Red Sox

Valentine: I've been dedicated to my job 'every day, all day'

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Valentine: I've been dedicated to my job 'every day, all day'

SEATTLE -- A defiant Bobby Valentine, hours after a contentious interivew on WEEI Wednesday, took issue with any suggestion that he "checked out'' on the season and insisted he had a good reason for arriving at the Oakland Coliseum less than three hours before gametime last Friday.
"If anyone in this room or any other room I've ever been in in my life wants to question my integrity,'' said Valentine, "I will ask someone to referee that situation.''
Valentine told WEEI host Glenn Ordway that he would like to "punch him in the mouth'' for asking whether the manager had "checked out,'' but maintained that he was doing so jokingly.
"(It's) entertainment,'' said Valentine. "Didn't I go 'ha-ha?' I don't think physical violence is necessary for 60-year-old people. I think it made the point, that there are lines that should be drawn in the sand when someone's trying to be professional and sounding unprofessional. Sometimes, it's better to be abrupt and then let everyone know (you're) kidding.''
Ordway had cited multiple reports that Valentine had arrived at the Coliseum after 4 p.m. Valentine was late because he had gone to pick up his son at San Francisco International Airport and the flight was delayed. Valentine then made a stop back at the team's hotel in San Francisco before traveling across the Bay Bridge to the Coliseum in Oakland.
Traffic and an accident on the highway leading to the Coliseum further delayed his arrival.
"When you talk about someone's family,'' said Valentine, "and you talk about someone's integrity, you draw the line of what should be done in the workplace. That's where I draw the line. And if on that radio show, I falsely accused anyone of being either unprofessional or disregarding the truth or the facts of the matter, my total apologies are out there. I did not mean to offend anyone.''
Valentine emphasized that he had already forwarded his lineup for Friday's game to the coaching staff -- as is his custom -- and had checked in by phone with the training staff to determine player availabilty.
"(I) got the stadium a little later than normal,'' said Valentine. "To see my son for a couple hours more, I think is more than worth the tradeoff of sitting around in my underwear in the clubhouse for two hours.''
He then recounted his schedule since being hired last December, noting that he'd had "two off-days that I've taken for myself,'' and adding he was dedicated to his job "every day, all day.''
Valentine also took issue with reports that highlighted his rambling at times non-sensical answer when asked about hitting Scott Podsednik third the day after Valentine's arrival was delayed.
"If I say I must have made a mistake by batting Podsednik third,'' said Valentine, "why wouldn't you say: 'What do you mean by that?' C'mon. I don't make mistakes putting out the lineup. The guy's hitting .345 and I'm going hit him at the top of the lineup. And there's two other guys who are going to hit at the top of the lineup; he's one of them. Just ask me the question.''
During the original radio interview, Valentine noted that he was often "miserable'' during his first season managing the Red Sox. Later, meeting with reporters, he softened his language only somewhat.
"It's been very trying,'' he said of the experience. "There's been a lot of obstacles in my way. I think I've jumped them and sometimes I've been knocked down by them. Just doing as good as I can do... all day long.''

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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