Hanley Ramirez of the Florida Marlins won a tight race for Major League Baseball's National League rookie of the year, and Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander took home the American League award Monday.
Ramirez beat Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman by four points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America -- the closest NL vote since the format was adopted 26 years ago. The shortstop got 14 of 30 first-place votes and finished with 105 points. Zimmerman received 10 first-place votes and 101 points.
Three of the top four NL finishers were Marlins. Second baseman Dan Uggla came in third, getting the other six first-place votes, and pitcher Josh Johnson was fourth.
Verlander easily won the AL honor after his closest competitors in a race dominated by pitchers were sidelined late in the season because of injuries. The hard-throwing right-hander, who helped the surprising Tigers reach the World Series, was listed first on 26 of 28 ballots for a total of 133 points.
Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon came in second with 63 points, and Minnesota left-hander Francisco Liriano finished third.
Verlander, who went 17-9 with a 3.63 earned-run average, became the first starting pitcher to win AL rookie of the year since Dave Righetti of the New York Yankees in 1981. The last Tiger to receive the honor was second baseman Lou Whitaker in 1978.
Ramirez gave the Marlins their second rookie of the year in four years, joining pitcher Dontrelle Willis. Ramirez, acquired from Boston last November in a deal for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, batted .292 with 17 homers, 59 RBIs, 119 runs and 51 stolen bases. Zimmerman batted .287 with 20 homers, 110 RBIs and 47 doubles.
Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier finished fifth, reliever Takashi Saito tied for seventh and catcher Russell Martin finished ninth.
Second baseman Jose Valentin, 37, decided to stay with the New York Mets, reaching a preliminary agreement on a one-year contract worth about $3 million. He batted .271 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs last season, displacing Kaz Matsui.
Matsui, trying to resurrect his career in Colorado, agreed to a $1.5-million, one-year contract.
Matsui, 31, batted .267 with three home runs and 26 RBIs in 70 games for the Rockies and Mets last season.
The Oakland Athletics narrowed their list of managerial candidates to three, eliminating Trey Hillman from consideration because of his contractual obligations to his club in Japan.
A's bench coach Bob Geren, Rockies bench coach Jamie Quirk and ESPN baseball analyst and former Texas Rangers pitching coach Orel Hershiser are the three remaining candidates to replace the fired Ken Macha. A decision is expected this week.
Fired by the Marlins after one season as their manager, Joe Girardi will rejoin the New York Yankees' broadcast team on the YES Network rather than seek another managing job.
Girardi was a Yankees broadcaster in 2004.
mastery of Nadal
Eighth-ranked James Blake upset second-ranked Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 7-6 (0), in his first appearance at the season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai, improving to 3-0 against Nadal in ATP events.
He is also the only player in the eight-man field to have a winning record against Nadal.
Third-ranked Nikolay Davydenko beat No. 6 Tommy Robredo, 7-6 (8), 3-6, 6-1.
investigated in assault
England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, 21, will be questioned by police investigating allegations that a photographer was assaulted outside a nightclub Oct. 15 in downtown Manchester.
Japan's Hozumi Hasegawa (21-2-0) scored a unanimous decision over Mexico's Genaro Garcia (35-5-0) in Tokyo to retain his World Boxing Council bantamweight title.
Zach Lund, who returned from a one-year suspension for doping, made the U.S. skeleton team and will compete in the World Cup season.
Lund was the world's top-ranked slider last season before a positive doping test -- triggered by an anti-baldness medication -- ended his chance to compete at the Turin Olympics.
Leanderson, 75, rowed
in the 1952 Olympics
Matthew Fillip "Fil" Leanderson, who rowed on the 1952 Olympic bronze medal-winning United States team, died at 75 in Kirkland, Wash.