Red Sox

Matsuzaka, Okajima affected by Japanese quake


Matsuzaka, Okajima affected by Japanese quake

By Maureen Mullen

FORT MYERS, Fla. The effects of the massive 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan today could be felt inside the Red Sox clubhouse at City of Palms Park as Red Sox players and personnel from Japan tried to get news from home.

Hideki Okajima said his parents are in Kyoto and he has family in Kansei, away from the area that was hardest hit. But he's more concerned with his wifes family in Kanto, closer to the earthquake.

Its not a good situation, to say the least, said Okajima, whose wife is in Boston now.

His parents are in Kyoto.

Not sure, but they are probably okay, he said through team interpreter Jeff Cutler. Theres probably some sort of damage to their house or living situation."

Hes also concerned about his house in Tokyo.

Theres quite a bit of damage in Tokyo, too, Okajima said.

Daisuke Matsuzakas parents are in Tokyo. He said his parents are fine, although within their house it was a mess.

But he is concerned about his grandmother.

I havent been able to get in touch with my grandmother, who lives . . . close to where the earthquake was, he said.

Its difficult being so far from home and waking up to such devastating news.

It was definitely shocking waking up and hearing the news, Matsuzaka said, through Cutler. But just receiving an e-mail and reading it, I wasnt able to take in exactly what it was. But once I turned on the television and saw what was going on it was quite shocking, very scary to see that.

Mikio Yoshimura, the teams Japanese media liaison, said his family is okay, but he was waiting to hear news about his extended family.

Cutler also has family in Japan.

Theyre all all right, he said. But my brother lives in the city, in Tokyo, and he had to walk home 2 12 hours to get home and its usually a 20-minute train ride. Its definitely scary.

Kenta Yamada, a team interpreter, has family in Japan.

I talked to my family. Theyre fine. Theyre in Tokyo, he said. But, my brothers wifes family is from the area where the earthquake hit and they havent heard from them yet. Its pretty scary.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0


Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.