New York San Francisco Giants ace Tim Lincecum won the NL Cy Young Award on Thursday for the second straight year, emerging from one of the tightest votes in the history of the honor to become the first repeat winner since Randy Johnson.
The wiry right-hander, nicknamed “The Freak” for his giant stride, needed only 15 victories to earn the award — the fewest for a Cy Young starter over a non-shortened season.
Lincecum led the NL with 261 strikeouts and tied for the league lead with four complete games and two shutouts.
Only 10 points separated the top three vote-getters. Chris Carpenter was second, and St. Louis teammate Adam Wainwright finished third despite getting the most first-place votes.
The 2009 honors for Lincecum and Kansas City Royals ace Zack Greinke reflect a recent shift in how voters pick baseball’s best pitchers. Wins, losses and earned-run average used to determine the Cy Young Award winner — now it’s detailed statistics such as WHIP, FIP and BABIP.
Greinke equaled the previous low of 16 wins for a non-shortened season when he won the AL award on Tuesday.
Lincecum received 11 first-place votes, 12 seconds and nine thirds for 100 points in balloting released by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Carpenter had nine firsts, 14 seconds and seven thirds to take second with 94.
Wainwright, who led the NL with 19 wins and 233 innings, had 12 first-place votes, five seconds and 15 thirds for 90 points. Trevor Hoffman, who finished behind Tom Glavine in 1998, is the only other player to get the most firsts and not win the award.
Angels keeping coaches
Anaheim, Calif. — Mike Scioscia’s entire coaching staff will be back with the Los Angeles Angels next season. Bench coach Ron Roenicke, pitching coach Mike Butcher, third base coach Dino Ebel, first base coach Alfredo Griffin, hitting coach Mickey Hatcher, bullpen coach Orlando Mercado and bullpen catcher Steve Soliz will return in 2010.
D’backs acquire Heilman
Phoenix — Reliever Aaron Heilman was acquired Friday by the Arizona Diamondbacks from the Chicago Cubs for two minor-league prospects.
The 31-year-old right-hander was 4-4 with a 4.11 earned-run average in 70 appearances last season, striking out 65 and walking 34. He spent six seasons with the New York Mets before he was traded to Seattle last December, then was dealt to the Cubs a month later.
Chicago gets 24-year-old left-hander Scott Maine and 23-year-old infielder Ryne White.
Weis decision expected soon
South Bend, Ind. — Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick plans to make a decision on the future of coach Charlie Weis within days of the season’s end.
Swarbrick said Thursday that last season’s decision, when he met with Weis three days after the season ended and told him he would be back, would be “fairly representative of the timing” of what he does this year.
The regular-season finale against Stanford is Nov. 28, and Notre Dame (6-4) is hoping for a good bowl bid.
Iverson clears waivers
New York — Allen Iverson has cleared waivers and is free to sign with any NBA team. The former MVP was waived Tuesday after playing only three games with the Memphis Grizzlies and no team claimed him in the following 48 hours, making him a free agent.
The New York Knicks are discussing whether they want to bring in the 34-year-old guard. Iverson was unhappy coming off the bench last season in Detroit and this season with the Grizzlies, so there isn’t expected to be much interest in him.
Labor meeting planned
New York — NBA players’ association director Billy Hunter plans another negotiating session soon with commissioner David Stern, and here’s something that might come up.
The union says total player compensation will fall this season, which would be only the second drop in the salary cap era that began in the 1984-85 season.
Allenby leads in Dubai
Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Robert Allenby of Australia shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday for a one-shot lead after the first round of the Dubai World Championship, while Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy vied for the European Tour money title. Allenby had eight birdies on the Earth Course, which is hosting the $7.5 million final event of the European Tour season. He was one shot ahead of Westwood, Chris Wood and Camilo Villegas, who all shot 66.
Ochoa takes LPGA lead
Richmond, Texas — Lorena Ochoa shot a 66 on Thursday and has a 1-shot lead over Reilley Rankin after the first round of the LPGA’s season-ending Tour Championship. Michelle Wie, fresh off her first LPGA victory last week, shot a 72, then withdrew from the tournament. She limped through her round on a sprained left ankle that she first injured at the Solheim Cup in August.
Donovan tapped MLS MVP
Seattle — The best soccer player in America is now the best in Major League Soccer. Los Angeles forward Landon Donovan has been named the 2009 MLS most valuable player after helping lead the Galaxy to the MLS Cup finals for the first time since 2005. Despite all the accolades he’s garnered for being the best player in the U.S., this is the first time Donovan has won the top award in MLS.
Spielman’s wife dies
Columbus, Ohio — Stefanie Spielman, the wife of NFL and Ohio State standout Chris Spielman who led a public fight against breast cancer, died Thursday after a lengthy battle with the disease. She was 42.
Saints’ Bush ailing
Metaire, La. — Reggie Bush has missed two practices this week as the Saints try to rest their running back’s left knee. It’s the same knee Bush had surgery on last December to repair cartilage. Bush is coming off one of his best games of the season in St. Louis last Sunday, when he gained 98 yards and scored two touchdowns on six rushes and a pair of receptions.