Tino Martinez has been even hotter, and his incredible week was officially honored Monday, when Martinez was named American League Player of the Week.
Martinez last week became the fourth-oldest player in baseball history to homer in five consecutive games, then added three more in two games after his streak was stopped.
In six games last week, Martinez batted .391 (9-for-23), leading the league with six home runs, 15 RBIs and 10 runs scored. The veteran first baseman led the AL in total bases with 28 and finished second in slugging percentage at 1.217.
On Wednesday, Martinez became the first Yankee to homer in five straight games since Don Mattingly tied the Major League record of eight consecutive games in 1987. During Sunday's 6-4 win over Oakland, Martinez connected for his seventh and eighth home runs in his last eight games.
Martinez had at least one home run in every game but one last week and has gone deep 10 times in his last 12 games (11 starts).
"I'm feeling good at the plate, seeing the ball well, getting good pitches to hit, and hitting them," Martinez said. "I just happened to catch the good part of the bat on some pitches and hit them out of the park."
Martinez said the topic of his streak wasn't taboo in the dugout for any superstitious reasons. In fact, the Yankees were making sure to let him know how he was doing after almost every at-bat.
"They were all saying, 'Come on, try to hit one,'" Martinez said. "I'd laugh ... and then I'd hit one."
This is the fifth career AL Player of the Week Award for Martinez, his fourth as a member of the Yankees. It marks the 83rd time a New York Yankee has captured the weekly honor since the award's inception in 1974.
"He's remarkable," Yankees manager Joe Torre said of Martinez's recent run. "He's been absolutely remarkable how confident he looks at the plate."
"If you make a mistake to him, he's going to hit it and hit it hard," Yankees starter Randy Johnson added. "He's been a big key to our success over the last eight games."
Other candidates included Boston's Trot Nixon (.529, three homers, 10 RBIs), Toronto's Roy Halladay (2-0, 1.08 ERA, 16 2/3 innings, 11 strikeouts) and Baltimore's Daniel Cabrera (2-0, 3.21, 15 strikeouts).
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less