San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and Texas Rangers closer Neftali Feliz wound up together on the winning side Monday when they were voted the Rookies of the Year.
Earlier this month, Posey singled off Feliz as the Giants beat Texas in the clinching Game 5 of the World Series.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been two weeks,” Posey said.
Posey hit several key home runs in the stretch, then helped the Giants win the crown for the first time since 1954. He easily outdistanced Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward for the National League award.
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Feliz, the rocket-armed righty who set a rookie record with 40 saves as Texas reached its first World Series, finished far ahead of Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson for the American League honor.
“I hope it’s not a fluke. I hope I have a better season next year,” the 22-year-old Dominican reliever said through a translator on a conference call.
Promoted from Triple-A on May 29, Posey quickly adjusted to the big leagues – both at the plate and behind it.
Posey, 23, hit .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBI. He homered eight times after Sept. 1 in leading the Giants to the NL West title, and his homer on the final day of the regular season helped them clinch the division.
Posey was picked first on 20 of 32 ballots in voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Voting was done by two members of the BBWAA in every league city after the regular season, with each person listing three players.
Posey became the first Rookie of the Year winner to become a World Series champion in the same season since Boston’s Dustin Pedroia in 2007.
Feliz got 20 first-place votes and was listed on all 28 ballots. He drew seven seconds and one third.
HURDLE PIRATES’ MAN
The Pittsburgh Pirates thought they were interviewing Clint Hurdle. Turns out he was interviewing them as well.
As the Pirates asked him about his managerial style, Hurdle quizzed ownership and management about their plans to turn around one of the least-successful franchises in the four major pro sports. He liked the answers and, despite some of his close friends’ misgivings, he liked a job that some in baseball would be hesitant to take.
Hurdle, hired Monday as the Pirates’ sixth manager since their last winning season in 1992, insists he’s not intimidated at taking over a team that lost 105 games last season and has averaged 97 losses over the last six seasons.
“This wasn’t about taking a job because it was a sure thing,” Hurdle said. “This was about taking an opportunity that felt sure and fit right. I felt comfortable with the people I was going to get after the job with. ... I’m proud to be a Pirate, and we’re not going to back down from anybody.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers have re-signed free-agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal worth $12 million. Kuroda had been considering a return to his native Japan, where he once starred for the Hiroshima Carp. But the 35-year-old right-hander decided to stay for a fourth season in the major leagues. … Infielder Geoff Blum became the first of the 166 free agents to switch teams, agreeing to a $2.7 million, two-year contract with Arizona. The 37-year-old had two home runs and 22 RBI in 93 games for Houston last season. … The Philadelphia Phillies hired Ryne Sandberg to manage their Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Nearly 29 years ago, the Phillies traded Sandberg to the Chicago Cubs in perhaps the most lopsided deal in Philadelphia sports history. … The Phillies re-signed right-hander Jose Contreras, who agreed to a $5.5 million, two-year contract that includes a club option for 2013. The 38-year-old was 6-4 with four saves and a 3.34 ERA in 67 games in his first season with the Phillies. Contreras went 1-0 and threw four scoreless innings in the postseason. … The Reds agreed to a 1-year, $3 million deal with catcher Ramon Hernandez, who started a team-high 85 games behind the plate last season. The 34-year-old batted .297 with seven homers and 48 RBI. He missed time with an inflamed left knee.