11/03/11 8:27 AM ET
Cano, Granderson win Silver Slugger Awards
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
The pair of All-Stars enjoyed standout seasons in powering the Yankees' lineup, creating headaches for opposing managers as they ranked first and second, respectively, for the AL's RBI title. Granderson took the crown by just one RBI.
This marks the sixth time in the last seven seasons that multiple Yankees have received the honor in the same year. The Yankees were one of four teams to win more than one award this year, along with the D-backs, Red Sox and Brewers.
"It's definitely an honor and a privilege to be selected," Granderson said in Taiwan, where he and Cano are headlining a five-game exhibition tour against the Chinese Taipei national team. "It's good, but at the same time, it's never been a goal of mine. I don't go through the season saying, 'I want that,' but if it ends up happening, it's definitely great. But the team stuff is always the big picture. That's what the goal is right now, even as we sit here in Taiwan right now."
For Cano, it was his third Silver Slugger Award, having also earned the honors in 2006 and '10. Since the award was first presented in 1980, Cano has won more career Silver Sluggers than all other Yankees second basemen combined. The only other Yankees second basemen to win the award were Willie Randolph in 1980 and Alfonso Soriano in 2002.
Developing into one of the game's top all-around threats, the 29-year-old Cano batted .302 with 104 runs scored, 46 doubles, 28 homers and 118 RBIs in 159 games.
"It's something I enjoy," Cano said of the award. "It means you had a great season, which is what you're looking for. You get home and work hard in the offseason and you're looking forward to this award at the end of the season. ... I just say thanks to my dad (Jose). He's the one that works with me during the offseason and helps me make sure I'm going to keep working harder every year."
Cano did not go more than two days during the regular season without a hit, and his 114 RBIs as a second baseman surpassed Tony Lazzeri's 113 in 1926 to set the Yankees' all-time record at the position.
Cano also ranked second in the Majors with 81 extra-base hits and had a Major League-leading 91 RBIs with runners in scoring position. Cano is the first Yankee to win Silver Sluggers in consecutive seasons since Derek Jeter won three straight awards from 2007-2009.
Granderson's turnaround in pinstripes actually started in August 2010, when hitting coach Kevin Long revamped his swing in a Texas batting cage, but Granderson reaped the full rewards in '11.
Conquering his earlier issues with hitting left-handed pitching, the 30-year-old Granderson was a punishing force for southpaws and right-handers alike, earning his first Silver Slugger nod.
Granderson hit .262 with 136 runs scored, 26 doubles, 41 homers, 119 RBIs and 85 walks in 156 games, setting career highs in runs, home runs and RBIs. He led the Majors in runs scored, ranked second in home runs and tied for second in extra-base hits (81), but was still surprised to win the Silver Slugger.
"From my understanding, I thought it went to the highest average at the position," Granderson said. "Maybe one day I can go ahead and improve in that category, which I'm still trying my best to do, and hopefully be that much more of a well-rounded hitter."
A big league-leading 16 of Granderson's homers came off lefties, and he was also a threat on the basepaths. Granderson stole 25 bags to become the only player in Major League history to record at least 40 homers, 10 triples and 25 steals in a single season.
Granderson placed himself among select company in Yankees history, becoming just the third Bombers center fielder with at least 41 homers in a single season. Only Mickey Mantle (three times) and Joe DiMaggio (once) had accomplished the feat previously.
He is one of just five Yankees outfielders to win a Silver Slugger, joining outfielders Dave Winfield (1981-85), Rickey Henderson (1985), Bernie Williams (2002) and Gary Sheffield (2004-05).