Red Sox

Red Sox saddened by Ramirez news

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Red Sox saddened by Ramirez news

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Manny Ramirez clubbed 274 home runs and won a pair of World Series titles in his prolific Red Sox career, and his long-time teammates saw first hand how diligently the enigmatic slugger worked to become the beloved, quixotic Manny.

Thats why there seemed to be more an air of sadness than anything else when word of Ramirezs retirement filtered through the victorious postgame locker room Friday after the Sox finally secured their first victory of the 2011 season.

Many experienced first-hand the left fielders sour end to a marvelous, star-crossed tenure in Boston in 2008, and it looks like there's another unhappy ending unfolding for Man-Ram. Major League Baseball announced on Friday afternoon that Ramirez was retiring from the big leagues after reportedly failing a spring training drug test.

The failed test was going to carry a 100-game suspension, since he flunked a similar test during the 2009 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ramirez quit his job with the Rays upon learning of the consequences.

One of his closest friends in baseball, David Ortiz, hoped there would be some kind of late-breaking news to help better understand Ramirezs final act of Manny Being Manny as an active player.

Its crazy, man. Thats the last thing I was expecting was for him to retire, and go through all of that situation, said Ortiz. I dont know all of the details. Im like you guys, and just hearing about it. Im just waiting for all of the rest of the stuff to come out. But its sad, man, that a player with that much talent and an unbelievable career . . . to get him out of the game with all of the negativity.

But well see.

Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was a little blunter in his assessment as is within the fabric of his personality. Papelbon felt like Ramirez likely tossed away the 555 career homers, 12 All-Star appearances and .312 career batting average under the specter of performance-enhancing drugs. It would seem any Hall of Fame chances would go away along with the legitimacy of his baseball career unless theres some amazing new evidence thats yet to come to light.

It would seem there will always be a but beside all of Ramirezs accomplishments even those in Boston.

Its kind of sad that one of the best right-handers in the game is going to go down that way," said Papelbon. "Hes worked so hard to put himself into the situation hes in as one of the great hitters, and now hes gonna throw it all out the window.

I dont know much of whats going on with that, but Im not worried or thinking about it right now.

The Sox players clearly had other worries and concerns on their mind after starting the year with an 0-6 record, but the winning Sox locker room had a tinge of bittersweet emotion for a fallen ex-teammate that clearly had one more head-scratching move up his sleeve.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

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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