Red Sox

Dombrowski: Dustin Pedroia should return to form after knee surgery

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Dombrowski: Dustin Pedroia should return to form after knee surgery

BOSTON -- Dustin Pedroia's likely going to miss the first two months of the 2018 season. The good news: once he's able to come back, the Red Sox expect he'll look like himself on the field.

The second baseman Dustin Pedroia had what the team called a "cartilage restoration procedure" on his left knee Wednesday morning, with an estimated seven months until he's back in big league games.

"The feeling is that Pedey should return to his pre-injury playing form," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wrote in an email Wednesday.

Pedroia and lefty starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez both underwent knee operations this offseason. Rodriguez, who had his right knee repaired after repeated subluxations, is expected back sooner. But the fact both Pedroia and E-Rod won't be ready for the start of the season does not have the Red Sox shifting gears in their planning, Dombrowski said.

"The surgeries to Eduardo and Pedey do not really affect our offseason plans," Dombrowski wrote. "Eduardo is scheduled to miss only a short time of the season and feel we presently have the starting pitching depth to handle that. In Pedey’s case, the timetable is approximately a month longer, but, we do have multiple internal candidates to play second base until Pedey returns."

Marco Hernandez, Josh Rutledge and Brock Holt are among infielders that could help fill in. Hernandez and Rutledge are recovering from season-ending surgeries themselves. Eduardo Nunez is a free agent whom perhaps the Sox will be more keen to re-sign now.

Pedroia was managing considerable pain at the end of the 2017 season.  

"We had to try and find a way to do what we did so I could be out there," he said the day the Red Sox were eliminated from the playoffs, Oct. 9. "But if you were to get it fixed, the recovery is a long time. So I have a lot of things to weigh in with the doctors and figure it out.”

The magnitude of the decision seems to be the reason Pedroia did not go for surgery, say, within a couple days of the season's conclusion.

"In regards to the timing, this is only a couple of weeks after our season ended," Dombrowski said. "He visited with multiple doctors to solicit their opinions before everyone met to make the best decision possible.  Then, once surgery was decided upon, this was the first date available."

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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