Sports briefs for Dec. 26, 2012

Posted Dec. 26, 2012, at 8:26 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 27, 2012, at 1:13 a.m.

Drew, Red Sox finalize contract

BOSTON — Nine days after shortstop Stephen Drew and the Boston Red Sox agreed to a one-year, $9.5 million deal, the contract was finalized Wednesday.

Drew, 29, split last season between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Oakland Athletics. He became a free agent when the A’s rejected a $10 million mutual option on his contract in October. Instead, Drew received a $1.35 million buyout.

Drew missed the first three months of last season while recovering from a fractured ankle he sustained on slide at home plate in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers in July 2011. He returned to hit .193 in 40 games with Arizona this year, then .250 in 39 games with Oakland after an August trade.

In Boston, Drew takes over a shortstop position vacated when the Red Sox dealt Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays in the deal that brought manager John Farrell to Boston. Light-hitting prospect Jose Iglesias was the Red Sox’s other shortstop option.

Drew will wear uniform No. 7, the same number his older brother, J.D., wore while playing for Boston from 2007-11.

Pats’ Gronkowski not ready for game yet

FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski continues to participate in practice, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday that Gronkowski has not yet received medical clearance to play in a game, the Boston Globe reported.

Gronkowski sustained a broken arm on Nov. 18 and he was expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

“He did more last week than he did the week before, and we’ll see where he’s at today and tomorrow when we go out there, see what he can do,” Belichick said on Wednesday, according to the Globe. “We’ll take it day-to-day, based on where he’s at. He’s moving along, not ready yet.”

Belichick added that when he’s medically cleared to play, then the coaching staff will decide whether he will play.

Gronkowski has missed five games, and the Patriots have won four of them. He has caught 53 passes for 748 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

Jets QB McElroy has abdominal injury

NEW YORK — New York Jets quarterback Greg McElroy was listed on the injury report with an abdominal injury on Wednesday, multiple media outlets reported, but for the moment at least, he is still scheduled to make his second straight start on Sunday against Buffalo.

McElroy was scheduled to fully participate in Wednesday’s practice, but his injury may cause coach Rex Ryan to have three quarterbacks activated for the game, with Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez also being available.

“It’s certainly a possibility and right now with this (injury report) we might not have that many,” Ryan said, according to ProFootballTalk.com

Jeremy Kerley took over Tebow’s duties in the Wildcat package Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, and Kelsey could be part of that package against Sunday.

Meanwhile, ESPNNewYork.com reported that Tebow said Wednesday he didn’t ask out of the Wildcat package last week as had been reported and was upset about the perception the report created.

“For people to not know the situation and start to bash your character and say you’re a phony, you’re a fake and you’re a hypocrite, I think that’s what’s disappointing and that’s what’s frustrating,” Tebow said, according to ESPNNewYork.com. “It’s a football game. It’s one thing if you’re good or bad at football, but your character and integrity, that’s who you are as a man. That’s a lot more important. That’s what’s disappointing for me and frustrating because I take that way more serious than I’ll ever take a football game.”

Tebow did say he met with Ryan last Tuesday and said he wanted to be a “regular quarterback.” Ryan removed Tebow from the Wildcat, using Kerley in that role.

Stoudemire: Jan. 1 return a possibility

Injured forward Amar’e Stoudemire could be back on the court for the New York Knicks on New Year’s Day.

There are indications from Stoudemire that he could see his first action on Jan. 1 against Portland in Madison Square Garden. He called that date “a possibility” when asked when he would make his season debut, according to Newsday.

The veteran forward is working his way back from a knee injury. Stoudemire ruptured a cyst behind the knee in an Oct. 19 preseason game and his recovery has taken longer than initially expected.

In Stoudemire’s absence, the Knicks have posted a 20-8 record and lead the Atlantic Division by 5½ games over Brooklyn.

Diaz, Yanks agree to minor-league deal

Outfielder Matt Diaz has reached an agreement with the New York Yankees on a minor-league contract, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.

The deal includes an invitation to spring training and a chance to compete for a roster spot.

Diaz could make up to $2 million if he is a member of the Yankees’ opening-day roster and remains on it the entire season, Newsday reported.

Diaz hit .222 with two home runs in 118 plate appearances last season for the Braves. However, Diaz, 34, has a .324 career average against lefthanded pitching.

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