Orioles outfielder-designated hitter Nelson Cruz has been named American League Player of the Week, Major League Baseball announced Monday afternoon.
In seven games last week, Cruz batted .476 with four home runs and eight RBIs. In that span, he had a .556 on-base percentage and led baseball with a 1.190 slugging percentage.
The gaudy numbers came before Cruz left Sunday’s game against the Houston Astros after he was hit by a pitch in his left hand. X-rays were negative, and Cruz is listed as day-to-day with a hand contusion.
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The Orioles signed Cruz to a one-year, $8 million contract in February after his 50-game suspension last season for violating baseball's drug policies in connection with Miami-based Biogenesis of America clinic. Cruz also was tied to draft-pick compensation, so the Orioles forfeited their second-round pick in this week's first-year player draft to sign him.
So far this season, the move has appeared a worthwhile investment.
Through Sunday, Cruz led the major leagues in slugging percentage (.672), total bases (137), home runs (20) and RBIs (52). He’s on pace to hit 59 home runs and drive in 153 runs, which would shatter his previous career-highs of 33 homers in 2009 and 90 RBIs in 2012.
Monday’s honors mark the second time Cruz has been named Player of the Week in his career. He also earned the honor in 2010 with the Texas Rangers.
Already a two-time All-Star, Cruz passed Boston’s David Ortiz for first place in American League All-Star voting at designated hitter in results announced Monday.