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Anibal named Rookie of the Month.


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MIAMI -- The most memorable month of Anibal Sanchez's brief Major League career became even more noteworthy on Monday, when the Florida Marlins right-hander was named National League Rookie of the Month for September.

 

Sanchez was 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA in six September starts, and his lone defeat came in a complete game, 2-1 loss on Sept. 16, when he was outdueled by Atlanta veteran John Smoltz. Sanchez led all rookies with 43 innings pitched and two complete games in the month, and his five September wins tied Houston's Roy Oswalt for the most of any National League pitcher in the month.

 

None of the 22-year-old Venezuelan's September starts was more impressive, however, than his outing against the Diamondbacks on Sept. 6. Sanchez threw the only no-hitter of the 2006 season, and the first in the Majors since Randy Johnson's perfect game on May 18, 2004.

 

Perhaps it was a bit of rookie inexperience that helped Sanchez calm his nerves. He said that he didn't think about the historical impact of his outing until he saw the Dolphin Stadium scoreboard in the ninth.

 

"When I got two outs, I saw the screen, and thought, 'All right, no-hitter,'" Sanchez said. "I just froze for a couple of moments. I knew in the last inning, the [Nos.] 2, 3, 4 hitters were up. That's their best hitters in their lineup."

 

With little suspense, however, Sanchez retired Arizona's Conor Jackson, Luis Gonzalez and Eric Byrnes to complete what he later called "the greatest moment of my life."

 

He added, "You never think that's going to happen."

 

Hits were hard to come by for any club facing Sanchez in September. The right-hander allowed just 30 hits in 43 innings in the month, and opposing batters managed just a .194 average against him.

 

Sanchez's outstanding September allowed him to finish his rookie campaign with a 10-3 record and 2.83 ERA -- not bad for a right-hander who started the season in Double-A and didn't make his first Major League start until June 25.

 

"He's done it the whole second half," said Florida manager Joe Girardi. "He has not had an easy road. You think about his first start and what he's done, he's been a big pitcher for us."

 

His five September wins also allowed Sanchez to fulfill a personal goal of 10 wins in his rookie season.

 

"I thought I was going to get my 10 wins this year," said Sanchez, a Venezuelan native. "I counted down [after the no-hitter] that I needed three wins in my last four starts. Then I said I'd try to make it."

 

The double-digit victory total allowed the youthful Marlins to make some Major League history. Sanchez, Josh Johnson (12-7), Ricky Nolasco (11-10) and Scott Olsen (12-9) made Florida the first team to ever feature four rookies with at least 10 wins in the same season.

 

Given this Miami youth movement, it isn't surprising that Sanchez is the third Marlin to win a Rookie of the Month award -- the first time any club has boasted three different winners in the same season. Johnson and Florida second baseman Dan Uggla shared the award in June, and Johnson won the award by himself in May. Other rookies receiving votes were Sanchez's Marlins teammate Hanley Ramirez (.352, five home runs, 16 RBIs in September), Arizona first baseman Conor Jackson (.341, three home runs, 17 RBIs), Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (.304, three home runs, 21 RBIs), Colorado outfielder Jeff Baker (.375, five home runs, 21 RBIs), Houston outfielder Luke Scott (.268, six home runs, 21 RBIs), Chicago second baseman Ryan Theriot (.338, three home runs, 11 RBIs) and starter Rich Hill (3-1, 1.93 ERA, 50 strikeouts), San Diego reliever Cla Meredith (3-0, 1.33 ERA), and Los Angeles closer Takashi Saito (2.03 ERA, eight saves).

 

 

 

 

 

Floridamarlins.com

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