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11/25/09 4:27 PM EST

Torii leads Halos' cast of TYIB hopefuls

Gold Glover up for Defensive Player and Play of Year

ANAHEIM -- The Angels' superb defense, a key factor in their run to an American League West title and an AL Championship Series appearance, is highlighted in Major League Baseball's annual This Year in Baseball Awards.

The ballot boxes will close at 4:59 p.m. PT on Dec. 11. In 2008, a record 12 million votes were cast for the TYIB Awards, and that figure could be surpassed this time around as fans weigh in on the year's top hitter, pitcher, moments and more. The results of the voting will be revealed during the week of Dec. 14-18.

Torii Hunter, who claimed his ninth consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove this season, is up for Defensive Player of the Year and Play of the Year.

Hunter is pursuing Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury, Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins and St. Louis' Yadier Molina for the Defensive Player of the Year distinction.

Among the candidates in the Play of the Year department are two of Hunter's teammates: shortstop Erick Aybar and second baseman Maicer Izturis, who are spotlighted taking a hit away from Oakland's Kurt Suzuki with Izturis' flipping an off-balance toss to Aybar to complete the play after Izturis' spectacular stab.

Hunter, 2002 winner of Play of the Year, is up for his game-saving catch, robbing Kansas City's Miguel Olivo of a home run at Angel Stadium. Philadelphia's Eric Bruntlett and his unassisted triple play will be tough to top.

The Angels are nominated as a team in the Moment of the Year category for their Sept. 28 AL West-clinching celebration in which they visited the outfield wall mural memorializing Nick Adenhart, the young pitcher who was killed in an April 9 auto accident.

In individual categories, Kendry Morales is among the 10 Hitter of the Year nominees, with St. Louis' Albert Pujols a top contender. Morales, a switch-hitting first baseman, emerged as a star in his first full season by batting .306 with 34 homers and 108 RBIs, while his .569 slugging percentage was the second best in the AL.

Brian Fuentes, who led the Majors with 48 saves in his first season with the Angels, is a Closer of the Year hopeful. The Yankees' Mariano Rivera leads a pack of daunting competitors.

Named AL Manager of the Year this season by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Mike Scioscia is a prominent candidate for the TYIB version of the honor.

Rounding out the Angels' contingent of nominees is general manager Tony Reagins, who is among the 10 finalists for Executive of the Year.

Fans looking to show the Angels their support can cast their votes here.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.