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Thursday, August 4, 2011
Full speed ahead

By Sarah Spain

NFL: The 2011 league year is scheduled to start today, provided the new NFL collective bargaining agreement is ratified. Barring any last-minute issues, veteran free-agent signees will finally be able to practice with their teams, giving fans their first look at some old faces in new places. With Donovan McNabb handing off to Adrian Peterson, Chad Ochocinco hauling in passes from Tom Brady and Kevin Kolb launching deep balls to Larry Fitzgerald, it should be one exciting day of camp.

MLB: Erik Bedard will make his Red Sox debut tonight, hoping to lead his new team to a third straight win over the Indians. The Sox have won 23 of 30 and lead the AL East by a game, while the Indians have dropped 15 of 22 to fall four games back of the Tigers in the AL Central. Justin Masterson gets the nod for Cleveland tonight against his former club. He's 2-0 with a 1.25 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox (7:10 p.m.). ... A recent skid that included losing two of three in Milwaukee has the Cardinals three and a half games back of the Brewers in the NL Central. They'll try to make up some ground in Florida before starting another big-time series with Milwaukee next Tuesday. Kyle Lohse will take the bump for St. Louis opposite Florida's Clay Hensley in the first of four tonight (7:10 p.m.).

The White Sox and the Yankees seem to be going in different directions. Chicago has dropped five straight to fall six and a half games back in the AL Central, while New York is riding a six-game win streak and trails Boston by just a game in the AL East. Phil Humber will try to halt the Sox skid and prevent another beating like last night's 18-7 Yankee victory. Ivan Nova is on the bump for New York in the series finale (8:10 p.m.). ... Tonight, Cliff Lee looks to help the Phillies tie a season high with a seventh straight victory when they visit the Giants at AT&T Park. Madison Bumgarner gets the nod for the Giants, who have dropped five of their last six and hold a slim one-game lead in the NL West.

WNBA: The Liberty have owned the Sky recently, taking seven of their last eight meetings. They'll try to keep up that domination when the two teams do battle this afternoon. The ladies of the Second City trail the women of the Big Apple by 2 1/2 games for third place in the Eastern Conference (Noon). ... The Lynx vie for a team-record eighth straight win tonight when they host the Silver Stars. San Antonio had kept pace with Minnesota for most of the season, but Minnesota's recent run has it up three games in the West (8 p.m.).