Red Sox LHP Okajima wins AL Rookie of the Month

NEW YORK (TICKER) Boston Red Sox lefthander Hideki Okajima on Wednesday was named the American League Rookie of the month for April.

The 31-year-old reliever posted a 0.71 ERA in 12 appearances. He allowed just five hits and three walks while striking out 17 in 12 2/3 innings. A native of Japan, Okajima earned his first major league save on April 20 against the New York Yankees.

The 6-1, 194-pound, hurler began his playing career in Japan in 1995, playing 10 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants and one with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

Okajima’s teammate and countryman Daisuke Matsuzaka also received votes after going 3-2 with a 4.36 ERA.

Others receiving consideration for the honor were Akinori Iwamura of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who batted .339, and teammate Delmon Young, who hit three home runs and drove in 13 runs.

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Updated Wednesday, May 2, 2007