One award came as no surprise, but the other was at least interesting.
On Monday, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was named the National League Player of the Month for April, which, given his offensive output, was hardly a surprise. But joining him in the monthly award category was utility man Alex Guerrero, who was named NL Rookie of the Month.
Guerrero is a man without a position, who had only 26 at-bats in April, though you could kind of say he made the most of it. He hit five home runs and had 13 RBIs in the month, while batting .423. He’s third on the team in homers and fourth in RBIs, despite having a third as many plate appearances as Gonzalez.
Guerrero came up particularly big as a pinch-hitter, going three for seven with a double, two homers and five RBIs. He finished the month with a .429 on-base and 1.077 overall slugging percentages.
He’s received most of his playing time at third base, though with Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig now on the disabled list, he’s also getting a look in left field. Guerrero said he had never heard of the award until told he had won it, but wasn’t taking the opportunity to claim any personal validation. Broadcaster Alana Rizzo interpreted for Guerrero to reporters in Milwaukee.
“I continue to be the same that I’ve always been,” he said. “Obviously wanting to come out here and help the team, just be able to take advantage of every single opportunity that I’ve been given.”
Guerrero understands that as he does get more playing time and opposing pitchers have an opportunity to watch him on film, he will have to make some adjustments.
“It is going to be a little more difficult, but that doesn’t mean I change my approach,” he said. “I’m going to continue with the exact same swing and the exact same mentality at the plate.”
Gonzalez started the season on a tear -- he was the NL Player of the Week -- and if he’s cooled some, he’s still maintained an impressive pace.
For the season’s first month, he led the National League with eight home runs and a .790 slugging percentage, and was third in runs (19), hits (31), doubles (nine) and RBIs (19), while finishing fourth in batting (.383).
Gonzalez was the first player with five home runs through a team’s first three games. This is Gonzalez’s second league monthly award, along with June 2011, when he was honored as the American League’s Player of Month with the Red Sox.
The Dodgers also won the last NL Player of the Month. Matt Kemp won it last September.