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Gonzalez: Award a way to thank Nationals GM Rizzo

Friday - 1/18/2013, 1:47am  ET

AP Sports Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Gio Gonzalez got bounced a lot early in his career before eventually winding up with a home in Washington.

Earning the Warren Spahn Award as baseball's top left-handed pitcher, he says, was one way of saying thanks to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo for believing in him and giving him a place to settle down.

Gonzalez was presented the award Thursday in Oklahoma City. He says it "meant all the world to me" when Rizzo got him in a trade with Oakland and then offered him a long-term contract to stay in Washington.

He finished the season with a 21-8 record, a 2.89 ERA and 207 strikeouts. The winner of the award is decided purely on statistics. It is named after Warren Spahn, the top-winning lefty in baseball history.

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