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AROUND THE MAJORS

Indians' Lee wins the AL Cy Young

November 14, 2008|Associated Press

Cliff Lee won the American League Cy Young Award in a runaway Thursday, capping a dominant comeback season that made him the second consecutive Cleveland Indians left-hander to earn the honor.

Demoted to the minors last year, Lee went a major league-best 22-3 this season with a 2.54 earned-run average. He received 24 of 28 first-place votes and 132 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America.

"It feels a lot better than it felt in '07," Lee said on a conference call from his Arkansas home. "I want to win this Cy Young again. I want to make a habit of it."

Toronto ace Roy Halladay was a distant runner-up with four first-place votes and 71 points. Record-setting closer Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels finished third with 32 points.

Lee became the third Cleveland pitcher to win a Cy Young, following Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry in 1972 and CC Sabathia last year.

"We are pretty close friends, and there's a lot of things I picked up from him and I'd like to think there's a few things he picked up from me," Lee said. "I've tried to help him out in situations and he's tried to do the same for me. Apparently it's worked. We've turned into pretty good pitchers."

Lee received a $250,000 bonus for winning, and the price of Cleveland's 2010 club option increased from $8 million to $9 million. Halladay got $200,000 for finishing second.

Rodriguez, who set a major league mark with 62 saves this season, was listed second on seven ballots and third on 11.

Yankees get Swisher from White Sox

Nick Swisher became the first part of the New York Yankees' off-season makeover when he was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in a five-player trade.

Choosing to address first base before concentrating on pitching when the free-agent market opens today, the Yankees obtained Swisher and right-hander Kaneoka Texeira for pitching prospect Jeff Marquez, infielder Wilson Betemit and minor league pitcher Jhonny Nunez.

A switch-hitter who turns 28 on Nov. 25, Swisher was acquired by the White Sox from Oakland last January and hit .219 with 24 homers and 69 RBIs. He struck out 135 times and his .332 on-base percentage was the lowest of his career.

"He had his worst major league season," Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said. "We did our due diligence and engaged our scouts and do believe and certainly are hoping that '07 and '06 are more representative of Nick Swisher than '08. It's certainly a risk that we're willing to take on."

Also Thursday, left-hander Damaso Marte agreed to a $12-million, three-year contract with the Yankees that includes a club option for 2012.

Cubs acquire Gregg from Marlins

The Chicago Cubs acquired right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg from the Florida Marlins, a move than means closer Kerry Wood won't return.

Wood, the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year who saved 34 games this season, had been the longest-tenured player on the Cubs. General Manager Jim Hendry said Wood was deserving of a three- or four-year deal and the Cubs are not prepared to offer him one. He said the Cubs need to finish their rotation -- they hope to bring back free-agent starter Ryan Dempster -- and add offense.

Johnson files for free agency

Randy Johnson filed for free agency after failing to reach a contract agreement to return to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"Randy considered every reasonable compromise, including offering to take a 50% pay cut, all to remain a Diamondback. However, the economic situation did not lend itself to an agreement," agents Barry Meister and Alan Nero said in a statement.

Johnson and Toronto pitcher A.J. Burnett were the only players to file for free agency Thursday, the final day of the 15-day window.

Gardenhire signs contract extension

The Minnesota Twins signed Manager Ron Gardenhire to a two-year contract extension through the 2011 season.

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