Martin, Montoyo earn top IL awards
Almost a week after clinching the International League South Division title, the Durham Bulls continue to rake in the honors for their season of success.
J.D. Martin was named the IL's starting pitcher of the year, Charlie Montoyo is the league's top manager and Vince Belnome was named to the postseason All-Star team in an announcement Tuesday.
"I'm just very lucky to have good players and good coaches; I'm just here for the ride," Montoyo said after leading the Bulls to an 83-53 record heading into Tuesday's regular-season home finale at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. "I want to give credit to the players; good players make a good manager."
Among the best has been Martin (15-4), who set a Bulls Triple-A record for victories on Aug. 18 and pitched a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game in Reno. Belnome was batting .298 with eight home runs and 65 RBIs heading into Tuesday game.
"For us to do what we have and guys to get awards like J.D. Martin, it's been a great season," Montoyo said. "This is one of the best groups I've ever had when it comes to good people.
"Everybody has contributed; it makes the group special. ... Everybody is part of the team. ... It's fun to watch."
During a pregame ceremony, the Bulls presented the annual franchise awards. Leslie Anderson was named the team most valuable player, Martin and Kirby Yates shared pitcher of the year, Shelley Duncan received the team spirit award and Matt Buschmann won the community service award. Catcher/outfielder received the Good Guy Award in a vote of media who cover the Bulls.
Receiving a different sort of award Tuesday was relief pitcher Jeff Beliveau, who was called up to the Tampa Bay Rays after Jeremy Hellickson was optioned to single-A Charlotte (Florida State League).
"He's already gone, just like that," Montoyo said of Beliveau's promotion. "It was one of those where I get a 1 o'clock call, and he's on a 2:45 flight.
"This one, I didn't have time to be funny or anything. It was just, 'You've got to go.'"
Montoyo has had practice informing pitchers that they're headed to Tampa Bay this season. Two of the replacements who were promoted from Double-A Montgomery were Matt Buschmann and Merrill Kelly, who combined for a 15-5 record heading into Tuesday's game.
"When we lost those four (starting pitchers), Buschmann and Kelly picked us up," Montoyo said. "Nobody expected them to do what they did, and that's huge. Them doing good, it seems like we have a chance every day with our starters and that's all you can ask."
He's had less opportunity to let position players know they're making a move to to Rays. But his philosophy of rotating players in and out of the lineup keeps each involved.
"To me, (it's) a team and everybody plays," Montoyo said. "I said at the beginning: You can go 0-for-4 or you can go 4-for-4, and I'm going to give you a day off (when it's time).
"So by the time the year ends, almost everybody has the same amount of at-bats."
That approach has the Bulls heading into the playoffs starting Sept. 4 at the DBAP against Indianapolis.
"I'd really be happy to win a championship with them," Montoyo said. "When it comes to championships, ... it would be great after that if they could go up (to the Rays). If it doesn't happen, it's been amazing — an outstanding regular season."