Zimmerman wins Silver Slugger for NL at 3B

Ryan Zimmerman won’t suffer through the awards season without any hardware at all.

The Nationals’ third baseman was named the winner of a Silver Slugger on Thursday. The award, presented by Louisville Slugger, is given to the best offensive player at each position in each league, and Zimmerman’s career-best .307 average with 25 homers and 85 RBIs were judged by Major League Baseball’s managers and coaches to be the best output among National League third basemen. Zimmerman also set career highs for on-base percentage (.388) and OPS (.899), a statistic that combines on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

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“It means a lot,” Zimmerman told MLB Network, where the awards were announced on live television beginning at 6 p.m. “Pretty good accomplishment for a guy who was supposed to come in and be a defensive specialist at third base and hopefully help out with some offense.”

Zimmerman’s chief competition for the award, his second consecutive Silver Slugger, was Mets third baseman David Wright, who hit .283 with 29 homers and 103 RBIs for the Mets. Among qualifying National League third baseman, Zimmerman led in batting average, on-base percentage (.388), slugging percentage (.510) and walks (69).

Speaking with reporters during a conference call after the nationally televised awards show, Zimmerman said he was most pleased with his maturation as a hitter and ability to combine a high average and the ability to reach base with power.

“It’s part of my goal and my progression to be an average hitter and a power hitter. ... If you do that every year, you become one of the elite players in the league,” said Zimmerman, whose numbers might have been better had he not been shelved by a rib injury that sidelined him after Sept. 22.