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05/03/08 8:58 PM ET

Hamilton named AL Player of Month

Slugger drives in 32 runs in initial month with new organization

OAKLAND -- Josh Hamilton was hoping to get off to a good start for the Rangers. He wasn't expecting a new 52-inch television set to go with it.

"I'll settle for a plaque," Hamilton said. "That's all I want."

He might as well enjoy the television, because that's part of the deal after being named American League Player of the Month for April, presented by Sharp.

"It really hasn't sunk in yet," Hamilton said. "When somebody first told me, I said, 'Does that mean all the players in the AL?' I guess it does."

It does. Acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in the offseason, Hamilton batted .330 with six home runs and a Major League-high 32 RBI. He also had 10 doubles, walked 11 times, had a .379 on-base percentage, scored 16 runs and finished the month with a .591 slugging percentage.

"It's just one month; I've got a lot more to go," Hamilton said. "I know I'll have some down periods, too, but half of that is still a good month. You always like to get off to a good start because it gives you a little cushion. But, new team, a great group of guys, I felt good coming in, I wanted it to carry over from Spring Training and help these guys win."

The highlight of the month was a two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning to give the Rangers a 5-4 victory over the Mariners on April 1 at Safeco Field. The home run came off Mariners All-Star closer J.J. Putz.

"He's a very special player," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He played well, and the first month of the season he took over some leadership for us. I'm not saying he surpassed expectations, but he did a great job. He did it on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively, and he ran the bases well. He showed up ready to play."

Hamilton is the first Rangers position player to be named American League Player of the Month since Mark Teixeira in July 2004. Kenny Rogers was the American League Pitcher of the Month in May, 2005.

Hamilton was also named the Rangers Player of the Month. Vicente Padilla was named the Pitcher of the Month after going 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA, including a shutout over the Twins.

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