last season and having a 45-33 record on the year.
But is splitting a season between two different countries really worth it?
While nothing is set in stone for the Rays to spend half their season in Montreal, we now know Sternberg is 100 percent behind the split if it indeed does happen.

CT Sun Guard Layshia Clarendon Undergoes Successful Ankle Surgery

The Connecticut Sun will be without one of their top guards for quite some time.
Layshia Clarendon underwent successful surgery at Yale New Haven Hospital on Tuesday to repair the peroneal retinaculum and stabilize dislocated peroneal tendons in her right ankle, according to the WNBA. She recently sustained the injury during practice and has missed the Sun’s last two games.
Doctors anticipate it will take her three-to-four months to recover.
Clarendon averaged 6.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in her nine games off the bench this season.

Joey Cora, Brother Of Alex Cora, Refused All-Star Game Coaching Nod

Alex Cora was hoping to have his brother alongside him in next month’s All-Star Game, but he won’t be able to join him after all.
The Boston Red Sox manager received permission from Major League Baseball to add Joey Cora to the American League All-Star team’s coaching staff, despite Joey being the third base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates, a National League team.
But when Alex asked Joey to join him in Cleveland, Joey had to deliver the bad news.
The elder Cora already planned a vacation with his family for that week, but Alex isn’t mad about him wanting to spend time with his family.
“He couldn’t cancel,” Alex said Tuesday, via MassLive. “When I asked him, he said they had plans already and he wasn’t going.

“I was late asking for the permission and all that,” he added. “He’ll watch.”
Alex will have a familiar face on his staff in Indians manager Terry Francona, who managed the Red Sox for eight seasons. And he knows his brother will be cheering him on while enjoying some quality family time.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens Praised Kemba Walker’s ‘Good Vibe’ Last Season

If all indications prove correct, Kyrie Irving has played his last game with the Boston Celtics. That means the Green are in search of a new starting point guard.
Restricted free agent Terry Rozier remains a possibility to return to the team, while the C’s bulked up their depth at the position by drafting Carsen Edwards and Tremont Waters last week. But rumors surfaced that the Celtics are at the front in the running for free agent Kemba Walker.
Walker, 29, has played his entire career with the Charlotte Hornets, and has expressed interest in potentially taking less than a max deal to stay in Charlotte, but did not deny that he would be meeting with other teams.
He had a career year last season, averaging 25.6 points per game last season while tying a career high in rebounds (4.4) and posting the second-best assists per game of his career (5.9). He’s a 35.7 percent 3-point shooter over the course of his career.
And before he squared up against the Celtics in November, Brad Stevens had some awfully high praise of the guard. The two also have a bit of a history, with a Walker-led UConn team winning the National Championship over Stevens’ Butler squad in 2011.
“Having spent a littler time with him at the All-Star game, despite the fact that he’s responsible for one of my biggest heartbreaks in my life, I think that certainly he’s a special guy,” Stevens said, via NBC Sports’ Chris Forsberg. “And it’s fun to see a guy like that have that kind of success. He’s got a good vibe, works hard, good teammate, all that stuff. Happy for his success … He’s really rolling, he’s playing at a high level.”
The “good vibe” and “good teammate” comments are specifically notable, given the team’s approach in the draft to select four players known for their compete level and team-first mentalities. It would take a lot to lure Walker away from Charlotte, where he has built a close relationship with owner Michael Jordan, but Boston may be an ideal fit.
And for what it’s worth, Jayson Tatum might be Boston’s ace in the hole when it comes to recruiting Walker.

