Red Sox

Miller shines in return from injury

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Miller shines in return from injury

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pitching for the first time since he felt some stiffness in his left elbow, Andrew Miller would have been happy just to be pain-free Friday night.

The fact that he showed dominant stuff was a bonus.

"Tonight was probably the best stuff I've had, across the board, in the last couple of years,'' said a satisfied Miller.

Pitching the fifth, Miller walked leadoff hitter Joe Mauer, but then retired the next three hitters, two by strikeouts.

"(The elbow) felt real good,'' said Miller. "Hopefully it's something that's in the past. The real test will come (Saturday) morning, but I feel real good right now.''

Miller had been scheduled to pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 8, but that outing was scratched when Miller felt some stiffness in the elbow.

"I think you're a little bit worried any time your arm hurts,'' he said. "It wasn't too uncommon a feeling. I'd like to think that, during the season, it was something I wouldn't have missed any time for. From the day (when I first felt it), every day felt pretty good and it got better pretty quickly. I've been pain-free since then.''

Miller's goal is to become a member of the starting rotation, but he realizes he's got some ground to make up after being shut down for a week and a half.

"There's still time to build up and lengthen out,'' he said. "But starters now are going five innings. The goal for me is to be with the big club, but if starting's going to be in the equation, it's going to have to happen pretty fast.

"I've got a ways to go if I'm going to be expected to go throw seven or eight innings...I hope this setback doesnt' eliminate me from that.''

If he doesn't make the rotation, he hopes he has a more meaningful role than serving as the long man, as he did for parts of last season.

"I don't think that's really a role anyone can succeed in,'' he said. "I don't think going long periods of time without pitching, then being expected to go into a game in the first inning of a 10-run game is really a way to succeed.

"I've never been in a situation where I've been asked to consistently get lefties out, or throw an inning or basically pitch three or four times a week. I think I'm capable of it. I would welcome the opoprtunity. My goal is to be part of the team. I think we have a great team and I want to be part of it.''

Whether he starts or relieves, Miller knows the key is to show better consistency.

"That's been my downfall historically,'' said Miller. "I've got to avoid the hiccups I've had in the past where I have a rough one or two (outings) in a row. A good starter is someone who goes out and gives you a chance (to win) every time -- not five out of six, or four out of five.''

ALCS: Judge, Sabathia help Yankees beat Astros, 8-1

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ALCS: Judge, Sabathia help Yankees beat Astros, 8-1

NEW YORK - Aaron Judge hit a three-run homer and a made pair of sparkling catches, leading CC Sabathia and the Yankees over the Houston Astros 8-1 Monday night and cutting New York's deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series.

Sabathia allowed three hits over six scoreless innings for his first postseason win in five years. Todd Frazier hit a go-ahead, three-run homer for the Yankees, who stopped a seven-game ALCS losing streak dating to Sabathia's victory over Texas in 2010.

Sonny Gray starts Game 4 Wednesday on 11 days' rest, likely against Brad Peacock or Lance McCullers Jr.

Back in the Bronx after a pair of 2-1 losses in Houston, the Yankees led 8-0 after four innings. Houston scored on a bases-loaded walk in the ninth before postseason star Jose Altuve grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded.

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Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

BOSTON — Brad Ausmus was the second person to interview to replace John Farrell as Red Sox manager, baseball sources confirmed Monday afternoon. The Sox are expected to interview Ron Gardenhire, the Diamondbacks' bench coach, as well.

But the net might not be cast too wide. More and more, it sounds like the Sox already know whom they want.

Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who met with Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in New York on Sunday, appears the frontrunner to take the reins next year. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal has reported that to be the case multiple times, and for some inside the Sox organization, that's a growing feeling as well.

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The criteria the Sox value most isn't hard to guess: a strong connection with players, an ability to incorporate data and analytics; and someone who can handle the market.

"I knew Alex for a couple of years before getting a chance to work with him and had tried to recruit him to work a few years ago and he had other options," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday in New York, before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees. "To watch him develop relationships with the players, he's all about baseball. He's all about the competition and small advantages within the game, one of the brightest baseball intellects that I've been around. And to see him pass some of that on and transition from player to TV personality to coach, he's had a ton of impact.

"He challenges people. He challenges me. He's someone who's all about winning. And I think to watch our players respond to him, he's got a lot of respect in that clubhouse because of the work he puts in and the attention to detail that he brings. That's why he's the hottest managerial candidate on the planet and deservedly so."

Cora joined the Astros before this season.

Ausmus, whom Dombrowski hired in Detroit ahead of the 2014 season, grew up in Connecticut and went to Dartmouth. The 48-year-old spent 18 seasons as a big-league catcher, the last in 2010. He was working for the Padres before Dombrowski gave him his first shot at managing the Tigers. 

Ausmus went 314-332 in four years managing the Tigers, a more veteran team than might have been ideal for him as a first-time manager.

Ausmus pulled out of the running to interview with the Mets, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag while Cora was expected to interview with the Mets on Monday or Tuesday, per the New York Post's Mike Puma.

What could change from here? One baseball source indicated a second interview with Cora was expected. Asked if he plans a second round of interviews generally, Dombrowski did not say.

"We have started the interview process," Dombrowski wrote via email. "I do not have any specific time frames at this point. Will wait and evaluate as we go through the process."

The Boston Herald's Chad Jennings first reported Ausmus' interview.

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