07/09/08 4:36 PM ET
Longoria earns Rookie of Month honor
Third baseman hits .300 with eight homers, 19 RBIs in June
By Robert Falkoff / Special to MLB.com
A key cog in the Rays' rise to prominence this season, Longoria has been selected as Gillette's Rookie of the Month for June in the American League. Longoria hit for average and power during the month while continuing to exhibit strong defensive skills. With his .300 batting average for June and eight homers and 19 RBIs -- which led all Major League rookies -- Longoria helped Tampa Bay finish the month with a 50-32 record, tops in the Majors.
Longoria will receive a Rookie of the Month trophy and Gillette will make a $5,000 donation to a charitable organization in Longoria's name.
"I really started to hit my stride," Longoria said. "It's tough to keep a stride going in this league. [Pitchers] make so many adjustments that you know it's a constant thing, but [I'm] just trying to stay on top of it as much as I can."
Longoria is one of five AL players involved in the Final Vote. If he wins that balloting, which will conclude on Thursday at 5 p.m. ET, he would capture a spot on the AL All-Star team.
Longoria's highlight game of the month came on June 9 against the Angels, when he had four hits, including two homers and a double. For the month, the 22-year-old Longoria had a .650 slugging percentage and a .374 on-base percentage.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon believes the best is yet to come from his talented third baseman.
"He's still understanding the Major League game and understanding what they are trying to do to him," Maddon said. "As he gains more confidence in that regard, I know he's going to get better."
Longoria beat out fellow nominees Armado Galarraga of Detroit, Mike Aviles of Kansas City and Alexi Ramirez of the White Sox to capture the June rookie honor.
Galarraga bolstered the Detroit rotation in June with a 3-0 record and a 3.34 earned run average. Aviles came up from Triple-A Omaha to spark the Kansas City offense. He hit .330 in June with three homers and 15 RBIs. Ramirez batted .355 for the month and had four three-hit games in the first week of the month.
The NL Rookie of the Month was Atlanta right-hander Jair Jurrjens, who was 3-0 with a 1.63 ERA. Jurrjens was selected over San Francisco first baseman John Bowker, San Diego second baseman Edgar Gonzalez and St. Louis right-hander Mitchell Boggs.
The online fan voting at mlb.com/gillette represented 20 percent of the overall vote, with the remaining votes coming from team baseball writers and club broadcasters.
Voters taking part in the monthly award process are automatically registered for a chance to go to one game during the World Series in October.
Voting for the July Rookie of the Month award will begin on Aug. 5 at mlb.com/gillette. The site lists nominees in both leagues as well as unique statistics, video clips and season-long editorial content built around the rookie theme.
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.