- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2008

From combined dispatches

Boston little man Dustin Pedroia won the American League MVP award Tuesday, becoming the first second baseman to earn the honor in nearly 50 years.

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

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

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

Pedroia drew 16 of 28 first-place votes cast by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, finishing with 317 points. It was a scattered ballot, with five players receiving first-place votes. Pedroia was even left off one ballot; only Morneau and Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis were listed on every one.

MARINERS: Seattle picked Don Wakamatsu as its new manager, giving the job to the Oakland Athletics bench coach and filling the only opening in the majors.

Wakamatsu was chosen over several other candidates, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made.

NATIONALS: Tim Foli will return to manage Washington’s Class AAA affiliate in 2009. Foli, who managed at New Orleans in 2005 and ‘06 and Columbus this season, will be at the helm with the Nationals’ new affiliate at Syracuse.

Foli will be joined by pitching coach Steve McCatty, who enters his fourth straight season in that role, and new hitting coach Darnell Coles, who previously managed low-Class A Hagerstown. Mike Quinn returns for his eighth season as head athletic trainer.

CUBS: Pitcher Ryan Dempster and Chicago agreed on a four-year, $52 million contract that includes a player option for 2012.

He gets a $4 million signing bonus, $8 million next year, $12.5 million in 2010 and $13.5 million in 2011. Dempster has a 2012 option for $14 million.

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