Jurrjens named top NL rookie for June
Right-hander went 3-0 with 1.63 in four starts during month
With marquee names such as Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Greg Maddux leading the way over the past couple of decades, the Atlanta Braves have established a proud tradition for producing quality starting pitching. Right-hander Jair Jurrjens fit that mold perfectly in June.
Thanks to a 3-0 record and a 1.63 earned run average for the month, Jurrjens has been selected as Gillette's Rookie of the Month for June in the National League. Jurrjens will receive a Rookie of the Month trophy, and Gillette will make a $5,000 donation to a charitable organization in Jurrjens' name.
Jurrjens was selected over NL nominees John Bowker of the Giants, Edgar Gonzalez of the Padres and Mitchell Boggs of the Cardinals.
In four June starts, Jurrjens had three outings in which he didn't allow an earned run. His signature start in an award-winning month came during Interleague Play on June 27 against the Blue Jays. Jurrjens worked eight shutout innings against Toronto while surrendering just three hits. Afterwards, Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said he didn't think anybody could pitch any better.
The month didn't begin in encouraging fashion for the 22-year-old Jurrjens, as he allowed five earned runs on June 5 against the Marlins. One day prior to his next scheduled start, Jurrjens stumbled going down a flight of stairs at Wrigley Field and twisted his left ankle. Jurrjens was scratched for one start so that his ankle could fully heal.
When he returned, Jurrjens went on a big-time roll, Jurrjens limiting opponents to a .182 on-base percentage in his next three starts.
"I think missing the start, maybe it helped me to calm down and start doing the things I was doing at the beginning of the season," Jurrjens said.
Jurrjens didn't dwell on the impressive numbers he was putting up in June.
"I don't think about stats and all of that stuff," Jurrjens said. "When you think about stats, you just put pressure on yourself."
Jurrjens hopes to build on his June accomplishments for an Atlanta club which is looking to make a big second-half run in the NL East. Atlanta fans shudder to think where the Braves might be if not for the October trade with the Tigers that brought Jurrjens into the mix.
The right-hander had some stiff competition for the June rookie award. Bowker hit .325 with four homers and RBIs. Gonzalez hit .330 with nine doubles and 11 RBIs, and Boggs went 3-0 for the Cardinals while helping to stabilize an injury-riddled rotation.
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 this October.
The American League winner for June was Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria, who hit .300 with eight homers and 19 RBIs. Longoria was chosen over fellow nominees Armando Galarraga of Detroit, Mike Aviles of Kansas City and Alexi Ramirez of the White Sox.
Balloting for the July Rookie of the Month Award presented by Gillette begins exclusively at mlb.com/gillette on Aug. 5. 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 reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.