05/02/2003 5:15 PM ET
New York's Soriano, Chicago's Loaiza named American League Pepsi Player, Pitcher of the Month for April
New York Yankees second baseman Alfonso Soriano, who led the league in six offensive categories, and Chicago White Sox right-hander pitcher Esteban Loaiza, who was 5-0 with a league-best 1.25 ERA, have been named the American League Pepsi Player and Pitcher of the Month for April, respectively.
Soriano topped the AL in home runs (nine), multi-hit games (16), runs scored (26), hits (46), total bases (81), and grand slams (two) through April. In 27 games, the Yankees' leadoff hitter batted .371 with six stolen bases, 25 RBI, a .432 on-base percentage, and a .653 slugging percentage. Soriano, 25, began the season with an Opening Day grand slam at Toronto and hit his second grand slam on April 21 at Minnesota. He also assembled a career-high 15-game hitting streak from April 13-27. This marks the first time in his career that Soriano has received Player of the Month honors.
Loaiza went at least six innings without allowing more than two runs in each of his five April starts en route to becoming the first White Sox pitcher since 1994 to win five games in April. He held opponents to a Major League-best .151 average and his five wins tied Mike Mussina of the New York Yankees for the most in the Major Leagues. Loaiza allowed just 19 hits and walked five in 36.0 innings while striking out 35. He tied a career-high with 11 strikeouts in an 8-2 win vs. Kansas City on April 17.
Other players who received votes were Toronto's Carlos Delgado (.365, 8 HR, ML-best 28 RBI), Alex Rodriguez (.355, AL-best 9 HR, 23 RBI) of Texas, and Boston's Shea Hillenbrand (.333, 2 HR, 25 RBI). Pitchers named on the ballots included Mussina (5-0, 1.70, AL-best 42 SO), Runelvys Hernandez (4-0, 1.36) of the Royals, Anaheim's Brendan Donnelly (17.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 15 SO), and Baltimore's Jason Johnson (4-0, 2.12).
Soriano and Loaiza will each receive specially designed trophies as the American League Pepsi Player and Pitcher of the Month.