NEW YORK — Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun won the NL Most Valuable Player Award on Tuesday after helping lead the Brewers to their first division title in nearly 30 years.
The left fielder received 20 of 32 first-place votes and 388 points in voting announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
“I’m not going to pretend like I wasn’t anxious or nervous because I was,” said Braun, who was sitting on the balcony of his home in Malibu, Calif., when he received the call that he had won. “I was obviously thrilled, excited. It’s honestly difficult to put into words how much this means to me.
Los Angeles center fielder Matt Kemp, who came close to winning the Triple Crown, received 10 first-place votes and finished second with 332 points. Braun’s teammate Prince Fielder finished third with 229 points, and Arizona’s Justin Upton finished fourth with 214 points. Fielder and Upton each received one first-place vote.
St. Louis’ Albert Pujols finished fifth. It was the 11th straight year the three-time MVP was in the top 10 in balloting.
Braun led the NL with a .597 slugging percentage and had a chance to overtake Jose Reyes for the batting title on the last day of the season but finished second with a .332 average. The four-time All-Star had 33 homers, 111 RBI, 109 runs and stole 33 bases as Milwaukee won a franchise-best 96 games. His 77 extra-base hits were tops in the league.
Kemp led the NL in homers with 39 and RBI with 126 and was third in average (.324), but played for the NL West’s third-place Dodgers. He also won a Gold Glove.
Players, owners reach accord on new CBA
NEW YORK — Baseball players and owners signed an agreement for a new labor contract Tuesday, a deal that makes baseball the first North American professional major league to start blood testing on human growth hormone and expands the playoffs to 10 teams by 2013.
The five-year deal collective bargaining agreement alos makes changes owners hope will increase competitive balance by pressuring large-market teams to rein in spending on amateur draft picks and international signings.
Around the majors
• RANGERS: Texas introduced new closer Joe Nathan, who agreed to a two-year, $14.5 million contract. The four-time All-Star closer spent the past eight years in Minnesota, Nathan (2-1, 4.894 ERA) missed the 2010 season following surgery on his pitching elbow and struggled to find his form this year.
In 581 major league games for San Francisco and Minnesota, Nathan is 48-23 with a 2.87 ERA and 261 saves. He is fifth among active pitchers in saves, trailing only Mariano Rivera (603), Francisco Cordero (327), Jason Isringhausen (300) and Francisco Rodriguez (291).
• WHITE SOX: Authorities say a homeless man broke into Chicago general manager Kenny Williams’ downtown townhouse, had a bite to eat and drank a beer before he left wearing Williams’ clothes and his World Series ring. On Tuesday, a Cook County judge ordered Wayne Field III, 51, jailed in lieu of $100,000 bond.