McGowan named 2016 Hutch Award winner

Honor bestowed upon player who exemplifies fighting spirit, competitive desire

McGowan named 2016 Hutch Award winner

MIAMI -- Marlins reliever Dustin McGowan, who has bounced back from injuries and adversity, has been named the recipient of the 2016 Hutch Award. The 34-year-old will be presented with the award on Jan. 25 at Safeco Field, where Hall of Famer Jim Rice will be the keynote speaker.

The Hutch Award is given annually to the MLB player who exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of the late Fred Hutchinson.

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McGowan has beaten the odds throughout his playing career. In 2004, he dealt with Tommy John surgery, and during his recovery, he discovered he was diabetic. He reached the big leagues with the Blue Jays in 2005.

Before the 2016 season, McGowan signed a Minor League contract with the Marlins with an invitation to Spring Training, and he became a big part of the bullpen. In 55 games, the right-hander posted a 2.82 ERA with 63 strikeouts in 67 innings.

A free agent after the season, McGowan re-signed with the Marlins for 2017.

The Hutch Award was created in 1965 in honor of Hutchinson, a former MLB player and manager who died of cancer at age 45. A year after his death, the award was launched by Hutchinson's longtime friends Bob Prince, broadcaster of the Pittsburgh Pirates; Jim Enright, Chicago sportswriter; and Ritter Collett, sports editor of the Dayton Journal Herald. They also created a scholarship fund.

The award is hosted by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and is bestowed annually at the Hutch Award Luncheon to raise funds for cancer research.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.