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A-Rod named AL Player of the Month

A-Rod named AL Player of the Month

The ever-widening gap between Alex Rodriguez and his American League contemporaries is quickly evolving into a chasm. After a torrid June that saw the New York third baseman bat .406 with 39 hits and a league-high .781 slugging percentage, Rodriguez garnered his second American League Player of the Month award in three months, his fifth as a Bronx Bomber and the ninth of his career.

The Major League's top draw for the impending Midsummer Classic -- he leads all players with more than 2 million votes -- also recorded nine home runs, scored 28 runs and knocked in 34 more, all league highs.

Oh, and let's not forget about the LCD-TV.

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Sharp, the monthly award's sponsor, will present the pinstriped slugger with a complimentary television set to go with the customary trophy designated for such an honor. And what better way to watch himself carve out that aforementioned chasm than on a 52-inch monstrosity of high-definition home entertainment? The replays of the 18 extra-base hits he picked up last month -- nine of them doubles -- never looked so good.

Or the 9-for-13 beating he administered to San Francisco in a three-game series to inflate his .500 on-base percentage. Or the 18 walks he drew. The list of highlights from Rodriguez's joyous June is quite extensive.

But more so than the gaudy numbers, Rodriguez said it's his relationship with each facet of the organization that remains a more accurate indicator of his success.

"Leadership is not something that comes with great numbers, home runs and RBIs," Rodriguez said. "It's something that is anointed to you by your teammates, your coaches and your manager. For me, the way I've led is through example my whole career, and also being available for your teammates."

But with his Yankees teammates sitting 11 games out of first place, Rodriguez is torn about his personal triumphs.

"It's been frustrating," he said. "I felt really good in April [when he was named Player of the Month for the first time this season] and we were struggling to win games, so it's an emotional roller coaster. You feel personally like you're doing a nice job, but you can't really enjoy it because you're not winning ballgames.

"With that said, we do have more games left than we've played, so we still have an opportunity to hopefully have the last laugh."

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

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