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Longoria rakes in Silver Slugger Award

Longoria rakes in Silver Slugger Award

ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria's work from the 2009 season continued to be rewarded on Thursday when he won the American League Silver Slugger Award at third base.

On Tuesday, Longoria won the Gold Glove Award, recognizing him as the best fielding third baseman in the AL.

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Silver Slugger Awards are given annually to the best offensive player at each position in both leagues based on several different offensive categories and voted on by the coaches and managers.

Longoria was out of the country and could not be reached for comment about winning the award.

In his second Major League season, Longoria never came close to experiencing the sophomore jinx, hitting .281 with 33 home runs and 113 RBIs.

Longoria did some incredible work with his bat in 2009, a season that saw him sprint from the starting blocks to a torrid beginning.

The 2008 AL Rookie of the Year hit .369 during April, with six homers and 24 RBIs -- which tied him for the league lead and equaled the Tampa Bay record for the month. His dominating month also included Major League highs for doubles (11), extra-base hits (17) and total bases (60).

Longoria got off to such a hot start in 2009 that at one point he actually found himself ahead of Hack Wilson's record-setting RBI pace.

Wilson holds the Major League single-season RBI record with 191, which he accomplished while playing for the Cubs in 1930. Wilson had 44 RBIs after 41 games in 1930; Longoria had 44 RBIs after 33 games.

2009 AL SILVER SLUGGER AWARDS
The Silver Slugger Awards are given to the players deemed to be the best offensive performers at their positions, voted on by Major League managers and coaches.
POS PLAYER HR RBI AVG
1B M. Teixeira, Yankees 39 122 .292
2B Aaron Hill, Blue Jays 36 108 .286
3B Evan Longoria, Rays 33 113 .281
SS Derek Jeter, Yankees 18 66 .334
OF Jason Bay, Red Sox 36 119 .267
OF Torii Hunter, Angels 22 90 .299
OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners 11 46 .352
C Joe Mauer, Twins 28 96 .365
DH Adam Lind, Blue Jays 35 114 .305

Since Longoria's arrival to the Rays early in the 2008 season, he has come up big time and again and has received many accolades. Despite the many opportunities to fall in love with who he has become, Longoria seems to be the same guy he was when he first came to the team.

"I constantly try to humble myself," said Longoria earlier in the 2009 season. "If you don't, I'm sure that the game is going to find a way to humble you. Like I always say, I've got to come to the ballpark and do the same things -- and treat everybody the same and try to keep things as simple and plain as possible. I think the minute you start filling your head with those kinds of things, it's going to be the downfall of anything that's going good. So I try to keep myself humble and stay grounded."

Earlier last season, teammate Carlos Pena talked about the Rays' prodigy.

"He's been amazing," Pena said. "Ever since he got here last year, he's been a force for our lineup, for our team with the glove and especially with the bat.

"It seems like every day he comes up with a crazy play, like coming up with a slow roller that just amazes me. So [I'm] not surprised, but very happy, very excited for him -- [I'm] just very grateful that I get to see it on a daily basis."

Only three other players have won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in the same year at a younger age -- Ivan Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Benito Santiago.

Bill Chastain 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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