Red Sox

Wakeup Call: New PED names emerge, but is Gonzalez cleared?

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Wakeup Call: New PED names emerge, but is Gonzalez cleared?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, February 20:

AUTO RACING
19-year-old Darrell Wallace Jr. has a goal: To become the Tiger Woods of NASCAR. (AP)

Speedweeks is normally Tony Stewart's week. But Danica Patrick -- driving one of Wallace's cars, ironically -- is stealing his thunder this year. (AP)
-- Winning the Battle at the Beach Monday night wasn't Kyle Larson's "proudest moment in racing", not when he had to "monster-truck" C.E. Falk III coming out of the final turn to do it. (AP)

BASEBALL
Five new names -- including N.L. stolen-base king Everth Cabrera of the Padres -- emerge in the Biogenesis Clinic PED scandal . . . (NBC's Hardball Talk)

. . . but this latest ESPN investigation may have cleared Gio Gonzalez. (CSN Washington)

Bartolo Colon speaks for the first time since being slapped with a 50-game suspension for PED use last August, though -- except for "I'm sorry" -- he doesn't say much of anything. (CSN Bay Area)

If it's the second week of spring training, it must be time for injury updates. First we have the Yankees' Phil Hughes, out for a few days because of upper-back stiffness. (AP)

Then comes the definitive word on the Cubs' Matt Garza: Out for a week with what's being described as a mild side strain. (AP)

Darwin Barney isn't happy, but also is trying to be quiet, about Brandon Phillips dissing his Gold Glove. (CSN Chicago)

That didn't take long: The Braves are retiring Chipper Jones' No. 10. (AP)

Brady Anderson's climbing that corporate ladder. (CSN Baltimore)

Lance Berkman wasn't a member of the Rangers for more than, like, 10 minutes before he was reminding them that he beat them in the 2011 World Series. I'm sure your new teammates really appreciate that, Big Puma. (Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
No. 1 Indiana wins the showdown with No. 4 Michigan State, 72-68. (AP)

And the Hoosiers have the injured Victor Oladipo to thank. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

The Spartans, however, didn't get much a contribution from their captain, Keith Appling. (College Basketball Talk)

Miami sure didn't look like the second-best team in the country, but they say beauty's in the eye of the beholder. And the Hurricanes' last-second 54-50 win over Virginia was just gorgeous to them, thanks. (AP)

Missouri gets revenge for its 31-point loss in Gainesville by upsetting No. 5 Florida, 63-60, at home in the rematch. (AP)

If I'm the Gators, I'm a little worried about that bad track record in close games. (College Basketball Talk)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
The NCAA finally sends its notice of allegations to Miami, with the deadly "lack of institutional control" being at the top of the list. (AP)

Former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon is hospitalized after suffering a stroke. (CSN Houston)

GOLF
The Match Play Championships being threatened by snow? In Arizona? Hah? (AP)

Steve Stricker thinks all the hand-wringing about the banning of the belly putter is much ado about nothing, since he's sure the PGA will ignore the USGA if the ban is adopted. (AP)

HOCKEY
When is a record-tying win a loss? When you lose Marian Hossa in the process . . . which is what may have happened to the Blackhawks in their 4-3 shootout victory over the Canucks. (CSN Chicago)

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville says Hossa, who has a history of concussion issues, "seemed OK" after the game, but "we'll know more" on Wednesday. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

Jannik Hansen, who delivered it, called the hit that took out Hossa a "hockey play". So now elbows to the back of the head are "hockey plays", eh? (CSN Chicago)

The Canadiens really shouldn't get all that excited about their fifth straight win -- a 3-1 triumph over the Rangers -- since New York coach John Tortorella called it "one of the worst hockey games I've been involved in . . . It was two bad teams playing, and we were worse than they were." (AP)

The Sharks finally end their seven-game winless streak . . . (AP)

. . . but they won't get to enjoy it for very long, since a game with the undefeated Blackhawks is up next. (CSN Bay Area)

Andre Benoit and Dave Dziurzynski both score their first NHL goals in the Senators' 3-1 triumph over the Islanders. (AP)

A fine mess: The NHL takes 10,000 from Flames defenseman Mark Giordano for slew-footing Antoine Roussel of the Stars . . . (AP)

- . . . and 8,108.11 (?) from Wild right wing Devin Setoguchi for high-sticking Kyle Quincey of the Red Wings. (AP)

Who would've thought there are Little League dads in the NHL? (Pro Hockey Talk)

OLYMPICS
Prosecutors say shouting was heard in Oscar Pistorius' home for an hour before he fired the fatal shots at Reeva Steenkamp -- with one witness hearing the sounds from 1,000 feet away -- further damaging Pistorius' claim that he mistook her for an intruder. (nbcnews.com)

PRO BASKETBALL
There's lots of talk, but no action, as the trade deadline nears. (NBC's Pro Basketball talk)

In the Laker Schadenfreude Department, we have relations between Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant reaching a new low . . . (Pro Basketball Talk)

. . . and Phil Jackson, though he's not willing to come back and coach them, ragging on them for running the wrong offense. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Quiet down, you cynics. Andrew Bynum's going to play this season, definitely, for sure. Just not now. Or next week. Or . . . (CSN Philly)

Can anyone stop the Spurs? (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Old friend David Thomas is out of a job. (AP)

So's old enemy Bart Scott. (AP)

The NFLPA is singing the "We don't trust Goodell" blues again. (AP)

TENNIS
Victoria Azarenka's not going to get the chance to built on the momentum of her victory over Serena Williams in the finals of the Qatar Open; she withdraws from the Dubai Championships because of a bone bruise in her right foot. (AP)

Some days, John Isner looks like an up-and-coming star. And other days, like yesterday . . . (AP)

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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