Red Sox

Ortiz offers perspective on tensions

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Ortiz offers perspective on tensions

BOSTON As Fridays ninth-inning, bench-clearing brouhaha wound down, David Ortiz put his arm around Luke Scotts shoulder and walked Scott several steps toward first base.

Scott had just been hit by a Franklin Morales pitch with two outs and none on, inciting the melee.

In that case, after things happen, go like that, or whatever, you just want to settle things down, Ortiz said.

Ortiz took it upon himself to be the one to do that.

Well, I have a lot of people that they respect me in the game, Ortiz said. And they respect you for a reason and you want to try to keep it that way. And yeah, the incident happened. Luke got hit. And when Im trying to calm things down, this is what Luke told me: 'Papi if you were in my situation, what would you do? Would you be mad?' And I totally agree with him. Id be mad just like you are, but just move on, you know what Im saying? And he understand what I say. He just went down to first base.

But I have a lot of respect for the Tampa guys, the way they play the game, the way they go at it. The situation happened in the game. Me? Im not a big fan of situations like that going down. Manager, players sometimes have their reasons to do whatever they do. But I still have respect for those guys because those guys through the years have come along real good and played the game and do what theyve been doing. I know some of them and they got to go about their business. So hopefully everything will stay right there and we move on and turn the page.

Ortiz is not expecting any retaliations tonight.

Probably not tonight. I dont think, he said. Were still in the same series with things going down. But Im not a pitcher. Im a hitter and like I say, this situation, I dont think the fans come to see that. The fans come and watch us compete. Sometimes things get out of hand and later on you cant control it. But hopefully we just move on and come back and play the game the way we have.

What are the proverbial unwritten rules in this kind of situation?

I dont know them, Ortiz said with a laugh. I dont know them. I focus on hitting the ball and doing my thing. Theres a lot of things about the game that I get caught into and I dont have an answer for them.

Rays manager Joe Maddon made some very blunt comments after Fridays game, saying the situation reeked of intent, calling the Sox actions ridiculous, absurd, idiotic, incompetent, cowardly behavior.

Ortiz said he could understand those sentiments.

Because hes right to be mad about the situation, you know what Im saying, Ortiz said. Hes the manager of their ballclub and just like Bobbys the manager of our ballclub and they got a right to go at each other.

But these kinds of incidents are not new to these two teams. More than any other team, the Sox have had run-ins with the Rays. Dustin Pedroia was hit earlier in Fridays game. Last week, in the two-game set in Tampa Bay, Morales hit Will Rhymes and Clay Buchholz hit Scott in the first game. In the second game, Matt Moore hit Adrian Gonzalez, Felix Doubront hit Scott, and Vicente Padilla hit Rich Thompson.

Its not like its not going to happen because you got 25 guys here and you got 25 guys over there, Ortiz said. You try to have everybody on the same page, its not going to happen. Same over there. Things happen, back and forth, some guy looking for retaliation, some guy looking for, you know, ok, its not going to happen here, its not going to happen there. And later on in the game things happen. But those are things that they are not predictable. Its a lot of adrenaline going on, the flow of the game, get caught into it.

Ortiz was not surprised the benches emptied on Friday.

No, to be honest with you, he said. Me personally, I just saw the thing happen, and I was like Whoa, OK. And of course when you get hit you get mad, especially the way Luke Scott got hit. It was pretty obvious. Because my boy Morales miss one time and then hit him. Of course, youre going to get upset. To me in that situation, you throw at me, the first time, you hit me, its all great. But if you throw at me and miss me and then end up hitting me, Im going to do exactly the same thing he did and probably worse. Because you already got your chances.

Scott was hit on the fifth pitch of the at-bat. After Morales first pitch sailed behind Scott to the backstop, Rays players who were already in their clubhouse rushed to the dugout, in apparent anticipation of an incident.

They were expecting it, Ortiz said. It was a crazy situation. But like I said you dont want to get your pitching star out of their focus. We got Josh Beckett going in tonight, they got David Price going in tonight. These guys are aces who through the years what they focus on is getting hitters out, not hitting guys. Thats not their best game. So when you see guys hitting guys you got them out of their rhythm and hopefully thats not the case tonight.

Scott is on record with derogatory comments about Red Sox fans and Fenway Park. Still, Ortiz is surprised he has become such a villain in Boston.

To be honest with you, yes, yes, Ortiz said. Because like last night was the first time I saw on the TV things that he have said about them, and, man, hes such a nice guy. Hes very religious. He might have his reasons to say what he say. I dont know.

But like I say, hes a good guy and hopefully things get better and sometime people say things that hurt your feelings and you carry that over. Probably thats what happened to him.

But, Luke, we got the best fans on Planet Earth.

Ortiz prediction for tonights game?

I know were going to try to win, he said.

And what about more hit batters?

Im not a pitcher, I dont know. I dont throw the ball. Hopefully I dont get hit.

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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