Red-hot Yanks trio up for Aaron Award
Cano, Jeter, Teixeira finalists to be Bombers' nominee
The Yankees have looked to Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira to help lead their potent offense all season, and now the trio of pinstriped sluggers have been nominated for the prestigious Hank Aaron Award.
The Hank Aaron Award, presented by Sharp, is presented annually to the best overall offensive performer in each league, with each club having three nominees. This is the seventh consecutive year that fans have had a voice in selecting the award winners.
Fans can vote through Sept. 15 to determine the club nominee, and then voting will be held Sept. 16-30 to select the winner in each league. The winners will be announced during the World Series.
Last year's winners were Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis and Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez. Originally introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award was the first major award to be introduced in 30 years.
Cano, 26, made a concerted effort to bounce back from a disappointing 2008 campaign, and he has returned to form as one of the best young talents in the Major Leagues, leading all Major League second basemen with 808 hits since his debut on May 3, 2005.
The sweet-swinging left-handed hitter recently compiled a 14-game hitting streak for the surging Bombers, batting .431 (25-for-58) during the stretch, and he has belted 18 homers already this season -- surpassing his home run total from all of 2008 and placing him one shy of his career high (19) from '07.
"I would say the adjustment is to swing at strikes and have good luck lately," Cano said. "Before, I was hitting it right at people. It started falling with runners in scoring position and with men on base. ... You know what, the season is not over yet. To be honest, right now, this is the best year I've had in my whole career."
Jeter, 35, recommitted himself to agility training over the offseason, and the extra work has paid dividends. After Yankees manager Joe Girardi decided this spring that Jeter -- not Johnny Damon -- would be his leadoff hitter, Jeter has responded.
Over a 57-game span dating back to June 11, Jeter is batting .358 (86-for-240) and has stolen 20 of 24 attempts after swiping just 11 bags all of last season. On Sunday, Jeter surpassed Luis Aparicio for the all-time Major League record for hits by a shortstop.
"I don't ever sit around and look back on anything that we've done," Jeter said. "It's just more of what you can do to try and improve. That's what you try to do, year in and year out. I think being consistent is something that gets overlooked at times, but I think every player strives to be consistent. That's all you can do."
Teixeira, 29, has sparked talk of Most Valuable Player candidacy in his first season of an eight-year deal with the Yankees. The switch-hitting first baseman entered play Tuesday ranking second in the AL with 30 home runs and third with 86 RBIs this season.
Whereas some stars struggle to adjust to the high profile of New York, Teixeira seemed to need little time to blend in. Teixeira has blasted 15 homers in his past 44 games at Yankee Stadium, and he became just the eighth player to hit 30 homers in his first season with the Bombers.
"We've put ourselves in a good position, and I've fit in really well with this team," Teixeira said. "I'm having a great time and hopefully I can stay healthy and keep producing. I'm having a lot of fun right now."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.