MINNEAPOLIS — Hall of Famer Paul Molitor has officially taken over as manager of the Minnesota Twins. And he said “I have no doubt this is where I’m supposed to be.”
The Twins introduced Molitor on Tuesday. He becomes just their third manager since 1986.
Molitor spent last season as a coach on the fired Ron Gardenhire’s staff. He said he takes the job determined to get a team that has lost at least 92 games in four straight seasons back to competitiveness much sooner than many expect.
The Twins interviewed numerous candidates in the five weeks since Gardenhire was fired. In the end, they chose the St. Paul native over others including Boston bench coach Torey Lovullo and minor league manager Doug Mientkiewicz.
Molitor says “I’m coming here to win.”
A-Rod paid hush money
MIAMI — The U.S. government said New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez paid his cousin almost $1 million to keep secret Rodriguez’s use of performance enhancing drugs.
In court documents filed last week in Miami, federal prosecutors say Rodriguez paid $900,000 last year to settle a threatened lawsuit by Yuri Sucart, who had worked as Rodriguez’s personal assistant. Sucart, in a letter from his lawyer, threatened to expose Rodriquez’s PED use if he wasn’t paid $5 million.
Sucart is charged with conspiring to distribute testosterone and human growth hormone. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in February.
Sucart was involved with Biogenesis of America. Its owner, Anthony Bosch, has already pleaded guilty and is cooperating with investigators.
Rodriguez’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Alfonso Soriano retiring
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Seven-time All-Star Alfonso Soriano says he is retiring from the major leagues after a season in which he was released by the New York Yankees on July.
“I’ve lost the love and passion to play the game,” said Soriano in a radio interview Tuesday in his native Dominican Republic. “Right now, my family is the most important thing.”
Soriano, 38, completed in 2014 the final year of his $136 million, eight-year contract he signed with the Chicago Cubs before the 2007 season.
He ends his career 50th in baseball history with 412 home runs.
“Although I consider myself in great shape, my mind is not focused on baseball,” Soriano said.
Soriano was released by the Yankees after playing just 67 games. He was hitting .221 with six home runs and 23 RBIs.
Kershaw finalist for awards
NEW YORK — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is among the finalists for the NL Most Valuable Player and the Cy Young Award, in position to become the first NL player to sweep both honors since Bob Gibson in 1968.
Kershaw is joined by Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen — the 2013 winner — and Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton as the NL MVP finalists, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Tuesday.
Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto and St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright are competing with the Los Angeles left-hander for the NL Cy Young.
In the AL, the MVP finalists are Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley, Detroit designated hitter Victor Martinez and Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, who finished second to the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera in each of the last two votes. The Cy Young finalists are Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale, Seattle’s Felix Hernandez and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber.