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Pudge earns Player of the Month


TealMonster
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DENVER -- His chances of getting a hit in June in any given at-bat were .500. By month's end, his chances of winning AL Player of the Month seemed about .999.

The announcement that Ivan Rodriguez won the June award came down Saturday afternoon, two days after his 3-for-4 effort made him the first Major League player since Todd Helton in 2000 -- and the third in the past 25 years -- to hit .500 in a month with at least 75 at-bats. He's the first Tiger with a .500 month since Ty Cobb in June 1911 and July 1912, according to Trent McCotter of the Society for American Baseball Research.

 

No one else on the AL Player of the Month ballot hit as high as .400.

 

Rodriguez hit in every game he played but one -- the second game of a day-night doubleheader, in which he entered as a ninth-inning pinch-hitter and went 0-for-2. His 0-for-4 game Friday against Coors Field marked the first time he went hitless in a game he started since May 28 against Baltimore. That was the game he was ejected by home plate umpire Paul Schreiber for arguing a called third strike.

 

Take that contest out of consideration, and he hadn't gone 0-for-4 in a game since May 26 at Kansas City. He had only gone four at-bats without a hit once in June, the final four at-bats of a 1-for-5 game. He hadn't gone 0-for-6 in a game since he was still a Texas Ranger. Even so, his .376 average entering Saturday topped all other Major Leaguers by at least 23 points.

 

The AL Player of the Month award is the first major honor for Rodriguez since he signed a four-year contract with the Tigers in February, but it won't take long to earn another. All-Star game rosters will be announced Sunday, and since Pudge has been leading AL catchers in balloting, it would be a surprise if he didn't hold onto his 500,000 vote lead in the final results.

 

It's the first time in five years that Rodriguez earned a Player of the Month award. He last won it in August 1999 and captured it for the first time in April 1998.

 

:thumbup

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