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Stanton named NL Player of the Week

PITTSBURGH -- Mike Stanton was named National League Player of the Week Monday, an award that didn't surprise anybody in the Marlins clubhouse except maybe the humble 20-year old outfielder.

Mike Stanton "It's definitely a very cool award. It's a surprise for sure," said Stanton, who went 14 for 24 (.583) with four homers, five doubles, five runs and eight RBI in six games against the Nationals and Reds last week to raise his season average from .233 to .275. "It's an honor to be given it. Hopefully I can keep it rolling."

Manager Edwin Rodriguez said he was happy for Stanton. He just wondered if Stanton would even smile about it. In the two months Rodriguez has been with the team, he said Stanton has showed a level headed attitude more common for a veteran.

"I saw him once, three or four weeks ago when he came into the dugout after an at-bat and you could tell he was kind of frustrated with the way he was swinging," Rodriguez said. "... That the closest I've seen him change his attitude about anything. He won't show any emotion. A two home run game for him is the same as 0-for-4. You can't tell. I guess he expects that from [himself]. It's that kind of attitude."

Stanton said he just tries to mimic what he sees other longtime pros do. "You just got to look at the successful people," Stanton said. "They fail just as much as they succeed. You have to watch from them, learn from them and see how they do it. This game is tough, you're going to fail. That's the hardest thing to do -- not get mad. It takes some time to realize that's how it's going to go. Getting mad isn't going to change what happens. If anything, it's going to make things worse. That's just the way I look at it."

Veteran Wes Helms said he thinks Stanton's torrid week could get him in the National League Rookie of the Year race. As it stands, Helms believes Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin (.252, 18 HRs, 42 RBI) and Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez (.289, 12 HRs, 53 RBI) should be the front runners. 

"He doesn't have the at-bats with some of the guys like [Atlanta's Jason] Heyward, Gaby, the guy in Chicago, but I think he's going to be there in the end," Helms said. " With six, seven weeks left in the season, if he just continues doing what he's doing, once you get into September, you'll start to hear his name a little more."

The NL Rookie of the Year award might be one of the toughest to hand out this season. Although Heyward (.259, 12 HRs, 51 RBI) and Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg (5-3, 2.97 ERA, 86 Ks, 17 BBs) have received the most hype, Giants catcher Buster Posey (.337, 9 HRs, 43 RBI) has clearly had the biggest impact. Since his call up May 29, San Francisco has gone 41-30 to take the lead in the NL Wild Card race.

Stanton has the fifth-highest batting average in the majors since July 26. THe only guys hitting better? Minnesota's Joe Mauer (.516), Houstons' Chris Johnson (.433), Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez (.405) and Texas' Josh Hamilton (.397).

> Edwin Rodriguez on the Marlins 0-for-29 weekend in Cincinnati with runners in scoring position: " I'm sure our guys are giving 100 percent on the field. You have to give credit to the Reds pitching staff. It's not lack of effort. They're going out there, doing their best."

The club record for consecutive ABs without a hit with runners in scoring position is 31 from June 16-20, 2009. 

> Rodriguez said he told catcher Ronny Paulino after Sunday's game that he will split more time behind the plate with Brett Hayes.

"It seems to me he's slowing down," Rodriguez said. "His body is slowing down. His swing is slowing down. He understands. He's very aware. When I got here, his reaction behind the plate, side to side, right to left, was quicker. Right now, the last two weeks, he's been slowing down with dirt balls. Even throwing to the bases, he's not throwing it the way he was before."

Paulino was hitting .305 on July 2. He's gone 14 for 95 (.147) in his last 29 games and has average has dipped to .257. Paulino has caught 88 games this season. Last year, he caught 80. In 2008, he caught 40 for the Pirates. He played in 133 games in 2007 for Pittsburgh.

"Whatever is best for the team, that's what you got to do," said Paulino, who hasn't caught a full season in the majors since 2007 and who has split time with John Baker behind the plate for the better part of the last two years. "If he thinks its best for the team and we're going to win, I support every decision. Physically, I feel fine."

> Rodriguez said he plans to visit Roberto Clemente's museum on Tuesday. Rodriguez met the late Pirates Hall of Fame outfielder in his native Puerto Rico when he was a little boy and called this trip "very important" for himself.

"When I was with San Diego [as a player] I had a chance to come here," Rodriguez said. "But it's been 25 years. I've been amazed with the field, the stadium. Every angle you look its beautiful. I'm excited about tomorrow. I already took pictures of the Roberto Clemente Bridge and the statue out there."

> With 46 games left on the schedule and the Marlins 10.5 games back in the division and 8.5 games out of the wild card, Helms said the team hasn't lost its hunger.

"It's still there," Helms said. "It's one of those things. We have two goals. Make the playoffs -- until we're eliminated. Once we're eliminated, we want to finish over .500 and have a good season. Once you are eliminated, you want to finish strong and build for next year. You don't just want to give up. We want to show ourselves and our fans and the rest of the league what type of character we have even though we haven't had the type of year we want to have. We're not going to cave in. Even though it's the last six, seven weeks of the season we're going to go out and play hard."

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