Giambi And Matsui Receive Awards For June

Jason Giambi and Hideki Matsui received some recognition from Major League Baseball for their extremely impressive performances in June. Giambi was awarded the American League Player of the Month award, and Matsui was named the AL Rookie of the Month. Both players contributed tremendously to the Yankees' recent hot streak.

Giambi has won the award three times before in his career, and after a tough May has finally shown the player that he truly is. Giambi led the AL in slugging percentage (.819), on-base percentage (.554) and runs scored (27), while hitting .373 with 11 homeruns and 29 RBI. Giambi's June included a streak of 36 straight games in which the Yankee slugger reached base safely.

Giambi got off to a slow start in 2003, hitting just .194 in April (including one game in March), then continuing to struggle due to an eye infection in May, when he hit just .260, more than 40 points below his career average. Giambi still did he other duties at his normal pace, posting an excellent OBP and still hitting homeruns both of which were signs that he would break out of his slump. When the eye infection healed, Giambi went on a tear, producing the month that he was awarded for.

Matsui was just as good, if not better, than Giambi in June. Matsui posted a .394 batting average during the month, with six homers and 29 RBI. Matsui led all AL Rookies in those categories, as well as in hits (41), doubles (11), walks (15), slugging (.673) and OBP (.484). The Japanese import's torrid month helped lift his batting average up to .302 going into Wednesday's action.

Matsui's award broke Tampa Bay rookie Rocco Baldelli's two-month streak of winning it. Matsui was also named AL Player of the Week for the week of June 23 –29. Alfonso Soriano won AL Player of the Month back in April.

Seattle's Freddy Garcia was named AL Pitcher of the Month. St. Louis' Albert Pujols won Player of the Month over in the National League, and Florida's Dontrelle Willis took home both the Pitcher of the Month and Rookie of the Month awards.

Both Giambi and Matsui can be thanked for the Yankees' successful month in which they went 20-7 (.741). Should both players stay hot, it will be a long summer for opponents of the Yankees.

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