Cabrera easily wins A.L. MVP Award; Posey wins in N.L.

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Cabrera easily wins A.L. MVP Award; Posey wins in N.L.

NEW YORK -- Miguel Cabrera has a Most Valuable Player award to go with his Triple Crown. And Buster Posey has an MVP prize to put alongside his second World Series ring.

The pair of batting champions won baseball's top individual honors Thursday by large margins.

Cabrera, the first Triple Crown winner in 45 years, won the AL MVP by receiving 22 of 28 first-place votes and 362 points from a panel of Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The Detroit third baseman easily beat Los Angeles Angels rookie center fielder Mike Trout, who had six firsts and 281 points.

Cabrera hit .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBI to become the first Triple Crown winner since Boston's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. Cabrera also led the league with a .606 slugging percentage for the A.L. champion Tigers.

Some of the more sabermetric-focused fans supported Trout, who hit .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBI, and he led the majors with 129 runs and 49 steals and topped all players in WAR - Wins Above Replacement. Trout won A.L. Rookie of the Year earlier in the week.

"I was a little concerned. I thought the new thing about computer stuff, I thought Trout's going to win because they put his numbers over me," Cabrera said. "I was like, relax . . . if he wins, it's going to be fair because he had a great season."

His victory is a win for the traditional statistics.

"At the end of the game, it's going to be the same baseball played back in the day," Cabrera said.

Posey, at a charity event at his mother's school in Leesburg, Va., followed the A.L. debate and Googled to find out the winner.

"I think it intrigued everybody," he said. "As a fan of the game, it was a fun race to watch."

With three fewer hits or two less homers, Cabrera would have fallen short of the Triple Crown. The last four Triple Crown winners have been voted MVP, including Mickey Mantle in 1956 and Frank Robinson in 1966.

"I think winning the Triple Crown had a lot to do with me winning this honor," he said.

Cabrera became the second straight Detroit player voted MVP, following pitcher Justin Verlander in 2011, and was the first Venezuelan to earn the honor. Countryman Pablo Sandoval took home World Series MVP honors last month.

Before the season, Cabrera switched from first base to third to make way for Prince Fielder, who signed with Detroit as a free agent.

"I focused too much in spring training about defense, defense, defense," Cabrera said. "I forgot a little bit about hitting, about getting in the cage like I normally do."

In spring training, Posey's focus was just to get back on the field. His 2011 season was cut short by a collision with the Marlins' Scott Cousins on May 25 that resulted in a fractured bone in Posey's lower left leg and three torn ankle ligaments.

Posey not only returned, he became the first catcher in 70 years to win the N.L. batting title and helped San Francisco win its second World Series championship in three seasons.

"I definitely have a deeper appreciation for being able to play baseball," he said. "I've seen that it can be taken away quick."

The first catcher in four decades to win the NL award, Posey got 27 of 32 firsts and 422 points to outdistance 2011 winner Ryan Braun of Milwaukee, who was second with 285 points.

Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen (245) was third, followed by St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina (241).

Posey, a boyish-looking 25, was the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year as the Giants won their first World Series since 1954. This year he set career highs with a .336 average, 24 homers and 103 RBI as San Francisco won again.

Posey took the N.L. batting title after teammate Melky Cabrera requested a rules change that disqualified him. Cabrera, who hit .346, missed the final 45 games of the regular-season while serving a suspension for a positive testosterone test and would have won the batting crown if the rule hadn't been changed.

Ernie Lombardi had been the previous catcher to capture the NL batting championship, in 1942.

"I think anybody that has caught before understands the grind of catching, not only the physical, the nicks, the wear and tear of squatting for nine innings night in, day out, but just the mental grind of working a pitching staff," Posey said. "It's demanding."

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

Blidh plans to bring some energy to Bruins after call-up

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Anton Blidh plans on keeping things pretty straightforward on his first call-up to the NHL. 

The former sixth-round pick of the Bruins has earned his stripes at the AHL level with Providence over the last couple of seasons, and comes to Boston as a gritty, energy forward capable of stirring things up in otherwise sleepy games. There’s also a bit of offensive upside for a fourth line-type player with five goals and nine points with 22 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating in 19 games for the P-Bruins this season. 

It remains to be seen if the Blidh call-up means that the Bruins intend to scratch a player or that somebody is questionable for Saturday afternoon’s game in Buffalo, but Patrice Bergeron did miss Friday’s practice without any real defined reason for his absence. The 21-year-old Swede said he plans to play to his strengths if he gets into the lineup for the Black and Gold, and that could mean getting under the skin of his Sabres opponents. 

“It’s my first time called up, so I’m happy,” said Blidh, who was asked what he'll bring if he gets into the lineup. “I’ll just play simple and play my own game: be hard on the puck and play with some energy. I worked hard [in Providence] and then I got some confidence. I’m not a goal-scorer, but I scored a couple of goals and got some confidence.”

Claude Julien hasn’t been able to catch up Blidh’s work since the season got started, but was pleased by the youngster’s progress in training camp, where he earned notice for his feisty, physical play on a line with Noel Acciari. 

“They said he’s playing well, so they brought him up. We’ll get to see him, hopefully tomorrow,” said Julien. “I didn’t hear a ton of fine details aside from him being a guy that was certainly playing with a lot of energy. I didn’t mind him in training camp either. He works really hard and competes hard, and we could use that.”

That would certainly be the case after watching the Bruins go through the motions for long stretches Thursday night against Carolina before essentially stealing a game that they didn’t deserve to win. 

Kings Insider James Ham: "DeMarcus Cousins loves Sacramento; more likely to sign contract extension than get traded"

Kings Insider James Ham: "DeMarcus Cousins loves Sacramento; more likely to sign contract extension than get traded"

CSNCalifornia.com Kings Insider James Ham joined Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakely on this week's Celtics Talk podcast to talk about DeMarcus Cousins and the never ending trade rumors.