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05/09/08 7:37 PM ET

Murphy ropes in AL Rookie honors

Youngster earns regular playing time in Rangers outfield

The month of April is in the books and the nod for top rookie in the American League goes to Texas outfielder David Murphy.

In the charter version of Major League Baseball's newest award, Murphy outpolled Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Tigers right-hander Armando Galarraga and A's left-hander Greg Smith to win the newly created Rookie of the Month Award presented by Gillette.

"It's flattering," Murphy said. "I try to play hard every day and contribute to the team's success but individual accolades are always flattering."

Cubs catcher Geovany Soto was also honored in the National League as online fan voting played a pivotal role in both league awards that include a $5,000 charitable donation. Voters also will have a shot at attending this year's All-Star Game in Yankee Stadium or a 2008 World Series game.

Murphy, who was a first-team All-America at Baylor University, hit .277 with two homers, 11 doubles, a triple and 14 RBIs for the Rangers in April, which earned him regular playing time in the crowded Texas outfield.

"As long as he's swinging the bat and playing as well as he's playing, you've got to pencil him in," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Even when he doesn't get his hits, he's on base with a walk. He's catching everything that's hit to him and running things down out there. He's playing good baseball."

When asked about the possibility of winning the Rookie of the Year award, Murphy was modest.

"It would be great," He said. "But I think about winning first and helping the team be successful. Whatever happens in the ends happens. You go through so many ups and downs and I'm still learning. I've shown I can be successful up here but I've also shown I have my down times. I'm still learning and making adjustments."

Balloting for the new Rookie of the Month Award presented by Gillette begins exclusively at mlb.com/gillette during the first week of each month to help determine the previous month's winners.

The site lists nominees in both leagues, as well as unique statistics, video clips and season long editorial content built around the rookie theme. Voting will be based on statistical criteria, and the online fan vote will represent 20 percent of the overall vote -- with the remaining votes coming from team writers and club broadcasters.

Once voting is concluded, Gillette, MLB and Major League Baseball Advanced Media announce the winning rookie for each league in a monthly press release and congratulates the winners online at mlb.com/gillette. A Rookie of the Month trophy then will be presented to each of the winners, and Gillette will make a donation to a charitable organization in each award recipient's name.

There could be something big in it for voters as well. Everyone who participates in the balloting will be automatically registered for a chance to win either a trip to the 79th All-Star Game July 15 at Yankee Stadium or to one game at the 2008 World Series -- depending on the month of entry.

Murphy, who was a first-round Draft pick by the Red Sox in 2003, hit .340 in 43 games for Texas last year and posted a .916 OPS.

Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.