Nelson Cruz, Adrian Gonzalez named Players of the Month

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Major League Baseball has announced its players, pitchers and rookies of the month for April. So, as has become custom at HBT, we’ll do a post on it, only to not be as interested in following through on it for May through September. As it is:

Players of the month: Nelson Cruz and Adrian Gonzalez

Cruz batted .322 (28-for-87) with three doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 22 RBI, and 14 runs scored in 22 games. Gonzalez led the majors in slugging (.790) and was the NL leader in home runs (8). He featured a .383 batting average, hit nine doubles, drove in 19 RBI and had  .432 on-base percentage.

Pitchers of the month: Dallas Keuchel and Gerrit Cole

Keuchel had a 3-0 record with a 0.73 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 37.0 innings. Cole was 4-0 in five starts with a 1.76 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 30.2 innings of work.

Rookies of the month: Devon Travis and Alex Guerrero

Travis batted .325 (26-for-80) with six home runs, 19 RBI, 17 runs scored and six doubles. Guerrero, who doesn’t even really have a regular position, hit .423 (11-for-26) with a 1.077 slugging percentage, hit five homers and drove in 13.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.