Cruz batted .322 (28-for-87) with three doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 22 RBI, and 14 runs scored in 22 games to claim his first career Player of the Month Award and the first for the Mariners since Ichiro Suzuki took home AL Player of the Month honors in August 2004. Among AL league leaders in April with a minimum of 60 at bats, the 34-year-old finished first in slugging percentage (.724), OPS (1.096), and extra-base hits (14) and tied for first in home runs and RBI.
The right-handed-hitting Cruz, who led the Majors with 40 home runs last season, recorded six home runs in Seattle's first nine games of the season, the most by a reigning Major League home run leader through 10 games since Barry Bonds had seven in 2002 with the San Francisco Giants after leading the Majors with 73 in 2001. During his ninegame hitting streak from April 11th - 20th, Cruz recorded both of his multi-homer games of the season and hit eight overall with 16 RBI and a .474 batting average. Nelson's eight home runs were more than the Cleveland Indians (7), Miami Marlins (7), Philadelphia Phillies (6), St. Louis Cardinals (6), and Milwaukee Brewers (3) had hit at that point of the season. The three-time All-Star joined Ken Griffey, Jr. (July 1993) and Jay Buhner (May 1996) as the only Mariners players ever to hit eight home runs in an eight-game stretch during a single season. His 10 home runs in the opening month are the third-most in franchise history behind Ken Griffey, Jr., who hit 13 in 1997 and 11 in 1998. Additionally, the Dominican Republic native is the first Mariners player with at least 20 RBI in the opening month of a season since Raul Ibañez recorded 20 in 2008 and Bret Boone had 21 in 2003. The club record for RBI in March/April is 30 in 1997. Among his highlights, the veteran slugger contributed a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth to break up a 10-10 slugfest against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on April 19th. Coming through in the clutch all month, the Mariners outfielder led all of baseball with five game-winning RBI, nine go-ahead RBI (tied) and 22 RBI overall (tied).
Others receiving votes included Adam Jones (.400, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 17 R, 6 2B) of the Baltimore Orioles; Miguel Cabrera (.373, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 12 R) of the Detroit Tigers; Jose Altuve (.367, 13 R, 16 RBI, 9 SB) of the Houston Astros; Hanley Ramirez (.293, 10 HR, 22 RBI, 16 R) of the Boston Red Sox; and Mike Trout (.329, 5 HR, 14 RBI, 20 R, 6 SB) of the Los Angeles Angels.
The Budweiser Presents American League Player of the Month, Nelson Cruz, will receive a specially designed trophy, suitably engraved, for his accomplishment.