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Sano, Molitor among BBWAA award finalists

Pair of Twins in the running for AL Rookie of Year, Manager of Year

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Paul Molitor was named one of three finalists for the Baseball Writers' Association of America American League Manager of the Year Award, while Miguel Sano was also named a finalist for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, as announced on Tuesday on MLB Network.

Molitor, who was already named the AL Manager of the Year by Sporting News, led Minnesota to its first winning season since 2010. After losing at least 92 games in each of the previous four seasons, the Twins went 83-79 and weren't eliminated from postseason contention until the second-to-last day of the regular season. The 13-win improvement from 2014 to 2015 was the fifth-highest in the Majors.

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Molitor, a Hall of Famer who compiled 3,319 hits in 21 seasons in the Majors, joins Astros skipper A.J. Hinch and Rangers manager Jeff Banister as finalists for the BBWAA award. Both Houston and Texas made the postseason. The winner will be announced on Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network. Molitor is aiming to be the third Twins manager to win the award, joining Tom Kelly (1991) and Ron Gardenhire (2010).

Video: AL Manager of the Year Finalist: Paul Molitor

Sano, meanwhile, was Minnesota's best offensive performer after being recalled from Double-A Chattanooga on July 2. The 22-year-old hit .269/.385/.530 with 18 homers, 17 doubles and 52 RBIs in 80 games. He ranked first among AL Rookies in both on-base percentage and slugging percentage while his 18 homers ranked second and his 68 RBIs ranked third.

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But with Trevor Plouffe the club's starter at Sano's natural position of third base, Sano served primarily as designated hitter, as he saw action at third base just nine times and first base twice.

Sano joins Houston's Carlos Correa and Cleveland's Francisco Lindor as the three BBWAA finalists. Sano provided more offense, but Correa and Lindor were both impressive defensively at shortstop and appeared in more games. The AL Rooke of the Year Award winner will be announced on Monday at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network. Sano is looking to be the eighth Twins player to win the AL Rookie of the Year Award, and the first since Marty Cordova in 1995.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.
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