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Encarnacion Jays' player of the year, most improved player

The Canadian Press

11/28/2012 5:24:24 PM

TORONTO -- First baseman Edwin Encarnacion has been named the Blue Jays' player of the year and the team's most improved player by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The 29-year-old Encarnacion had a breakout year in 2012, setting career highs in home runs (42), RBIs (110), walks (84) and stolen bases (13). He was rewarded with a US$27-million, three-year contract extension in July.

Casey Janssen earned pitcher of the year honours. The 31-year-old was thrust into the closer's role after an early season-ending injury to Sergio Santos, and the right-hander ran with it.

Janssen recorded 22 saves in 24 opportunities. He also posted a career high in strikeouts (67) and held opponents to a .195 average, also a career best.

Janssen recently underwent successful shoulder surgery on his throwing arm and is expected back for the start of training camp.

Left-hander Aaron Loup earned top rookie honours after posting a 2.64 earned-run average in 33 appearances.

Former third-base coach Brian Butterfield won the John Cerutti Award given to a person that exemplifies goodwill, co-operation and character. Butterfield received the honour after completing his 11th season with the Blue Jays.

He will join the Boston Red Sox next season.