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Published: Friday, 11/7/2008

Tribe's Sizemore snares second Gold Glove

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Grady Sizemore didn't have the highest fielding percentage for center fielders, but he turned in several outstanding plays. Grady Sizemore didn't have the highest fielding percentage for center fielders, but he turned in several outstanding plays.
JEFF LEWIS / AP Enlarge

NEW YORK - Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore won his second straight Rawlings Gold Glove.

The award was worth a $100,000 bonus to Sizemore. He's the first Indians center fielder to win consecutive Gold Gloves since Kenny Lofton won four straight from 1993 through 1996.

"I wasn't expecting to win it this year, and that makes it feel that much better," Sizemore told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer. "It makes me work that much harder to win a third one."

Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena became the first player in franchise history to win the Gold Glove for fielding excellence.

"I think this is the first of many for the Tampa Bay Rays," he said on a conference call.

"I feel like we all won the Gold Glove as a team," he added. "I think we all make each other better."

The Rays reached the playoffs for the first time since starting play in 1998. They went to the World Series, losing in five games to Philadelphia.

Texas shortstop Michael Young became the first infielder to win a Gold Glove from a team with the worst fielding percentage in the majors. Pena, Young, Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia, and Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer were first-time winners.

The outfield was a repeat from last season: Los Angeles' Torii Hunter and Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki each won for the eighth straight year, and Sizemore won his second straight.

New York Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina, coming off his first 20-win season, added to his accolades with his seventh Gold Glove. Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre won for the second straight year.

Pena bounced around the majors for several seasons before joining Tampa Bay in 2007, and he quickly got a regular spot by hitting 46 home runs.

Pena starred with the bat this year, too, with 31 homers and 102 RBIs despite missing 3 1/2 weeks because of a broken finger.

He sparkled with the glove, making only two errors.

"I can't deny that I like hitting home runs," Pena said, but "this is an award I always thought of."

"You have no idea how excited I was when I received the news," he said. "Go steal a hit, go help your pitcher out. I've always taken so much pride in my defense."

The 30-year-old Pena has shown improvement in the field, cutting down from 13 errors with Detroit in 2003. He made eight last year with the Rays.

Pena said it had been his goal "to actually play like a Gold Glover and eventually get recognized."

"Carlos works very hard on his defense, and he has turned himself into a premier defensive player," Rays executive vice president for baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.

Rawlings has presented Gold Gloves since 1957.

Managers and coaches pick players in their own leagues near the end of the regular season and can't vote for someone on their team.

Hunter has not made an error since Aug. 31, 2007. The AL outfield record for Gold Gloves is 10, shared by Ken Griffey Jr. and Al Kaline.

Pedroia, the AL Rookie of the Year last season, joined Kevin Youkilis (2007) and Jason Varitek (2005) as the only Red Sox players to win a Gold Glove in the last 17 seasons.

Young led AL shortstops in fielding percentage. This was his fifth season at the spot since switching over from second base.

Mussina won for the first time since 2003. At 39, he was the oldest AL winner this year; pitcher Greg Maddux won an NL Gold Glove this week at 42.

The Gold Gloves often raise the ire of many baseball fans. Critics claim the best fielders are overlooked in favor of more popular players, and further insist that better hitters get a break in the voting.



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