Red Sox

Henry makes surprise appearance on 'Felger and Mazz'

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Henry makes surprise appearance on 'Felger and Mazz'

Prompted by what he said were misleading statements from Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti on 98.5 The Sports Hub's 'Felger and Mazz' show, Red Sox owner John Henry made a surprise visit to the studio and engaged in a sometimes testy exchange with the two hosts.

"We've been smeared. You guys have been smearing us," said Henry of accusations that the Red Sox deliberately badmouthed Terry Francona and leaked information to the Boston Globe's Bob Hohler for the story on the clubhouse problems that ran earlier this week. "The author of the story has gone on the record as saying we did not participate in it. So I don't know what else there is to say about it."

He said as he was listening to the show while driving through the city, "All I could think to myself was, 'Journalists don't knowingly mislead the public'." And he said that's what led him to go to the studio and ask to go on the air.

"Maybe you're entertainers sometimes, journalists sometimes, and maybe you're more entertainers today than journalists," Henry told the two, who added: "It's important for the public not to be misled."

Henry was frequently challenged -- and interrupted -- by Felger and Massarotti, prompting him at one point to comment: "You guys don't need me here. All I do is give you facts, but you're much more entertaining than I am."

Among the highlights of their conversation . . .

He said he was opposed to the Carl Crawford signing. "Anyone involved in the process, anyone in upper management with the Red Sox, will tell you that I personally opposed that," said Henry. "We had plenty of left-handed hitting. I dont have to go into why. Ill just tell you that at the time I opposed the deal, but I dont meddle to the point of making decisions for our baseball team."

He also denied that the Crawford signing and the trade for Adrian Gonzalez were P.R. moves in response to declining television and radio ratings after the 2010 season.

Henry said the notion that the Red Sox weren't trying to win during their September collapse was ludicrous. "Did you watch any of those games?" he said. "I didn't see any of our players doing anything other than busting their ass to win games."

"The chaos" surrounding the team at the moment "is much more external than internal," said Henry. "You said, 'The Red Sox are in ashes.' That's not how we feel about it . . . There's not a sense of desperation, except when we turn on the radio. We're going to be successful next year."

He said the situation on the Sox was not nearly as bad as was depicted in the Globe story. He said the players, in fact, did their conditioning work. "Unless our training people are lying to me directly, the answer is yes, they did their work," said Henry.

He also wouldn't comment on Theo Epstein's situation, but said he didn't want to see Epstein leave the organization.

"I really can't go into it," he said. "There's a prohibition against announcements being made during the postseason in baseball . . . As far as I know, he's still involved with the Red Sox operation.

"I'd love to have Theo back. I'd have loved to haveTheo as our general manager for the next 20 years. But you can't alwaysget what you want . . . The fact is, being general manager in Boston isa terrifically tough job.

He said the Sox are working on a multiyear contract extension with president and CEO Larry Lucchino.

He expressed incredulity when Felger said he didn't believe Dustin Pedroia was telling the truth when he said he didn't know players were drinking beer and playing video games in the clubhouse during games.

"You think Dustin Pedroia's lying, too? Boy, you don't know Dustin very well," said Henry. "So you think he's a liar, I'm a liar, Lucchino's a liar . . . "

He promised the team would rebound in 2012.

"It broke my heart to see this club fall apart at the end," he said. "We were devastated to lose that last game, and night after night after night to find ways to lose . . . You put everything you can into trying to win a World Series. To have it fall apart at the end is upsetting. And painful . . .

"But if the fans hang in there, then I'm going to hang in there . . . We're going to have a great team next year."

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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