Twins' Mauer wins American League MVP award

NEW YORK Mon Nov 23, 2009 4:40pm EST

Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer hits a RBI double in the fifth inning scoring New York Yankees' Derek Jeter for the American League's third run of Major League Baseball's All-Star game in St. Louis in this July 14, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/John Gress

Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer hits a RBI double in the fifth inning scoring New York Yankees' Derek Jeter for the American League's third run of Major League Baseball's All-Star game in St. Louis in this July 14, 2009 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/John Gress

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer was named the American League's Most Valuable Player on Monday after winning his third batting title in four seasons.

Mauer received 27 of the 28 first-place votes by the Baseball Writers Association of America to easily outdistance Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees.

"It's a tremendous honor. I'm real humbled by it," Mauer told a conference call. "There are a lot great players in the American League, and the big leagues overall, and to be the MVP is hard to describe. It's a great feeling."

The 26-year-old Mauer batted .365 to earn his second straight A.L. batting crown. He had 327 points in the voting, well ahead of Teixeira, who had 225, and Jeter with 193.

Minnesota finished tied with the Detroit Tigers for first place in the Central Division and entered the post-season by defeating the Tigers 6-5 in a one-game tiebreaker.

The Twins then lost three straight games in the first round of the playoffs to the eventual World Series champion New York Yankees.

Mauer, who also led the A.L. in on-base percentage (.444) and slugging percentage (.587), said he would rather have won the World Series than the MVP award.

"I'm a little more focused on the World Series," said Mauer, who missed the first month of the season with a back injury. "I wish this press conference had been after a Game Six or Game Seven and we were talking about the year that we had.

"But we got to the post-season this year and we had a great run at it."

A three-time All-Star, Mauer is the fifth Twins player to win the MVP Award and only the 10th A.L. player with three or more batting titles.

Mauer, who had 28 homers and 96 RBIs this season, became just the second catcher in the past 33 years to be named MVP.

He said he enjoyed catching despite the physical toll it took on a player.

"I love catching," he said. "I love the demands that are put on me and the responsibilities that I have. Although it might beat you up a little bit physically and mentally, I like being back there making those decisions."

(Writing by Steve Ginsburg in Washington; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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