Three Reds take NL Gold Glove honors
Rolen, Phillips, Arroyo win; first time for Rockies' Tulo, Gonzalez
The Reds were the defensive stars of the National League on Wednesday, when three of their players won Rawlings NL Gold Glove Awards. And for the second year running, there was a batch of fresh faces earning baseball's highest defensive honor.
Cincinnati third baseman Scott Rolen won his eighth Gold Glove Award, while two teammates -- second baseman Brandon Phillips and right-handed pitcher Bronson Arroyo -- were also honored. Phillips' award was his second, Arroyo's his first.
Two Rockies, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, also won a Gold Glove for the first time.
The other repeat winners were Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (third Gold Glove) and first baseman Albert Pujols (second), Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino (third) and Astros outfielder Michael Bourn (second).
NL GOLD GLOVE WINNERS
|C||Yadier Molina, Cardinals||3|
|1B||Albert Pujols, Cardinals||2|
|2B||Brandon Phillips, Reds||2|
|3B||Scott Rolen, Reds||8|
|SS||Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies||1|
|OF||Michael Bourn, Astros||2|
|OF||Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies||1|
|OF||Shane Victorino, Phillies||3|
|P||Bronson Arroyo, Reds||1|
"When we built the team for this year, one of the things we emphasized was improving our defense," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "I think the result was very positive -- the accomplishment by the team as a whole, but in particular the three guys honored today. As an organization, we are very pleased and also very proud of these guys."
Voting for the Gold Glove Awards is done by managers and coaches from all 30 teams who submitted their votes by the end of the regular season. Votes are cast for the best defensive player at each position in each league. In the outfield, the top three defensive players are selected regardless of whether they play left field, right or center. Managers and coaches can vote only for players in their own league and can't vote for their own players.
For Rolen, it was a return to Gold Gloves glory -- the veteran hadn't won one since 2006.
"I'd like to think [defense], especially Gold Gloves, is a non-selfish award," Rolen said. "It's something you can do to directly help your team. Defense is a situation you work on. It's a direct result in that inning of how you can help or hurt that team."
Rolen now ranks as having the third-most Gold Gloves among all players at his position, behind only Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson (16) and Mike Schmidt (10).En route to his first career Gold Glove Award, Arroyo didn't commit a single error and helped himself by turning five double plays.
"It's just an honor to have one -- I wasn't expecting it at all," Arroyo said. "I think it was definitely a shock. The only time I actually thought of it was while sitting on the top step of the dugout with [pitching coach] Bryan Price. Sometime in August, he said, 'You know what? I think you have an outside shot at a Gold Glove.' I don't know why he thought that. It had never even crossed my mind once my entire career."
The third Reds honoree, Phillips, earned his second award after posting a .996 fielding percentage. The 29-year-old committed just three errors while turning 95 double plays.
"It's a lot of hard work -- I take defense very, very seriously," Phillips said. "I like to go out there and be the pitcher's best friend. I work on catching popups, work on catching balls to the hole. I work on things that can happen in the game. Sometimes, it comes easy."
Molina's win was no surprise. While catcher can be among the most difficult positions to evaluate statistically, Molina took the cake in nearly every category, throwing out 49 percent of would-be basestealers and committing only five errors.
Meanwhile, Victorino earned his third consecutive award. The "Flyin' Hawaiian" tallied 11 outfield assists and only two errors.
"It's great," Victorino said in a telephone interview with MLB.com on Wednesday evening. "Did I expect it? No. Was I shocked a little bit? Yeah. ... It's definitely an honor. It's always great, but it's about the team, and we didn't do what we wanted to do this year."
Bourn, the Astros' speedy center fielder, won the award for the second time in as many seasons. He committed just three errors and had eight assists.
"You have to put in the work for it," Bourn said. "You have to go out there and continue to play good defense. I don't expect it and they don't just give it to you. You have to earn it, but you have more respect when you win it the first time."
The defense of Colorado teammates Tulowitzki and Gonzalez matched up with their strong offensive outputs.
Despite missing a large chunk of games early in the season, Tulowitzki put on a clinic at shortstop, committing just 10 errors in 609 chances.
"All you guys realize how much pride I take in my defense, and if there's one thing in my whole career other than the World Series I want to win, it's a Gold Glove," Tulowitzki said recently.
Known primarily for his breakout year at the plate, Gonzalez also shined on defense, committing just one error on the season in 268 total chances.
Pujols won his first Gold Glove Award in 2006. He made four errors and was a part of 146 double plays this season.