NEW YORK — Tim Hudson and Francisco Liriano know what it's like to undergo elbow ligament replacement surgery. They know how much work it takes to return to the mound and be successful.
Now they have something else in common: the comeback player of the year award.
Hudson won the NL honor Tuesday after leading the Atlanta Braves to the wild card and Liriano grabbed the AL award with a consistent season that helped the Minnesota Twins win the Central division.
The awards were voted on by the 30 beat writers of MLB.com. St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter and Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill were last year's winners.
Hudson had elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2008 and was limited to just seven starts the following season. But the right-hander went 17-9 with a 2.83 ERA this year, making him a contender for the Cy Young Award.
The 35-year-old Hudson led Atlanta in wins and innings (228 2-3) and was second on the team with 139 strikeouts. The 17 victories were his best since he won 18 games for Oakland in 2001.
Liriano was 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA for Minnesota this season and will start Game 1 of the AL division series against the New York Yankees on Wednesday night. The 26-year-old lefty missed the entire 2007 season following Tommy John surgery and was limited by injuries each of the previous two years.
Liriano set career highs for wins, starts (31), innings (191 2-3) and strikeouts (201).