Thursday, April 19, 2018
Sports

Major turnarounds lead to awards for Francona, Hurdle

NEW YORK — The Indians' Terry Francona and the Pirates' Clint Hurdle won their league's respective manager of the year award Tuesday after guiding their low-revenue teams to charming turnarounds.

Francona edged John Farrell of the World Series champion Red Sox for the American League honor 112 points to 96 in a close vote by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The Rays' Joe Maddon finished fifth, getting two second- and three third-place votes.

It was the first manager of the year honor for Francona, even though — in an interesting twist — he steered Boston to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. In his first season with the Indians, he directed them to a 24-win improvement and their first playoff berth in six years.

"This was one of the funnest years I've ever had," Francona said in an interview on MLB Network.

Hurdle was first on 25 of 30 ballots after taking Pittsburgh to the National League playoffs in its first winning season since 1992. The Dodgers' Don Mattingly came in second and the Braves' Fredi Gonzalez third.

"It's a bit overwhelming, to tell you the truth," Hurdle said. "It's humbling. It's gratifying from an organizational standpoint."

PHILS ADD BYRD: Outfielder Marlon Byrd reached a two-year, $16 million deal with the Phillies, the team announced. Byrd, 36, revitalized his career with the Mets and Pirates after a winter in Mexico, batting a combined .291 with a career-high 24 homers and 88 RBIs.

Also at the GM meetings:

• MLB officials felt good about recent testing of the expanded replay system and are confident of approval for implementation next season, meeting today with ownership seeking funding. Players and umpires still have to approve. … Discussions continued over likely rule changes to eliminate home-plate collisions, but no action will be taken until the December winter meetings.

• The Marlins will join the Yankees for a spring training trip to Panama as a salute to retired Mariano Rivera.

TED'S FATE: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said that the city will demolish Turner Field, rather than leave an empty stadium standing, after the Braves leave for a new suburban park in 2017.

INFIELDER DONE: Blue Jays infielder Mark DeRosa is retiring after a 16-year career. DeRosa, 38, finished with a .268 average, 100 home runs and 494 RBIs in 1,241 career games.

RANGERS: Former catcher Bengie Molina returned to the team as first-base coach and catching instructor, completing manager Ron Washington's staff.

REDS: Former shortstop Jay Bell joined the team as bench coach after spending the past season as the Pirates hitting coach. … Catcher Brayan Pena agreed to a $2,275,000, two-year deal.

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.

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