TORONTO -- For Joe Blanton, June couldn't have looked any better. The right-hander struggled through May, seeing his ERA rise to over 6.00. Enter June.
Blanton was lights-out. And now he's been rewarded. On Tuesday, Blanton was named the AL Rookie of the Month for June. Blanton made six starts in the month, going at least six innings in each and only once allowing more than two earned runs. The 24-year-old posted a 5-1 record accompanied by a 2.06 ERA. "In May, for me and for the team, it seemed like anything that could go wrong did go wrong," Blanton said after his June 29 win against the Mariners. "Now we're getting to see what the other side of that feels like." A little hardship before success never hurt anyone. Blanton's adjustments came at a time when the A's needed the rookie to step up. The team was reeling from a May in which it went 7-20. Blanton nearly matched that win total himself the following month, leading the A's to a 19-8 record. "It was a change in mechanics. [Fixing] one little glitch helped everything," Blanton said after the team's June 24 defeat of the Giants. "Before, all the pitches were up in the zone and getting hit, whereas now, they're ground balls." Other AL rookies who made an impact in June were teammate Nick Swisher (.266, 6 homers, 19 RBIs), New York second baseman Robinson Cano (.310, 4 homers, 15 RBIs), and Seattle shortstop Mike Morse (.357, 1 homers, 9 RBIs).
Kyle Jepson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.