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McCann wins Tigers Rookie of the Year

DETROIT -- Catcher James McCann has been voted the Tigers Rookie of the Year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association, punctuating a season that saw him not only emerge as the Tigers' everyday catcher but also step up as a leader on a team that grew younger as the season went on.

McCann, the Tigers' top pick in the 2011 Draft, began the season splitting time behind the plate before Alex Avila's stint on the disabled list forced him into more frequent work. The 25-year-old not only shouldered the heavy workload, but he also took on the responsibility of handling the pitching staff and putting together game plans on opposing hitters as manager Brad Ausmus groomed him for a bigger role.

McCann batted .264 (106-for-401) with 18 doubles, five triples, seven home runs and 41 RBIs in 114 games. His 29 multi-hit games ranked fourth among American League rookies.

Defensively, he was a standout, throwing out 24 of 65 would-be basestealers and picking off two other baserunners. He was the only Major Leaguer to catch at least 110 games without being charged with an error, and his three passed balls tied him for second-lowest among qualified catchers.

McCann hit the spotlight when cameras caught him in a dugout argument with shortstop Jose Iglesias during an August game against the Red Sox at Comerica Park. Several players came to McCann's support, with former Tiger David Price calling him a future captain.

Barely a week later, McCann had a highlight in Kansas City, staring down Alex Rios during a mound visit when he suspected the Royals' baserunner of trying to steal signs from second base.

McCann is just the second catcher to win Tigers Rookie of the Year, which has been awarded since 1969. Matt Nokes was the other, winning it in 1987.

Jason Beck is a reporter for Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.
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