06/02/2003 10:24 PM ET
Baldelli is AL Rookie of the Month
ST. PETERSBURG -- After hitting .314 with two home runs and 11 RBIs in May, the Devil Rays' remarkable rookie center fielder, Rocco Baldelli, has been chosen AL Rookie of the Month.
By Paul C. Smith / MLB.com
Baldelli also was chosen AL Rookie of the Month in April, matching Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners, who won in April, May, August and September of 2001. Josh Phelps of the Blue Jays won in August and September last year.
Baldelli, 21, played in 26 games in May and collected three doubles, two triples, five stolen bases, a .438 slugging percentage, a .348 on-base percentage and scored 14 runs. He also had a total of 33 hits, the most among AL rookies.
The Rhode Island native had 11 multi-hit games in May and has 24 this season. The season total ties him with Nomar Garciaparra of Boston for second in the AL, behind only Alfonso Soriano of the Yankees with 25.
For the season, Baldelli is hitting .336 with three home runs, 32 RBIs and seven steals. His average through May (.340) was better than all but two rookies in the last 20 years: Suzuki (.358) and St. Louis' Albert Pujols (.353), both in 2001.
At last count, Baldelli was 13th in the AL among outfielders in balloting for the All-Star Game.
"I don't really think about awards that much," Baldelli said. "But any time you win, it's nice."
Among the other AL rookies considered for the award was Devil Rays rookie closer Lance Carter, who was 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA and six saves in May.
Paul C. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.