Edited from MLB News Release
Tim Hudson of the Atlanta Braves and Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins are the recipients of the 2010 Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Awards.
The Comeback Player of the Year Award is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball, and is presented annually to one player in each League who has re-emerged on the baseball field during the season.
Hudson, who made just seven starts in 2009 after recovering from “Tommy John” surgery, went 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA over 34 starts in 2010 to help the Atlanta Braves claim the National League Wild Card. The 17 wins marked Hudson’s highest win total since he earned 18 victories in 2001 with Oakland.
In 228.2 innings pitched, Tim permitted 72 earned runs on 189 hits with 74 walks and 139 strikeouts. Hudson, who pitched Sunday’s critical regular season finale for Atlanta, tied for fourth in the N.L. in wins and was sixth in ERA. In addition, Tim ranked tied for second in the league in starts, fourth in innings pitched and tied for ninth with a .229 opponents batting average.
Hudson went 4-0 over six starts in May, compiling a 1.59 ERA for the month, which tied for fouth in the N.L. The three-time All-Star posted two separate five-game winning streaks this season. The first came in a seven-start span from May 1st-June 1st, when he posted a 1.77 ERA, and the second came over eight starts from July 22nd-August 28th.
The 35-year-old right-hander tossed 8.0 innings on six occasions, allowing three hits in four of those six starts. The Auburn University product surrendered six hits or less in 25 of his 34 starts and had a career-high 13 strikeouts over 7.0 innings on August 28th against the Florida Marlins at Turner Field. Hudson, who was originally drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the sixth round of the 1997 First-Year Player Draft, has pitched six seasons for Atlanta dating back to 2005.
Liriano, in his fifth Major League season, re-established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball as he helped lead the Minnesota Twins to the A.L. Central title. Liriano, who missed all of 2007 after undergoing “Tommy John” surgery, made just 14 starts in 2008 and 24 starts in 2009 while battling arm fatigue. The 26-year-old left-hander went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA in 31 starts in 2010.
In 191.2 innings, he surrendered 77 earned runs on 184 hits with 58 walks and 201 strikeouts. Francisco set career-highs in wins, starts, innings pitched and strikeouts. The 2006 A.L. All-Star finished fifth in the A.L. in strikeouts (second among left-handers behind Boston’s Jon Lester) and tied for the league’s second-longest winning streak with a career-best eight-game winning streak from July 16th-September 14th (11 starts).
Liriano, who was selected A.L. Pitcher of the Month in April after going 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA, was the only A.L. pitcher with an ERA under 1.00 in April. The San Cristobal, Dominican Republic native posted a 23.0 inning scoreless streak from April 15th-May 2nd, the second-longest streak by any Twins pitcher since 1993 (Johan Santana – 33.0, 2004).
Liriano held opponents homerless over 96.1 innings from May 20th – August 18th, marking the second-longest stretch in Twins history behind Bert Blyleven’s 99.0-inning stretch from August 25, 1974-April 24, 1975. Francisco, who was acquired by the Twins from the San Francisco Giants in November 2003, became just the seventh different Twins pitcher in franchise history to reach the 200-strikeout plateau, joining Blyleven (six times); Santana (four times); Camilo Pascual (four times); Dean Chance (twice); Jim Kaat (twice); and Dave Boswell (once).
The 30 Club beat reporters from MLB.com, the official web site of Major League Baseball, selected the winners for the 2010 Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Award. Past winners of the Award include: Jason Giambi and Ken Griffey, Jr. (2005); Jim Thome and Nomar Garciaparra (2006); Carlos Peña and Dmitri Young (2007); Cliff Lee and Brad Lidge (2008); and Aaron Hill and Chris Carpenter (2009).