Hardy wins another Gold Glove (Jones and Machado also win)

Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy no longer can be viewed as unappreciated defensively.

Hardy, primarily known for his power at the shortstop position, won his second consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove tonight by beating out the Tampa Bay Rays’ Yunel Escobar and the Kansas City Royals’ Alcides Escobar. The announcement was made on ESPN2.

Hardy is the third Orioles shortstop to win the award in consecutive years, joining Cal Ripken Jr. (1991-92) and Mark Belanger (1973-78).

In 2013, Hardy led all American League shortstops in games (159) and double players turned (108) and also ranked in the top four in assists (second with 403), putouts (third with 230), total zone runs (third with four) and fielding percentage (fourth at .981).

Hardy joins Derek Jeter (five), Jimmy Rollins (four), Alex Rodriguez (two) and Troy Tulowitzki (two) as active players with multiple Glove Gloves as a shortstop.

Updated: It’s been quite a day for center fielder Adam Jones, who also got engaged to longtime girlfriend Audie Fugett - daughter of former NFL tight end Jean Fugett - while vacationing in Paris.

Jones won his third Gold Glove, and second in the past two seasons, after leading American League center fielders in games (156), assists (11) and putouts (352), and ranking third in fielding percentage (.995). Jones beat out the Boston Red Sox’s Jacoby Ellsbury and the Royals’ Lorenzo Cain.

This is the third time in the last four seasons that Jones has led AL center fielders in putouts. He joins Paul Blair (1969-75) as the only Orioles outfielders to receive a Gold Glove in consecutive seasons.

Nick Markakis lost out to Boston’s Shane Victorino in right field despite not committing an error this season. Markakis won the award in 2011.

Update II: For the first time since 1975, an Orioles third baseman has been awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove for defensive excellence.

A 21-year-old former shortstop ended the dry spell.

Manny Machado has won his first Gold Glove in his first full season in the majors. Machado had to pry it away from the other two finalists, the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre and the Rays’ Evan Longoria, who combined to win the last six.

Machado, the only Oriole last night to win a Fielding Bible Award, committed 13 errors in 484 chances this season, compared to 11 in 386 chances by Longoria and 14 in 339 chances by Beltre. Machado played in 156 games, his season ending during the final road game on Sept. 23 because of a knee injury that required surgery.

Machado crushed the competition with an ultimate zone rating (UZR) of 31.2 and 35 defensive runs saved (DRS). He was a nightly highlight reel, which didn’t go unnoticed by managers and coaches who did the voting.

The third overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Machado led all American League third basemen in fielding percentage (.973), assists (355 - most among AL third basemen since Brandon Inge’s 398 in 2006 - double plays turned (42) and range factor per game (3.02). He also finished second in putouts (116).

Machado’s 32 Total Zone Runs (the number of runs above or below average the player was worth based on the number of plays made) was the highest total for any defender in the majors in 2013 and tied for the 12th-best season of all-time. It was also the best defensive season by an American League infielder since Mark Belanger’s 35 in 1975.

Machado posted 4.4 Defensive Wins Above Replacement, pacing all American League defenders (third-highest total in the majors). His 4.4 DWAR is tied for the 8th-highest single-season total of all-time for any position and tied for third in club history.

No Orioles third baseman had taken home the hardware since Brooks Robinson in ‘75 - the last of his 16.

Machado isn’t expected to be ready for opening day 2014 after undergoing a 75-minute procedure on Oct. 14 that included an arthroscopy and open reconstruction of the medial patellar femoral ligament in his left knee. A hamstring tendon was used to graft a replacement for the ruptured ligament.

Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the surgery at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic, estimated the recovery time at approximately six months.

Chris Davis lost out to Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer for the Gold Glove at first base. He came into it as the underdog, but nobody can top his 53 homers and 138 RBIs.

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