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Three Nats win Silver Slugger Awards

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Beanballs,Sports,Brian McNally

The postseason honors continue to accumulate for the Nationals, who had a major-league high three players win Silver Slugger Awards on Thursday.

First baseman Adam LaRoche, shortstop Ian Desmond and pitcher Stephen Strasburg all earned the award for the first time in their careers. It is voted upon by major league coaches and managers and given to the best offensive player at each position in the American League and the National League.

LaRoche had already earned a Gold Glove for his defensive work at first base. He hit a career-high 33 home runs, the most at that position in either league, and tied his career-high with 100 RBI. He posted an .853 OPS. Only St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig did better in the National League.

New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen were the only other big league players in 2012 to win a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove. Ryan Zimmerman is the only Nats player to accomplish that feat when he won both in 2009. In its previous seven years in Washington the club had just three Silver Sluggers – two of them by Zimmerman (2009, 20010). Alfonso Soriano won the other as an outfielder in 2006.

Strasburg batted .277 with four doubles and a home run in 28 starts for Washington. He led the majors in doubles by a pitcher and was second in batting average, slugging (.426) and OPS (.759).

Desmond was a Gold Glove finalist, though he didn’t win it. But he earned a Silver Slugger by leading all shortstops in slugging percentage (.511), OPS (.845) and home runs (25).He batted .292 with 73 RBI and 21 stolen bases. He also missed significant time with an oblique injury (25 games). Desmond was named an N.L. All-Star, though he didn’t participate in the game due to injury.

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