Golf Odds: Dustin Johnson Favored, Atop Rocket Mortgage Classic Board

Dustin Johnson will return to action for the first time since the US Open when he tees off Thursday as a +550 favorite on the Rocket Mortgage Classic odds at sportsbooks monitored by
Sitting alongside Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy as a +900 co-favorite entering the US Open, Johnson turned in a disappointing performance at the third major tournament of the season, coming in a distant 35th to mark his third finish in 20th place or worse in four outings ahead of the inaugural edition of the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club.
While Johnson has struggled of late, he also has enjoyed success this season. The 34-year-old from South Carolina claimed his lone victory of the season at the WGC-Mexico Championship and has turned in eight Top-10 performances, including second-place finishes at both the Masters while sporting +1100 odds and the PGA Championship as +800 chalk.
Hideki Matsuyama sits alongside Rickie Fowler back of Johnson at +1200 on the golf odds for the week, while newly anointed US Open champion Gary Woodland follows at +1400.
It has been almost two years since Matsuyama earned his last tour victory at the 2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Matsuyama’s struggles have carried over into the current campaign, with the 27-year-old finishing better than 16th just once in his past seven outings, a sixth-place performance earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament as a +2200 wager.
Fowler also has struggled since claiming his lone win of the season back in February at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, paying out on lengthy +1800 odds. Fowler followed up by taking second at the Honda Classic and a share of fourth at the Wells Fargo Championship.
But the Murrieta, California native has otherwise struggled, finishing a distant 36th at the PGA Championship as a +2200 wager and missing the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge while listed with +1400 odds. Fowler also failed to build on a strong opening round 66 at the US Open, quickly falling off the pace in 43rd place after opening at +2800.
This weekend marks Woodland’s first appearance since his stunning US Open win as a long +8000 bet. The 35-year-old’s first major victory marked an impressive turnaround after posting just one Top-10 finish in his previous nine PGA Tour appearances.
Further down the Rocket Mortgage Classic odds at online betting sites, Travelers Championship winner Chez Reavie sits alone at +2500, just ahead of Brandt Snedeker and Ryan Moore at +2800, while Patrick Reed joins Billy Horschel at +3000.

Red Sox’s Sandy Leon Discusses Catching Knuckleballer Steven Wright

Boston Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright was reinstated from his 80-game suspension Tuesday, and Sandy Leon opened up about what it’s like to catch the knuckleballer.
Leon noted it’s fun to catch Wright, but not so fun at the same time considering the knuckleball can be wild.
To hear more from Leon, check out the “Red Sox Gameday Live” video above, presented by DCU.

Marcus Smart Will Have ‘Nothing But Love’ For Kyrie Irving, Al Horford If They Leave Celtics

It’s easy for fans to turn on players who leave for another opportunity to play elsewhere, but Marcus Smart won’t turn his back on Kyrie Irving or Al Horford.
The duo is expected to leave the Celtics once free agency officially begins June 30. And while that has many Green Teamers questioning what Boston will do next and where Horford and Irving ultimately will end up, Smart knows basketball is a business at the end of the day.
“I mean, in today’s game, nothing really catches us by surprise until it catches us by surprise,” Smart told MassLive at his YoungGameChanger camp in Waltham on Tuesday. “To a little bit, it did, but those guys are grown and they have every right to do what they feel is best for not only them and their families and their careers. Regardless of if those guys stay or leave, I have nothing but love for them. Always will. I wish nothing but the best luck for them, whatever they do.”
Smart also noted he was expecting changes to the roster this season, but can’t put too much thought into it because that’s out of his control.
“I expected things to change,” he said. “Significantly or insignificantly wasn’t really a big thing. I wasn’t expecting as big or as little, I just knew something was going to change. I think everyone kind of knew that. Now, what that is, we have no clue. Like I said, you can’t really focus on that. You have to let the guys whose jobs it is to focus on that. You focus on what you can.”
It’s a mystery if Irving and/or Horford will return to Boston, but no matter their next move, it’s clear Smart will support them.

NBA Rumors: This Team Pushing For Sign-And-Trade For Jimmy Butler

NBA free agency officially begins on Sunday, but the wheels are in full motion on the rumor mill.
Speculation of major free agents like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving continue to buzz, while rumors picked up Tuesday that the Boston Celtics are “seriously interested” in Kemba Walker.
Another name set to hit the market is Jimmy Butler. The Philadelphia 76ers reportedly are planning to offer Butler a four- or five-year deal. But it seems that at least one other team plans to recruit the 29-year-old.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Houston Rockets are “planning to recruit” Butler to “push” for a sign-and-trade.
“The Rockets don’t have the salary-cap space to sign Butler, so they’d need the threat of the Sixers losing him for nothing to a team with the available room to motivate the Sixers into a trade,” Wojnarowski wrote.
“The Sixers plan to be aggressive in signing Butler to a new deal, sources said, and could blunt a Rockets push with a full five-year, $190 million offer at the start of free agency on Sunday night. The Sixers could offer Butler a four-year, $146.5M deal, too.
“Butler would be eligible to sign a four-year, $140 million contract on the way to the Rockets, but Houston would likely need to include center Clint Capela and guard Eric Gordon to make the financial deal work, sources said.”
The Rockets missed out on the Butler sweepstakes in November, with Minnesota rebuffing their trade offers for the star before shipping him to Philadelphia. The Rockets have been a bit stagnant over the years, failing to get over the hump in a stacked Western Conference. That led to some turmoil this offseason, with rumors of an unsalvageable relationship between stars James Harden and Chris Paul.
Paul has denied rumors that he has requested a trade, however, and the addition of Butler certainly would put Houston back on the map in the Western Conference.