Red Sox

Atchison heads list of Red Sox cuts


Atchison heads list of Red Sox cuts

By Maureen Mullen

FORT MYERS, Fla. The Red Sox made another round of roster moves Friday.

Left-handers Andrew Miller, Rich Hill, and Randy Williams and right-hander Brandon Duckworth were assigned to minor-league camp. Right-handers Scott Atchison and Michael Bowden and outfielder Ryan Kalish were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Its a disappointing day for these guys, manager Terry Francona said. That doesnt mean we dont like what theyve done. The fact that the pitchers are all bunched together says a lot about how they competed.

Bowden and Atchison have options, which factored into the decision. Atchison appeared in seven Grapefruit League games, spanning 8 13 innings, posting a 6.48 ERA. Bowden was 1-0, 4.35, in 10 13 innings over 8 games.

Last season, after three roundtrips between Boston and Pawtucket early in the season, Atchison appeared in 43 games for the Sox, going 2-3, 4.50, providing stability to a bullpen that was mostly inconsistent.

Hard, Francona said of giving Atchison the news. And that was the first thing I told him: You know what, I dont want to tell you something just to get you out of my office. Its hard. He may feel its unfair. I think its not unfair to the organization. We had good competition, and if its close, which it is and the guys got an option, thats kind of the way it is.

"So rather than snow him, we just told him he'd been sent down. There were some days where I thought he might have got outpitched. But it doesnt just come down to that. Saying that, we dont dislike him. We like him as much today as we did, if not more. Its just hes going to start out in Triple-A.

Left-hander Andrew Miller, who posted a 10.57 ERA (mostly due to one difficult outing last Sunday against the Cardinals, when he faced six batters without recording an out, and all six scoring), will pitch in Pawtuckets rotation.

We actually talked to Andrew the other day, Francona said. We told him we made up our mind but we had an inning for him Thursday in Jupiter against the Marlins . . . But we told him he was going to start in Triple A, and he came back to us and goes, You know what, I want to get going. So he instead of pitching against the Marlins, he pitched today in a minor-league game and hes going to start getting extended a little bit . . . I think that was his concern, was he wasnt stretched out enough to start. So he wants to get the reps. So hell begin that.

Hill, who will continue to refine his new sidearm delivery, will come out of the bullpen to face left-handed hitters in Pawtucket.

Obviously his role is to come in and get that first lefty he faces and then to stay in the game, Francona said. Hes not going to just throw to one hitter, but obviously to handle left-handers.

I think he needs to stay with the sidearm delivery. I think he would -- I dont know if owned ups the right word -- but its still a little bit of a work in progress, which I think would be hard not to be. But I think there is enough there to really like . . . When youre in a situation like that, that first hitter he faces, a lot of times the games on the line. Just needs some repetition, some consistency.

"But theres a lot to like there. Thursday he hit 92 on the gun at times. Thats plenty, especially pitching sidearm.

Despite the move, Duckworth will start Sunday for the Red Sox in Sarasota against the Orioles, throwing two innings. He will be part of Pawtuckets rotation.

The moves reduce the number of players in major league camp to 33.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement


MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young


Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.