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08/03/11 9:38 PM ET

CC's amazing July earns monthly honor

CHICAGO -- CC Sabathia has looked like one of baseball's best pitchers recently.

On Wednesday, that much became official, when Major League Baseball named the Yankees' ace the American League Pitcher of the Month for July.

Last month, Sabathia went 4-1 and posted a 0.92 ERA while striking out 50, walking 13 and tossing two complete games in 39 innings. Then, in his first start of August on Monday, he gave up just two runs in eight innings to reclaim the Major League lead in wins.

Joe Girardi doesn't believe he's ever seen a better Sabathia.

"He's had two really good years for us," the Yankees' skipper said. "So far, up to this point, this is probably his best year. And that's hard to say when you've won 40 games in the last two years."

In what could be a walk year if he chooses to opt out of his current contract, Sabathia has put himself in the mix -- along with the Tigers' Justin Verlander, among others -- for his second AL Cy Young Award.

Sabathia now ranks first in the Majors in wins (16), second in innings (176 2/3), tied for third in strikeouts (162) and tied for sixth in ERA (2.55).

He's 9-1 since June 14, has a 1.01 ERA in his last eight starts and is 13-2 with a 2.08 ERA since May 19. His last time out, Sabathia got in and out and trouble and showed once again that he can be effective even when his best stuff isn't there -- a sign of maturity, and evidence to many that he's still maxing out on his potential.

Sabathia attributes that to "getting older, being a veteran, and knowing every time you don't have your best stuff to go out and battle and keep a team in the game," he said.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.