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CarGo, Tulo team up again, win Silver Sluggers

CarGo, Tulo team up again, win Silver Sluggers

DENVER -- Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki added silver to their gold on Thursday. Both won National League Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Awards, a day after being rewarded with Rawlings Gold Glove Awards.

The Silver Slugger, like the Gold Glove, is awarded through voting by NL managers and coaches. A Silver Slugger is given to a player at each infield position, catcher and pitcher and the three outfielder spots.

Gonzalez, who led the NL in batting (.336), hits (197), total bases (351) and extra-base hits (77), and Tulowitzki, who finished fourth in the league in batting average (.315), are the first Rockies since outfielder Matt Holliday in 2008 to win Silver Slugger Awards. It's the first time the Rox have had multiple winners since 2002, when first baseman Todd Helton and pitcher Mike Hampton received awards.

"Year in and year out, the big priority for me is all about winning the World Series, and that should be our main focus," Tulowitzki said during a conference call Thursday with Denver reporters. "To get these awards, it means we're doing our jobs."

Gonzalez was traveling in Venezuela and was not available for the conference call.

Gonzalez led the Rockies in nearly every major offensive category and carried the NL Triple Crown into the season's final month. What may have prevented him from the Majors' first Triple Crown since the Red Sox's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 was an injury to his right wrist and thumb late in the year.

At season's end, he was, according to STATS LLC, the sixth player since 1959 to lead the NL in batting and finish in the top four in the league in home runs and RBIs. The others are Holliday in 2007, Albert Pujols in '03, Dave Parker in 1978, Billy Williams in 1972 and Hank Aaron in 1959.

Tulowitzki had led NL shortstops in RBIs since 2007, his first full year, and played standout defense throughout his career, but did not receive either the Gold Glove or the Silver Slugger until this year. Gonzalez received the honors in his first full season in the Majors. Tulowitkzi said he was somewhat surprised.

"Just seeing the things he can do, I knew he was going to be a special player," Tulowitzki said. "As far as being the best player in the game, I wasn't sure about that. I tell him he owes half of that to me because I'm the guy protecting him in the order. We just kid about that.

"I always say if there was one player I'd purchase a ticket, this is the guy I would want to see."

Tulowitzki led NL shortstops in batting, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and home runs. He was the first shortstop to lead the league in slugging percentage and fielding percentage since the Pirates' Jay Bell in 1993.

NL SILVER SLUGGER WINNERS
The National League winners of the Silver Slugger Awards, with the number each has won in his career.
POS. PLAYER NO.
C Brian McCann, Braves 4
1B Albert Pujols, Cardinals 6
2B Dan Uggla, Marlins 1
3B Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals 2
SS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies 1
OF Ryan Braun, Brewers 3
OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies 1
OF Matt Holliday, Cardinals 4
P Yovani Gallardo, Brewers 1

This all occurred in a season that saw Tulowitzki miss six weeks because of a fractured left wrist, suffered when he was hit by a pitch from the Twins' Alex Burnett in June. Tulowitzki said the injury robbed him of power for a few weeks after his return, but it wound up making him a better hitter.

"I learned a lot," Tulowitzki said. "I had to concentrate on being a complete hitter at one point and begin spraying the ball, not muscling up so much because I couldn't with the wrist. I came back better."

Tulowitzki, however, solidified an award-winning season with one of the most prolific Septembers in history -- .322 with 15 home runs and 40 RBIs. The only other Major League player to equal or exceed Tulowitzki's home run and RBI totals in that month was Babe Ruth, who hit 17 homers and 43 RBIs in September 1927.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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