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Reliever Blackley Aussie player of the year

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BOSTON -- Astros relief pitcher Travis Blackley was last month named the 2012 Australian Player of the Year by the Australian Baseball Federation for his performance with the Oakland A's. His parents will accept the award on his behalf at the 2013 Baseball Australia Diamond Awards on the Gold Coast.

"They hit me up and said I had been chosen as the recipient," Blackley said. "It's a pretty big honor. Pretty much every Major League [Aussie] player who's had a decent year has won it. It kind of took me by surprise, but it's pretty awesome to be recognized as the Player of the Year for your country."

Blackley, who was acquired by Houston in a trade on April 4, went 6-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 28 games last year for the A's and the Giants, including 15 starts. He played a key role in the A's run toward the playoffs, as the team won eight of his last 12 starts.

Blackley joked that fellow Aussie Grant Balfour might have deserved the award more, but said he has already won it.

"They tried to get a fresh one in there," he said. "It was also because of the path I've taken. I went from being a guy that was looked at as maybe going to have a long career and then didn't pan out and really had to work through some stuff to get back. I think that was another big reason why I won it."

Blackley, who missed 13 games while on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain shortly after he joined the Astros said he's grateful Houston took a chance on him.

"It's a good bunch of guys," he said. "There's a lot of talent, and when we start playing well as a team and mesh well together, the results will start coming consistently. It reminds me a lot of Oakland last year. There were a lot of younger players who were dominant in [Triple-A] Sacramento and weren't panning out, but then all of a sudden they started panning out at the same time. It's going to happen here."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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