Keuchel wins third straight Gold Glove Award

Astros lefty hopes to join US in World Baseball Classic

Keuchel wins third straight Gold Glove Award

HOUSTON -- Dallas Keuchel will have to make room on his mantelpiece for another Rawlings Gold Glove Award.

Keuchel took home his third consecutive Gold Glove at pitcher in the American League on Tuesday, beating out R.A. Dickey of the Blue Jays and Justin Verlander of the Tigers. He's the first Astros player at any position to win three consecutive Gold Gloves since second baseman Craig Biggio won four in a row (1994-97).

"I'm pretty excited," Keuchel told MLB.com. "It's something that never gets old, and I'm thankful every year. I know the on-field performance wasn't what I wanted it to be this year, obviously, but the defensive work of mine and any professional player never fails. I'm thankful for that opportunity."

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Astros left fielder Colby Rasmus and right fielder George Springer were also finalists for Gold Gloves in the AL, but those awards went to the Yankees' Brett Gardner (left field) and the Red Sox's Mookie Betts (right field).

Keuchel, who is the first AL pitcher to win three straight Gold Gloves since Mark Buehrle of the White Sox (2009-11), didn't commit an error in 32 chances last season after committing one in 72 chances in '15. He was tied for the AL lead with Masahiro Tanaka with seven defensive runs saved, according to Fangraphs.

The recognition is gratifying for Keuchel considering he had a down year on the mound. He followed up his AL Cy Young Award season by going 9-12 with a 4.55 ERA in 26 starts and missed the final five weeks of the regular season with shoulder inflammation.

"I was trying to get back to the team and worried about my health and not worried about anything else," Keuchel said when asked if he thought he was going to win. "To win this defensively is nice because there's some previous Gold Glove winners I've beat out the last couple of years. Just pitchers in general are more athletic now, and I feel like they deserve more credit. It's something that's definitely special."

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Keuchel, 28, said he's been working on strengthening his left shoulder this offseason and hopes to start throwing in December. He plans to have an MRI later this month. If that shows the shoulder is healing, he wants to be considered to represent the United States next spring in the World Baseball Classic.

"It's something I've thought about for a while with baseball coming back to the Olympics," he said. "As an athlete, you have a short time frame to do some cool stuff, but obviously I'd have to go through the front office and ownership group before I put my name in the hat and say yes."

By winning a Gold Glove, Keuchel is now eligible for the Rawlings Platinum Glove, which will be given to the top defender in each league, regardless of position.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.