Suzuki, Hunter, Chavez lead AL Gold Glove winners

NEW YORK -- Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, Minnesota
outfielder Torii Hunter and Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez won
their fifth straight Gold Gloves on Tuesday.

Boston catcher Jason Varitek, Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira
and Toronto second baseman Orlando Hudson were first-time winners,
while New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and Toronto outfielder
Vernon Wells won for the second straight season.

Texas pitcher Kenny Rogers won for the fourth time overall and
second in a row.

"Defense usually doesn't make many headlines, but it goes a
long way towards winning baseball games," Jeter said in a
statement. "There are a number of ways to make an impact during
the course of a game, and playing solid, sound defense is one of

Varitek took over at catcher from Detroit's Ivan Rodriguez.

"The most important job that I have is to work with the
pitchers to help them be the best that they can be," Varitek said
during a telephone conference call.

Hudson was surprised he beat out Baltimore's Brian Roberts.

"I would have bet anything that he was going to win," Hudson
said. "This has always been a goal of mine, so I've accomplished
one of my goals already."

Chavez, Suzuki and Varitek each earned $100,000 bonuses, while
Rogers and Wells earned $50,000 apiece and Hunter $25,000.

"On behalf of our fans, we congratulate Ichiro on a
well-deserved honor," Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi said.
"The great thing about the Gold Glove Awards is that the managers
and coaches -- the people who know best -- are the ones doing the
voting. And for five consecutive years, they have recognized what
we see every day here in Seattle."

Chavez, who struggled to throw to first base in June because of
inflammation behind his right shoulder, thought Texas' Hank Blalock
might be the leading candidate this year.

"When you have a streak intact, you want to keep it going as
long as you possibly can," said Chavez, who committed 15 errors.
"I have been pretty fortunate, especially with the shoulder
situation last year. The past four or five years, I've felt pretty
lucky. I don't really expect anything. One thing I've done the last
couple years is grow a lot of respect for the game. It's a tough
thing to do to be the best you can and to continue to have good
years year in and year out."

Gold Gloves, presented since 1957 by St. Louis-based Rawlings,
are voted on by managers and coaches before the end of the regular
season. They may not select players on their own teams, and they
vote only for players in their own league.

NL Gold Glove winners will be announced Wednesday.