Red Sox

Red Sox notes: Prospects head to the farms

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Red Sox notes: Prospects head to the farms

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Both before and after their 8-5 defeat of the New York Mets, the Red Sox made five roster cuts, optioning shortstop Jose Iglesias, infielder Yamaico Navarro, catcher Luis Exposito, first baseman Lars Anderson to the Pawtucket roster and returning outfielder Juan Carlos Linares to the minor league camp.

Manager Terry Francona offered these brief scouting reports:

On Iglesias: "I don't think we saw the type of hitter we're going to eventually see. His mentality is, he was trying to show so much and make an impact. He gets in in the sixth inning and he wants to do too much. I think when he settles down and gets into a season, we'll find out what kind of hitter he can be. And we all know the defense is there. But I think the offense will continue to grow as he gets more grounded and gets some at-bats . . . He just needs to go play.''

On Navarro: "He's come a long way. The word we use with all the young guys is 'accountability.' When young kids come here, it's trust and accountability. It's not just how you swing the bat. It's 'Do you know all our plays?' Because every game is so important. And I think he's learning that and I think he continues to learn and mature. He's got such good bat speed. It's going to be fun to watch and see how much better he can get. He got a little taste of the big leagues last year and got beat up a little bit. It will be interesting to see how he reacts now.''

On Anderson: "Lars defensively is like night-and-day -- he's just come so far. And he just needs repetition, and that's what we told him. I think he's disappointed because he came into camp and hasn't really knocked the ball all over the ballpark (hitting .161 in Grapefruit League games). We tried to re-assure him that what he does during the season will show what kind of a hitter he is.''

On Linares: "Linares is really interesting. Obviously, the major league staff didn't know him very well. At first blush, you look at him and say, 'I don't know if this guy can play center field.' And then you see him run around out there. He can actually play all three outfield positions, he's very aggressive at the plate, and he hustles on every ball that's in play. He's a pretty exciting guy.''

That the five were also optioned to the Pawtucket roster does not, however, mean that they will all necessarily open the year at Triple A.

Navarro and Anderson will open the season at Triple A, and given his age (26), Linares probably will, too. But no decisions have been made on Exposito or Igliesias.

Iglesias missed several months with a hand injury last year, and could open the season either at Pawtucket or repeat Double A at least for a few weeks.

Exposito will probably go to Pawtucket, too, but the Sox could opt to keep Paul Hoover, who has brief major-league experience, and pair him with Mark Wagner for the catching duo at Triple A.

The moves bring the Sox to 43 players in camp, 18 over the limit for Opening Day with two weeks remaining.

The Red Sox' speed and aggressive style was on display in the third inning when Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford combined to put pressure on the Mets and combine for two runs, helping the Sox to an 8-5 victory.

With one out and Nate Spears on first, Ellsbury singled to right, sending Spears to second. Crawford then singled to shallow right, scoring Spears and sending Ellsbury to third. Right fielder Lucas Duda's throw was airmailed wild and Ellsbury, reacting quickly, scored.

Then, with Jed Lowrie batting, Crawford stole second and took third when catcher Josh Thole's throw down landed in center.

"That's what speed can do,'' said Francona. "Ellsbury kept his head up. Those are good things. If he doesn't keep his head up, he doesn't score. It's fun to watch that. We've seen Carl do that kind of thing against us. So with Jacoby and Carl doing that for us, let the other team have the headache.''

On Friday, the Sox have a split-squad, day-night schedule, with one team hosting Detroit in the afternoon and another traveling to Port Charlotte to face Tampa Bay at night. Clay Buchholz, Dennys Reyes, Hideki Okajima and Michael Bowden will pitch at home, with Tim Wakefield, Matt Fox, Matt Albers and Randy Williams set to throw in Port Charlotte.

Bobby Jenks will pitch two innings in a minor league game Friday. Francona wants every reliever to have a multi-inning appearance before the spring is over.

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

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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