SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera has been named Nicaragua's 2009 Professional Athlete of the Year by the country's Sports Writers Association. The 23-year-old Cabrera won the award over Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Vicente Padilla and boxers Roman Gonzalez and Juan Palacios. Cabrera, who completed his rookie season with the Padres in 2009, will be honored on Jan. 29 in Managua.
During his rookie season, Cabrera exceeded internal expectations, hitting .255 with eight triples, two home runs and a team-leading 25 steals. The 25 stolen bases were the most by the Padres player since 2006 and the fifth-most by a Padres rookie in club history. Cabrera, who is a native of Nandaime, Nicaragua, reached base safely in 85 of his 103 games, posting a .342 on-base percentage. He ranked among National League leaders in stolen bases. Cabrera, who missed time early in the season after breaking the hamate bone in his left hand, served as the Padres' primary shortstop after his return from the disabled list, starting 101 games. Cabrera's offensive highlight of the season came in a game on Aug. 7 against the Mets at PETCO Park when he hit a walk-off grand slam against closer Francisco Rodriguez. Cabrera was selected by the Padres in the 2008 Rule 5 Draft from the Colorado Rockies. He hadn't played above the Class A level before the 2009 season.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.