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Fenway first — Red Sox’s ballpark becomes voting venue amid pandemic

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BOSTON — Bostonians who lined up at the nation’s oldest ballpark on Saturday were far more focused on the ballot box than the batter’s box.

Hundreds of people cast their votes at Fenway Park, which city officials are using as an alternative to indoor venues during the pandemic. Voter Rob Cohen said he’s a 3-minute walk from his nearest polling location but he chose to take a 20-minute bus ride and then stand in line 45 minutes to cast his vote at the storied ballpark.

“It was two things I like a lot — democracy and baseball,” the diehard Red Sox fan said after his first and only visit to the park this year.

Fenway Park was one of 10 locations across Boston where residents could cast their votes on Saturday, when early voting began across the state. Early voting in the state will run through Oct. 30, but Fenway Park is being used only for this weekend as an early voting location. The ballpark provided a unique experience compared to the other voting venues across Massachusetts.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done early voting or opened up Fenway Park for any kind of voting in the city of Boston, so we’re really excited to be partners with the city on this,” said Red Sox spokeswoman Zineb Curran.

With their 60-game season over, the players are long gone. Residents weren’t allowed in the stands then, nor were they allowed in the stands on Saturday. Instead, a crowd of upbeat voters formed a line that began on one side of the park and snaked toward the other side.

Voters got a glimpse of the field after filling out their ballots in the concourse and exiting on Lansdowne Street. The ballpark provided a safer voting venue during the pandemic because it’s both outdoors and covered, providing protection from the elements while also having plenty of ventilation. Despite providing a voting venue, the Red Sox organization stuck to baseball and staying out of the politics.

“We just want people to exercise their right to cast their ballot,” Curran said. Voters were encouraged to wear masks, and masks were provided to those who needed them. But no one was turned away since the goal was to provide access to anyone who wanted to cast a vote.

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Padres lefty Matt Strahm to undergo knee surgery to repair tendon

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San Diego Padres left-hander Matt Strahm is scheduled to undergo patellar tendon repair in his right knee.

Strahm underwent a similar surgery on his left knee in 2017 while he was with the Kansas City Royals.

Strahm was 0-1 with a 2.61 ERA in 19 appearances in his third season in San Diego and fifth big league season overall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Nelson Cruz, Freddie Freeman winners at Players Choice Awards

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NEW YORK — Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz has been voted Marvin Miller Man of the Year and Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman has been picked as Player of the Year in annual Players Choice award voting by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Freeman was voted the National League’s outstanding player, Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer outstanding pitcher, San Diego infielder Jake Cronenworth outstanding rookie and Colorado pitcher Daniel Bard comeback player.

Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu was voted the American League’s outstanding player, Cleveland’s Shane Bieber outstanding pitcher, Seattle outfielder Kyle Lewis outstanding rookie and Cleveland pitcher Carlos Carrasco comeback player.



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Washington Nationals re-sign Josh Harrison to one-year contract

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The Washington Nationals have re-signed utility player Josh Harrison to a one-year contract, the team announced Thursday.

Harrison spent the 2020 season with the Nationals after signing with them in July, less than a week after he was released by the Philadelphia Phillies. The 33-year-old hit .278 with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 33 games for Washington.

He is a two-time All-Star and right-handed hitter who has started games at second base, third base, shortstop and both corner outfield spots during his 10 years in the majors.

Harrison played eight seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates before joining the Detroit Tigers in 2019 and has compiled a career .273 batting average with 56 homers and 291 RBIs. He was a National League All-Star in 2014 and 2017 for Pittsburgh. But Harrison hit .175 with one homer in 36 games for the Tigers last year before getting released in August 2019.

He had signed a minor league contract with the Phillies in November before they let him go in July and he wound up in Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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