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November 19, 2009

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Greinke is AL's choice for Cy Young Award

ZACK Greinke of the Kansas City Royals, who overcame anxiety and depression to dominate on the mound, was the overwhelming choice for the 2009 American League (AL) Cy Young Award as best pitcher.

The right-hander, playing for a 65-97 Royals team that was next to last in the AL in average runs scored per game, compiled a 16-8 mark with a 2.16 earned run average.

Greinke matched the lowest wins total of any previous Cy Young winner and became the first AL recipient to receive the award while winning less than 18 games.

The 26-year-old was named first on 25 ballots and second on the other three cast by the two representatives of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in each of the 14 league cities.

Greinke received 134 total points, based on a 5-3-1 voting system.

Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez (19-5, 2.49 ERA), received two first-place votes to finish second with 80 points.

The other first-place vote went to Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander (19-9, 3.92 ERA) who was third.

Greinke left the Royals for almost four months during 2006 spring training when he was diagnosed with clinical depression and social anxiety.

After pitching just six innings for Kansas City that year, he split the next season between starting and relieving before becoming a mainstay of the rotation.

Greinke said he was happy to receive the award but dreaded some aspects of it.

"I hope it doesn't get me a lot of attention and people wanting to talk to me about it," he told reporters on a conference call. "I'm still happy to get it.

"You work your whole life to do something and get acknowledged for it. This year I'll work as hard as I can to try and do it again.

"For me there's some negative (to it) but more positive than negative," added the pitcher.

Greinke said advice he received from two rival pitchers had improved his mental approach.

"There were two guys I talked to that were amazing. One guy said, ?focus on one pitch and when you're done making that pitch, all you think about is the next pitch'.

"A couple of days later another amazing pitcher told me the same thing. After I heard it from both those guys ... it kind of changed my thought process a lot. I tried to simplify things and not worry about what just happened.

"I still make a bunch of mistakes every game ... not repeating mechanics, getting a little tired here and there, just not staying strong every game for the course of a year," said Greinke.


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