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08/14/06 6:40 PM ET

DeRosa tabbed AL Player of Week

Outfielder's offensive surge helps keep Texas in playoff hunt

What a week it was for Mark DeRosa.

In a game against the Athletics on Aug. 9, the Rangers' utilityman went 4-for-5 with two home runs and a career-high six RBIs. He claimed it was the first time since college that he had homered twice in one game. Then, Friday against the Mariners, DeRosa was 3-for-4 with one homer and six RBIs.

The rest of his week wasn't shabby, either. In all, DeRosa hit .433 with two doubles, four home runs, 15 RBIs and 27 total bases. His slugging percentage for the week was .900. The torrid hitting earned DeRosa Bank of America Presents the American League Player of the Week honors for the period ending Aug. 13.

"It seems like I've come up with the bases loaded or men in scoring position every time up the past four or five days," DeRosa said Friday. "Those are situations that you have to capitalize on, and I'm just trying to relax and get good pitches to hit."

Whatever his reasoning, DeRosa has been huge as his team continues to fight up the standings in the AL West. Including his attack of the A's on Wednesday, the Rangers have rattled off five straight wins, including a four-game sweep of the Mariners over a long weekend series. The streak has brought them five games within the division-leading A's and just one-half game behind the Angels.

"He's certainly a presence for us," Showalter said of DeRosa after Sunday's win. "He stretches out the lineup. We have the third leading hitter [DeRosa] in the American League [.331 average] batting sixth."

Earlier in the week, Showalter admitted that he has been using DeRosa in more of an everyday role instead of just a utility role because he feels DeRosa has evolved into a complete hitter this season. The numbers have supported the decision.

Through Sunday, DeRosa had started all of the Rangers games in August except one. In 49 at-bats, he was batting .429 with three doubles, five home runs, and 21 RBIs. To put his power numbers into perspective, DeRosa entered the month with just seven home runs and 40 RBIs.

"Where would we be without Mark DeRosa?" teammate Gary Matthews asked Friday.

Other players considered for the weekly award were fellow Rangers outfielder teammate Carlos Lee (.484 average, two home runs), Blue Jays slugger Lyle Overbay (.393 average, 10 RBIs), Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner (four doubles, 10 RBIs, sixth grad slam of the season), Twins veteran right-hander Brad Radke (2-0, 1.29 ERA), and White Sox All-Star pitcher Jose Contreras (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

CJ Bowles is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.