Red Sox

Notes: Crawford receives honor from Rays writers

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Notes: Crawford receives honor from Rays writers

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Before Tuesday's 1-1 tie between the Red Sox and Rays at City of Palms Park, Marc Topkins of the St. Petersburg Times and the BBWAAs Tampa chapter chairman presented Carl Crawford with the Rays 2010 MVP and Paul C. Smith Champion (Good Guy) awards.

My work getting ready for the 2010 season paid off, Crawford said. I won the MVP of the team from the writers and the Good Guy award, so I was able to carry myself in the manner that was professional and respectable on and off the field. So, it's nice to win both of those awards. They're equally important to me. I take a lot of pride in making sure I don't get in trouble and set a good example when I'm at the field."

The Pawtucket Red Sox have announced that every PawSox player will wear a patch with the name BEN on their right uniform sleeve this season in honor of late PawSox owner Ben Mondor who passed away last October 3. The patch will be worn on each home uniform and will measure 5.5 long by 3.25 high.

Ben always wore his love of the PawSox on his sleeve, so its only fitting that we carry BEN on our sleeve for the 2011 season, said PawSox president Mike Tamburro.

The PawSox open the 2011 season on Thursday, April 7 vs. the Rochester Red Wings at 7:05 p.m. at McCoy Stadium.

Josh Beckett is scheduled to start the exhibition game Wednesday against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. He will be followed by Jonathan Papelbon, Dennys Reyes, Bobby Jenks and Daniel Bard. The Astros are expected to start Nelson Figueroa, followed by Brandon Lyon, Wilton Lopez, Enerio Del Rosario, Aneury Rodriguez, Henry Villar, and Jose Valdez. Daisuke Matsuzaka will pitch a simulated game Thursday morning in Houston.

The Red Sox will be moving to a new facility in Lee County for next year's spring training, and manager Terry Francona spoke about the Sox final game at City of Palms Park.

I think wed be a little more sentimental if we were leaving town," he said. "I think were all glad were staying in Fort Myers. I think were also very appreciative that we get to go into a state-of-the-art facility where we can probably get our work done a little bit better and have our minor-league complex together. But I think were very appreciative of the support we get here. Obviously we get great support and Im glad were staying. Im also glad were going into a nice, new facility.

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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