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Carpenter, Hill win 2009 MLB Comeback Player of the Year Awards10/05/2009 1:13 PM ET
By mlb - comeback / MLB.com
Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals and Aaron Hill of the Toronto Blue Jays are the recipients of the 2009 Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Awards, it was announced today. The Comeback Player of the Year Award is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball, and is presented annually to one player in each League who has re-emerged on the baseball field during the season.
Carpenter, who made just four starts combined in 2007 and 2008 while experiencing elbow and shoulder pains, went 17-4 with a National League-leading 2.24 ERA over 28 starts in 2009. Chris, who owns the Cardinals' all-time top winning percentage (.739; 68-24) for pitchers with a minimum of 100 games started, became the first Cardinal to lead the N.L. in ERA since Joe Magrane had a 2.18 ERA in 1988. The 34-year-old right-hander tossed three complete games, including one shutout, and allowed just 156 hits and 38 walks with 144 strikeouts over 192.2 innings pitched, holding opposing hitters to a .226 batting average.
The 2005 National League Cy Young Award winner did not suffer a loss in July or August, posting a combined 9-0 record with a 2.00 ERA. Carpenter compiled a Major-League best 11-game winning streak from July 5th-September 7th, two wins shy of tying his career-best 13-game winning streak set in 2005. The Exeter, New Hampshire native tossed at least six innings in 24 of 28 starts, including 22 in which he permitted three earned runs or less. The two-time All-Star went 11-0 with a 1.58 ERA over 15 starts against N.L. Central Division rivals. Originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays as the 15th overall pick in the 1993 First-Year Player Draft, Chris has been a member of the Cardinals since December 13, 2002, when he signed with the club as a free agent.
Hill, in his fifth Major League season, established himself as one of the top second basemen in the game following a 2008 season in which he played in just 55 games after suffering a concussion on May 29th. Hill posted career-highs with 36 home runs, 108 RBI, 195 hits, 103 runs scored and 682 at-bats. The 36 home runs and 108 RBI were the most among Major League second basemen and the 36 homers as a second baseman were tied for third-most in A.L. history behind Alfonso Soriano's 39 home runs in 2002 and 38 homers in 2003. In addition, the 108 RBI are the most by any Major League second baseman since Bret Boone recorded 117 in 2003.
The 27-year-old Hill was selected to his first career All-Star Game and started the game at second base after Boston's Dustin Pedroia could not attend. Hill, who was selected by the Blue Jays out of LSU with the 13th overall pick in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, compiled two season-high 13-game hitting streaks this season, the first from May 17th-30th, and the second from July 21st-August 4th. The Visalia, California native collected at least five home runs in each month of the season and drove in at least 15 runs in five of the six months. Among American Leaguers, Aaron finished the season ranked second in total bases (340), third in home runs, fifth in hits, tied for fifth in RBI and multi-hit games (57), and tied for sixth in runs and extra-base hits (73).
The 30 Club beat reporters from MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, selected the winners for the 2009 Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Award. Past winners of the Award include: Jason Giambi and Ken Griffey, Jr. (2005); Jim Thome and Nomar Garciaparra (2006); Carlos Peña and Dmitri Young (2007); and Cliff Lee and Brad Lidge (2008).
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.