Red Sox

Sox interview Alomar Jr. for managerial position

583666.jpg

Sox interview Alomar Jr. for managerial position

BOSTON -- The Red Sox continued their managerial search Wednesday, bringing in Sandy Alomar Jr. He is the third candidate the Sox have interviewed, with two more scheduled for later this week.

Alomar, 45, just completed his second season as a coach for the Indians. Cleveland hired him in November 2009 as first-base coach, and at the end of the 2011 season he was promoted to bench coach when Tim Tolman resigned due to health issues. Alomar was also the Mets major-league catching instructor in 2008 and 2009.

Alomar caught 1,324 games (starting 1,203) during his playing career, which spanned parts of 20 seasons before his retirement in 2007, with the Indians, White Sox, Padres, Mets, Rockies, Dodgers, and Rangers. He was a six-time All-Star and the American League Rookie of the Year in 1990.

For Alomar -- whose brother Robbie was inducted into the Hall of Fame this year and whose father played for 15 seasons and was a major-league coach for the Cubs, Rockies, Padres (where he coached his two sons) and Mets -- his biggest challenge is likely to be his lack of managerial experience. He also interviewed last year for the Blue Jays' manager job that went to former Sox pitching coach John Farrell.

Asked what he sees as his biggest challenge in the job, Alomar replied:

Well, I think communicating would be great for me. I would have that gift with me. I feel like I would basically earn their respect right away . . .

"Me, as a player, when I would see a new manager . . . I wanted to understand this guy first. I want to see what hes all about. I want to see if he follows his protocols. Thats what I did when I was a player. But I was a guy that I think I was a manager's dream didnt complain about nothing. I was out there and I just wanted to play baseball. Thats all I did. I wanted to play baseball, try to have fun, try to win games, and never disrespect the manager. So I expect the guys to do the same thing for a manager."

But although there will be challenges, Alomar feels that he has qualities that will be beneficial to whatever team he manages.

I have played many years at this level, Alomar said. I have great managerial people that I played for. In fact, I played for nine managers and all nine managers that I played for have participated or managed in the postseason and six out of the nine have reached the World Series and two of those six have won the World Series. So I have learned a tremendous amount of baseball from that kind of people. My fathers been very influential in my career and in the coaching department. And I feel like I can help an organization.

General manager Ben Cherington began his career with the Indians in 1998, as a video advance scout.That season was Alomars ninth with the Indians, and his sixth and final as an All-Star.

As we were doing research on candidates his name kept coming up, Cherington said. I knew of Sandy. I was actually with Sandy. He didn't know who I was in 98 in Cleveland but I saw him in the clubhouse. I was in the clubhouse all the time. But I saw the leader he was back then, the respect he had in the clubhouse. So Ive sort of been following him since then and then the research we did more recently on candidates, his name just kept coming up as a guy that has a ton of respect in the baseball community, incredible talent, instincts for the game, awareness. That family just knows baseball better than most other families do.

So we felt, despite the lack of managing experiencing, it was worth getting to know him better. Hes going to be a major-league manager. Whether thats in 2012 or sometime after that, Im very confident to say that hell be a big-league manager sometime.

Alomar is highly regarded throughout baseball.

We got a remarkable level of respect for him in clubhouses from players based on what he did as a player and also with the evolution of his career, Cherington said. Being an All-Star, everyday catcher to being a backup catcher and kind of filling almost a dual role as backup catchercoach during the last few years of his career. So a lot of respect for him in clubhouses. He sees the game really well. The game simulation exercise in the interview process went really well. Hes clearly, despite not managing in a game, sees the game much like a manager does. So it was a great opportunity to get to know him and hes an impressive guy.

His catching career would be a benefit to him as a manager, Alomar believes.

I think that I can handlea pitching staff, he said. I would delegate a lot to my staff. I dont think I know it all but I think delegating to a staff is good, getting the proper staff to help you. But I think I can work with a staff, recognize talent. Theres a lot of things that I feel Ive been blessed with as my brother was that no other people can see. So the only weakness that I have, to be honest with you right now, is that I havent managed at any level. Thats the main concern for everybody. But I have managed myself, I have managed others throughout my career, I have helped many people with leadership. And I feel like I could do it.

Of the current five candidates for the job, Alomar is the only one who has not managed at any level. He knows moving directly into a major league managers job would be a big jump.

Well, itd be a big jump anywhere at the major league level and Boston is a different market. Yeah, I understand that, he said. But anywhere you manage is going to be a big step. I think that some people take different routes. I chose this way. Ive learned a tremendous amount. I feel like Im prepared to manage a major league team even though I didnt manage in the minor leagues.

Alomar appeared in 48 games at Fenway Park during his career, which gives him a degree of preparation, he believes.

When you play against teams like this, like Boston, New York and you go to big cities, it brings the best out of you, he said. I had an opportunity to play a lot of postseason here with the Cleveland Indians and, man, the fans here bring it, a lot of excitement. You got to come ready here, just like it was in Cleveland when we had the 40,000-plus for 450-something sold-out games. You have to come and bring it. You cant lay back here. You have to come and play.

The Sox interviewed Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum last week, and are scheduled to meet with Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo on Friday and Tigers bench coach Gene Lamont Saturday. Both Lovullo and Lamont have worked in the Sox organization previously. Lamont was the third-base coach of the 2001 big league team, and Lovullo managed Triple-A Pawtucket in 2010.

Cherington said at this point he has no plans to bring in additional candidates, but also did not rule it out.

I feel my job in this is to identify a very small short list of people that I think could be a fit for us, he said. I may have a personal preference on who the next manager is but then give as much information as I can to ownership. They clearly have an important voice in this decision and they need to be comfortable with the decision as much as I am so in the end when we start to narrow the list down. I think itll be more collaborative at that point. To this point its been more my effort on getting to know the candidates. As we get to the next level theyll get more involved.

Sox presidentCEO Larry Lucchino has met with all the candidates so far, with principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner likely becoming involved in a potential second round. Cherington said he has not set up an additional round of interviews for the general managers meetings, which begin Monday in Milwaukee, but said its possible.

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

mlb_rob_manfred_081414.jpg

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

cy_young_corey_kluber_chris_sale_111517.jpg

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.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE