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Spokane Indians

Former Indians pitcher is A.L. rookie of year

Mon., Nov. 15, 2010, 11:49 a.m.

NEW YORK — Former Spokane Indians pitcher Neftali Feliz (2007) has been voted the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year. Feliz captured 20 of the 28 first place votes, beating Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson.

Feliz had a rookie record 40 saves during the season, helping Texas reach the World Series for the first time in team history.

Feliz started his career in the Atlanta minor league system, but was traded to the Rangers in 2007 and assigned to Spokane to finish the season. He made his major league debut on August 3rd, 2009 but appeared in only 20 games, allowing him to keep his rookie status for 2010.

Rookie of the Year voting is done by two Baseball Writers of America members in each league city after the regular season.

San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey was voted the National League rookie of the year.

Posey drew 20 first-place votes on the 32 ballots. He was called up from Triple-A in late May and hit .305 with 18 home runs and 67 RBIs for the eventual World Series champions.

Feliz went 4-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 59 games and finished with 122 points.

Feliz won despite not starting out the season as the Texas closer. Frank Francisco held that role, but lost the spot after blowing two early save chances and Feliz took over.

The 22-year-old Feliz broke the rookie saves record of 37 set by 2000 AL Rookie of the Year Kazuhiro Sasaki of Seattle. Feliz later became the second-youngest pitcher to earn a save in the World Series, behind only Bob Welch.

This was the third time in the last six seasons that a closer has won the A.L. award. Oakland’s Andrew Bailey won last year and Huston Street of the A’s won in 2005.

Feliz became the second Texas player to win, joining Mike Hargrove from 1974.

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