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09/23/08 12:30 PM ET

Suzuki gets Aaron Award nod

Catcher has emerged as big offensive threat in A's lineup

OAKLAND -- Kurt Suzuki, who was toiling in relative obscurity as a Minor League catcher as recently as June 2007, has been nominated by the A's as the club's candidate for the MLB Hank Aaron Award presented by Sharp.

The Hank Aaron Award is given annually to the best overall offensive performer each league, with each club having a nominee. Fans can vote here until Oct. 12 to select the winner in each league. The winners will be announced prior to Game 4 of the World Series on Oct. 26.

Last year's winners were Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder. Originally introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, the Hank Aaron Award was the first major award to be introduced in 30 years.

Suzuki, 24, was called up from Triple-A Sacramento early last summer, and when veteran catcher Jason Kendall was traded to the Cubs in July, Suzuki was handed the starting job.

Known during his time in the Minors as a defensive standout who might struggle against big league pitching, Suzuki this year has been the most consistent hitter for the rebuilding A's.

"Kurt's been everything we hoped he'd be and more," said Oakland manager Bob Geren. "For a guy his age, he's extremely impressive, and he going to keep getting better."

A native Hawaiian who batted .249 with an on-base percentage of .327 as a rookie, Suzuki is on pace to greatly improve upon those numbers in his sophomore season, and he was particularly impressive during Oakland's surprising first half.

Suzuki's best month came in June, when he batted .370 with a .435 on-base percentage, nine extra-base hits and 13 RBIs.

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.