The American League has confirmed what Eric Davis has been suggesting all month. At his best, Davis still can place himself among the game's elite.
Completing a remarkable stretch that overshadowed several other brilliant performances, Davis was named the AL Player of the Week yesterday, less than 24 hours after he homered twice against the Boston Red Sox.
Davis' monster week included a six-game hitting streak in which he batted .560 (14-for-25) with five home runs and 13 RBIs. The blitz enabled Davis to hike his batting average from .250 to .377. His 1.231 slugging percentage included eight extra-base hits among 32 total bases.
Davis, who is on a one-year deal plus an option, beat out several other significant achievements to win the award, most notably the record-tying five home runs over consecutive games by Cleveland Indians third baseman Matt Williams. New York Yankees designated hitter Cecil Fielder hit .448 for the week, Milwaukee Brewers designated hitter Dave Nilsson hit .417 and Oakland Athletics first baseman Mark McGwire batted .421.
Yesterday's honor, which covered April 21-27, represents the seventh time that Davis, 34, has been recognized for a weekly or monthly league award, but is the first time since June 24, 1990.
It also was Davis' first award as an American League player and came after he had endured six days of inactivity because of a deep shoulder contusion. Davis missed all four games of the Orioles' last road trip before igniting on a six-game homestand.
Davis entered last week in a 1-for-16 funk. Long known as a dangerous streak hitter, he emerged scalding from his down time. He only struck out once all week.
Interestingly, Davis' two biggest games came in losses. Last Wednesday he had six RBIs and a seventh-inning, game-tying grand slam, but the Chicago White Sox took an 11-9 decision in 10 innings. Sunday's two homers and three RBIs off left-hander Steve Avery came in a 13-7 loss to Boston.
Still, Camden Yards definitely agrees with him. All but one of Davis' 16 RBIs have come at home.
Mills' test postponed
A test to assess Alan Mills' pinched nerve was postponed for a week. Injured in a pre-game collision with Lenny Webster on April 11, Mills still is experiencing weakness in his left arm and has not thrown from a mound since.
The test was rescheduled for next Monday. The delay would suggest Mills will remain on the disabled list until at least mid-May.
NL Player of the Month: July 1986; April 1987; May 1987; August 1988.
NL Player of the Week: May 29-June 4, 1989; June 18-24, 1990.
AL Player of the Week: April 21-27, 1997.
Pub Date: 4/29/97