Patriots Re-Sign Free Agent Tackle Vollmer
Foxborough, Mass. — The New England Patriots re-signed offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer.
The team announced the move yesterday, but gave no details of the contract for Vollmer, who had been an unrestricted free agent.
Vollmer has started 44 of the 51 regular-season games he’s played and five postseason games since the Patriots drafted him in 2009 in the second round out of Houston with the 58th overall pick. He played 15 regular-season and two playoff games at right tackle last season, missed one game with a knee injury and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in February.
He played in 14 games as a rookie, splitting time between left and right tackle.
Te’o Runs at Notre Dame
South Bend, Ind. — Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o ended a trying three months by putting up a respectable 40-yard dash time yesterday.
“I thought I did pretty good,” Te’o said after his pro day workout in front of scouts from 27 of 32 NFL teams. “I’m very pleased with the way that I performed.”
Some had expressed concern whether Te’o could be an every-down back in the NFL after he was timed at 4.82 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine in Indianapolis.
But he was timed at 4.69 seconds at Notre Dame’s indoor practice facility, attributing the improvement to being more comfortable at home and around friends.
Te’o is hoping to be picked in the first round of next month’s NFL draft.
He also bench-pressed 225 pounds 21 times and ran the 60-yard shuttle in 11.78 seconds while letting his other performances at the combine stand.
The Heisman Trophy runner-up had an off game in the BCS championship game against Alabama in January.
He then came under scrutiny after it was revealed he fell in love online with a woman who didn’t exist and then had the disappointing time at the combine.
Giants Will Have
East Rutherford, n.j. — The New York Giants will be changing their pants when they wear their alternate uniform this season.
The Giants announced yesterday that instead of their traditional gray pants, they will wear white pants and blue jerseys for undisclosed select games. The team said it will not wear the white pants with their white jerseys.
The white pants will have a thin red stripe bordered by gray and blue stripes.
Under NFL rules, the Giants have the option to alternate three pant styles in their uniform system. They last wore white pants in 1999, the final season they had “GIANTS” on their helmets in italics and all-white road uniforms. The following year, the Giants began wearing uniforms that featured the distinctive “NY” on the helmets and gray pants.
Key Biscayne, Fla. — As Sam Querrey left the court yesterday, two youngsters cradling huge stuffed tennis balls leaned over a first-row railing, hoping for an autograph from the highest-ranked American in men’s tennis.
Querrey, head down, kept walking. He was gone in a hurry at the Sony Open.
Playing his first tournament as the No. 1 American on the ATP Tour, Querrey lasted only 50 minutes in the fourth round and lost to Tomas Berdych, 6-1, 6-1. His elimination means that for the first time, the 28-year-old tournament will have no American in the men’s quarterfinals. The shutout is the latest sign of declining fortunes for U.S. tennis.
American results on the women’s side have been better lately, thanks mostly to No. 1-ranked Serena Williams. The five-time Key Biscayne champion advanced to tomorrow’s semifinals and tied the women’s record for career victories in the tournament by beating No. 5-seeded Li Na 6-3, 7-6 (5).
After California Race
Charlotte, n.c. — NASCAR chairman Brian France said yesterday that the contact between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin as they battled for the win at California over the weekend was just the kind of throwback racing he expects out of his drivers and the new Gen-6 car.
“I have said repeatedly, every minute, that contact, especially late in the race when you are going for a win, that’s not only going to happen — that’s expected,” France said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “Both of them did exactly what I think you would do when you really, really want to win. Getting some contact, trying to race extra hard to win the race, that’s what we’re about.”
NASCAR said it won’t penalize Tony Stewart for scuffling with Logano after the race, and series officials saw nothing to indicate Logano or Hamlin were trying to intentionally wreck each other as they raced for the win. In addition, NASCAR officials have given no thought to policing blocking, which is what Logano did to Stewart on the final restart to trigger the post-race confrontation.
“There are no conversations internally inside of NASCAR to look at blocking as a violation or a penalty as some other forms of motorsports do,” Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said. “As good as the racing has been, as exciting as it’s been, I don’t know that we need to jump in the middle and screw it up.”
Stewart parked his car near Logano’s and angrily approached him after Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. There was some shoving, but crew members intervened before any punches landed. Logano threw a water bottle at Stewart.
Darby said the incident didn’t escalate to a level where NASCAR had to take action.
Lowe Makes Rangers
Surprise, Ariz. — Derek Lowe has earned a job with the Texas Rangers and will start the season in the bullpen.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said yesterday the 39-year-old right-hander will be a long reliever and spot starter.
Lowe agreed March 6 to a minor league contract and will get a one-year deal that pays him $1.25 million in the major leagues and $150,000 in the minors. He can earn $1.7 million in performance bonuses based on a point system for starts and relief appearances.
Lowe was 9-11 with a 5.11 ERA last season in 21 starts and 17 relief appearances for Cleveland and the New York Yankees. He pitched for the Red Sox from 1997-2004.
Yankees Complete Trade
Tampa, Fla. — The trade sending outfielder Vernon Wells from the Los Angeles Angels to the New York Yankees was finalized yesterday.
New York dealt a pair of minor leaguers to the Angels on Tuesday for Wells: outfielder Exircado Cayones and left-hander Kramer Sneed. The Angels will pay about $28.5 million of the $42 million Wells is owed over the final two seasons of his contract.
The Yankees will pay most of his salary this year, a move designed to help the Angels to stay under the luxury tax threshold of $178 million. Los Angeles will pay most of his salary in 2014, when the Yankees hope to get under the threshold as it rises to $189 million.
Wells was down to play left field and bat sixth for the Yankees against Houston last night.