Detroit Tigers’ Eric Haase earns American League Rookie of the Month for July

Detroit Free Press

Until Eric Haase showed up, Brennan Boesch was the most recent Detroit Tigers player to win American League Rookie of the Month. He won in May and June 2010, which led to a fifth place finish in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.

But 11 years feels too long.

Haase, 28, learned Monday he was crowned AL Rookie of the Month for July.

From Dearborn Divine Child High School, Haase went from organizational depth in spring training to a starting MLB catcher and a big-time power threat every time he steps to the plate. Being considered as part of the future for the first time in his career, he is putting on a show.

“We literally didn’t give him a legit shot to be the backup catcher in that competition,” Hinch said. “We moved him to left field and showed him first base, just trying to find different ways that if things clicked, he might be able to contribute at some point in the big leagues.

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“He took that constructively and became a pretty good left fielder. He hasn’t been challenged at first base, but he did his throwing program behind the plate and has cleaned up some of his actions and taken off with this opportunity by hitting home runs. It’s a pretty cool story.”

In July, Haase hit .265 with nine home runs and 29 RBIs over 23 games, adding three doubles, six walks, 26 strikeouts and a .945 on-base plus slugging percentage. Two of the highlights: He had six RBIs, two-homer performance July 3 in an 11-5 win, and his game-tying grand slam in the ninth inning July 27 sparked a 6-5 extra innings win, snapping a four-game losing streak.

SEIDEL: Why the secret of Tigers catcher Eric Haase’s success started in a barn in Westland

“The storybook season of the hometown kid continues,” Hinch said after Haase’s heroics. “Really an uplifting swing for us. We were pretty beaten up in this game and never really felt like we were doing much to get back into it until that ninth.”

Over 59 games, Haase is hitting .246 with nine doubles, one triple, 18 home runs and 46 RBIs. He has a .301 on-base percentage and .555 slugging percentage. And Haase leads the Tigers in home runs, ahead of Jonathan Schoop (17), Robbie Grossman (16), Akil Baddoo (10) and Miguel Cabrera (10).

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Jonathan India earned NL Rookie of the Month.

Nivaldo Rodriguez joins

The Tigers claimed right-handed reliever Nivaldo Rodriguez off waivers from the Houston Astros and sent the 24-year-old to Triple-A Toledo — pushing the 40-man roster to 39 players.

Rodriguez was designated for assignment by the Astros on July 31 to make room for right-handed reliever Phil Maton, acquired in a trade from Cleveland.

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In four games this season, Rodriguez has a 2.45 ERA, four walks and three strikeouts in 7⅓ innings. For Triple-A Sugar Land, he posted a 6.26 ERA, 16 walks and 25 strikeouts in 27⅓ innings over 10 games (six starts).

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter

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