Francona, Hurdle win Manager of the Year awards

For helping his franchise end a national record of futility, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Clint Hurdle was selected the National League Manager of the Year on Tuesday.

The American League honor went to Terry Francona, who led the Indians to the postseason during his first year in Cleveland.

The Pirates snapped their run of 21 consecutive losing seasons, the longest streak in the major North American sports leagues, and advanced to the playoffs. As a result, Hurdle received 25 of 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, easily outdistancing runner-up Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Francona edged Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell for the AL honor, with the Cleveland skipper receiving 16 of 30 first-place votes. A’s manager Bob Melvin finished third, getting two first-place votes.

Action could come on plate collisions: Major League Baseball Executive Vice President Joe Torre said momentum is gaining toward taking action that would help prevent collisions at home plate. It remains too early to determine exactly what the proposal would be and it isn’t clear whether a rules change could be made for the 2014 season.

MLB confident players will go for expanded replay: Major League Baseball is confident players and umpires will agree to expanded replay for the 2014 season. Torre said he expects deals to be in place by January. Virtually all umpires’ calls other than balls and strikes, and foul tips will be reviewable. Owners are expected to give their go-ahead Thursday for funding the expanded replay.

Phils ink Byrd: The Philadelphia Phillies signed free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd to a two-year, $16 million contract, multiple media outlets reported.

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