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Red Sox Ship John Lackey to the Cardinals


Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  The Boston Red Sox stayed active in the trade market Thursday, shipping starting pitcher John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig.

It was the second deal completed prior to Thursday's non-waiver deadline by the Red Sox, who also traded All-Star pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics for All-Star slugger Yoenis Cespedes.

The 35-year-old Lackey will join a Cardinals rotation that has been without starters Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia.  The team also acquired starter Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians in a separate deal on Wednesday.

Lackey went 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA in 21 starts for the Red Sox this season.  He will make just $500,000 in 2015 due to a unique clause in his contract that tacked on an extra season if he underwent Tommy John surgery at any point. Lackey had the procedure in 2011 and missed all of 2012.

Kelly is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in 2014 with St. Louis, while Craig has struggled at the plate for much of the season.  The once promising young star is hitting just .237 with seven home runs and 44 RBIs.

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Ray Rice Breaks His Silence


Rob Carr/Getty Images(OWINGS MILLS, Md.) -- Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice addressed the media Thursday for the first time since his two-game suspension was announced by the NFL.

Rice spoke about the suspension and publicly apologized to his wife, Janay, for the first time since his alleged altercation with his then-fiancee in February.

"I made the biggest mistake of my life," Rice said.

Rice, 27, would not get into what happened in the Atlantic City, New Jersey, elevator, but he also apologized to all women affected by domestic violence and expressed his intentions to become an "ambassador" against it.

"That night I replay over and over in my head. That's not me. My actions were inexcusable. That's something I have to live with the rest of my life," he explained. "The pain I'm talking about living with is waking up every day, and my daughter is two years old now, and I have a little girl, who's very smart, very intelligent, and one day she's going to know the power of Google, and me having to explain that to her, what happened that night."

Rice was joined at the press conference by nearly 30 of his Baltimore Ravens teammates. 

He will miss the team's Sept. 7 regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and their Sept. 11 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

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Athletics Acquire SP Jon Lester from Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes


Robert Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  The Oakland Athletics have acquired starting pitcher Jon Lester, outfielder Jonny Gomes, and cash considerations from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and a 2015 competitive balance pick.

The Red Sox were dangling Lester for several days leading up to Thursday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline. 

Several teams were believed to be interested in the two-time World Series champion, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Baltimore Orioles. In the end, it was the Athletics who swooped in and gave the Red Sox an offer they couldn't refuse.

The 30-year-old Lester will be a free agent after the season. 

He will join a strong rotation in Oakland that already includes All-Stars Jeff Samardzija and Scott Kazmir, along with youngster Sonny Gray.

Cespedes, 28, is a two-time reigning Home Run Derby champion who has 17 homers and 56 RBIs this season.  He will provide the Red Sox with a big bat in the middle of their lineup.

Gomes is hitting .234 with 6 home runs and 32 RBIs in 2014.

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Bills Reward Running Back Fred Jackson with Contract Extension


NFL via Getty Images(PITTSFORD, N.Y.) -- The NFL's oldest running back isn't letting age slow him down as Fred Jackson has agreed on a contract extension with the Buffalo Bills.

Jackson's received a one-year extension by the club, and he could now be in a position to start and finish his career in Buffalo.

"Usually when guys get to be my age they're just about ready to kind of shut it down and not come out here and get beat up like we do at training camp, but I wake up every day and I love it," Jackson said on Wednesday."

In seven seasons with the Bills, Jackson has rushed for 5,121 yards, which is good for third all-time in franchise history. He's also just the second running back in Bills history to put up 4,000 career rushing yards and 2,000 receiving yards.

In 2013, Jackson ran for 890 yards on 4.3 yards per carry while also scoring a career-high 10 touchdowns.

With Jackson in the fold for the foreseeable future, the Bills' running back situation could be one to monitor as training camp goes on. Along with Jackson, the team has C.J. Spiller, Bryce Brown, and Anthony Dixon.

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Packers Reward GM Ted Thompson with Contract Extension


David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images(GREEN BAY, Wisc.) -- One of the best general managers in the NFL is sticking around a little longer as the Green Bay Packers are rewarding Ted Thompson with a contract extension.

Thompson's new deal is being called "a multi-year contract extension" and he will remain in charge of the football operations. His original deal was set to expire after the 2016 season.

"The more you think about it, the more you think how nuts are you that you'd walk away from something like this," Thompson said. "It's important to me. It's not my family, but I've got a lot of really good friends here and co-workers that I enjoy coming to work with every day."

Thompson is entering his 10th season as the Packers general manager, and the team has gone 86-57-1 in the regular season and 6-5 in the postseason. They also won the Super Bowl XLV.

Thompson's first draft pick came in 2004 when he selected quarterback Aaron Rodgers 24th overall.

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Cubs Acquire Pitcher Felix Doubront from the Red Sox


Sarah Glenn/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Pitcher Felix Doubront seemed to be in need of change, and the Boston Red Sox are granting him that as they've traded him to the Chicago Cubs for a low-level prospect after the Rule 5 draft.

While Doubront had little regular success recently, he did pitch very well for the team during their run to a World Series Championship last season in which he posted a 1.29 ERA in 7.0 innings.

"He has performed well for us over a period of time," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Doubront. "And it can't be understated the importance of his relief appearances last year in the World Series. Those were two pivotal outings by him and he did a great job."

Splitting time as a reliever and starter this season, Doubront struggled mightily. In 17 appearances, he's 2-4 with a 6.07 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP.

Right-hander Brandon Workman was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Doubront's spot on the 25-man roster.

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Matt Kemp Leads the Dodgers Past the Braves 3-2 in 10 Innings


Christian Peterson/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- As trade rumors get hotter, so has the bat of Matt Kemp.

The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder hit another home run Wednesday night and also had the game winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning to give his team a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Kemp's name has been the subject of numerous trade rumors, but the talks have seemed to fuel his production at the plate.

"It's a great feeling knowing you helped the team win a game," he said. "We're pretty confident every day. It feels good to be in position to score a run or take that extra base. I'm not as fast as I want to be, but it's coming."

Over the last 10 games, Kemp has raised his batting average from .265 to .288 and is starting to revert back to his All-Star form.

With the win, the Dodgers now hold a three game lead over the San Francisco Giants for first place in the NL West; the Braves now trail the Washington Nationals by 1.5 games in the NL East.

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Behind Corey Kluber's Shutout, Indians Top Mariners 2-0


Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- Now that Justin Masterson is out of town, the Cleveland Indians have found their new staff ace. Cory Kluber held the Seattle Mariners to just three hits in nine innings of work in the team's 2-0 win over the Mariners.

Kluber out-dueled Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, striking out eight batters over nine innings, lowering his ERA to 2.61 on the season.

"Obviously, it's a challenge going up against one of the best pitchers in the game," Kluber said. "We all look forward to challenges, so it's nice to come out on top."

The only offense in the game came in the 5th inning when Indians catcher Yan Gomes hit an RBI double off Herndandez to score Lonnie Chisenhall and Nick Swisher.

In only his second full season as a starting pitcher, Kluber has emerged as one of the best pitchers in the American League. He ranks in the top 10 in the American League in wins, innings, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP.

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Scoreboard Roundup - 7/30/14


Getty Images/Hemera(NEW YORK) --  MLB:  Milwaukee Brewers 5 (50-49) - Tampa Bay Rays 0 (53-55)

Arizona Diamondbacks 5 (47-61) - Cincinnati Reds 4 (53-54)

New York Mets 11 (52-56) - Philadelphia Phillies 2 (47-61)

Washington Nationals 4 (58-47) - Miami Marlins 3 (53-54)

Houston Astros 8 (44-64) - Oakland Athletics 1 (66-41)

San Francisco Giants 7 (58-50) - Pittsburgh Pirates 5 (57-50)

Cleveland Indians 2 (53-54) - Seattle Mariners 0 (55-52)

Baltimore Orioles 4 (60-46) - Los Angeles Angels 3 (63-43)

Toronto Blue Jays 6 (59-50) - Boston Red Sox 1 (48-60)

Detroit Tigers 7 (58-46) - Chicago White Sox 2 (52-56)

Texas Rangers 3 (43-65) - New York Yankees 2 (55-52)

Kansas City Royals 3 (54-52) - Minnesota Twins 2 (48-58)

Colorado Rockies 6 (44-63) - Chicago Cubs 4 (44-62) 10 Innings

San Diego Padres 12 (48-59) - St. Louis Cardinals 1 (56-50)

Los Angeles Dodgers 3 (61-47) - Atlanta Braves 2 (58-50)

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Cowboys Sign Tyron Smith to Eight-Year Extension


Jim McIssac/Getty Images(OXNARD, Calif.) --  Tyron Smith is staying in Dallas for the long-haul.

The Cowboys signed the Pro Bowl offensive tackle to an eight-year contract extension through 2023; a deal that could be worth as much as $110 million.

Smith, 23, will receive $40 million guaranteed, as well as a $10 million signing bonus, according to ESPN.  He had two years remaining on his previous contract after the Cowboys picked up the fifth-year option of his rookie deal in the spring.

"We talk about building a program and building a football team and he was the first player that we took three years ago in that draft," coach Jason Garrett said. "He's just been everything we've wanted to build this program and this team around."

Smith was drafted by the Cowboys with the 9th overall pick in 2011.  Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, drafted 5th overall that same year, signed a five-year, $70 million extension on Tuesday.

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