CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The three finalists for Professional Athlete of the Year have been announced by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
The nominees are – Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, starting pitcher Justin Masterson and Browns cornerback Joe Haden.
Caberera hit .273 with 25 home runs, 92 RBI and 87 runs scored for the Indians in 2011. Cabrera was one of two Indians who made the American League All-Star team — closer Chris Perez also joined him in Arizona for the mid-summer classic.
Masterson went 12-10 but his record was hardly an indication of the spectacular season that he had. Masterson, who finished with a 3.21 ERA, was a victim of no run support in 2011. He allowed 211 hits and 77 earned runs to go with 158 strikeouts and 65 walks in 216 innings and is expected to be the Tribe’s opening day starter.
Haden led the Bronwns’ second-ranked pass defense in the NFL this past season. Cleveland allowed 184.9 yards through the air per game. Although he finished the season without an interception, he was sixth in the NFL with 19 passes defensed and broke up at least three passes in three games. He broke up a career-high five passes in the Browns’ season-opening loss to Cincinnati.
Browns returner/wide receiver Josh Cribbs was the 2011 recipient of the Pro Athlete of the Year award. Cribbs beat out teammate and now 5-time Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas and Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.
The winner will be announced February 2 at the annual Greater Cleveland Sports Awards which will be held at the Renaissance Hotel.