Joe McDonald has a look at the formula for success that Theo Epstein has used to build the Red Sox into two-time World Series champions this decade, and strong contenders again this season.

Steve Buckley has the Red Sox officially confirming yesterday that Josh Beckett will not go with the team to Japan, even though the ace was able to throw for the first time since hurting his back last week. Jeff Goldberg also reports on the decision by the Red Sox to not bring Beckett to Japan. Nick Cafardo looks at Mike Lowell, who is happy to return to the Red Sox this season, even though he had some great conversations with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel when Philadelphia was trying to lure him away from the Red Sox last offseason. Jon Couture has Westport’s Kyle Fernandes working hard in the Red Sox minor leagues, hoping to get his shot one day.

Tony Massarotti says that Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon are as important to the pitching staff as Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are to the lineup for the Red Sox. Jackie MacMullan has a piece on Hideki Okajima as the setup man gets ready for his second season with the Red Sox, having learned much in his first year in the U.S. Buckley has Jason Varitek upset at the release of his friend Doug Mirabelli last week. Massarotti has the new combination of Wakefield and Cash working well together yesterday. Joe Haggerty has Mike Timlin saying that he hasn’t lost any respect for Roger Clemens despite all that has happened to the Rocket in recent weeks.

The Globe notebook has Beckett doing some throwing yesterday, but being officially ruled out for the trip to Japan. Massarotti’s notebook has Kyle Snyder indicating that he will pitch in the March 22 exhibition game in Japan, but still be available for the games against the A’s. McDonald’s notebook has more on the Sox deciding to keep Beckett back from the Japan trip. Goldberg’s notebook has more on the Wakefield/Cash combination yesterday.


Steve Bulpett notes that even though the Celtics are heading into “a four-game fandango with some Western Conference iron,” their season won’t be made or broken on this trip through San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and New Orleans. Marc J. Spears says that the Celtics will not be receiving any Southern hospitality on the road this week. Lenny Megliola says that tomorrow’s night’s matchup between the Celtics and the Rockets, who have won 22 games in a row, will be appointment television viewing. Tim Weisberg says that the Celtics mettle will certainly be tested on this trip.


The Bruins fell in the shootout to the Capitals yesterday, 2-1. Stephen Harris and Fluto Shinzawa report on what can still be termed a reasonably successful weekend for the Bruins, as they picked up 3 out of 4 points.

Harris’ notebook has Glen Murray playing in his 1000th NHL game yesterday. Shinzawa’s notebook has Alex Auld stepping up for the Bruins yesterday.


A few Patriots articles from yesterday – David Heuschkel had a feature on former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh, talking to those who knew him growing up in Connecticut. Rich Garven had a pretty extensive Patriots notebook looking at the offseason thus far and taking a look back at the 2007 draft. Mike Reiss‘s NFL notes had a look at the Boston College Pro Day. John Tomase has former teammates talking about Troy Brown.

Bob Ryan has a look at the NCAA tournament, noting that things are more interesting when you have a team to root for. It’s pretty slim pickings here in New England in that regard this season.

Jim McCabe has Tiger Woods winning his fifth straight tournament on the PGA tour.