CINCINNATI -- One of the reasons the Reds became National League Central champions this year was their air-tight defense. As a team, they committed the fewest errors in the National League and had the second-best fielding percentage.
Voters recognized the effort by awarding three Reds players NL Gold Gloves -- third baseman Scott Rolen, second baseman Brandon Phillips and pitcher Bronson Arroyo. The awards were announced by Rawlings on Wednesday, with the voting done by the league's managers and coaches. Cincinnati led the NL with three Gold Gloves. St. Louis had two winners, first baseman Albert Pujols and catcher Yadier Molina.
"When we built the team for this year, one of the things we emphasized was improving our defense," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "I think the result was very positive -- the accomplishment by the team as a whole, but in particular the three guys honored today. As an organization, we are very pleased and also very proud of these guys."
It was the eighth time that Rolen was named a Gold Glover, the third-most among all players at his position behind only Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson (16) and Mike Schmidt (10).
Rolen, who last won a Gold Glove in 2006, notched eight errors with a .977 fielding percentage that was second-best among NL third basemen. He turned 28 double plays and had a 10.6 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) -- a quantifier of runs allowed/saved by a defender.
"I'd like to think [defense], especially Gold Gloves is an unselfish award," Rolen said after the awards were revealed. "It's something you can do to directly help your team. Defense is a situation you work on. It's a direct result in that inning of how you can help or hurt that team."
Known for his highlight-reel plays in the field, Phillips is a Gold Glove winner for the second time after having won it in 2008. His .996 fielding percentage was tops among NL second basemen with at least 500 total chances. He committed just three errors, turned 90 double plays and had a 9.7 UZR.
"It's a lot of hard work. I take defense very, very seriously," Phillips said. "I like to go out there and be the pitcher's best friend. I work on catching popups, work on catching balls to the hole. I work on things that can happen in the game. Sometimes, it comes easy."
Arroyo, a 17-game winner this season and a model of consistency with a streak of six-straight 200 innings seasons, had a stellar year with his glove too. He committed zero errors, had 31 assists and turned five double plays.
NL GOLD GLOVE WINNERS
The National League winners of the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards, with the number each has won in his career.
Yadier Molina, Cardinals
Albert Pujols, Cardinals
Brandon Phillips, Reds
Scott Rolen, Reds
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
Michael Bourn, Astros
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Shane Victorino, Phillies
Bronson Arroyo, Reds
In one game alone -- a June 17 win over the Dodgers -- Arroyo completed three 3-6-1 double plays by covering first base.
Arroyo is the first Reds pitcher to win a Gold Glove since Harvey Haddix in 1958, the second year the award was given.
"It's just an honor to have one. I wasn't expecting it at all," Arroyo said. "I think it was definitely a shock. The only time I actually thought of it was while sitting on the top step of the dugout with [pitching coach] Bryan Price. Sometime in August, he said, 'You know what? I think you have an outside shot at a Gold Glove.' I don't know why he thought that. It had never even crossed my mind once my entire career."
Among those passed over were Reds right fielder Jay Bruce, who had three errors and seven assists with a 20.2 UZR. First baseman Joey Votto also had a strong defensive season but lost out to Pujols, who has won multiple Gold Gloves.
"I think you'll have a conference call with a lot of other guys here in the future as far as Stubby [Drew Stubbs] in center field and possibly Joey and Jay Bruce," Rolen said. "They play unbelievable defense across the board as well. They're young in the league. There are a couple of other guys that have established themselves. I think you'll be talking to those guys for a lot of years."
As a team, the Reds set a team record with a .988 fielding percentage that ranked second in the NL. Their 72 errors were fewest in the NL and buried the single-season franchise record of 89 errors set in 2009.
Cincinnati had its most Gold Glove winners since having four from 1974-77. That was also the last time the Reds had more than one player recognized for the defensive award.
"I'm extremely proud and pleased of the guys that got the awards," manager Dusty Baker said. "Defense was a big part of our team. It shows how they worked hard and the overall philosophy of the team and organization."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.