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06/04/09 7:25 PM ET
Mauer named AL Player of the Month
Twins catcher honored for offensive outburst in May
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer left his teammates, his manager and even his opponents in awe with the month that he put together in May. So it came as no surprise on Thursday when Mauer was named the Sharp Presents the American League Player of the Month for May. Mauer came off the disabled list on May 1 to hit a Majors-leading .414 in 28 games in May, with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs. His .838 slugging average and .500 on-base percentage also led all players for the month. "It's pretty neat," Mauer said of getting the award, the second of his career as he also won it in June 2006. "There are probably a couple of guys in [this clubhouse] that could have got it too. The months that [Justin] Morneau had and [Michael] Cuddyer were pretty impressive as well." Morneau hit .369 with nine homers and 29 RBIs and Cuddyer hit .312 with eight homers and 26 RBIs for the Twins, but there was no question that it was Mauer's surprise power surge that caught the attention of the league. Mauer's 11 home runs were more than he hit in all of last season (nine) and two shy of his career high in the big leagues. He averaged one home run every nine at-bats over his first month back with the Twins. Entering this season, Mauer had averaged a homer in every 46.8 at-bats in the Majors. The 26-year-old catcher also homered in three consecutive games for the first time in his career from May 23-25, the last day of which included his first career pinch-hit homer coming in the ninth inning off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. With his performance, Mauer set a Twins record, becoming the only player in club history to ever hit 11 homers and more than 30 RBIs in the same month. He also did all of this after lower back inflammation kept him out for all of Spring Training and caused him to miss the entire month of April. "Out of all the guys I've played with, I don't think I've seen anybody do more in a month, especially after missing all of Spring Training and the first month of the season," said Twins backup catcher Mike Redmond. "I don't think anybody expected him to feel this good or this strong. It's been very impressive. To be able to come out and hit 11 home runs in a month, that's pretty amazing." With the 2009 First-Year Player Draft on slate for Tuesday, it only seemed appropriate that Mauer and Arizona outfielder Justin Upton -- the NL Player of the Month -- were named the two winners of the awards. Both were overall No. 1 picks in the Draft -- Mauer in 2001 and Upton in 2005. Runner-up in the selection for AL Player of the Month was Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, who batted .330 while leading the Majors with 13 home runs and 34 RBIs during the month. Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera (.340, 23 RBIs, 19 runs) also received votes.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.