Afternoons have been lonely here recently, I know. I’ll try to get back on a regular schedule here, I promise.

David Scott has the news of the Globe hiring Denver Post NBA writer Marc Spears and adding him to their Celtics coverage. Scott reports that Shira Springer will be taken off the beat and moved to feature work.

With the Celtics back among the ranks of the contenders, the Globe is wisely trying to shore up its hoops coverage. I’m a little confused by the move of Springer, (unless she wanted to get off of beat work) as Scott says that Peter May will not be impacted by the move. In my book, Springer has come along nicely in the beat writer role, and May is the one that needs to be moved off the Celtics coverage. But sports editor Joe Sullivan has done a pretty good job overhauling the sports department during his tenure, so we’ll see how things shake out.

The Red Sox are featured in a Tom Verducci article in this week’s Sports Illustrated, which looks at how the team is keeping loose despite some tough losses recently and with the hard charging Yankees coming up fast behind them. Theo Epstein’s emphasis on the minor league system and the results that have been seen thus far are examined, with particular attention being paid to rookie second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The following story is told about Pedroia:

In 2002 Pedroia, whose parents own several tire shops outside Sacramento, had finished his freshman season while on a full ride at Arizona State when he heard the program had no scholarships available for a top junior college pitcher, Ben Thurman. So Pedroia volunteered to give his scholarship money to Thurman.

“I did it because I thought he could help us get to the World Series,” Pedroia says. “I told my parents just after I told the coaches. I knew they had put some money away before I got my scholarship. We lost in the super regionals, but it was definitely worth it.”

We’ve got another look into the mind of Bill Walsh over at Patriots Daily, as the legendary coach predicts the future…

Tom Curran says that the Patriots are a team fueled by past adversity.

Eric McHugh notes that reserve linebackers Junior Seau and Eric Alexander are about as opposite as two pro players can be.

Chad Finn weighs in on Clay Buchholz, J.D. Drew, and Drew Bledsoe among others, in another edition of touching all the bases.

Eric Wilbur would love to see Curt Schilling pitching for the Devil Rays next season.

Kevin Thomas wonders if getting Chris Carter in the Wily Mo Pena trade is a sign that the Red Sox are planning to move on from Mike Lowell at season’s end.

Tony Massarotti has Diamondbacks ace Brandon Webb knocking on the door of history.

Here is this week’s edition of Morning Rush from Michael Silver.

Roscoe Nance has Bill Russell talking Celtics and the Donaghy scandal.

7:00pm, NESN – Red Sox @ Devil Rays
7:00pm, ESPN2 – Padres @ Mets