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Press Release

10/27/2009 11:47 AM ET
Major League Baseball players recognize top comeback performances in each league
Cardinals’ Carpenter & Blue Jays’ Hill honored by peers

NEW YORK -- Perseverance and dedication took center stage today as Major League baseball players named St. Louis Cardinals’ starting pitcher Chris Carpenter and Toronto Blue Jays’ second baseman Aaron Hill this season's top comeback players. Today, the Major League Baseball Players Association and ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic announced the winners of the 2009 Players Choice Awards for each league’s Comeback Player during the second of a series of daily broadcast segments highlighting the on-field performances and community leadership of Major League players. The 2009 Players Choice Awards are being broadcast exclusively this week during the Mike & Mike in the Morning show (6 am – 10 am ET) and are presented by Upper Deck and benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust. [See complete Awards broadcast schedule below.]

Carpenter, limited to just four Major League starts for the Cardinals in 2007 and 2008 because of elbow and shoulder injuries, bounced back strong in 2009 by throwing a one-hitter in his season debut. The 6’6”, 34-year-old finished the 2009 season with a 17-4 record and led the NL with a 2.24 ERA. Carpenter also captured the 2004 Players Choice Award for NL Comeback Player, as well as Players Choice Awards for NL Outstanding Pitcher in 2005 and 2006. He joins teammate Adam Wainwright and San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum as a finalist for the 2009 NL Outstanding Pitcher award, to be announced on Wednesday, October 28.

Hill, appearing in only 55 games for the Blue Jays in 2008, after suffering a concussion in Oakland on May 29, returned to the lineup full-time this season and set career highs in home runs (36) and RBI (108). He led all Major League second basemen in RBI and led the AL with 734 plate appearances and 682 at-bats. The 27-year-old former SEC Player of the Year (2003) while at LSU, was drafted by the Jays 13th overall in the 2003 June Draft.

To listen to a podcast of the Players Choice Awards announcements and player interviews, please click here.

Players Choice Awards annually recognize the best player, pitcher, rookie and comeback player in each league. The Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards bestow top honors without regard to league. Balloting of all Major League players for the Players Choice Awards was conducted in September under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.

Each 2009 Players Choice Award winner will recommend the charity of his choice to receive a grant from the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3.5 million dollars to charities around the world in honor of Players Choice Award winners.

The 2009 Players Choice Awards finalists are [winners in bold & underlined]:

American League:

Outstanding Player: Derek Jeter (NY Yankees), Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Kendry Morales (LA Angels of Anaheim)
Outstanding Pitcher: Roy Halladay (Toronto), Zack Greinke (Kansas City), CC Sabathia (NY Yankees)
Outstanding Rookie: Elvis Andrus (Texas), Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox), Jeff Niemann (Tampa Bay)
Comeback Player: Russell Branyon (Seattle), Aaron Hill (Toronto), Scott Podsednik (Chicago White Sox)

National League:

Outstanding Player: Prince Fielder (Milwaukee), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Hanley Ramirez (Florida)
Outstanding Pitcher: Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Tim Lincecum (San Francisco), Adam Wainwright (St. Louis)
Outstanding Rookie: Chris Coghlan (Florida), Tommy Hanson (Atlanta), J.A. Happ (Philadelphia)
Comeback Player: Aaron Boone (Houston), Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Nick Johnson (Florida)

Either League:

Player of Year: Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Albert Pujols (St. Louis), Hanley Ramirez (Florida)
Man of the Year: Curtis Granderson (Detroit), Torii Hunter (LA Angeles of Anaheim), Albert Pujols (St. Louis)

ESPN Radio’s broadcast schedule for the 2009 Players Choice Awards:

Monday, October 26 – AL & NL Outstanding Rookies – Winners: Gordon Beckham (AL)/J.A. Happ (NL)
Tuesday, October 27 – AL & NL Comeback Players
Wednesday, October 28 – AL & NL Outstanding Pitchers
Thursday, October 29 – AL & NL Outstanding Players
Friday, October 30 – Marvin Miller Man of the Year & Player of the Year