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Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger win 2017 Rookie of the Year Awards

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As expected, Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger won the Rookie of the Year Awards unanimously in their respective leagues, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Judge, 25, hit .284/.422/.627 with 52 home runs, 114 RBI, and 128 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. He led the American League in home runs, runs scored, and walks (127). Judge made the AL All-Star team during the summer and just took home a Silver Slugger Award. He’s a major contender for the AL MVP Award as well.

Judge is the first Yankee to win the Rookie of the Year Award since Derek Jeter in 1996.

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi finished in second place with 23 second-place votes and six third-place votes. Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini finished third with five second-place votes and 16 third-place votes. Other players receiving votes included the Athletics’ Matt Olson, the Astros’ Yuli Gurriel, and the Yankees’ Jordan Montgomery.

Bellinger, 22, hit .267/.352/.581 with 39 home runs, 97 RBI, and 87 runs scored in 548 plate appearances. He didn’t lead the league in any categories, but he also didn’t debut until April 25.

Dodger rookies have won the award in back-to-back years. Shortstop Corey Seager took home the honor in 2016. Prior to that, the last team to have back-to-back ROY Award winners were the 2004-05 Athletics with Bobby Crosby and Huston Street. The Dodgers, of course, have kind of made the ROY their thing as their players won the award five years running from 1992-96: Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo, and Todd Hollandsworth.

Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong finished second in balloting with 15 second-place votes and 11 third-place votes. Pirates first baseman Josh Bell finished third with 10 second-place votes and two third-place votes. Others receiving votes included the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins, the Rockies’ German Marquez and Kyle Freeland, the Padres’ Manuel Margot, the Reds’ Luis Castillo, and the Cubs’ Ian Happ.

The 2017 Rookie of the Year Awards mark the first time both winners won the award unanimously since 1997 (Scott Rolen, Nomar Garciaparra). It also happened in 1993 (Mike Piazza, Tim Salmon), and in 1987 (Benito Santiago, Mark McGwire).

Maddon: Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again for Angels this year

Shohei Ohtani
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Shohei Ohtani won’t pitch again this season for the Los Angeles Angels after straining his right forearm in his second start, manager Joe Maddon says.

Ohtani likely will return to the Angels’ lineup as their designated hitter this week, Maddon said Tuesday night before the club opened a road series against the Seattle Mariners.

The Angels’ stance on Ohtani is unsurprising after the club announced he had strained the flexor pronator mass near the elbow of his pitching arm. The two-way star’s recovery from the strain requires him to abstain from throwing for four to six weeks, which covers most of the shortened 2020 season.

“I’m not anticipating him pitching at all this year,” Maddon said. “Any kind of throwing program is going to be very conservative.”

Ohtani was injured Sunday in the second inning of his second start since returning to the mound following Tommy John surgery in late 2018. Ohtani issued five walks during the 42-pitch inning against the Houston Astros, with his velocity dropping later in the frame.

The arm injury is another obstacle in Ohtani’s path to becoming the majors’ first true two-way player in decades. He made 10 mound starts as a rookie in 2018 before injuring his elbow, but he served as the Angels’ regular designated hitter last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Ohtani has pitched in only three games since June 2018, but the Angels still believe in Ohtani’s ability to be a two-way player, Maddon said.

“I’m seeing that he can,” Maddon said. “We’ve just got to get past the arm maladies and figure that out. But I’ve seen it. He’s just such a high-end arm, and we’ve seen what he can do in the batter’s box. Now maybe it might get to the point where he may choose to do one thing over the other and express that to us. I know he likes to hit. In my mind’s eye, he’s still going to be able to do this.”

The veteran manager believes Ohtani will benefit from a full spring training and a normal season. Ohtani wasn’t throwing at full strength for a starter when the coronavirus pandemic shut down spring training in March because he wasn’t expected to pitch until May as he returned from surgery.

“Going into a regular season with a normal number of starts and all the things that permit guys to be ready for a year, that’s what we need to see is some normalcy before you make that kind of determination,” Maddon said.

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