Three Honored as Top Minor Leaguers for April

LOS ANGELES, California-- - The Los Angeles Dodgers named Single-A Vero Beach third baseman Andy LaRoche Player of the Month and left-handers Luis Gonzalez of Double-A Jacksonville and Chuck Tiffany of Vero Beach shared Pitcher of the Month honors as the club recognized its top minor leaguers for April. The awards were announced by Dodger Director, Player Development Terry Collins.

In 23 April games, the right-handed hitting LaRoche batted .327 (32-for-98), collecting five home runs, a triple, six doubles, 18 RBI and 17 runs scored. He was named Florida State League Player of the Week for the period of April 18-24, when he hit .414 with four homers, two doubles, eight RBI and seven runs.

Overall this season, LaRoche is hitting .336 with nine home runs, a triple, seven doubles, 25 RBI and 24 runs scored. He is tied for first in the FSL in runs scored and extra-base hits (17), ranks second in hits (39) and home runs and third in RBI and slugging percentage (.647).

LaRoche, 21, entered the campaign ranked by Baseball America as the fifth-best prospect in the Dodger organization. The Fort Scott, KS native was selected by the Dodgers in the 39th round of the June 2003 First-Year Player Draft. LaRoche's father Dave pitched 14 seasons in the Major Leagues while his brother Adam is a first baseman with the Atlanta Braves.

Gonzalez made nine appearances out of the bullpen in April for Jacksonville and did not allow a run in 13.2 innings of work. In compiling a 1-0 record and one save, he permitted just eight hits and three walks with seven strikeouts, limiting opponents to a .163 batting average. Gonzalez, who was born in Puerto Rico, pitched a high of 3.0 innings on April 23 vs. Chattanooga. In his first two outings of May, he has pitched 3.1 scoreless frames, extending his shutout streak to 17.0 innings.

Selected in the 11th round of the June 2001 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida Air Academy High School in Melbourne, FL, the 22-year-old Gonzalez is in his fifth season in the Dodger system.

Tiffany posted a 4-1 record and a 1.67 ERA in five April starts, winning his first four decisions to claim back-to-back FSL Pitcher of the Week accolades. In 27.0 innings, he struck out 33 batters and yielded 16 hits and 13 walks, holding opposing hitters to a .178 batting mark.

In his season debut on April 7 at St. Lucie, Tiffany pitched 5.0 innings of a 1-0 Vero Beach victory and gave up one hit and three walks with 11 strikeouts. He followed that on April 12 by going 5.0 innings, allowing one run and striking out eight, in a 14-5 win at Palm Beach. Tiffany hurled 6.0 innings, surrendering one hit and recording seven strikeouts, as the Dodgers blanked Palm Beach, 7-0. His fourth triumph came on April 23 at Daytona when he tossed 5.0 innings and allowed two runs, five hits and no walks while striking out six.

The 20-year-old Tiffany was the Dodgers' second-round pick in the June 2003 First-Year Player Draft out of Charter Oak High School in Covina, CA and is ranked by Baseball America as the No. 10 prospect in the Dodger organization. In 2004, he was 5-2 in 22 starts for Single-A Columbus, striking out 141 batters in 99.2 innings. He hurled a seven-inning perfect game and pitched 5.0 innings of a combined no-hitter.

Each Dodger minor league manager nominates players from his team for the monthly honors with the minor league coordinators selecting the winners.

Others receiving consideration for April honors were: Triple-A Las Vegas - outfielder Chin-Feng Chen (.333, four home runs, 19 RBI) and right-handed pitcher Pat Mahomes (1-0, 2.10 ERA); Jacksonville - outfielder Nick Alvarez (.367), catcher Russell Martin (.328, 14 RBI) and right-handed pitcher Jonathan Broxton (1-1, 2.89 ERA); Columbus - second baseman Travis Denker (.301, five homers, 15 RBI) and right-handed pitcher Jesus Castillo (1-1, 2.35 ERA).