- Associated Press - Thursday, November 17, 2011

NEW YORK — Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers won the NL Cy Young Award in a runaway Thursday.

Kershaw received 27 of 32 first-place votes, five seconds and two thirds for 207 points in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

“I always dreamed about playing in the big leagues. I never dreamed about doing anything special in the big leagues. I don’t think any kid ever does,” Kershaw said. “The people I’m now associated with, just by having this award, is something that I never thought would ever happen.”

Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay, last year’s winner, was second with four first-place votes, 21 seconds and seven thirds for 133 points. Phillies teammate Cliff Lee was third with 90 points, followed by Arizona’s Ian Kennedy with 76 points.

“Whenever you have a Cy Young next to your name, there’s going to be expectations that go along with it,” Kershaw said. “Whenever I look at a pitcher and I see that he’s won a Cy Young Award, I think, you know, this guy, he better be good.”

With a big curveball that might be the best in baseball, Kershaw won the NL’s pitching triple crown. Pitching on a team that went 82-79, he led the league with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts and with a 21-5 record tied Kennedy for most wins.

The 23-year-old left-hander, whose previous high for victories was 13 in 2010, dominated the league during the final two months of the season, going 8-0 with a 0.96 ERA in his final nine starts.

It was the 10th Cy Young won by the Dodgers, following Don Newcombe (1956), Don Drysdale (1962), Sandy Koufax (1963, 1965 and 1966), Mike Marshall (1974), Fernando Valenzuela (1981), Orel Hershiser (1988) and Eric Gagne (2003).

Cubs choose Sveum to succeed Quade

The Chicago Cubs announced Dale Sveum as their manager on Thursday, hoping the Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach can help turn around the long-suffering franchise.

The Cubs said Sveum would be introduced at a news conference Friday at Wrigley Field.

Sveum replaces Mike Quade, who was fired by Theo Epstein, the team’s new president of baseball operations. The Cubs finished 71-91, extending their infamous championship drought to 103 seasons.

Sveum has little experience as a manager, other than an interim stint for the Brewers late in 2008 after Ned Yost’s firing when he led them to the playoffs. He also served as Boston’s third base coach when Epstein was the general manager.

Sveum had competition for the Cubs job. Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr. all interviewed face-to-face for the spot. Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale was interviewed over the phone and former Boston manager Terry Francona pulled himself out of contention.

Sveum also interviewed for the Red Sox manager’s vacancy and met a second time this week with officials from both the Cubs and Boston.

Sveum was a switch-hitting shortstop for the Brewers and had a 25-homer season before his career was slowed after an outfield collision.

Sale of Astros approved; team will move to AL

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros soon will be playing the American League, and new owner Jim Crane is promising many other changes, too.

Owners unanimously approved the long-delayed sale of the Astros from Drayton McLane to Crane on Thursday, a transaction that requires the team to move from the NL Central to the AL West in 2013.

As part of the Astros’ agreement to switch leagues, the sale price was cut from $680 million to $615 million, a person at the owners meetings in Milwaukee told the Associated Press. Crane said the reported money totals were “fairly accurate.”

Attendance has dwindled, and the team has finished with losing records in the past five seasons. Last year’s 56-106 mark was the worst in franchise history.

The Astros will be the first team to switch leagues since Milwaukee moved to the National League after the 1997 season.

Around the majors

PHILLIES: Philadelphia re-signed backup catcher Brian Schneider to a one-year contract. Schneider, 34, batted .176 with two homers and nine RBI in 41 games. The Phillies were 28-8 in games he started.

TWINS: Veteran infielder Jamey Carroll signed a two-year contract with Minnesota worth at least $6.5 million, a deal announced Wednesday. Carroll will turn 38 before spring training begins, but that didn’t scare away the Twins, who have had four opening day shortstops in the last four years.