Red Sox

Pregame notes: Lavarnway returned to Pawtucket

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Pregame notes: Lavarnway returned to Pawtucket

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON-- BOSTON -- Ryan Lavarnway, who hit .304 (7-for-23) with three RBI in his seven-game big league debut has been returned to Triple-A Pawtucket with right-hander Scott Atchison getting called up for his fifth stint this season. With three games scheduled in under 24 hours, including Saturdays doubleheader, manager Terry Francona was concerned about his pitching.

"We talked to Lavarnway Thursday last night after we kind of had a chance to talk before we left and decided that even with the three games coming up in two days we probably better protect our pitching so we got Atch here, Francona said. Hes been lengthened out to three innings at a time and weve all seen what he can do. Just really want to protect our bullpen. It would be nice to have the extra position player. Saying that, Lavarnway is a catcherDH. We have that. If you're going to protect your lineup in a doubleheader thats probably not what you do. So we swapped them out. Just want to protect our pitching.

Francona is not concerned, though, that the odd schedule has had an adverse effect on the pitching staff.

Weve never gotten to a point where Ive thought anybodysgottenoverdone or anything, he said. The odd times where things like that, I think you have to pay attention to it, not let somebody pitch three days in a row or something like that when they shouldnt, and we dont, but I dont think its ever gotten in the way of our pitching. And like on a day like today we went and got Atch so something doesnt happen. If we have a lead, were fine. But if something happens when someone exits early or were losing, then you can ruin your bullpen and thats why its important to have somebody here.

It is rare to have two consecutive days off in the baseball calendar. But the Red Sox find themselves with that unusual scenario Sunday because of the impending hurricane and Mondays scheduled off-day. Francona was uncertain if that would affect his pitching rotation.

I dont know, he said. Well get through this and then well figure that out. Obviously its not just cut and dried because its two days off and we dont have that very often, so well look at it.

Lavarnway will likely be back up when rosters expand in September.

The way he controlled the strike zone, Francona said of what he liked about Lavarnway. We only saw him catch two innings so thats a little bit hard to give a proper evaluation. But obviously a smart kid. He helped us win some games. Thats what we asked him to do. Its not an easy thing to do but I think the experience was probably really good for him. Hell be back. Hell be back as soon as we can get him back here, spend September with us and hopefully learn some more. Spending some time with bullpen coach Gary Tuck will be really important.

With left-hander Gio Gonzalez starting for the As tonight, and two righties, Guillermo Moscoso and Graham Godfrey, starting tomorrow, Carl Crawford is getting tonight off with Mike Aviles making his first professional appearance in left field. Crawford is expected to play both games of the doubleheader.

Were trying to give as many guys some time off as we can, Francona said. Theres only so much we can do. I thought Carl was actually cramping a little bit last night during the game. So with the late arrival and everything I thought it would be a good day because hell probably play both tomorrow.

J. D. Drew is expected to play tonight and Saturday with Single-A Lowell as rehab games as he makes his way back from the disabled list , where he has been since July 20 with a left shoulder impingement. He is expected to serve as the Spinners designated hitter tonight.

If things go well for Drew this weekend, he is expected to join the PawSox next week.

Right-hander Bobby Jenks, on the DL since July 8 with left back tightness, is expected to pitch one inning in a rehab assignment with the Single-A Salem Sox on Saturday. Where he pitches after that is dependent on the weather.

Were trying to move him to Triple A, Francona said. But theres some things to think about with the weather so, but pretty good chance well get him up to Triple A.

Kevin Youkilis, on the DL since Aug. 18 with a lower back strain, is expected to begin a rehab assignment next week with the PawSox.

Hes doing really well, Francona said. Hes probably going to go out and get a couple of at-bats Tuesday and Wednesday. I think theyre in Rochester. J.D. would do the same thing

Youkilis hit off a tee and took some soft toss Thursday and hit in the cage Friday.

Hes been making progress. Hes doing well. Hes doing fine, Francona said.

Except for a brief stop into Fenway on Aug. 16 and 17 when they played three games in about 27 hours, the Sox have virtually been on a road trip since Aug. 8. They are now home through Sept. 4, with three games against the As, three against the Yankees, and three against the Rangers.

Im hoping itll be terrific, Francona said of the homestand. The last time we were home it was almost like a continuation of the road trip. We were home for 24 hours or whatever it was, and three games. It was almost like more of a hindrance. But, hopefully, well take advantage of it on the field. But itll be nice to unpack for a little while. Its been a long time.

Reminder: Because of the approaching hurricane Sundays game has be rescheduled as the second game of Saturdays doubleheader and Saturdays scheduled game has been moved to an earlier start time. Saturdays scheduled game will begin at 12:00 noon in the first game of the doubleheader. The second game (originally scheduled for Sunday) will begin at 5 p.m.

Carl Crawford has been given the night off for Friday night's game against the A's, and Mike Aviles will play left field for the first time in his career. Crawford is expected to play both games on Saturday.

Kevin Youkilis will make a rehab appearance with the PawSox on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Other Red Sox rehab appearances: J.D. Drew will be in Lowell on Friday and Saturday, and Bobby Jenks will be with Salem on Saturday.

Tonight's Red Sox lineup:

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Marco Scutaro SS
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Jed Lowrie 3B
Mike Aviles LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Darnell McDonald RF

Tim Wakefield P

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http: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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