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David Ortiz Wins Designated Hitter Award, Accepts Red Sox Arbitration

David Ortiz was honored as baseball’s best designated hitter on the day he accepted a Red Sox offer of salary arbitration that will keep him in Boston at least for next season.

Ortiz, 36, who hit .309 with 29 home runs and 96 runs batted in this past season, was named yesterday as the winner of the 2011 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award. It’s the sixth time Ortiz has won the accolade, including five straight from 2003-07.

Ortiz told WEEI.com in a telephone interview that he had agreed to arbitration, which means he’ll decline free agency and get a one-year deal. The amount of his contract will be determined in an arbitration hearing.

“How would I not be excited about having the DH of the year as DH?” new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told reporters yesterday at baseball’s Winter Meetings in Dallas.

Ortiz’s 2011 salary was $12.5 million and he had been seeking a multiyear contract, which the two sides still could negotiate instead of going through arbitration.

Ortiz received 73 first-place votes out of 84 ballots cast to become the player with the most designated hitter awards since its debut in 1973. He had been tied on five with Martinez, for whom the award is now named.

Detroit’s Victor Martinez finished second in the voting and Kansas City’s Billy Butler was third. Results were announced yesterday at the Winter Meetings.

A seven-time All-Star who has finished among the top five in American League Most Valuable Player voting in five of his nine seasons with the Red Sox, Ortiz has 378 home runs in 15 Major League Baseball seasons with Minnesota and Boston.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rob Gloster in San Francisco at rgloster@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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