, Gloucester, MA

March 29, 2013

Crunch Time

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Lester and Lavarnway

No surprise that Boston southpaw Jon Lester was named the Red Sox Opening Day starter on Wednesday.

Lester hurled 24.0 innings this spring, allowing just two earned runs for a 0.75 ERA. He allowed just eight hits and four walks while striking out 20.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox optioned Ryan Lavarnway to Triple-A Pawtucket after he struggled with the bat this spring. Lavarnway was considered an option to make the big league squad with David Ortiz starting the year on the DL.

His demotion is more evidence that Jackie Bradley Jr. will start the year on Boston’s 25-man roster.

Unfair treatment

So the Miami Heat’s winning streak came to an end at 28 games Wednesday night and predictably LeBron James complained about the referees. James took exception with a few hard fouls the Bulls sent his way Wednesday night and said the league lets players foul him hard because of his size.

James is unquestionably the best player in the league, but his complaint is disingenuous. A guy who plays the most minutes in the league and guards the best athletes in the league went seven games without being called for a foul and he is complaining about his treatment from the referees. Watch a Heat game for five minutes and it’s obvious that LeBron gets the star treatment from the league’s officials.

Concussion bill denied

Here is an interesting Associated Press story coming out of Champaign, Ill.

A bill that would have required high school football teams to limit tackling in practices to one day a week didn’t make it through the Illinois General Assembly. But its sponsor hopes the state’s prep sports governing body adopts the measure aimed at concussion prevention.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Carol Sente, failed to make it out of committee. But the Vernon Hills Democrat now says she hopes the Illinois High School Association will adopt her ideas. The measure also would have required football coaches to complete concussion-prevention training.

IHSA spokesman Matt Troha said one of the group’s committees plans to discuss concussion-related policies at a meeting next month.

But IHSA Director Marty Hickman has complained that the legislature shouldn’t be trying to dictate such rules.

-Compiled by Christopher Smith and Nick Curcuru