Ben Francisco

The Indians sign Ben Francisco to a minor league deal


Ben Francisco was drafted by the Indians in 2002, played in their system and on the big club through 2009 and then was cast out into the cold, cold non-Ohio world. After tours through Philly, Toronto, Houston and Tampa Bay, with those last three teams all employing him during the 2012 season.  He has returned home, however, as the Indians have signed the outfielder to a minor league deal. Well, to his professional home. Dude is form California.

He’s 31 now, and has a career line of .257/.326/.455 with 49 homers in 1,721 career plate appearances. Given how well the organization knows him and given how thin the Indians’ outfield is, he stands a pretty good chance of finding a big league job this year.

Terry Francona, Dave Roberts win Sporting News’ Manager of the Year Awards

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 19:  Terry Francona #17 of the Cleveland Indians reacts during batting practice before a game with the Boston Red Sox on August 19, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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The BBWAA hands out its own Manager of the Year Awards in November, and they tend to be the better-recognized awards, but The Sporting News has been handing out its Manager of the Year awards since 1936, so we figure they’re worth mentioning too. This year The Sporting News’ panel of 29 major league managers has named Dave Roberts of the Dodgers and Terry Francona its Managers of the Year.

Roberts took over a somewhat fractured Dodgers clubhouse and overcame an historic number of player injuries — requiring the use of 55 different players on the 25-man roster — to lead L.A. to yet another National League West title and an appearance in the NLCS. Francona, meanwhile, took a team that was thought to be more of a Wild Card contender to 94 wins and the AL Central title, besting theTigers by eight games and the defending World Series champ Kansas City Royals by thirteen.


Clayton Kershaw does not need back surgery

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers stands on the pitcher's mound in the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs during game two of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman says thatClayton Kershaw is unlikely to need back surgery for the herniated disk that sidelined him for more than two months during the season.

Friedman says that Kershaw feels good and that he doesn’t anticipate surgery. It was unclear if that would be the case because, even as Kershaw came back in September and pitched deep into the playoffs, often on short rest, everyone was fairly tight-lipped about how Kershaw was feeling.

For what it’s worth, Kershaw looked sound mechanically, even if was up and down at times in October.