Justin Verlander wins AL Cy Young Award in unanimous vote


Reporting from Milwaukee — Justin Verlander’s 2011 dominance was reflected in balloting for the American League Cy Young Award, which the Detroit right-hander won Tuesday in a unanimous vote of the Baseball Writers Assn. of America.

Verlander, who went 24-5 with a major league-leading 250 strikeouts and an AL-leading 2.40 earned-run average, drew all 28 first-place votes and finished with 196 points, easily outdistancing Angels ace Jered Weaver, who was listed on every ballot and finished with 97 points.

Rounding out the top five were Tampa Bay right-hander James Shields (66 points), New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia (63) and Tigers closer Jose Valverde (28).


Verlander is the ninth unanimous winner of the AL award and first since Johan Santana in 2006.

Verlander has a chance of becoming the first starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986 to win the AL most valuable player award, which will be announced Monday.

Comeback kid

Matt Kemp had a miserable 2010 season, and not just because the Dodgers center fielder hit .249 and was caught stealing 15 times.

In April of that year, General Manager Ned Colletti criticized Kemp’s defense and base-running and wondered aloud whether his new two-year, $10.95-million contract was responsible for his regression.

Later that season, Kemp was benched by then-Manager Joe Torre for three games because of an argument Kemp had with then-bench coach Bob Schaeffer.

All of which made Kemp’s monster 2011 season and the eight-year, $160-million contract extension he agreed to Monday all the sweeter for Torre, now the executive vice president of baseball operations.

“Sometimes in order to have a good year and become a good player, you sort of have to get slapped around a bit,” Torre said at the GM meetings. “He went out there every day in 2010 -- that was a lot of work for him, but he never backed off.”

Relief effort

Jerry Dipoto has cast a wide net in his search for relief help, the Angels’ new general manager saying that he’s contacted the agents for “between five and 10” right-handers.

Among the free agents the Angels are believed to be interested in are Francisco Cordero, 36, who has averaged almost 40 saves a season over the last five years, and Octavio Dotel, 37, who helped St. Louis win the World Series in October.

The Angels are also believed to be interested in Todd Coffey, 31, who went 5-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 69 games for Washington last season, and Matt Capps, 28, who went 4-7 with a 4.25 ERA in 69 games for Minnesota.

San Diego’s Heath Bell has expressed an interest in closing for the Angels, and Philadelphia closer Ryan Madson is available.

But after Jonathan Papelbon agreed to a four-year, $50-million deal with the Phillies, Dipoto, who has a promising, hard-throwing young closer in Jordan Walden, seemed hesitant to spend that much.

“You look at the relief market, and you don’t know where it’s going -- it could change,” Dipoto said. “To invest that much capital in one spot might not be the right way to go.”

Short hop

Marcel Lachemann, who served two stints as Angels pitching coach and was the team’s manager from 1994-96, will return to the organization as a special assistant to the GM. Lachemann, 70, has spent 44 years in the game, the last 12 with Colorado.