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05/03/2004  5:07 PM ET
Gerald Laird named American League Pepsi Rookie of the Month
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Catcher Gerald Laird, who hit .346 last month for the American League West-leading Texas Rangers, has been named the American League Pepsi Rookie of the Month for April.

Laird, the first rookie Opening Day catcher in club history, led all AL rookies with 18 hits, posting four doubles, five RBI, six runs, and a .386 on-base percentage in 16 games in April. He had four multi-hit games, including two games with three hits, for the 16-9 Rangers. The 24-year-old was 6-for-13 (46.2%) in throwing out runners attempting to steal, highlighted on April 21st at Anaheim, when he cut down three runners trying to steal. He was the first Ranger to throw out three runners in a game since Doug Mirabelli in 2001. Laird has helped steer the Texas pitching staff to a 4.15 ERA, which ranks third in the AL behind only Boston and Oakland. He was the first Ranger to win the AL Pepsi Rookie of the Month, which began in 2001.

Other rookies who made an impact in April were Anaheim pitcher Kevin Gregg (0.59 ERA, 15.1 IP, 16 SO, 1 SV), Toronto catcher Kevin Cash (.266, 2 HR, Major League rookie-high 13 RBI), Minnesota outfielder Michael Ryan (.435, 10 hits, 6 RBI), Tampa Bay pitchers Chad Gaudin (1.80 ERA, 10.0 IP) and Doug Waechter (1-1, 3.55 ERA), Chicago left-hander Neal Cotts (0.90 ERA, 10.0 IP, .156 opponents BA), and Oakland shortstop Bobby Crosby (3 HR, 10 RBI).

Laird will receive a specially designed trophy as the American League Pepsi Rookie of the Month.

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