Kuo, Belliard lead Dodgers' TYIB nominees

Kuo, Belliard lead Dodgers' TYIB nominees

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers have three nominees for This Year in Baseball Awards, including Hong-Chih Kuo in the category he won in 2008, Setup Man of the Year.

Other Dodgers up for awards are infielder Ronnie Belliard, a candidate for Best Play, and ballboy Francisco Herrera in the category of Fan Moment.

For the ninth straight year, fans will help decide the top hitters, pitchers, plays and moments from the MLB season. In 2009, more than 12 million votes were cast by fans around the world.

The 2010 This Year in Baseball Awards presented by Toyota features nominees in 19 categories. Individual honors will go to the top Hitter, Starter, Rookie, Closer, Setup Man, Defensive Player, Manager, Executive, Breakout Player, X-Factor, Dependable Player and Postseason MVP.

Fans can also vote on the year's top Play, Moment, Performance, Oddity, Game, Fan Moment and Postseason Moment from MLB.com's Must C video highlight vault.

Kuo was chosen as the 2008 Setup Man after he went 5-3 with a 2.14 ERA and his first career save. His relief ERA of 1.69 led the National League (minimum, 50 innings) and opponents hit only .204 against him.

This year, Kuo was even better, and for the first time an All-Star. He was 3-2 with a 1.20 ERA and 12 saves, 73 strikeouts and 18 walks in 60 innings. The ERA was the lowest in Dodgers history (minimum of 50 innings) and lowest in the Major Leagues. His .139 opponents batting average and .192 opponents slugging percentage also both led the Major Leagues, while lefties hit only .095 against him.

Kuo, the longest-tenured current Dodger (signing in 1999), also has accomplished one of the great comebacks, having had four elbow operations, including two Tommy John reconstructions.

Belliard, playing third base in a May 2 game against Pittsburgh, turned his back to home plate and raced into shallow left field to catch Bobby Crosby's popup, spun and launched a throw to first baseman James Loney, who stretched for the catch while keeping in contact with the bag to double off former teammate Andy LaRoche.

Herrera, the ballboy stationed in foul territory down the left-field foul line at Dodger Stadium in a July 22 game between the Dodgers and Mets, reached into the stands to make a backhanded catch of a line drive off the bat of Ike Davis, then handed the ball to a child.

"That's even better than the catch," broadcaster Vin Scully said. "Good boy."