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Tribe Minors award winners announced

Minors award winners announced

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indians' focus these days is on the future, and Carlos Santana and Hector Rondon are doing their part to make the future look bright.

On Thursday the Tribe named Santana the Lou Boudreau Award winner as the organization's top Minor League position player of the year, and Rondon won the Bob Feller Award as the top Minor League pitcher of the year.

"With each guy, it's exciting to give an award like that to a player that has tons of ceiling and a very bright future ahead of him," Ross Atkins, farm director, said. "Then, on top of that, they were -- if not the best at their level -- among the best in performance, objectively. That doesn't always line up that you have a guy who was the best performer, as well as the highest ceiling. But in these cases, it was a unanimous choice amongst our organization."

Santana has been sensational since the Indians acquired him in the July 2008 deal that sent Casey Blake to the Dodgers. In 2009 he ascended to Double-A Akron and established himself as the Eastern League MVP.

The switch-hitting Santana batted .290 with 30 doubles, two triples, 23 homers, 97 RBIs and 91 runs scored in 130 games. He led the league in slugging percentage (.530), OPS (.943) and walks (90), and was second in home runs, RBIs and on-base percentage (.413). He also participated in the All-Star Futures Game in St. Louis.

But the 23-year-old saw his winter-ball stint in the Dominican Republic cut short by the flu bug and by a broken bone in his right hand. He underwent surgery to remove the broken bone on Tuesday, and he will need to refrain from picking up a bat for eight to 10 weeks. The Indians are hopeful that he'll be ready for a full Spring Training and the start of the season.

Once healed, he will begin the year with Triple-A Columbus, but he obviously projects as the club's catcher of the future. He could be in the big league picture before September 2010.

Rondon, 21, might be even closer to joining the Major League club, though he, too, is expected to begin 2010 with the Clippers.

Rondon spent the first half of the 2009 season at Akron before joining Columbus. In 27 total appearances, including 25 starts, between the two levels, he went 11-10 with a 3.38 ERA. He struck out 137 batters in 146 1/3 innings, and he limited the opposition to a .256 batting average.

Rondon went 4-5 with a 4.00 ERA in 12 games with Columbus. For the season, he led the organization in strikeouts, was third in total wins and was fourth in innings pitched.

The Indians originally signed Rondon out of Venezuela in 2004, when he was just 16.

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

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