NEW YORK // Imagine the look of surprise on Albert Pujols's face when he heard the news of being named the National League MVP. There probably wasn't one at all. The St Louis Cardinals slugger hit .357 with 37 home runs and 116 RBIs while playing with a sore right elbow. He powered past Philadelphia's Ryan Howard by a comfortable margin to win the award for a second time. "I wasn't surprised at all," Pujols said. "You have to consider everything. You have to put all the numbers together."
The LA outfielder Manny Ramirez and Milwaukee pitcher CC Sabathia also drew support after being traded by AL teams in July. Pujols got 18 of the 32 first-place votes in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America and had 369 points. The first baseman added to the MVP award he won in 2005. The Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun was third with 139 points, with Ramirez fourth at 138. Voting finished before the play-offs began.
"There were so many candidates," Pujols said. "I'm happy I didn't have to make that decision." Pujols is the only big leaguer to hit at least 30 home runs in his first eight seasons in the majors, and has finished in the Top 10 of the NL MVP voting each year. * AP