NEW YORK -- Before Monday's matchup against the Royals, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez accepted his award for Hitter of the Year from MLB.com.

More than 9 million fans voted in the sixth annual MLB.com This Year in Baseball Awards and recognized Rodriguez for his achievements at the plate during the 2007 season.

The Yankees slugger ended the '07 season with a .314 batting average and led the Major Leagues with 54 home runs and 156 RBIs.

And his success has rolled into 2008. Heading into Monday's contest, Rodriguez held a .313 average, with nine home runs and 29 RBIs.

Rodriguez missed 17 games in early May when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time with the Yankees on April 30 with a Grade 2 strain of his right quadriceps, and the team missed his production. New York went 6-11 during his absence, averaging 3.5 runs per game.

Since Rodriguez returned to the lineup on May 20, though, the Yankees have gone 12-7 and averaged 5.9 runs per game during that span.