Jones voted NL Player of the Month
Center fielder belts team-record 13 homers to earn honor
After a torrid month, in which he hit a Major League-leading 13 home runs, Andruw Jones was voted the National League Player of the Month for June by national media Tuesday.Jones, who also leads the Majors with 26 homers this season, broke Eddie Mathews' club record for homers in the month (12 in 1955) and led the Majors in June slugging percentage (.733). The seven-time Gold Glove center fielder hit .317 (32-for-101) with 18 runs and 26 RBIs while posting a .418 on-base percentage. His efforts helped catapult the Braves into second place in the NL East. "Most of the time, you go through streaks that last for two weeks," Jones said. "To keep it going for a month, that's pretty good." Jones' efforts came at the perfect time for Atlanta, which has had to cope with the absence of Chipper Jones, who went on the disabled list June 6 with a partial ligament tear and deep bone bruise in his left foot. On June 11 against the A's, Jones hit two homers, including the game-winner, and had four RBIs in the Braves' 5-3 victory. Against the Orioles on June 25, he was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, including a walk-off homer, in Atlanta's 5-4 win. After the latter performance, Braves manager Bobby Cox said, at this point, nothing Jones does surprises him. "Right now, he's in a period where you do expect it," Cox said. "Nothing is going to surprise you at all." Jones' league-best performance in June marked the third consecutive month in which he has improved his numbers. He got off to a slow start in April, batting .239 with three homers and improved to .283 with nine homers in May. "My goal for this year was to stay consistent," Jones said. "Last year, I had a lot of ups and downs, but I worked hard this offseason." In part because of his play in June, Jones was elected to the 2005 NL All-Star team by the players' vote, the fourth time in his career that he's made the Midsummer Classic. Jones declined to take too much credit for the Braves' 15-13 record in June, though. "I didn't do this by myself," he said. "I did this for the team. Everybody was a part of it, and if it weren't for the top of the lineup and other guys hitting behind me doing their job, I probably wouldn't be player of the month." Jones might be right -- the National League offered a strong host of candidates for June honors this season. Other players receiving votes for Player of the Month were Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee (.407 with seven homers and 19 RBIs), Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols (.370-8-22), Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent (.381-6-20), Brewers left fielder Carlos Lee (.296-10-28) and Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg (.287-10-28). Jones will receive a specially designed trophy to commemorate his award.
Mark Thoma is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.