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THE DAY IN SPORTS

Boston's Pedroia is selected MVP of American League

November 19, 2008|Lance Pugmire | staff and wire reports

Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox won the American League most valuable player award Tuesday, becoming the first second baseman to earn the honor in nearly half a century.

Pedroia easily beat out Minnesota Twins slugger Justin Morneau and added to his ever-expanding trophy case. Generously listed at 5 feet 9, the Red Sox star was the top AL rookie last year while winning a World Series ring.

"I'm not the biggest guy in the world. I don't have that many tools," Pedroia said on a conference call from his home in Arizona. "If you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn't think I'm a baseball player."

Nellie Fox was the previous second baseman to become AL MVP, in 1959 with the White Sox. No position has produced fewer MVPs -- just 10 overall since the AL and NL awards were first presented in 1931.

Pedroia led the league in hits, runs and doubles in helping the Red Sox win the AL wild-card berth. He batted .326 with 17 home runs and 83 runs batted in and also stole 20 bases. Earlier this month, he won his first Gold Glove.

Pedroia drew 16 of the 28 first-place votes cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America and finished with 317 points.

Morneau got seven first-place votes and had 257 points, and Boston's Kevin Youkilis and Twins catcher Joe Mauer each got a pair of first-place votes. Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez drew the other first-place vote and came in sixth.

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The Seattle Mariners picked Don Wakamatsu as their new manager, giving the job to the Oakland Athletics bench coach and filling the only opening in the majors, according to several reports. The 45-year-old Wakamatsu has never managed in the big leagues.

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Pitcher Ryan Dempster and the Chicago Cubs agreed on a $52-million, four-year contract that includes a player option for 2012. Dempster, converted from a closer to a starter, was 17-6 with a 2.96 earned-run average for the Cubs last season.

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St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols added his name to a group working to bring a new Major League Soccer team to St. Louis. The announcement came a day after Pujols won his second National League MVP award. Pujols' reputation, plus a significant financial investment that was not disclosed, is expected to boost St. Louis Soccer United's chances of winning a franchise in 2011.

CYCLING

Armstrong has fears of attack on Tour

Cyclist Lance Armstrong fears he could be attacked by spectators if he returns to the Tour de France next year. The seven-time Tour champion, who is making a comeback after three years in retirement, said in an interview in the Guardian in London that he is concerned about his safety.

"I don't want to enter an unsafe situation but you see this stuff coming out of France," he said. "There are some aggressive, angry emotions. If you believe what you read, my personal safety could be in jeopardy."

FOOTBALL

Texas lines up successor to Brown

Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp has been designated as the head-coach-in-waiting by the university, expected to take over the Longhorns when Mack Brown retires.

Muschamp is in his first year with Texas, but Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds said he and Brown know they want to keep him at Texas. To do that, they will more than double his salary from $425,000 to $900,000 in January. He will remain defensive coordinator.

Dodds said he wants the 57-year-old Brown to coach for a long time but said he wanted to line up Muschamp, 37, now to avoid the "trauma" of a coaching search when the day comes that Brown steps down.

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Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow will have an MRI exam on his right shoulder after injuring it in the closing minutes of Monday night's win over the Buffalo Bills.

ETC.

Ballesteros released from intensive care

Golf great Seve Ballesteros was released from intensive care following brain surgery on a malignant tumor. The 51-year-old Spaniard will remain in the hospital to continue rehabilitation following three operations in 18 days. --

The California State Athletic Commission accepted the resignation of executive officer Armando Garcia, naming Dean Lohuis and William Douglas as interim replacements. The reason behind the resignation was not revealed at the meeting, and Garcia, Lohuis and Douglas failed to return telephone and e-mail messages left by The Times.

-- Lance Pugmire

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Chelsea striker Didier Drogba was suspended for three matches for hurling a coin back into the crowd during a League Cup game against Burnley. The incident happened in last Wednesday's game after Drogba had scored at Stamford Bridge and was celebrating the goal close to the visiting fans. Some of the Burnley followers threw coins at the Ivory Coast striker and Drogba picked one up and threw it back. . . . The LPGA tour will not be visiting Tulsa, Okla., in 2009 for the first time in eight years after it was unable to find a replacement for bankrupt title sponsor SemGroup.

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