Nationals’ Zimmerman receives Silver Slugger

One day after getting recognized for his superior defensive skills, Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was honored for being one of the sport’s best offensive players as well.

Zimmerman won his first Silver Slugger Award on Thursday, selected by National League managers and coaches as the league’s best offensive third baseman. The 25-year-old set career highs with 33 homers, a .292 average and 110 runs while also driving in 106 RBI. His 30-game hitting streak in April and May was the majors’ longest in 2009.

Combine that production at the plate with his stellar work in the field - he won his first Gold Glove Award on Wednesday - and Zimmerman put together quite a season.

“I’m very proud of what I did this year,” he said. “It’s obviously been my best year since I’ve been a big leaguer. I know it took a lot of hard work to do it, but at the same time I want to do even better next year.”

Zimmerman beat out childhood friend David Wright for the Gold Glove, and he beat out another childhood friend, Mark Reynolds, for the Silver Slugger. Reynolds led all big league third basemen with 44 homers, though he batted only .260 and set a major league record by striking out 223 times.

“It’s so hard to be put in the same sentence as the guys in the top level of this league,” Zimmerman said. “There’s probably three or four guys who deserve every single award. Mark’s a very close friend of mine, and he had no doubt the best season he’s ever had. He did some special things offensively, and he probably deserved this award just as much as I did.”

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