“I don’t think it’s something that you ever think about doing. It’s such a long season, and from Day One you try to grind out at-bats no matter what the situation is,” said Posey, who missed most of 2011 following left leg and ankle injuries from a collision at the plate with the Marlins’ Scott Cousins. “I give a lot of credit to our entire training staff for all the work they did in the offseason to get me back on the field.”
Melky Cabrera missed the final 45 games of the regular season and his 501 plate appearances fell one short of qualifying under an agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ union to change the usual rule, which would have added an extra hitless at-bat to his total.
After his positive drug test was overturned in an arbitration proceeding last winter, NL MVP Ryan Braun won his league’s home run title with 41. San Diego’s Chase Headley led in RBIs with 115, three ahead of Braun.
“I knew from the beginning it was going to be challenging, and it certainly was,” Braun said. “For the most part, I feel like I’ve handled everything well, I was able to keep my composure, compete every day and ultimately contribute to a lot of our success as a team.”
Trout (49) and San Diego’s Everth Cabrera (44) won their first stolen-base titles.
Among pitchers, Gio Gonzalez led the major leagues in wins with a 21-8 record in his first season for the Washington Nationals. Angels ace Jered Weaver (20-4) and Tampa Bay lefty David Price (20-5) tied for the AL lead in victories.
Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers led the big leagues in ERA at 2.53, becoming the first pitcher to top the NL in consecutive seasons since Arizona’s Randy Johnson in 2001-02.
“I don’t care,” Kershaw said, disappointed his team failed to make the playoffs.
Price led the AL for the first time at 2.56.
Detroit’s Justin Verlander (239) led the majors in strikeouts for the second straight season and third time in four years, and knuckleballer R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets led the NL in strikeouts with 230, one more than Kershaw.
On the negative end, the Pittsburgh Pirates extended their record for consecutive losing seasons to 20. Pittsburgh was 62-46 on Aug. 8 before fading to a 17-37 finish.
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