Laffey is May's AL Rookie of the Month
Left-hander finished the month with 3-2 record and 0.79 ERA
At six feet and 180 pounds, Aaron Laffey has shown that size doesn't matter if you really know how to pitch.
The Cleveland left-hander was certainly an imposing figure to hitters in May, and that point was driven home on Wednesday, when he was selected as Gillette's Rookie of the Month for May for the American League.
After joining the Indians rotation as an injury replacement for Jake Westbrook and later Fausto Carmona, Laffey left his mark in May with a series of strong outings. He finished the month with a 3-2 record and an 0.79 ERA. Opponents hit just .220 against him in May over a span of 34 innings.
"I just pitch my game and pitch to my strengths," Laffey said. "When they beat me, I'll adjust. But until that happens, I'm just going to pitch my game."
Laffey will receive a Rookie of the Month trophy and Gillette will make a $5,000 donation to a charitable organization in Laffey's name.
The Indians have been struggling to find their footing in the AL Central after skyrocketing to the AL Championship Series last year. But the emergence of Laffey has been one of the club's brightest aspects over the early portion of the 2008 season.
Laffey has consistently shown himself to be a thinking man's pitcher.
"Everyone in here has the talent to be here," he said, "but the focus and mental aspect are such large parts of the game."
Laffey had some stiff competition for Rookie of the Month honors: David Murphy of Texas, Jacoby Ellsbury of Boston and Evan Longoria of Tampa Bay.
Ellsbury played multiple outfield positions for the Red Sox and hit .281 with 18 steals in 20 attempts. Murphy hit .280 for the resurgent Rangers and finished the month with four homers, eight doubles and 21 RBIs. Longoria had four homers, 18 RBIs and a couple of walk-off hits for the Rays.
The National League winner for May was Dodgers third baseman Blake DeWitt, who hit .322 for the month with five homers and 18 RBIs. DeWitt was chosen over Joey Votto of Cincinnati, Geovany Soto of Chicago and Manny Acosta of Atlanta.
Balloting for the Rookie of the Month Award presented by Gillette begins exclusively at mlb.com/gillette during the first week of each month to determine the previous month's winners. The site lists nominees in both leagues as well as statistics, video clips and season-long editorial content built around the rookie theme.
The online voting represents 20 percent of the overall vote, with the remaining votes coming from team writers and club broadcasters.
Voting for June's recipient of the AL Rookie of the Month presented by Gillette will begin on July 3 at www.mlb.com/gillette. Fans who cast their vote will automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip to the 2008 All-Star Game on July 15 at Yankee Stadium. The site lists nominees in both leagues as well as unique statistics, video clips and season-long editorial content.
Robert Falkoff is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.