NEW YORK -- In a pre-game ceremony this evening, Washington Nationals first baseman, Dmitri Young, will be presented with a prestigious Players Choice Award for 2007 NL Comeback Player. Selected in a secret ballot of all National League players, Dmitri will receive the Players Choice Award for an inspiring rebound-season in which he played 136 games and provided a spark to a young Nationals team. Dmitris teammate, Ryan Zimmerman, a member of the MLBPAs Executive Board, will represent all National League players in presenting Dmitri with this award.
In 2006, Dmitri nearly walked away from the game when he was released by the American League Champion Detroit Tigers after only 48 games and shortly thereafter was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Persuaded by family members not to give up, he accepted the Nationals 2007 spring training invitation as a non-roster player and made the club, putting up impressive numbers that earned him a spot in the 2007 All-Star Game. He finished the season with a .320 batting average (tenth in the National League), 74 RBI and 38 doubles.
In Dmitris honor, the Major League Baseball Players Trust will award a $20,000 grant to his hometown Boys and Girls Club in Oxnard, California. 2007 Players Choice Award winners in all categories will designate charities to receive grants totaling $260,000 from the Players Trust. Since 1992, the Players Trust has recognized the outstanding on-field and off-field performances of Players Choice Awards winners by contributing over $3 million to charities around the world.
Through the Players Trust, Major Leaguers contribute their time, money and celebrity to call attention to important causes affecting the needy and to help encourage others to get involved in their own communities. In partnership with Volunteers of America, the national human service organization, the Players Trust created and helps administer the Action Team, a national youth volunteer program currently inspiring the next generation of volunteers in cities throughout the United States. For more information on the Major League Baseball Players Trust, please visit www.MLBPLAYERS.com.