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06/02/05 5:02 PM ET

Hollins named AL Rookie of the Month

Minor League veteran wins award with stellar May

ST. PETERSBURG -- Damon Hollins has been named the American League's Rookie of the Month for May.

Hollins, 30, joined the team on May 2 when Travis Lee was put on the 15-day disabled list, and all he has done since is hit while playing hard-nosed baseball.

Hollins hit safely in 10 of his first 11 games with the Devil Rays after being recalled. He led all Major League rookies with six home runs, 15 RBIs, 19 runs scored and 48 total bases during May.

In 27 games, he led all AL rookies in batting with a .325 average (26-for-80) and five stolen bases. Hollins also recorded six multi-hit games during his first month as a Devil Ray. On May 11th against Chicago, Hollins swiped second base three times.

The win by Hollins marks the third time a Devil Ray has captured the Rookie of the Month award; Rocco Baldelli captured the honor twice during the 2003 season.

Hollins' performance in May prompted more than one organization to wonder how someone of Hollins' talents could have spent 13 years in professional baseball and played just 15 Major League games -- with the Braves and Dodgers -- prior to this season's callup.

"Nah," Hollins said, when asked about ever considering giving up. "I mean, I'm human. Sometimes you play mind games with yourself as far as giving up. But I've got too much in me to give up.

"Baseball's been my life for a while. In the offseason, I'm just as excited about coming to Spring Training as everybody else. I'm optimistic and everything. You never know what's going to happen. I'm a firm believer. I know from being around and watching the other guys, that it's all timing."

Rays manager Lou Piniella has been pleased with Hollins and he likes his story.

"Just goes to show you what you can do with a little perseverance and not giving up," Piniella said. "He's done a nice job here. He really has. I've been pleased with his play.

"We brought him up, and surprisingly, he's hit the ball well. He's gotten some big hits for us. We're pleased. And he plays hard. I like a hard-nosed kid."

Other AL rookies who made an impact in May were Texas starter Chris Young (3-0, 1.42 ERA); Minnesota reliever Jesse Crain (4-0, 1.69 ERA); and White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi (.275, four homers, 15 RBIs).

Hollins will receive a specially designed trophy for the award.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.