Kipnis receives Heart and Hustle Award
Second baseman collects third honor from MLBPAA
MILWAUKEE -- Over the weekend in Cincinnati, Indians manager Terry Francona raved about the type of hustle that Jason Kipnis displayed on an everyday basis. No matter the outcome of an at-bat, the second baseman sprints hard up the first-base line, hoping to force an error or take advantage of a missed play in the field.
"That's one of the things I respect the most about Kip," Francona said. "He's such a good player."
On Tuesday, Kipnis' consistent effort paid off in his third Indians' Heart and Hustle Award in the past four seasons. Each year, one player from each team receives the honor from the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, which will name one overall winner on Nov. 10 at the 16th annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York.
Prior to this year, Kipnis was also the Indians' Heart and Hustle recipient in 2012 and '13. Indians outfielder Michael Brantley was Cleveland's winner last season. According to the MLBPAA, the award winners are "players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game."
"It's actually a very important award for me," Kipnis said on Tuesday. "It's something I do appreciate a lot and it's something that I do take a lot of pride in. I think I said it the last time I won this award, I try to win every year, or at least be the Indians' participant. It just means going out every day with the same energy and same passion for the game."
This season, Kipnis made his second career All-Star team and has thrived as the Indians' leadoff man, bouncing back strong from an injury-married '14 campaign. Entering Tuesday's game against the Brewers, the second baseman was batting .326 with 11 stolen bases, 38 RBIs, 39 extra-base hits, 61 runs scored and 117 hits through 90 games for the Tribe.
"Jason has an admirable work ethic and consistently gives his all on the field," MLBPAA chief executive officer Dan Foster said in a release. "He embodies all the qualities the Heart and Hustle Award represents and is an inspiring role model to young players."