Schimpf snags NL rookie honors for July

Infielder leads Majors with 9 home runs last month

Schimpf snags NL rookie honors for July

SAN DIEGO -- A month ago, when then-Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner was ticketed to come off the disabled list, San Diego was forced to make a decision in the infield. A roster overflowing with second basemen needed to be trimmed, and rookie Ryan Schimpf was one of the likely options to be sent down.

It's probably a good thing the Padres stuck with Schimpf.

He rewarded their faith by hitting .269/.387/.705 with a franchise rookie record nine home runs in July. In the process, Schimpf took home the National League Rookie of the Month Award, becoming the fourth Padre in history to earn those honors.

Past winners

For some, the award would serve as validation. Schimpf, a 28-year-old rookie, toiled for seven years in the Blue Jays' system without receiving a big league callup -- even though he had posted some massive power numbers. But that's not the way Schimpf is viewing the recognition.

"I don't dwell on the past or think about the future," said Schimpf, who hit an RBI double in the Padres' 12-3 win over the Brewers on Wednesday. "I say it a lot, I just believe in myself. Even in the past, when I was in the Minor Leagues, I believed in myself, that I'd get here at some point."

Schimpf's game-tying home run

Schimpf joins Xavier Nady, Khalil Greene (twice) and Josh Barfield as the only Friars to have won the award. Barfield was the last to do so, in July 2006.

Out of the gate, Schimpf struggled after his mid-June callup, starting just 3-for-29. But the Padres were adamant that his at-bats were quality and that they wanted a longer look at him before making any final determinations on his skill set.

When the calendar flipped to July, Schimpf began raking. He launched his first career homer on July 1, and he would hit eight more, leading the Majors during the month.

"His first 30 at-bats, he had like two or three hits and didn't look so good, but he was taking his walks, showing patience," Padres manager Andy Green said. "Next thing you know, he's leading all Major Leaguers in home runs in the month of July. He's been a pleasant surprise."

In Schimpf's eyes, there wasn't much that changed from June to July. But he certainly started to feel more comfortable.

"Just settling down, not trying to do too much," Schimpf said. "Early on, I was having some good at-bats, just not many hits to show for it. It was just a matter of staying with the process and the approach."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.