Red Sox

Red Sox bolster outfield depth by acquiring Rajai Davis from A's

Red Sox bolster outfield depth by acquiring Rajai Davis from A's

CLEVELAND — Rajai Davis, the veteran outfielder who hit a dramatic home run in Game 7 of the World Series last year, is joining the Red Sox. 

The Sox traded minor league outfielder Rafael Rincones to the A’s on Wednesday for Davis, who gives the Sox a depth option in place of Jackie Bradley Jr., and also a potential postseason pinch runner. Davis is to join the Red Sox on Thursday in Cleveland, where he played for the Indians last year. Deven Marrero was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room.

The 36-year-old Davis has five home runs and a .233 average this season with Oakland, plus 26 steals in 32 attempts. He’s hitting .303 since the All-Star Break and is primarily a center fielder.

Davis seems set to be the regular center fielder, although that wasn't definitive.

"Likely in center field," Sox manager John Farrell said after a 6-1 win over the Indians on Wednesday. "[Andrew Benintendi] become a very good left fielder, particularly off the wall where he’s had so much repetition there. Rajai has probably played more games in center field, but this is a guy with postseason experience, a speed element that will add to what’s here already. Familiarity with him in Toronto. He’s a very good fit at a really important time.”

Dombrowski said the move did not reflect a greater level of concern for Bradley’s sprained left thumb, but noted the MRI that Bradley went for Wednesday prompted him to expedite the trade. Dombrowski said he reached out to Oakland’s Billy Beane a week ago — well before Bradley was hurt.

Bradley suffered a sprain to a ligament in his left thumb, which is to be immobilized for about a week, Farrell said. Bradley was injured Tuesday night in a slide into home plate, banging his left hand awkwardly on a slide home. He’s on the 10-day disabled list, but given the period of immobilization, he’s expected to be on the DL longer than the minimum.

“The encouraging thing is through the X-ray and MRI imaging, there are no tears, no fractures,” Farrell said. “He is immobilized currently in a splint and that will probably be in the next coming days, 5-7 days, and hopefully at that point we’re able to get some range of motion and strengthening back in there. Unfortunate that he ends up in an awkward position to slide last night and rolled over on the thumb.”

Steve Selsky was designated for assignment Wednesday, clearing a 40-man roster spot for Davis.

Davis is a Connecticut native with a reputation for being a good clubhouse presence.

“We think the world of him,” Dombrowski said. “Fantastic guy. He's the type of person everyone thinks the world of when they meet him. We know he'll fit in with the ball club well, and can play on a pennant contender, which we hope to complete as we get through the stretch run here. He's been through it.”

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

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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

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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 baseball-reference.com.

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.

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