Lovullo named NL Man­ager of Year

Woonsocket Call - - Sports - By BEN WALKER As­so­ci­ated Press

Paul Moli­tor and Torey Lovullo both presided over turn­around sea­sons, guided their teams into the play­offs and won Man­ager of the Year awards by wide mar­gins.

The paths they took, those were to­tally dif­fer­ent.

Moli­tor needed a club­house talk to calm down the Min­nesota Twins, his play­ers an­gered by moves the front of­fice at the July 31 trade dead­line.

"I still be­lieved," Moli­tor said Tues­day, re­call­ing how he helped his team over­come "that speed bump." No such dis­trac­tions in the desert. In his first full sea­son as a skip­per, Lovullo built a cul­ture of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs. He of­ten re­ferred to the "love" team­mates had for each other — and Lovullo cer­tainly loved the mid­sea­son deal that brought big-hit­ting J.D. Martinez to the D-backs.

"We are go­ing to be one year bet­ter," he said, adding his club would be even "more united" in 2018.

Moli­tor won the Amer­i­can League Man­ager of the Year award af­ter the Twins be­came the first team to make the play­offs fol­low­ing a 100-loss sea­son.

Moli­tor drew 18 of the 30 first-place votes in bal­lot­ing by mem­bers of the Baseball Writ­ers' As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica.

"A lit­tle bit of a wrin­kle," Moli­tor said.

Moli­tor's mes­sage to the Twins at that point was "not mag­i­cal," he said. In­stead, it was fairly sim­ple and straight­for­ward: Be­lieve in your­selves.

"I still had a lot of op­ti­mism," he said.

The 52-year-old Lovullo guided the Di­a­mond­backs to a 93-69 record and their first play­off spot since 2011, a year af­ter they went 69-93.

Lovullo was Bos­ton's bench coach when he ran the Red Sox for 48 games in 2015 while man­ager John Far­rell un­der­went can­cer treat­ment.

Pow­ered by Paul Gold­schmidt, Jake Lamb and Martinez, and led by pitch­ers Zack Greinke and Rob­bie Ray, the Di­a­mond­backs made the play­offs this year. They beat Colorado in the NL wild-card game be­fore get­ting swept by the Dodgers in the Di­vi­sion Se­ries.

The Di­a­mond­backs were swept in a three-game se­ries at Min­nesota in midAu­gust, outscored 27-8 at Tar­get Field. Less than a week later, Ari­zona be­gan a fran­chise-record 13-game win­ning streak.

Go­ing into a new sea­son, Lovullo's team has a new tar­get.

"It didn't end the way we wanted. The Dodgers walked through us," he said.

File photo

For­mer PawSox man­ager Torey Lovullo was named the NL Man­ager of the Year af­ter lead­ing Ari­zona to the play­offs.

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