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Thursday, November 12, 2009
Zambrano wins third Silver Slugger

ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Carlos Zambrano's season on the mound didn't have him in contention for any postseason awards, but the switch-hitting pitcher's production at the plate earned him another honor.

The Chicago Cubs pitcher Thursday won a National League Silver Slugger award as voted upon by league managers and coaches. The honor is presented annually by Louisville Slugger to the best offensive players at each position in each league.

Zambrano is a three-time winner of the Silver Slugger award, also earning the honor in 2006 and 2008. He is one of three Cubs in franchise history to earn at least three Silver Sluggers, joining Ryne Sandberg (seven times at second base) and Sammy Sosa (six times as an outfielder). Zambrano is the only pitcher in club history to earn this honor.

Zambrano's three Silver Slugger awards are tied for third-most among pitchers with Rick Rhoden and Don Robinson since its inception in 1980. Mike Hampton has earned the honor five times while Tom Glavine has won the award four times. Zambrano is the first pitcher to earn consecutive honors since Hampton received the award five-straight seasons from 1999-2003.

In 2009, Zambrano led major league pitchers with four home runs and nine extra-base hits while his five doubles and 11 runs batted in were both tied for the major-league lead among pitchers. Zambrano, who batted .217 (15-for-69), posted a .464 slugging percentage, second-highest among pitchers with at least 50 at-bats (Micah Owings, .537).

In 2008, Zambrano became the first pitcher in major league history to win a Silver Slugger and throw a no-hitter in the same season, as he no-hit the Houston Astros on Sept. 14 at Miller Park. He is one of two pitchers to own multiple Silver Slugger awards and toss a no-hitter, as Fernando Valenzuela twice earned the honor (1981, 1983) and added a no-hitter in 1990.

The 28-year-old Zambrano already owns the franchise record with 20 career home runs by a pitcher, far surpassing the previous mark of 13 by Fergie Jenkins. Zambrano has 47 career extra-base hits, second-most by a pitcher in club annals, trailing only Charlie Root's 64 extra-base hits from 1926-1941.

Zambrano finished 9-7 with a 3.77 earned-run average in 28 starts.