Angels' Mike Napoli claimed by Red Sox, deal unlikely

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UPDATE:  Joe McDonald of ESPN.com is reporting that the Red Sox have claimed Napoli off waivers from the Angels but are unlikely to
trade for him by Monday’s deadline.

The Red Sox may have put in the claim to block the power-hitting Napoli
from reaching the Rays, Yankees and Twins, who could all use a little
pop.

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12:33 AM:  The Manny Ramirez negotiations aren’t very active at the moment.  But there might be another major waiver deal in the works.

According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, an unknown team has claimed Angels catcher Mike Napoli off waivers.  The Angels have until Monday afternoon to work out a deal with that claiming club.

Who might it be?  Well, probably a club from the American League.  Those teams get first pick and Napoli has a fairly high amount of value as a hitter.  In just 369 at-bats this year for the Angels he boasts a team-leading 21 home runs, 60 RBI and a .480 slugging percentage. 

Morosi notes that Napoli would make sense for Red Sox, Rays, Twins, White Sox and Rangers as a first baseman or designated hitter.  And he would also fit in Detroit, where the Tigers are seeking a starting catcher for 2011. 

It will take a decent prospect, that’s for sure, but a deal involving Napoli could most definitely happen either Sunday or closer to the Monday afternoon deadline.

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.