Twins announce Diamond Award recipients

Winners selected by Twin Cities Baseball Writers Association; Tenth annual Diamond Awards event set for January 22, 2015

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Twins announced the Diamond Awards recipients, their annual awards for the 2014 season based on voting conducted by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. In addition, the Twins and the BBWAA announced plans for the Tenth Annual Diamond Awards, which will be held January 22, 2015 at Target Field and will benefit research, education and care in brain, nerve and muscle disorders at the University of Minnesota.

    Right-handed pitcher Phil Hughes is the winner of the Calvin R. Griffith Award (the Twins first owner) given to the Most Valuable Twin along with the Joseph W. Haynes Award (Former Twins Executive Vice President) given to the Twins Pitcher of the Year. Hughes started 32 games this season, posting a 3.52 ERA while striking out a career-high 186 batters and walking just 16 in 209.2 innings pitched, setting a new major league strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11.63.

    Left-handed pitcher Brian Duensing is the winner of the Carl R. Pohlad Community Service Award. Duensing appeared in 62 games, posting a 3.31 ERA (54.1 IP, 20 ER). Duensing is an active supporter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and helps raise awareness for childhood cancer.

    Infielder/outfielder Danny Santana is the winner of the Bill Boni Award (Former St. Paul Dispatch-Pioneer Press Executive Sports Editor) given to the Twins Most Outstanding Rookie. Santana appeared in 101 games, batting .319 (129-for-405) with 27 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs and 40 RBI. He led all rookies in baseball post-All-Star break in runs scored (51), hits (85) and doubles (17); second in triples (7); third in batting average (.314); and tied for fifth in RBI (24).

    Infielder Eduardo Escobar is the winner of the Charles O. Johnson Award (Former Minneapolis Star Tribune Sports Editor) given to the Twins Most Improved Player. Escobar played in 133 games, collecting 35 doubles and 37 RBI, while hitting .275 (119-for-433). His 35 doubles ranked second on the Twins and tied for 10th in the American League.

    Former manager Ron Gardenhire is the winner of the Mike Augustin "Media Good Guy" Award (Former Pioneer Press Sports Writer). Gardenhire joined the organization in 1987 and was named the 12th Manager in club history in 2002. He led the Twins to a 1068-1039 (.507) record in 13 seasons, was named American League Manager of the Year in 2010 and guided the Twins to six American League Central Division titles, including an ALCS appearance in 2002.

    Infielder Brian Dozier is the winner of the Jim Kaat Award (Former Twins Pitcher) for Twins Defensive Player of the Year. Dozier played in a team-leading 156 games, committing just 15 errors in 751 total chances for a .980 fielding percentage. He turned 98 double plays, which were fifth most among second basemen in all of baseball.

    Catcher Kurt Suzuki is the winner of the Bob Allison Award (Former Twins Player) given to the Twins player who exemplifies determination, hustle, tenacity, competitive spirit and leadership both on and off the field. Suzuki appeared in 131 games, posting a .288 (130-for-452) batting average with 34 doubles, 37 runs scored and 61 RBI. Along with his wife Renee, Suzuki is active in many off-field charitable events throughout the season, including the Kurt Suzuki Baseball Clinic in Maui, the Kurt Suzuki Family Foundation, the NephCure Foundation and raising money for the Jon Wilhite Recovery Fund.

 

                        St. Louis Cardinals' right-handed pitcher Pat Neshek is the winner of the Dick Siebert Award (Former University of Minnesota Baseball Coach) given to the Upper Midwest Player of the Year. Neshek, who graduated from Park Center High School in Brooklyn Park, Minn., went 7-2-6 with a 1.87 ERA (67.1 IP, 14 ER) in 71 appearances for the Cardinals this season, earning his first career All-Star honor. He was originally drafted by the Twins and spent three-plus years with the organization. Neshek is the third non-Twin to win the award in the last nine seasons.

    The Tenth Annual Diamond Awards dinner, which will be held on Thursday, January 22, 2015 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Target Field, will honor the 2014 BBWAA award recipients as well as the winners of the Sherry Robertson Award (Kennys Vargas) for the Twins Minor League Player of the Year, the Jim Rantz Award (Jose Berrios) for the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year and the Kirby Puckett Alumni Community Service Award (Jim Kaat).

    All proceeds from the event will benefit the University of Minnesota's innovative research and patient care focused on ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), ataxia, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.   Along with the award winners, current and former Twins players and coaches are scheduled to appear at the event. Corporate sponsorship opportunities, tables and individual tickets are now available. For more information on the event visit

minnesotadiamondawards.org or call (612) 625-7490.