Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals is the winner of the 2009 Major League Baseball Comeback Player of the Year Award for the National League, it was announced Monday. 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.
Carpenter, who made just four starts combined in 2007 and 2008 while experiencing elbow and shoulder pains, went 17-4 with a National League-leading 2.24 ERA over 28 starts in 2009. Chris, who owns the Cardinals’ all-time top winning percentage (.739; 68-24) for pitchers with a minimum of 100 games started, became the first Cardinal to lead the N.L. in ERA since Joe Magrane had a 2.18 ERA in 1988. The 34-year-old right-hander tossed three complete games, including one shutout, and allowed just 156 hits and 38 walks with 144 strikeouts over 192.2 innings pitched, holding opposing hitters to a .226 batting average.
The 2005 National League Cy Young Award winner did not suffer a loss in July or August, posting a combined 9-0 record with a 2.00 ERA. Carpenter compiled a Major-League best 11-game winning streak from July 5-September 7, two wins shy of tying his career-best 13-game winning streak set in 2005. The Exeter, New Hampshire native tossed at least six innings in 24 of 28 starts, including 22 in which he permitted three earned runs or less. The two-time All-Star went 11-0 with a 1.58 ERA over 15 starts against N.L. Central Division rivals.
Originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays as the 15th overall pick in the 1993 First-Year Player Draft, Chris has been a member of the Cardinals since December 13, 2002, when he signed with the club as a free agent.
Carpenter will next take the mound on Wednesday in game one of the National League Division Series in Los Angeles. Though it only covers the regular season, the NL Cy Young Award winner will not be announced until November.
Second baseman Aaron Hill of the Toronto Blue Jays was the American League Comeback Player of the Year winner.
The 30 club beat reporters from MLB.com selected the winners for the 2009 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); and Cliff Lee and Brad Lidge (2008).
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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