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Cain named Royals' top defensive player

Cain named Royals' top defensive player

Cain named Royals' top defensive player

KANSAS CITY -- Center fielder Lorenzo Cain missed much of the season with injuries, but that didn't prevent him from winning the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award for the Royals.

Cain was announced as the Kansas City winner on an awards show Sunday night on MLB Network as Wilson Sporting Goods, for the first time, named the top defensive player on each Major League club, plus the top defensive team (the Atlanta Braves) and the best defensive player in each league (Michael Bourn in the National League and Mike Trout in the American League). The award winners were determined by the detailed statistical analysis of MLB Network's "shredder system" used by "Clubhouse Confidential," plus input from MLB Network analysts.

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Ironically, it was one of Cain's finest plays of the season that cost him most of what was supposed to be his first season as the Royals' center fielder. In the season's fifth game at Oakland, Cain smashed into the wall while catching a long drive and sustained a left groin strain that, combined with another injury, kept him out of the next 78 games.

Later, while on a Minor League rehab assignment, Cain sustained a torn left hip flexor while chasing a fly ball. When he finally returned to the Royals' lineup -- he played 56 games before -- on Sept. 13, he was diving for a ball and strained his right hamstring. That put him out for the rest of the season.

Cain's fielding prowess was recognized by the Royals in 2011 when he received the Frank White Award as the organization's top defensive player for his play at Triple-A Omaha. He led the Pacific Coast League with 13 outfield assists.

He was acquired by the Royals from the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2010 trade for pitcher Zack Greinke.

Baseball's top defenders will be back in the spotlight during this year's GIBBY Awards, which feature nominees in 21 categories. Individual honors will go to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager, executive and postseason performer.

GIBBY trophies also will be awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels. Winners will be presented their GIBBY trophies at the MLB.com Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards extravaganza during the Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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