Red Sox

Weiland to make debut on Sunday

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Weiland to make debut on Sunday

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON The Red Sox have announced a starter for Sundays game against the Orioles to take the place of Jon Lester who was placed on the disabled list July 6 with a left latissimus strain.

Right-hander Kyle Weiland will make his major league debut in the first-half finale. Weiland is 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 17 starts for Triple-A Pawtucket this season, allowing two or fewer runs in 14 of his starts. In his last 10 starts, he is 6-2 with a 2.33 ERA. He has 99 strikeouts against 37 walks in 93 innings for a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.68 and a strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio of 9.6.

Its his day to start, said manager Terry Francona. Hes lined up for it. Hes really been doing well. So as much as its kind of gone wrong with some Health, this is the flip side, where its really exciting. Im kind of looking forward to it.

Weiland, 24, was taken in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Notre Dame, the Sox fifth overall pick that year. He was in big league camp this spring, appearing in four games.

He came to camp this spring, which is good, Francona said. Now that its time to pitch he won't be introducing himself to everybody. Im sure hell have butterflies and be nervous but guys know who he is, our catchers have caught him. I believe he went through the rookie development program and thats good, too. But hes throwing the ball really well. Hes missing a lot of bats, come up with a cutter along with his breaking ball and fastball. Hes having a lot of success there.

Im not surprised by his strikeout numbers. He throws hard. Hes got a live arm. He always has. But starting to command and I think hes competing and just starting to mature as a pitcher. That happens. Sometimes its at different rates but hes always had a good arm.

Alfredo Aceves, who pitched two scoreless innings in Thursdays win over the Os, was another candidate to make the start on Sunday.

We certainly could have, Francona said. But the way our bullpen is situated he gives us such a luxury of pitching short, pitching long. Again, he may start again some time, but, again, this kids Weiland lined up and Hes been pretty hot. Wed like to send him out there and see how he does.

Weiland is not on the 40-man roster. The Sox will have to make a corresponding move when they add him to the roster.

Yamaico Navarro is making his first start in the outfield, playing left, batting ninth. Navarro began playing the outfield in the minors for the first time this season, playing three games in left, one in center, and eight in right field for the PawSox.

We saw him run balls down this spring, like in BP, Francona said. A lot of guys do do it but it seemed like as an organization we thought, Wait a minute. Maybe we ought to think about doing this. We wanted him to get his feet on the ground in Triple A first. He started out hitting real well, then he got hurt. Then they moved him to both left and rightmore left than right. they say hes been really good. Hes got a good clock defensively, like when the balls hit to him at short and thirdIm sure it helps to have an arm like that, but you never see him rush. Hes got a real good idea, real good awareness of where the runner is. It seems like thats kind of translated out to the outfield also.

Hes a kind of hard guy to assess He doesnt speak a ton of English and I dont know how comfortable he is right now at an early part of his career here opening up too much. Last year when he got going he swung at everything in sight. He was nervous or too aggressive and hes kind of harnessed that a little bit because if he does, hes got great bat speed, a little bit like Josh Reddick. That ball comes off his bat pretty special.

Playing in front of the Green Monster for the first time can be somewhat intimidating for any player, especially for a young player. Francona has limited concern.

Its his first time but hes a really good athlete, Francona said. So no more than anybody else.

Dustin Pedroia launched for a three-run homer in the third inning Thursday night, on a 3-1 pitch well above the strike zone. Asked if Pedroia is one of the better bad-ball hitters, Francona replied:

Well, you're looking at a guy across the field in Vlad Guerrero, he takes that to a whole new level. Theres not a pitch you throw him he doesnt think he can hit. Unfortunately, sometimes he does. Pedey, its funny because his first at-bat, first inning, guy was having trouble throwing strikes, Pedey had 2-0, swung at a high fastball and popped it up and he was mad. But it was like thats the pitch he hits when hes looking for it. And then his next time up its like the same pitch but maybe even higher and he hits it a mile.

Asked if he thought Pedroia was being more selective at the plate this season, Francona replied:

No, I actually think he hasnt. But I just think hes working the counts real well and then he gets to two strikes and hes laying off that pitch. His approach to me seems pretty similar. He says its because Gonzies not giving him any protection.

Yes, that last line was said with tongue in cheek.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

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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