Red Sox

Holt, activated, talked to Dale Earnhardt Jr. about long road to recovery

Holt, activated, talked to Dale Earnhardt Jr. about long road to recovery

BOSTON — At least for a day, Brock Holt is back on the big league roster. His road has been long, but more than that, scary.

The Red Sox infielder was activated from the 60-day disabled list as the team’s 26th man for Sunday’s doubleheader vs. the Yankees, after he landed on the disabled list April 21 with vertigo. It took 24 rehab games, with stops and starts in between, before he could come back as he’s dealt with issues of disorientation — which aren't new to him in recent years.

“Earlier, doubts start to creep into your mind,” Holt said. “That first time I tried to rehab, I think I played two weeks worth of games and never felt good in any of them. You start thinking. When you’re down there trying to compete and play and you’re not able to do it, I think there were times when I wondered if I would ever get back to normal or if that was my new normal. 

“But, I would say I had to get talked off the ledge a couple of times from [concussion expert Micky Collins] in Pittsburgh and my wife. They set me back on the straightened path, but it was hard, man. Emotionally, physically, something that obviously I would have rather not had to go through. But, like I said, it’s going to make me stronger and I’m glad to be back.”

Holt spoke to former Red Sox catcher David Ross about the concussions he dealt with in his career.

“I talked to him over the phone a couple of times, and then I saw him in Houston when we went to Houston and talked to him in person,” Holt said. “I talked to Brian Roberts with the Orioles who worked with Micky Collins, and I actually had a conversation with Dale Earnhardt Jr. as well, who kind of went through similar stuff as me. I think his was a little more intense. 

“But it was nice talking to those guys, knowing that they got better, and that was big for me: being able to talk to guys who have been through it. You can talk to your training staff, your teammates, my family even, and you can explain how you feel, but no one really knows. …  They’re living normal lives now.”

Holt’s roster move was one of three for the Red Sox on Sunday after a 16-inning loss to the Yankees on Saturday night. (This is a day after Joe Kelly went on the DL with a left hamstring strain and Brandon Workman was recalled, mind you.)

The other moves Sunday:

  • Righty Blaine Boyer went to the 10-day DL with a right elbow strain.
  • Righty Austin Maddox came up from Triple-A Pawtucket.

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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