09/02/2004 5:28 PM ET
Ichiro earns American League Player of the Month; Santana repeats as top hurler
Seattle Mariners right fielder Ichiro Suzuki and Minnesota Twins pitcher Johan Santana have been named, respectively, the American League Player and Pitcher of the Month for August.
Ichiro enjoyed an historic August en route to his first career AL Player of the Month award, batting .463 (56-121) with four home runs and 15 RBI. In 28 games, the fourth-year Major Leaguer collected 21 runs, three doubles, three triples, four stolen bases, a .636 slugging percentage and a .492 on-base percentage. According to continuing research by the Elias Sports Bureau, Ichiro's 56 hits were the most in a month since Cleveland's Jeff Heath had 58 in August 1938. He has 214 hits on the season, putting him on pace for 262 hits. The Major League record for hits in a season is 257 by George Sisler of the St. Louis Browns in 1920.
Santana, the first AL hurler to win back-to-back monthly honors since Oakland's Barry Zito won in both August and September 2001, won all six of his starts to put up a 6-0 record with a 2.08 ERA (43.1 IP, 29 H, 7 BB) and 52 strikeouts. The AL strikeout leader has won his last eight decisions and is 8-0 with a 1.68 ERA in his nine starts since the All-Star Game. This is the left-hander's third career monthly award, having also won in August 2003. Santana is 15-6 with a 3.06 ERA (188.0 IP, 136 H, 213 SO) on the season. He already has the most strikeouts by a Twin since Bert Blyleven had 215 in 1986, along with ten double-digit strikeout games.
Other players receiving consideration were Baltimore's Melvin Mora (.378, 8 HR, AL-high 31 RBI); Aaron Rowand (.352, 9 HR, 24 RBI, AL-high 29 R) of the Chicago White Sox; Minnesota's Justin Morneau (.270, 10 HR, 26 RBI); and Oakland's Erubiel Durazo (.355, 6 HR, 24 RBI) and Eric Chavez (.308, 9 HR, 18 RBI).
Pitchers receiving votes were Francisco Cordero (1-0, 0.73 ERA, 10 saves) of Texas; Mariano Rivera (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 8 saves) of the New York Yankees; and Athletics right-hander Rich Harden (4-0, 2.97 ERA).
Suzuki and Santana each will receive a specially designed trophy as the American League Player and Pitcher of the Month.