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Dozier, Buxton among Twins honored at Diamond Awards

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- Coming off a season in which he hit 42 homers, Brian Dozier was honored with three awards, including the Calvin R. Griffith Award as the Most Valuable Twin, at the 12th annual Diamond Awards at Target Field on Thursday night.

Dozier, who has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, also received the Charles O. Johnson Award for Most Improved Twin and the Bob Allison Award, given to the Twins player who exemplifies determination, hustle, tenacity, competitive spirit and leadership both on and off the field.

MINNEAPOLIS -- Coming off a season in which he hit 42 homers, Brian Dozier was honored with three awards, including the Calvin R. Griffith Award as the Most Valuable Twin, at the 12th annual Diamond Awards at Target Field on Thursday night.

Dozier, who has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, also received the Charles O. Johnson Award for Most Improved Twin and the Bob Allison Award, given to the Twins player who exemplifies determination, hustle, tenacity, competitive spirit and leadership both on and off the field.

It was a big night for Dozier, who even drew jokes from owner Jim Pohlad, who said he was happy Dozier is still a part of the organization.

"I'm honored to be a part of the Diamond Awards again," Dozier said. "But more importantly to help in this effort for more money and research for a cure for some of these terrible diseases."

Video: Must C Classic: Dozier crushes three homers

The Diamond Awards are based on voting conducted by the Twin Cities chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. And as Dozier alluded to, the event benefits research, education and care in brain, nerve and muscle disorders at the University of Minnesota.

"For me, this is a symbolic beginning of the baseball season," Pohlad said. "It's a time for all of us to come together to support the effort and those who are trying to find a cure."

Although the event wasn't televised this year, it drew more than 500 attendees, who heard the touching story of a young boy named Dominik Albus, who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy more than four years ago. His mother, Amy, gave a passionate speech about the effort to find a cure for the disease.

"I believe they'll find a cure in my lifetime, but I don't know about Dominik's," Amy said. "Developing the drugs to cure this disease takes time and money. It takes less time with more money and we don't have a lot of time."

Former Twins general manager Terry Ryan was also on hand and won the Mike Augustin "Media Good Guy" Award. The long-time GM, who was dismissed in July, was known as perhaps the most accessible executive in baseball, meeting with the local media before every game. Ryan, hired by the Phillies as a special assistant, drew praise from several current and former players at the event such as Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins and Dozier.

"Someone asked me it if it was going to be awkward tonight, but far from it," Ryan said. "After 34 years in this organization, I love this organization dearly."

Other winners included right-hander Ervin Santana, who was named the Twins Pitcher of the Year with the Joseph W. Haynes Award. Right fielder Max Kepler was named the Twins Most Outstanding Rookie, beating out other candidates such as Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco for the Bill Boni Award. Buxton was named the Twins Defensive Player of the Year, winning the Jim Kaat Award.

Video: SEA@MIN: Buxton leaps and robs a homer from Cruz

Shortstop Eduardo Escobar was the winner of the Carl R. Pohlad Community Service Award, while former 20-game winner Jim "Mudcat" Grant won the Kirby Puckett Award for alumni community service.

Outside the organization, Padres reliever Brad Hand took home the Dick Siebert Award, given to the Upper Midwest Player of the Year. He couldn't make the ceremony, but recorded an acceptance speech instead.

Additionally, Hall of Famer Rod Carew was honored with the Herb Carneal Lifetime Achievement Award. Carew, who is recovering after heart transplant surgery in Southern California, wasn't able to attend the event, but Twins president Dave St. Peter relayed the good news that Carew could return home as early as this weekend. Fellow Twins legend Tony Oliva, who was roommates with Carew during their playing days, accepted the award on Carew's behalf.

"His heralded playing career was superlative," St. Peter said. "But it turns out it was his work off the field, even to this day, that may be even more legendary."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins