Huff named AL Player of the Week
Right fielder wins POW Award for the first time
ST. PETERSBURG -- Aubrey Huff didn't let the trade rumors swirling around affect him last week.
Instead, the Tampa Bay right fielder kept his hot month going and was named the Bank of America American League Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
He batted .409 (9-for-22) with two home runs, 10 RBIs and an .818 slugging percentage leading the Devil Rays to a 5-2 record from July 25-31. He hit safely in each of the six games he started, which raised his on-base percentage to .500 for the week.
"There's a lot of stuff flying around, but I can't pay attention to it," Huff said Friday. "Last year there were those rumors, too, and I'm still here."
Huff was rumored to be joining the Red Sox as a key component of the blockbuster deal that would have sent Boston's Manny Ramirez to the New York Mets last week. But Sunday's non-waiver trade deadline came and went and Huff remained with the Devil Rays.
That was good news for Tampa Bay, which has run to a 12-5 record since the All-Star break on the wings of Huff's hot streak.
The Devil Rays' all-time leader in home runs (111) and RBIs (392) hit .320 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in July. Huff is now hitting .270 with 13 homers. He entered July with a .252 average.
"That's the best I've felt all year," Huff said on Friday. "I guess I start off slow every year, but that was getting kind of ridiculous. You know, three days after the All-Star break, getting a little mental break helped. The whole team is playing better. I hope we continue on a nice roll."
Last Monday, Huff hit a game-winning double off Boston's Curt Schilling in a 10-inning, 4-3 win over the Red Sox. The hit caught Schilling off guard.
"Aubrey's a good hitter," Schilling said after the game. "I didn't think that would end the game. He hit it harder than I thought he did."
On Tuesday against Boston, Huff followed with the second grand slam of his career -- just five days after hitting his first against Baltimore. He added another four RBIs against Kansas City on Friday, thanks in part to a three-run home run in the first inning.
Huff was selected for the award over Seattle's Richie Sexson (.409, three HRs, six RBIs), Jermaine Dye (.379, two HRs, 12 RBIs) of the Chicago White Sox; and pitchers Gustavo Chacin (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 14 1/3 IP) of Toronto, Texas' Joaquin Benoit (2-0, 0.84 ERA, 10 1/3 IP) and Oakland's Kirk Saarloos (1-0, 2.00 ERA, 1 CG).
Huff was the first Tampa Bay player to win the award since Jose Cruz, Jr. won on May 23, 2004.Bank of America will make a $1,000 donation to the Little League Urban Initiative on behalf of Huff.
Jordan Bastian is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.