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Lee, Big Z lead Cubs' award candidates

Lee, Big Z lead Cubs' award candidates

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It's awards time in Major League Baseball, meaning Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee and pitcher Carlos Zambrano could be back in the "Silver" spotlight.

Lee, who won the National League Gold Glove Award three times in 2003, '05 and '07, lost out to Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez on Wednesday. Lee posted a .995 fielding percentage in '09, his best mark since 2005.

But Lee is still in the running for a Silver Slugger Award, which will be announced on Thursday. Lee, who hit .306 with 35 home runs and 111 RBIs this past season, won the award in 2005.

Those numbers were just a bit better than Zambrano's, but the Cubs pitcher should once again be a candidate for a Silver Slugger Award despite what qualifies as a down year at the plate. Zambrano batted .217 in 2009, a 120-point drop from the previous season, but he led all pitchers with four home runs and tied the Dodgers' Randy Wolf for the lead with 11 RBIs.

Zambrano has won a pair of Silver Slugger Awards, in 2006 and in '08. The award goes to one player in each league at each defensive position, plus a designated hitter in the American League and a pitcher in the NL.

Here's the full awards schedule for the next two weeks:

Thursday, Nov. 12 -- Silver Sluggers
Monday, Nov. 16 -- Rookie of the Year
Tuesday, Nov. 17 -- AL Cy Young Award
Wednesday, Nov. 18 -- Manager of the Year
Thursday, Nov.19 -- NL Cy Young Award
Monday, Nov. 23 -- AL MVP
Tuesday, Nov. 24 -- NL MVP

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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