© 2005 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

06/02/05 9:07 PM ET

Rodriguez wins AL Player of the Month

Yankees third baseman leads club to 17-10 May mark

KANSAS CITY -- Alex Rodriguez has earned his pinstripes.

The Yankees third baseman added another award to his already sizable collection, the latest is the American League's Player of the Month award for May. The award is the fifth of his career and his first since joining the Yankees.

While playing in 27 games in May, Rodriguez batted .349 (30-for-86), hit eight home runs and drove in 22 runs. He also led the league with a .513 on-base percentage -- he reached base safely in 24 games played -- and 25 walks. He ranked third in the league with a .686 slugging percentage and 23 runs.

The scariest part about A-Rod's performance? The eight-time All-Star doesn't think he's reached his peak yet this season.

"When you start feeling better, you start playing better," Rodriguez said. "I'm getting there and hitting my stride."

To date, A-Rod is among the AL's top three in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, home runs, RBIs, runs scored and walks. Manager Joe Torre called that performance "pretty darn good," but was quick to point out that the season is still just two months old.

"One thing about this game," Torre said, "you can't pat yourself on the back because there's June, July, August, September and, hopefully, more than that.

"You've got to constantly grind in this game and, right now, we need a lift. [Alex] is certainly capable of doing that for us."

Indeed, while Rodriguez paced the league in May, the Yankees posted a 17-10 record, best among teams in the AL East, and climbed from fourth to as high as second place. He has struggled lately, though, batting a rather modest .250 (3-for-12) during the last four games, all Yankees' losses. The Bronx Bombers have dropped from second to fourth in the division during that stretch.

Rodriguez's May successes have not yet translated to June. In a rather small sample of three at-bats, the third baseman has failed to collect a hit and has drawn just one walk.

Matt LaWell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.