Braves’ Gonzalez third in NL manager-of-year balloting

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Braves’ Gonzalez third in NL manager-of-year balloting

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Atlanta Braves left fielder Justin Upton (8), Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (33) and Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel (46) talk during batting practice before the second game of the National League Division series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves at Turner Field, Friday, October 4, 2013.

ORLANDO – Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez got some first-place votes after guiding Atlanta to its first division title since 2005, but Clint Hurdle was a runaway winner of the National League Manager of the Year award Tuesday after his Pirates captured a wild-card playoff berth in their first winning season in 21 years.

Cleveland’s Terry Francona won the American League Manager of the Year award in his first season with the Indians, finishing ahead of Boston’s John Farrell and Oakland’s Bob Melvin.

Gonzalez was third in the NL balloting for the award from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, finishing behind Hurdle and the Dodgers’ Don Mattingly. The Pirates went 94-68 and Hurdle got 25 of 30 first-place votes and five second-place votes for 140 points. Mattingly had two first-place votes and 68 points, and Gonzalez had the other three first-place votes and 43 points.

The Braves have improved in each of the Gonzalez’s three seasons as manager, from 89 wins in 2011 to 94 wins and a wild-card berth in 2012, and 96 wins and the NL East title in 2013. They were defeated by the Dodgers 3-1 in the division series.

Postseason performance is no factor in voting for BBWAA awards, as balloting is concluded before the playoffs begin.

“We had a real nice year,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “Winning the division and putting up with all the injuries that we were kind of able to overcome. So it was a good year. There’s always a sting at the end of the year when you’re not the last team standing. We had a lot of sting at the end of the year. But I think that now when you get a chance to get away from it for a month and kind of reflect back and look at the season, it was a good year.”

Gonzalez’s first-place votes came from USA Today’s Paul White, the Oakland Tribune’s Monte Pool, and El Nuevo Herald’s Jorge Ebro.

Wren was fourth in balloting for The Sporting News Executive of the Year award, receiving three votes. Red Sox GM Ben Cherington won with 15 votes from the panel of 31 major-league team executives. Pirates GM Neal Huntington was runner-up with nine votes, and Royals GM Dayton Moore was third with four.

“You appreciate that your peers feel like you did a good job,” Wren said. “I think that’s what you take away from that.”

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