The hero is going home. Daisuke Matsuzaka's newborn son did right by his dad when he entered the world a week early. Now Pops is free to return to Japan, where he'll start the Red Sox opener against the Oakland A's next week. Said manager Terry Francona, "He's honored."
Off the not-wanted list and into a rotation. The righthander with the 4.82 career ERA and four straight losing seasons got a $4.25 million deal from injury-ravaged St. Louis and could wind up as the Cardinals' No. 2 starter. Mused Lohse, "I've always liked St. Louis."
Devils winger Jamie Langenbrunner went home to play Minnesota last Thursday, then delighted his faithful—he'd ordered up 98 postgame passes—with the shootout goal that won the game. It was the least he could do for his loved ones' nerves. Said he, "[My mom] hates it when I go in on the shootout."
His Mavericks were rolling again—five straight wins through Sunday—and the coach was looking forward to one special day: Johnson's motivational biography, Aspire Higher, hits stores next Tuesday, his 43rd birthday.
Super featherweight Juan Manuel Marquez had lots of pain—he got flattened in the third round—but no gain in his rematch against Manny Pacquiao. A split decision gave Pacquiao the WBC title and left Marquez pouting. "It was an unjust decision," Marquez said. "We felt we won."
The Mets' slugger missed two weeks with a sore hip, couldn't find his groove (2 for his first 15), then got an unkind cut. On Sunday he was speared in the forearm by the flying shard of a broken bat. Said Delgado, who got stitched up, "It was more blood than I care to see."
Big picture: They've won just five of 21. Bigger picture: Their once-certain playoff berth is on the verge of disappearing. Ugly picture: Forwards Jim Dowd (right) and R.J. Umberger got into a fight at practice last Friday, then Philly capped another lost weekend with a 7--1 drubbing by the Penguins.
After smashing a pair of rackets, smacking a ball into the crowd and generally storming around while being beaten in straight sets by unseeded Tommy Haas at Indian Wells, Roddick declared, "I'm not going to freak out over this loss."
SI PLAYERS NHL POLL
Which team will win the Stanley Cup?
Detroit Red Wings ..................... 62%
Anaheim Ducks ..................................... 20%
Ottawa Senators ..................................... 8%
San Jose Sharks...................................... 3%
Montreal Canadiens ............................... 2%
Players could not vote for their own team.... The Red Wings (47-20-6 at week's end) became the first team to clinch a playoff berth by beating the Stars last Thursday.... The defending champion Ducks trailed the Sharks (SI's pick) by three points in the Pacific Division.... The Calgary Flames were the only other team to receive more than 1% of the vote (1.1%).
[Based on a survey of 365 NHL players] • For more on the poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/players.
CHARLES KRUPA/AP (MATSUZAKA)
JAE C. HONG/AP (MARQUEZ)
CHRIS GARDNER/US PRESSWIRE (DOWD)
JOHN G. MABANGLO/EPA (RODDICK)
JEFF ROBERSON/AP (LOHSE)
DAVID E. KLUTHO (NHL PLAYERS)
PAUL BERESWILL (CUP)