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Kimbrel earns NL Rookie of Month honors

Kimbrel earns NL Rookie of Month honors

Kimbrel earns NL Rookie of Month honors
Braves closer Craig Kimbrel's 1-0 record, eight saves and a 1.93 ERA in 14 appearances in June earned the right-hander the Gillette Presents National League Rookie of the Month Award, the league announced on Tuesday.

Kimbrel, who was selected by the Braves in the third round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, received the distinction after allowing just three runs and seven hits with 25 strikeouts over 14 innings. Kimbrel struck out at least one batter in 13 of his 14 outings. He finished the month by converting three consecutive saves from June 27-29 against the Mariners at Safeco Field. He fanned seven and allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings in the series.

The Braves' fireman has burst onto the scene in 2011. He reached 100 strikeouts faster than any pitcher in franchise history (59 1/3 innings), eclipsing the century mark on June 27. His 25 saves entering Tuesday not only tied him for the NL lead with Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan and Padres closer Heath Bell, but the total set a Major League rookie record for most saves before the All-Star break (Mike MacDougal, 24, '03).

Kimbrel enters Tuesday's action with a 2-2 record, 2.51 ERA, 67 strikeouts and 18 walks in 44 games, which ranks second in the NL behind teammate Jonny Venters' 47 appearances.

Other rookies who garnered consideration were Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Mets right-hander Dillon Gee and Phillies right-hander Vance Worley.

Jon Star is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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