Red Sox

Sox' Bogaerts excited for WBC; will play third base


Sox' Bogaerts excited for WBC; will play third base

FORT MYERS, Fla. Xander Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, is looking forward to representing the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

Its going to be exciting, said the Red Sox highly regarded shortstop prospect. Those guys that that Ive played with growing up, its going to be fun playing with them again.

But with the Netherlands roster stocked with several highly regarded shortstops, including the Rangers' Jurickson Profar and the Braves' Andrelton Simmons, who both made their major league debuts last season, Bogaerts, rated by Baseball America as the Sox top prospect and the No. 58 prospect in all of baseball, will have to move off his usual position to compete for playing time at third base.

No problem, Bogaerts said, sitting in front of his locker in the clubhouse of the teams spring training complex Friday morning.

Just to be able to play and be in the lineup, thats whats important for me. And to be able to play and help the team win, thats important to me.

Since joining the Sox as an amateur free agent in August 2009, Bogaerts has not played anywhere but shortstop. He doesnt even remember the last time he played third base.

No, maybe when I was small in Little League, he said. But, no, not for a while. So itll be different.

Manager John Farrell said earlier in the week that Bogaerts, who is in his first big league camp, will work out at third base before he leaves March 1 to compete in the WBC. Bogaerts hasnt yet begun working out there, but expects to in the next few days.

But there has been speculation that Bogaerts may eventually have to move off his natural position. He is listed as 6-feet-3, 175 pounds. At just 20 years old, on Oct. 1, there is a good likelihood that he will continue to fill out.

All of which has fueled the speculation that he will eventually move to third.

I dont think of it in that way, Bogaerts said. Because I know the Netherlands are full of shortstops. And for me to be able to play its going to be difficult to play at that position. So Im a shortstop right now its just that to be able to play I have to move off my position.

While Bogaerts considers himself a shortstop, he didnt rule out an eventual move.

Shortstop is going to be the position long-term, he said. Im, working hard trying to stay at shortstop. Thats the only position I know playing right now.

But, whatever to help the team win. Wherever they need me to play, Ill be able to contribute at that position.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement


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


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

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.