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'Silver' lining for Morneau, Mauer

'Silver' lining for Morneau, Mauer

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The offseason awards continue to rack up for Twins first baseman Justin Morneau and catcher Joe Mauer, as both were named the Silver Slugger Award winners at their respective positions Thursday.

It's the second time that both Mauer and Morneau have been selected for the honor. In 2006, the two players each won their first Silver Slugger Awards and they are the only pair of Twins to earn the award in the same year.

Louisville Slugger's Silver Slugger Award winners were determined by a vote of Major League Baseball coaches and managers who vote for the players they felt were the best offensive producers at each position in both the American and National Leagues in 2008. Selections are based on a combination of offensive statistics, including batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage, as well as the coaches' and managers' general impressions of a player's overall offensive value. Managers and coaches were not allowed to vote for players on their own team.

For both Mauer and Morneau, the 2008 season was very reminiscent of that memorable -- and award-filled -- '06 campaign.

2008 Silver Sluggers
AMERICAN LEAGUE AL
 C Joe Mauer, MIN
1B Justin Morneau, MIN
2B Dustin Pedroia, BOS
3B Alex Rodriguez, NYY
SS Derek Jeter, NYY
OF Josh Hamilton, TEX
OF Carlos Quentin, CWS
OF Grady Sizemore, CLE
DH Aubrey Huff, BAL
NATIONAL LEAGUE NL
C Brian McCann, ATL
1B Albert Pujols, STL
2B Chase Utley, PHI
3B David Wright, NYM
SS Hanley Ramirez, FLA
OF Ryan Braun, MIL
OF Matt Holliday, COL
OF Ryan Ludwick, STL
P Carlos Zambrano, CHC

Mauer, 25, batted .328 this past season to earn his second American League batting title. The first came in '06, when he hit .347. In addition to becoming only the second catcher ever to win two batting titles, Mauer recorded 31 doubles, four triples, nine runs and 85 RBIs in 146 games for the Twins in 2008. His .413 on-base percentage also ranked second among all AL players.

After winning the AL Most Valuable Player Award in '06, Morneau is considered to be one of the front-runners for the honor this year. The 27-year-old batted .300 with 47 doubles, 23 home runs and 129 RBIs while playing in all 163 games for the Twins last season.

Morneau's 47 doubles in '08 led the Majors and set a Minnesota single-season record. His 129 RBIs, the second most in the AL last season, rank third on the team's all-time single-season list.

The specially designed Silver Slugger will be presented to each player by a representative of the Hillerich & Bradsby Co., makers of Louisville Slugger, the official bat of Major League Baseball, in a ceremony early in the 2009 season. The trophy is three feet tall and bears the engraved name of the winners and their Silver Slugger teammates in his respective league. The Silver Slugger Award was instituted by H&B in 1980.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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