Cruz clubs his way to AL Player of Week honor

CruzFirstDayNelson Cruz wasted no time making an impact on the Mariners offense and the big slugger’s imprint was noticed as the 34-year-old right fielder earned American League Player of the Week honors on Monday for his powerful performance over the previous seven days.

Cruz was selected for the week of April 13-19, during which he hit .500 (12-for-24) with six home runs, 10 RBIs, seven runs and a 1.806 OPS in six games.

It is the fourth AL Player of the Week honor for Cruz in his 11-year career and first with the Mariners after signing a four-year, $57 million deal in December.

In six games against the Dodgers and Rangers, Cruz had a hit in every game and reached base 15 times either by hit or walk, capped by a two-homer day on Sunday that he capped off with a walk-off single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth in an 11-10 victory over Texas.

In the six games, Cruz led the Majors in home runs, RBIs and OPS, as well as with his 1.250 slugging percentage and 30 total bases. He also was second in the Majors in runs (7), tied for third in hits (12) and had the third-highest batting average (.500) and on-base percentage (.556) among qualified AL hitters.

Cruz won AL Player of the Week honors twice last season with the Orioles, on June 2 and Sept. 8, and once with the Rangers on May 24, 2010.

After going 1-for-15 with no RBIs in his first four games with Seattle, Cruz has gone on a tear. Heading into Monday’s series opener with the Astros at Safeco Field, he’s leading the Majors with eight home runs while hitting .354 (17-for-48) with 14 RBIs and a 1.258 OPS.

Cruz is the first player in the Majors with eight home runs in the first 12 games of the season since Alex Rodriguez did the same in 2007 for the Yankees on his way to a 54-homer, 156-RBI MVP season.

Cruz is the first Mariner to win AL Player of the Week honors since Kyle Seager was selected on June 29 last season. Seager earned the award twice last year (also on April 27), while Felix Hernandez also was selected on June 8.

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