MLB Notes: Kershaw says he is no Koufax

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw was named the National League Cy Young Award...

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw was named the National League Cy Young Award winner. (REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:18 PM ET

NEW YORK - He is a Cy Young Award winner now, but Clayton Kershaw figures he has a long way to go before he could consider himself one of the Los Angeles Dodgers greats.

Kershaw, 23, said Thursday that winning the Cy Young did not make him any more comfortable with the comparisons he gets with Sandy Koufax, a Hall of Famer who won three Cy Youngs and four World Series titles in a 12-season career with the Dodgers that ended in 1966.

I have tremendous respect for (Koufax) and would never want to ever put myself in the same category as him," said Kershaw, who was first on 27 of 32 ballots in voting for the 2011 NL Cy Young.

He tied for the NL lead in wins with 21 to go along with a 2.28 earned-run average and 248 strikeouts.

Philadelphia Phillies starters Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee finished second and third respectively.

Kershaw became the youngest Cy Young winner since 20-year-old Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets in 1985.

MOLINA MAY CATCH A RAY

Catcher Jose Molina, who has spent the past two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, is close to signing with the Tampa Bay Rays, Foxsports.com reported Thursday night.

Molina, 36, hit .281 in 55 games with the Jays in 2011, but is best known for his ability to handle pitchers.

TEXAS RIVALRY SET

MLB owners approved the sale Thursday of the Houston Astros as part of a deal that will see the NL Central team move to the AL West in 2013.

Drayton McLane, who had owned the club since 1992, sold it to a group headed by Houston businessman Jim Crane for $610 million.

Crane reportedly got a $70-million discount for agreeing to change leagues.

Houston will move into a division with the cross-state Texas Rangers, as well as the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners.

It will also mark MLB's first realignment since the Milwaukee Brewers moved to the NL Central from the AL Central before the 1998 season.

Under the 2013 realignment, MLB will have 15 clubs in each league and five clubs in each of its six divisions for the first time.

CUBS HIRING SVEUM

Dale Sveum will be the new manager of the Chicago Cubs.

Sveum, previously the Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach, will be introduced Friday at Wrigley Field.

Sveum replaces Mike Quade, who was fired after a 71-91 season.

Sveum had been a coach for the Brewers since 2006 and was the club's interim manager in September 2008.

He was passed over twice for the job of Milwaukee manager: Ken Macha was appointed for the 2009 season, and Ron Roenicke replaced Macha in 2011.

Sveum also was considered this fall for the opening with the Boston Red Sox.

An infielder for 12 big-league seasons, 1986-99, Sveum hit .236 with 69 homers and 340 RBI for the Brewers, Phillies, White Sox, Athletics, Mariners, Pirates and Yankees.

GETTING WILDER

MLB is set to add two more wild-card teams to the playoffs, perhaps as early as next season.

Each league would each get an additional wild-card team, setting up a one-game playoff.

The current three-round format would follow, with the three division winners and the winning wild-card team competing in the opening round, followed by the league championship series and the World Series.

Commissioner Bug Selig said Thursday that ideally the playoff expansion would be in place for next season.

The format change would bump the number of playoff teams to 10 from eight.

"We believe after a lot of study and a lot of thought that the addition of two wild cards is really going to help us in the long run," Selig said. "One thing you learn is that baseball is a metaphor for life and nothing's perfect. But I think people are excited about it. They should be."

ANGELS EYE WILSON

C.J. Wilson, one of the most sought-after free agents, will begin a tour of possible new teams Monday, ESPN.com reported Thursday, The first stop for the California native is Los Angeles, for a meeting with the Angels.

Wilson, 31, was 16-7 with a 2.94 earned-run average with the Texas Rangers in 2011.

The Angels would like to add him to a power-packed rotation that already features Jered Weaver, Ervin Santana and Dan Haren.

The Rangers would like to keep Wilson but are getting lots of competition, including the New York Yankees, Florida Marlins and Boston Red Sox.

BRIEFLY

The Milwaukee Brewers are considering contract extensions to pitchers Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, CBSSports.com reports. Greinke will make $13.5 million in 2012, the last year of his current deal. Marcum could be headed for arbitration, and about $7 million, otherwise ... The Philadelphia Phillies signed catcher Brian Schneider to a one-year contract. The 34-year-old batted .176 with two home runs and nine RBI in 41 games for the Phillies in 2011.


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