The Red Sox cruised in Cleveland last night. John Tomase squirmed on the Big Show yesterday. The NBA announced a new labor deal, and the Patriots sign another punt returner. These are just a few of the things covered this morning.

After barely surviving in Cleveland on Monday night, the Red Sox made it look easy last night against the Indians, winning 9-2 behind a strong performance from Bronson Arroyo and two homers from David Ortiz. Steven Krasner says that this is one of the few times during the season where a team can make it look that easy. David Heuschkel notes that Arroyo used his changeup last night, in fact more than he has the entire season. David Borges looks at the performance for Arroyo last night, noting that the righthander appears to be back in form. Jeff Horrigan looks at the multi-talented Ortiz, big league slugger, jilted waiter. Chris Snow’s game story tells us that Red Sox owner John Henry has had Ortiz in his fantasy baseball league since 1998.

Nick Cafardo says that Mike Timlin wouldn’t be opposed to the idea of being a closer again. Nick being Nick, he notes that Timlin’s contract is up at the end of the year and with pitching at a premium these days some team might want to use him as closer. Michael Silverman looks at Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz getting hot just as summer comes, which is very good news for the Red Sox. Silverman also looks at this year’s Ricky Gutierrez, Ramon Vazquez, who is also playing a little less than he thought he would be.

Snow’s notebook looks at the recent hot streak by Manny Ramirez, who is hitting .363 in his last 20 games. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the Red Sox setting a record as being the team going the furthest into the season without having a game go into extra innings. Krasner’s notebook looks at Manny Ramirez, who continues to heat up and hit the ball hard. Heuschkel’s notebook adds that since Manny and Ortiz have heated up together, that coincides with the Red Sox latest hot streak. We’ve heard a lot from Jay Payton lately, Borges’ notebook takes a look at the player traded here with him, Ramon Vazquez and why we haven’t heard much if anything about him.

John Tomase appeared on the Big Show yesterday to discuss his Manny article from the other day. It probably would have been better for him had he not done so. I’ve always held Tomase in high regard as he’s put out a lot of quality articles over the last few years. I just don’t get what he was thinking in publishing this one, AND going on the radio to talk about it. Here’s a few extracts from the interview on WEEI.

After Glenn Ordway had mentioned that we’ve kind of come to accept and even embrace Manny for who he is, this was Tomase’s answer:

Yeah and that’s what I have an issue with. Why is that acceptable? That’s like saying Jeffery Dahmer’s had people in his freezer for a while now, that’s what he does.

Nice, compare Manny with a cannibalistic serial killer. Then came the topic of Manny having missed four games out of 70, and Tomase’s assertion that he looks for ways to get out of games. He and Steve Burton went back and forth on this one:

SB: Hold on John. I’ve backed you up with the numbers in your first paragraph but now you’re taking a shot at a guy who’s missed two out of seventy games on his own merit.

JT: That’s not the point. The point is he’s taken himself out of three other games and there’s a pattern of…

SB: Out of seventy games?? Is he kidding? Maybe it’s me.

JT: He’s been hit in the leg twice. Trot Nixon keeps playing on a knee that needs surgery. Johnny Damon should be on the DL.

Pete Sheppard: John that was a pretty good thump he took the other night. Everybody said it, even Remy.

JT: Everyone says that and yet he’s back two days later.

SB: Forget about him being hit. John have you ever taken a day off in the last seventy days? Have you taken two days off in the last seventy days?

JT: That is so irrelevant that it’s not even worth it.

SB: How is that irrelevant John? That’s his job! Have you taken two days off in the last seventy days?

JT: Ok, you got me. I’ve taken a few days off the last seventy days.

SB: But now you’re ripping Manny for taking two.

JT: Well I can’t battle with logic. You’ve got me.

On where Tomase is hearing that the Red Sox are upset with Manny:

GO: Are you hearing it from players?

JT: That would be an affirmative.

GO: Are you hearing it from management people?

JT: I’m hearing it from in and out of uniform people associated with the team. I’m not going to out anybody.

GO: Nobody’s asking you to but out of uniform could be the concessionaire! We’re talking about management people, correct?

JT: Actually, I should talk to the concessionaire.

SB: So some of Manny’s teammates are coming to you and telling you he’s dogging it?

