Twins’ Moli­tor, D-Backs’ Lovullo win Man­ager of Year awards

Santa Fe New Mexican - - SPORTS -

Paul Moli­tor and Torey Lovullo both presided over turn­around sea­sons, guided their teams into the play­offs and won Man­ager of the Year awards by wide mar­gins. The paths they took, those were to­tally dif­fer­ent. Moli­tor needed a club­house talk to calm down the Min­nesota Twins, his play­ers an­gered by moves the front of­fice made at the July 31 trade dead­line.

“I still be­lieved,” Moli­tor said Tues­day, re­call­ing how he helped his team over­come “that speed bump.” No such dis­trac­tions in the desert. In his first full sea­son as a skip­per, Lovullo built a cul­ture of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the Ari­zona Di­a­mond­backs. He of­ten re­ferred to the “love” team­mates had for each other — and Lovullo cer­tainly loved the mid­sea­son deal that brought bighit­ting J.D. Martinez to the D-backs.

“We are go­ing to be one year bet­ter,” he said, adding his club would be even “more united” in 2018.

Moli­tor won the Amer­i­can League Man­ager of the Year award af­ter the Twins be­came the first team to make the play­offs fol­low­ing a 100-loss sea­son.

Moli­tor drew 18 of the 30 first-place votes in bal­lot­ing by mem­bers of the Base­ball Writ­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica.

Cleve­land’s Terry Fran­cona was sec­ond and A.J. Hinch of the World Se­ries cham­pion Hous­ton Astros fin­ished third. Vot­ing was com­pleted be­fore the start of the play­offs.

Lovullo got 18 first-place votes, too, in earn­ing the Na­tional League prize. Dave Roberts of the Los An­ge­les Dodgers was sec­ond and Colorado’s Bud Black was third.

Roberts, Black, Mil­wau­kee’s Craig Coun­sell and Dusty Baker, since let go by Washington, also had first-place votes.

Moli­tor joined Frank Robinson as the only Hall of Fame play­ers to win a man­ager of the year award, which was first pre­sented in 1983.

The 52-year-old Lovullo guided the Di­a­mond­backs to a 93-69 record and their first play­off spot since 2011, a year af­ter they went 69-93.

Pow­ered by Paul Gold­schmidt, Jake Lamb and Martinez, and led by pitch­ers Zack Greinke and Rob­bie Ray, the Di­a­mond­backs made the play­offs this year. They beat Colorado in the NL wild-card game be­fore get­ting swept by the Dodgers in the Di­vi­sion Se­ries.

The Di­a­mond­backs were swept in a three-game se­ries at Min­nesota in mid-Au­gust, outscored 27-8 at Tar­get Field. Less than a week later, Ari­zona be­gan a fran­chise-record 13-game win­ning streak.

AP FILE PHO­TOS

Twins man­ager Paul Moli­tor, left, and Di­a­mond­backs man­ager Torey Lovullo were named the Amer­i­can and Na­tional League Man­agers of the Year on Tues­day.

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