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Seattle Mariners

Mariners’ Julio Rodriguez named American League rookie of the month after breakout May

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez smiles as he takes the field after the Mariners score four runs against the Baltimore Orioles in the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, May 31, 2022, in Baltimore.   (Associated Press)
Ryan Divish Seattle Times

ARLINGTON, Texas — After hitting his first big-league homer May 1, Julio Rodriguez just kept on hitting for the rest of the month.

And on Friday, the Mariners’ precocious outfielder was named the American League rookie of the month by Major League Baseball.

Rodriguez’s first home run, a 450-foot blast to left field at Loan Depot Park in Miami, is the longest hit by a Mariners player this season. It spring-boarded Rodríguez to a month in which he batted .309 (34 for 110) with six home runs, 17 RBI and five stolen bases while slugging .527.

At age 21, he is the youngest Mariners player to win the award.

Rodríguez is the fifth Mariners player to win rookie-of-the-month honors. He joins Ichiro (four times in 2001), Rafael Soriano (August 2003), Michael Pineda (April 2011) and Mike Carp (August 2011).

Among AL rookies with at least 30 plate appearances in May, Rodríguez ranked among the league leaders in virtually every offensive category, including first in hits (34), tied for first in home runs (six), second in RBI (17), fourth in average (.309), tied for first in stolen bases (five) and first in wRC+ (156).

He tallied nine multi-hit games and six games with three or more hits during May, becoming the first player age 21 or younger to tally at least that many games with three or more hits in a calendar month since Baltimore’s Manny Machado had seven in May 2013.

On May 15 against the Mets in New York, Rodríguez went 4 for 4 with a homer and walk, becoming the third Mariners player 21 or younger to reach base five times in a game, joining Alex Rodríguez and Ken Griffey Jr., who both did it three times.

This story will be updated.