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Upton, Hudson honored for slugging prowess

Upton, Hudson honored for slugging prowess

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Upton, Hudson honored for slugging prowess
PHOENIX -- One day after outfielder Gerardo Parra struck gold, a pair of D-backs received some silver.

Outfielder Justin Upton and right-hander Daniel Hudson were awarded 2011 National League Silver Slugger Awards presented by Louisville Slugger on Wednesday.

It is the first time that either player has won the award.

On Tuesday, Parra collected a Rawling's Gold Glove Award for his defensive prowess.

STERLING STICKS
There were nine first-time Louisville Slugger Silver Sluggers, while Boston's David Ortiz and Atlanta's Brian McCann each picked up their fifth such honor.
American League
Pos. Player Team Silver Sluggers
1B Adrian Gonzalez BOS 1
2B Robinson Cano NYY 3
SS Asdrubral Cabrera CLE 1
3B Adrian Beltre TEX 3
OF Curtis Granderson NYY 1
OF Jose Bautista TOR 2
OF Jacoby Ellsbury BOS 1
C Alex Avila DET 1
DH David Ortiz BOS 5
National League
Pos. Player Team Silver Sluggers
1B Prince Fielder MIL 2
2B Brandon Phillips CIN 1
SS Troy Tulowitzki COL 2
3B Aramis Ramirez CHC 1
OF Ryan Braun MIL 4
OF Matt Kemp LAD 2
OF Justin Upton ARI 1
C Brian McCann ATL 5
P Daniel Hudson ARI 1

Upton, 24, earned his second NL All-Star appearance in 2011, as he hit .289 with 39 doubles, 31 homers and 88 RBIs while playing in a career-high 159 games.

It is the second award this offseason for Upton, who was also selected to The Sporting News All-Star Team.

Upton became the third player in D-backs history to reach the 30-homer and 20-steal plateau in the same season. He stole 21 bases in 30 attempts.

Upton was just shy of 20 years old when he made his big league debut in 2007, and the expectations for the former No. 1 overall pick were immense. This past season, he worked hard to keep things simple and not get too frustrated with himself when he struggled.

"I think it's a combination of more experience, but also in understanding how the game works and understanding the ups and downs rather than analyzing them so much," Upton said earlier this year of his success. "I think sometimes you'll go into a slump, and you're still hitting the ball well and you're not getting any hits. You're so concerned with the results that it consumes you rather than understanding that those things are going to happen.

"You just need to stick with what you're doing and just wait for the next wave of hits and be patient with that process. You'll be more successful that way and not drive yourself into deeper slumps."

In his first full year in the big leagues, Hudson showed that he could be a weapon not just with his arm, but with his bat.

The 24-year-old led all Major League pitchers by hitting .277 with three doubles, a home run and 14 RBIs and was especially tough with runners in scoring position, hitting .389.

"Being able to go up to the plate every other inning or every third inning, it kind of takes your mind off the mound a little bit," Hudson said last month during the National League Division Series. "It gives you something else you have to work at. So it's not always what you're doing on the mound; it's not so much focused on that. It's knowing you can help the team in doing something else. Knowing that is a lot of fun."

Hudson helped the D-backs plenty on the mound as well, going 16-12 with a 3.49 ERA.

The other two NL outfield winners were Matt Kemp of the Dodgers and Ryan Braun of the Brewers. Only one pitcher was selected.

Only two other players in D-backs history have won Silver Slugger Awards. Outfielder Luis Gonzalez captured one in 2001, when he hit 57 homers, while pitcher Micah Owings earned one in 2007, when he led all pitchers with four homers and 15 RBIs.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @dbackswriter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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