Khalil Greene of the San Diego Padres, who batted .304 with 10 RBI, was named National League Pepsi Rookie of the Month for April. Manager Bruce Bochy was of the belief that Greene and Akinori Otsuka should share the honor of co-rookies of the month in the National League.
Each has played a major role in San Diego's fastest start since the pennant season of 1998.
In 23 games played, Khalil Greene, batting in the No. 8 hole, was 24-for-79 with eight doubles, two triples, 11 runs scored, and 36 total bases as the Padres went 15-9 in April. The 24-year-old shortstop compiled a slugging percentage of .456 and an on-base percentage of .368. Greene led all Major League rookies in hits, doubles, and triples, tied for first in total bases and led all NL rookies in RBI. The 2002 first round draft pick doubled in the game-winning run on April 29 in a 2-1 win over Montreal, a day after tripling in the go-ahead run in another one-run win (5-4) over the Expos.
On Wednesday, Greene drove in the game-winning run with a two-out, eighth-innning triple to the "Death Valley" section of Petco Park in right center. The following night, Greene one-hopped the wall in right-center for a ground-rule double that broke a 1-1 tie and drove home the winning run in the seventh.
Additionally, Greene made a play at short Thursday behind LHP David Wells that might be worthy of the Yankees' highlight film. With a runner on first, Greene made a sliding stop of a sharp grounder and made a spinning, midair throw back to second to start a double play.
"I've seen that play before," said Wells. "Derek Jeter makes that play. Greene was the MVP of this game. He came up big. Usually you don't see a guy do it with the glove and the bat in the same game."
Akinori Otsuka, 32, had a 0.69 ERA in 12 appearances in April. He didn't allow a run over the last 11 and capped the month by picking up his first major league save, against the Mets on Friday (April 30).
"It's pretty amazing what those two guys have done," RHP Trevor Hoffman said of Otsuka and Greene. "They're both playing like they've been up here longer than most of us. Aki's going to be very hard on teams that haven't faced him before. And Greenie's a pro."
"I don't really like the spotlight, but if this has to happen it's better than for doing something bad," said Greene of the attention he is getting. "I just like doing my thing."
Other rookies receiving votes were Otsuka (2-1, 0.69 ERA); Colorado's Matt Holliday (.375, led NL rookies with 3 home runs); Pittsburgh's Jose Castillo (.279, 2 HR, 6 RBI); Houston's Jason Lane (.333 average); Kaz Matsui (.256, 2 HR, 8 RBI) of the New York Mets; Arizona's Chad Tracy (.419, 7 RBI); and Ryan Madson (1-1, 11.2 scoreless innings) of the Philadelphia Phillies.