Friday, November 14, 2008
Aubrey Huff won his first Silver Slugger Award as the American League's top designated hitter, capping a bounce-back season for the Baltimore Orioles veteran.
After struggling in 2007, and undergoing offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia, Huff turned in perhaps his finest offensive season. He finished with 32 homers and 108 RBI, leading the Orioles in both categories.
"The fact that it is chosen by opposing coaches and managers means that others noticed the year I had," Huff said in a statement. "And that David Ortiz had an off year."
Jokes aside, Huff led the league with 82 extra-base hits and finished the year ranked among the league leaders in slugging percentage, total bases, doubles, homers, hits and RBI.
Huff is the eighth Orioles player to win the award, and the first since Miguel Tejada took the honor for AL shortstops in 2005. . . .
The New York Yankees started their offseason makeover by acquiring Nick Swisher from the Chicago White Sox.
Swisher, who can play first base and all three outfield spots, was obtained for pitching prospect Jeff Marquez and infielder Wilson Betemit. The teams also swapped a pair of minor league right-handers as part of the deal, with Chicago receiving Jhonny Nuñez and New York getting Kaneoka Texeira. . . .
The Chicago Cubs acquired reliever Kevin Gregg in a trade with the Florida Marlins, a move that appears to end Kerry Wood's career with the team. Gregg was acquired for minor league pitcher Jose Ceda. . . . Randy Johnson, five victories shy of 300, filed for free agency after failing to reach a contract agreement to return to the Arizona Diamondbacks. . . .
The Minnesota Twins gave Manager Ron Gardenhire a two-year contract extension. . . .
Former Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo joined the Philadelphia Phillies' coaching staff.
· SOCCER: D.C. United goalkeeper Zach Wells had foot surgery last week and is expected to be sidelined about three months. . . .
Diego Maradona will remain Argentina's coach after denying speculation that he planned to resign because of a dispute over his assistants with his boss.
· GOLF: Lorena Ochoa struggled in the first round of her own Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico, shooting a 1-over-par 73 on her home course to drop five strokes behind Annika Sorenstam and seven other co-leaders in the LPGA Tour event.
· COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Virginia Tech's Brittany Cook, the leading scorer in the Atlantic Coast Conference last season, is out for this season with a torn ligament in her right knee.
· MOTOR SPORTS: A Maryland man has died from injuries suffered in a race at Summit Point (W. Va.) Raceway.
The National Auto Sport Association announced the death of 28-year-old Cale Kastanek of Hagerstown, Md., on its Web site. The association said Kastanek was injured Sunday in an accident at the Jefferson County track.
-- From News Services and Staff Reports