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NEW YORK (AP) — Joey Votto and Albert Pujols had a long conversation behind the batting cage before a game a few years ago.
"There's something about a star player of that magnitude kind of pulling you in and saying, it's OK, we can talk, don't be a rookie right now, we're going to talk like men," Votto said. "I think he made me feel comfortable and a little more confident."
Votto was overwhelmingly elected the National League's Most Valuable Player on Monday, ending the Pujols' two-year reign.
A first baseman who helped the Reds reach the postseason for the first time in 15 years, Votto received 31 of 32 first-place votes and 443 points in voting announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals' first baseman, was second with the remaining first-place vote, from Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and 279 points after winning the award in 2005, 2008 and 2009.
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