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Utley takes NL weekly honors

Utley takes NL weekly honors

Chase Utley's frantic push to the top of the Major League home run list hasn't gone unnoticed.

The 29-year-old Phillies second baseman hit five home runs last week, pulling his Major League-leading total to 20 and making him the only second baseman in Major League history to hit 20 home runs in fewer than 60 games.

Utley's efforts were rewarded on Monday, when he was named the National League Player of the Week, presented by Bank of America. The previous 20-homer mark was held by Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby, who hit his 20th homer of the 1925 season in the Cardinals' 61st game of the year.

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"The way Utley goes about the game and his mind-set ... I think he's the best player I've been around, and I've been around a long time," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, whose first year in professional baseball came in 1963. "I used to think Kirby Puckett was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I see how Utley goes about his business day in and day out, how he prepares and how he plays. He's tremendous -- his dedication, his determination."

It's the fifth time in Utley's career he's received the honor and the fourth year in a row he's won it at least once. He won April 29, 2007, July 30, 2006; May 7, 2006 and July 17, 2005.

His five homers last week led the Majors, as did his 14 RBIs and 25 total bases. He was second in the National League with a 1.087 slugging percentage.

Utley, a two-time All-Star who has played at Philadelphia his entire six-year career, connected on his 20th home run of the season in a 7-5 victory over the Marlins on Sunday. The homer helped put the Phillies atop the National League East standings.

The home run also marked Utley's fourth home run is as many games and his sixth in his last seven. He also hit six home runs in seven games from April 17-23. He's reached base safely in 20 consecutive games, dating back to an 0-for-4 performance at San Francisco on May 10.

"I see how hard he works and how dedicated he is," Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard said. "To me, it's no surprise that he's playing the way he's playing right now. He can do it all, and has."

Utley was one of three Phillies nominated for the award. Chris Coste (.333 batting average, two home runs, seven RBIs) and Shane Victorino (.435 average, three doubles) were also nominated.

Tourneau, the world's largest watch store, will award Utley with a luxury Swiss Timepiece, suitably engraved, in recognition of his accomplishments as the National League Player of the Week.

Brandon Harris 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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