Red Sox

Kalish eager to develop down at Pawtucket

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Kalish eager to develop down at Pawtucket

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

PAWTUCKET, RI After appearing in 53 big-league games last season, hitting .252 with four home runs, including two grand slams, and 24 RBI, perhaps starting this season in Triple-A would be a disappointment.

Not so, says Ryan Kalish.

No, not at all, said Kalish, who turned 23 on March 28. I knew in the offseason as soon as they signed Carl Crawford that was the way it was going to be. And I think its good because theres no pressure. You know youre going to go to Triple-A and keep working on my game. I think, obviously, if I was the Red Sox, Id have signed Carl, too, because hes just such a good player and brings a lot to your team. So, no, there was no disappointment at all. Just come in here, get my work in and if they need me up there, thats my goal, is to be ready to help them win.

Kalish appeared in 20 Grapefruit League games for the Red Sox this spring, playing all three outfield positions and serving as the designated hitter. Hitting .235 with just two extra-base hits, both doubles, and one RBI, he wasnt entirely happy with his spring performance. But, he also knows that will not determine his future.

Spring training was great, he said. Just a lot of excitement. Crawford coming in and all the outfielders, just such a help and always teaching me stuff and helping me learn. That was great. I dont think I played as well as I wanted to, but thats spring training. But now the games are here and were here to win and I think that really helps everybody out. So, yeah, spring training was great.

Getting called to the big leagues on July 31, Kalish quickly showed that he was not intimidated by his surroundings, starting in left field and going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI in his debut that day. Those last few months in the big leagues can only help him.

It was definitely huge because when I get back, hopefully if I get back, it shouldnt be as big of an adjustment, he said. Youre going to already know a lot of the guys. They already are there to help me out, and Ill just continue to grow.

First-year Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler has watched Kalishs maturation. He also managed Kalish in Portland over parts of the last two seasons.

Hes a hard-working kid, Beyeler said. He plays the game right. Hes come a long way, maturity-wise. He used to let the game come to him, but now he gets after it every day. Hes consistent. Doesnt let things bother him like they used to. I think that shows in his consistency, especially when he went up to the big leagues and got the opportunity last year. Everybody in the clubhouse loved him up there last year because hes consistent every day. All he cares about is winning. He just wants to help the team and hes been that way throughout the minor leagues the last few years.

Beyeler has seen the difference those 53 big-league games have had on Kalish.

I think not in just his game. His games his game, Beyeler said. I think more so just his emotional consistency of not letting stuff bother him, the little things that could tend to wear a lot of guys out when theyre young. It seems like when those guys go up to the big leagues and come back they understand that its not all about the numbers. You can kind of see the forest through the trees a little bit more. Theyre going to come and get guys down here that fit into roles they need, are good in the clubhouse, and care about the team wining. Its not necessarily the hottest guy at the time. So when guys kind of start to see that a little bit and worry about themselves instead of worrying about the numbers, its funny how things kind of work out for them a lot better. But it takes a long time.

But I think all of us are that way. In the grand scheme of things you just got to do what you do and things work out. Its tough with these guys on the way up to sometimes talk to them about things like that, the process over the performance. When they start seeing and really believing in the process and how things work and quit worrying about the performance, then the process usually takes care of the performance.

For Kalish, while getting back to the big leagues will always be the ultimate goal, for now its in the background.

Thats off the table, he said. Just play, play hard down here, and continue to develop. And I think keeping that winning attitude down here will help us all when we get up there. But theres no goal on that, because if you do I think it kind of throws your game off if you dont get somewhere, if you dont hit a certain average, get a certain number of home runs. At the end of the year if you play hard and work hard and play to win, I think a lot of that stuff will take care of itself.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

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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