George Kottaras Getty

Royals claim catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Athletics


The Royals announced this afternoon that they have claimed catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Athletics. Kottaras was designated for assignment last week after Oakland acquired John Jaso from the Mariners in the three-team Michael Morse deal.

Some speculated that the catching-starved Yankees should have put in a claim, but because the Royals finished at 72-90 last year, they had a higher waiver priority. Kottaras signed a one-year, $1 million contract with Oakland earlier this month to avoid arbitration, so the Royals will now be responsible for his 2013 salary.

Kottaras, 29, batted .211/.351/.415 with nine home runs, 31 RBI and a .766 OPS over 85 games last season between the Brewers and Athletics. He figures to serve as Salvador Perez’s primary backup this year.

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.