Small wonder: Pedroia captures AL MVP award

The Baltimore Sun

Boston Red Sox little man Dustin Pedroia won the American League Most Valuable Player award yesterday, becoming the first second baseman to earn the honor in nearly a half-century.

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

Nellie Fox was the previous second baseman to become AL MVP, in 1959 with the Chicago White Sox.

Pedroia drew 16 of the 28 first-place votes cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America and finished with 317 points.

Pedroia, 25, led the league in hits, runs and doubles in helping the Red Sox win the AL wild-card berth. He batted .326 with 17 home runs and 83 RBIs.

(For AL MVP voting results, see "For The Record" on PG 2.)

Mariners:: After an extensive search, which included seven interviews in four days, the team was set to name Don Wakamatsu as its new manager, reported. Wakamatsu was the bench coach for the Athletics last season.

Cubs: : Ryan Dempster agreed to a four-year, $52 million contract that includes a player option for 2012. The right-hander was 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA for Chicago in 2008.

Ripken: : Cal Ripken Jr.'s baseball clinic for Nicaraguan youth was canceled by its sponsors because protests surrounding local election results were hindering travel. Ripken and former Orioles teammate Dennis Martinez, a Nicaragua native, provided instruction in Managua and Granada since last week. They were scheduled to give their final clinic in Leon.

Orioles: : The team added right-handed pitchers Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez and Chorye Spoone (Northeast), left-handed pitcher Wilfrido Perez and outfielder Nolan Reimold to its 40-man major league roster. Also, the Orioles signed catcher Jose Reyes to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training as a nonroster invitee.

Et cetera:: Outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. became the newest American Public Diplomacy Envoy. He is set to make his first baseball-related trip for the State Department to Panama in January. ... Pima County's supervisors voted 5-0 to allow the White Sox to end their spring training contract with the Arizona county so they can move immediately to Glendale.

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