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09/22/08 4:00 PM ET
Pena tabbed AL Player of Week
First baseman rewarded as Rays clinch playoff berth
By Shawn Shroyer / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- No instant replay will be needed to show that Rays first baseman Carlos Pena was named the American League Player of the Week, presented by Bank of America. Pena swung a smoking bat last week when he hit .368 (7-for-19), with a pair of doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs in the same week the Rays clinched the franchise's first postseason berth. But the most memorable moment of the week involving Pena came on Friday night, when a replay reversal worked out in his favor. He sent an offering from Boof Bonser toward right field in the fourth inning that was originally called a double for fan interference. However, the umpires decided to take a closer look, reversed the call and awarded Pena his 31st home run of the season. "Yeah, I was glad," Pena said. "I'm always expecting good things. I tend to lean toward always expecting the positive, so at second base I was obviously waiting for something good to come out -- nice little home run to come out of the dugout and it did." Along with a .947 slugging percentage and .500 on-base percentage last week, Pena drove in at least one run and reached base at least once in each of his last six games. In three games against AL East-rival Boston, he was 3-for-8 with a home run and three RBIs. On Tuesday night, he helped the Rays even the series, hitting a game-tying home run in the seventh inning off Josh Beckett. "He's just taken it upon himself to turn up his game," manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm seeing better at-bats -- he's not missing his pitches. He just turned up the dial a bit. I just think that comes from within." This is the second time Pena has won AL Player of the Week honors, last doing so on Oct. 1, 2007. Pena beat out Shin-Soo Choo, Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera, Garret Anderson, Kyle Davies and Daisuke Matsuzaka for the honor and will receive a luxury Swiss Tourneau timepiece. While Pena has picked his play up the second half of the season, he said he hasn't been pressing to do so. "By no means did I say to myself, 'OK, you better do this now,'" Pena said. "I think there was just an understanding among us that we need to focus on playing our game. Even though I was doing it before, it just so happens to be working out now."
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.