Red Sox

Notes: Miller mediocre at best in Sox win

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Notes: Miller mediocre at best in Sox win

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

CHICAGO -- Andrew Miller has just one win in his last four starts -- he earned his second-straight no decision in the Red Sox' 5-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox Sunday -- but both the pitcher and his manager thought were encouraging signs about his outing.

Miller went 5 23 innings -- he's yet to pitch past the sixth inning in any of his eight starts for Boston this year - and gave up 10 hits. But he also struck out a season-high eight and walked just one.

"The ball came out of his hand better than we've seen in a while," said Terry Francona. "Saying that, he gave up some hits. But I still thought he threw the ball pretty well -- a little bit of bend, but don't break."

Miller didn't have a single 1-2-3 inning, but, again, forced his pitch count up. He threw 106 pitches to get just 17 outs, but it all resulted in a win.

"Runners in every inning is not how you draw it up," he conceded. "But I was able to get out of (some jams) in the end and give us a chance to win. Fortunately, those guys in the bullpen, as always, just came in and shut them down.

"It was a battle at times. But ultimately, we won the game."

One ominous note: Miller has given up 41 baserunners in his last 21 23 innings -- nearly two baserunners per inning.

"I gave up a lot more hits than I'd like to," said Miller, "but I think a couple of them were broken bats. Once the ball leaves my hand, it's out of my control so I have to just pitch around whatever happens next."

What might happen next is Miller could be pushed from the rotation, following the acquisition Sunday of Erik Bedard.

"I'm concerned with how I pitch," he said. "I think that's out of my control. I can't worry about that. It is what it is."

For the time being, it seems, Miller is safe as Theo Epstein broadly hinted that the Sox might go with six starters for the next few turns through the rotation.

The Sox welcomed the acquisition of Bedard. Some found out about the deal in the dugout while others didn't hear until after the game in the clubhouse as they packed and got ready to return to Boston.

"Right on . . . awesome," said Dustin Pedroia. "He's got great stuff. I'm excited to have him. He's going to help us a ton. We've had some injuries on our pitching staff. He's going to come in here and help. Hopefully, he does a great job for us. We're excited to have him. It's going to be a fun rest of the season."

"He's a very effective pitcher," said Kevin Youkilis. "He can get guys out if he's using his slider and fastball well. He's definitely a good pitcher who can get guys out. Hopefully, he can do that here in Boston. We'll find out sooner than later."

Bedard pitched in Baltimore for several seasons, but he last was there in 2008.

"I think the whole division's probably changed (since then)," Youkilis said. "This team has changed dramatically, so, I don't think (familiarity) with pitching in the AL East (isn't necessarily important). The big thing is if he has his stuff, throws strikes and gets guys out, that's all that matters."

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

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HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press

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.