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07/17/06 5:26 PM ET

Kotsay earns first Player of Week Award

A's outfielder takes AL honor with three multihit games

This past week might have been a condensed one for big leaguers, but somebody still had to be named the Bank of America Presents the American League Player of the Week.

Athletics center fielder Mark Kotsay claimed the award Monday with three multihit games in four days against the Red Sox. This was the first weekly award presented to an Athletics player this season and the first ever to Kotsay, who's a 10-year veteran.

For the week, Kotsay batted .556 (10-for-18) with three doubles and five RBIs in four games at Fenway Park following the All-Star break. Three of those games resulted in wins, which vaulted the A's into first place ahead of the Rangers.

"This was an important series for us, and we played very well against a very good [Red Sox] team," Kotsay said.

Kotsay played particularly well against the Red Sox. He was 2-for-5 in a victory last Thursday. On Saturday, he batted 3-for-5 with two runs scored when the A's pummeled the Red Sox, 15-3.

Kotsay saved his best performance against the Red Sox for last, though. He stroked a season-high four hits Sunday, including a double, and matched a season high with three RBIs.

In the sixth inning Sunday, he even gunned down Manny Ramirez at third base from his spot in center field. It was one of several outstanding defensive plays the A's made that day.

"This was about as good as it gets," Kotsay said of his club's defense.

The same could be said of Kotsay's offense. At the break, Kotsay had a mediocre .246 batting average. Ten hits and 18 at-bats later, he's got a .263 mark and the Athletics have a few more wins.

Maybe the start of the second half had something to do with Kotsay's surge. In his career, he's hit slightly better after the All-Star break (.285) than before it (.283).

Besides Kotsay, five other candidates were considered for the American League Player of the Week Award. Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira, who hit three home runs last Thursday, and Angels right fielder Vladimir Guerrero, who launched a couple of home runs this past week, were in the running.

So were Rangers infielder Mark DeRosa and Angels right-hander John Lackey, who picked up a complete-game victory with 10 strikeouts last Friday against the Devil Rays.

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