JT: They don’t come to me. They have to be asked.

PS: On the record they’re telling you this?

JT: On the record, they would be in the paper.

On why Manny has slumped this season:

JT: So then the question is: why? Why is a guy who is as phenomenally talented as he is struggling?

SB: John guys go through slumps all the time. Remember Jeter last year? Jeter went on a two month slump.

GO: Do you think he cares?

JT: Jeter is not part of the discussion here.

SB: I’m making it a part of the discussion.

JT: Manny played like a guy who didn’t care.

SB: John, I’m making Jeter a part of the discussion. When Jeter went on a two month slump, do you think he cared?

JT: I do think he cared.

SB: So here’s my question: why did Jeter go on a two month slump?

JT: Hey, sometimes slumps happen to players.

SB: Then you just answered your own question.

JT: But there are different reasons for slumps. That’s my point. What was the reason for Manny’s slump?

SB: Well I don’t know. What was the reason for Jeter’s?

JT: I just gave you a theory for Manny’s slump. He was swinging along early in the count, he was not swinging at fastballs, he was getting himself out. That to me suggests disinterest.

SB: So if Jeter did the same thing, would that suggest disinterest?

JT: That’s so irrelevant.

Later on, Tomase made this claim:

All you need to know about that is last year when, remember when he got his citizenship and ran out onto the field holding the American flag, he was in the clubhouse the entire time before the game saying ‘send me to Iraq. Somebody send me to Iraq.’ It was the same day that Nick Berg got his head cut off and nobody was making jokes about Iraq then but Manny being in his own world.

He concluded his call with:

Yeah well, I guess we’ve now answered the question Dale Arnold had of who the hell is John Tomase. I wasn’t wrong on Nomar and I may not be wrong on Manny.

That last reference is to a column written by Tomase back on September 15th, 2002. Steve Buckley had a similar column days later.

Peter May looks at the Detroit Pistons forcing a game seven with a 95-86 over the Spurs last night in San Antonio. The big news in the league was of course the announcement that the league and the players have come to agreement on a new six year collective bargaining agreement. Bob Ryan looks at the situation and is glad that the agreement is in place, but towards the end of the article he wonders if David Stern has perhaps stayed on too long and should consider moving on. May has a look at a few of the key points of the agreement. Mark Murphy reports on the deal being reached just in the nick of time. Also in the Herald, Steve Bulpett perhaps only half tongue-in-cheek, expresses his disappointment that he won’t be able to witness the “theater of the absurd” with rich people saying dumb things all summer.

Murphy notes that the timing of this agreement has worked out well for the Celtics, who would not have been able to get Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins had this deal previously been in place. Murphy today also previews the shooting guards available in the draft, noting that this year, this usually stocked position is somewhat thin in prospects. Jonathan Comey says that things were better in the old days for the NBA, but that the league is in pretty good shape right now, and unlike the NHL, will not be missing any games.

Mike Reiss reports on the Patriots signing punt returner Chad Morton to a one year contract, it appears he is insurance should Tim Dwight be delayed in returning from offseason surgery.

Stephen Harris writes that when the NHL work stoppage does finally come to an end, the Bruins are going to be in great shape to quickly build a contender.

Howard Bryant (subscription only) has his Boston Uncommon column today in which he looks at the Yankees announcement about their new stadium and how the Red Sox should be grateful that George Steinbrenner is doing this with private funds. He makes an interesting point however, that this will help reduce the Yankees revenue sharing dues, because MLB rules allow clubs to deduct stadium expenses from revenue sharing. He then looks at college coaches who make millions off their players, such as Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, and how that seems patently unfair. He concludes the column by noting that MLB is watching the NHL labor talks closely, because it things work out as expected, they will be the only major league without a salary cap.

After trailing the Devil Rays 10-2 in a start made by Randy Johnson, the Yankees scored 13 times in the eight inning to come back and win. That, plus more stories on the NBA labor agreement are all at the New York Sports News page.

Jeff Jacobs has a good column on Arnold Palmer this morning, looking at the King and what he has meant for golf.

NESN has Red Sox/Indians at 7:00. ESPN has Mets/Phillies at 7:00. ESPN2 has Rangers/Angels at 10:00.