PHOENIX (AP) — In the midst of a breakout season, Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has earned a college degree.

Goldschmidt officially secured his bachelor's degree in management from the University of Phoenix when grades were posted last week.

The slugger, one of the top candidates for NL MVP, took his final 10 classes online over the last two years after transferring credits from his three years at Texas State before he was drafted by Arizona.

"I worked hard for three years so I didn't want that to all be a waste," he said before Tuesday night's game against Toronto. "I love playing baseball and I'll do it for as long as they'll let me, but you don't know. That could end any day, so you want to be prepared for whatever's coming forward in the future.

"And a college degree can help out if you're trying to find a job or other stuff that you're wanting to do."

In his second full season in the majors, Goldschmidt entered Tuesday's play leading the National League with 104 RBIs and was second in home runs with 31. He was batting .295.

He said he got the idea of finishing his course work online from teammates while he was in the minors.

"We're on the bus in spring training and they showed me how on the phone they could do their homework," he said. "I was like 'Wow, if I can do it right here I might as well start. There's no excuse.'"

He became a fixture with his laptop open at hotels on the road and on the team plane.

Goldschmidt had to take one class at a time and often worked with others in a group. He was surprised by how many military people were taking the courses and one day got a call from a woman who was stationed in Afghanistan. She was having trouble finding an Internet connection and wanted to know what part she needed to do for a team project. He told her he would take care of her portion.

She was coming home to see her children for Christmas, Goldschmidt said, "and she called me wanting to know what her parts were that were due. I told her 'You just worry about getting home. We got it.' It wasn't a big project. I figured spending an extra hour trying to do something was the least that I could do."

Goldschmidt says he's uncertain if he will seek a more advanced degree down the road. For now, he's grateful to get some time off.

He figures to be a Diamondbacks anchor in the lineup for years to come after signing a five-year, $32 million contract before this season began.

"We are so proud of Paul and his accomplishments both on and off the field," Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said. "His graduation is yet another example of how he prepares himself and prioritizes what is important in his life and for his future. The importance of an education is a perfect message to send from such a significant and deserving role model."

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