Link-O-Rama: Sheffield wants to play in 2010

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* Gary Sheffield wants to play next season and has shown that he’s still a productive hitter, but the market for a 41-year-old, oft-injured, should-be platoon designated hitter doesn’t figure to be especially strong.
* Cecil Cooper took the fall for the Astros’ disappointing season, but as Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle points out the general manager who built a 70-80 team with a $107 million payroll also deserves plenty of blame.
* Edwin Jackson’s recent struggles have some people suggesting that he’s been tipping pitches, but a career-high workload for a pitcher who came into this season with a 5.15 lifetime ERA is probably an overlooked theory.
* Adam LaRoche has hit .350 with 12 homers in 45 games since returning to Atlanta and Chipper Jones wants the Braves to re-sign the impending free agent. LaRoche has played for three teams this season, so naturally he’s looking for a multi-year deal.
* The man who once traded Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields writes about the mistake that Billy Beane made trading Andre Ethier for Milton Bradley.
* Yovani Gallardo is now officially the Brewers’ ace.

Red Sox ask Hanley Ramirez to report 15-20 pounds lighter next spring

Hanley Ramirez
The Associated Press
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Hanley Ramirez was a complete failure in left field this season in Boston and he batted just .249/.291/.426 while appearing in only 105 games. Ben Cherington, the man that signed him to a four-year, $88 million free agent contract, is no longer with the Red Sox. It’s time for some tough love …

Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo, who just inked a two-year extension to return as John Farrell’s bench coach, told Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald on Sunday that Hanley has been asked to drop 15-20 pounds over the offseason. There have been similar conversations with Boston’s other free agent failure, Pablo Sandoval.

Ramirez is expected to start at first base for the Red Sox in 2016.

Video: Clayton Kershaw notches his 300th strikeout

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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Clayton Kershaw entered Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Padres needing six strikeouts to become the first pitcher in 13 years to whiff 300 batters in a single season.

He did it within the first nine batters of the game, whiffing Yangervis Solarte, Clint Barmes, Austin Hedges, and Travis Jankowski once each and Melvin Upton Jr. on two different occasions.

Here was the milestone matchup against Upton Jr. with two outs in the top of the third …

The last pitchers to reach 300 strikeouts in a season were Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. They did so as teammates on the 2002 Diamondbacks.

Kershaw is lined up to face the Mets in Game 1 of the NLDS.