Mench, Broussard share AL honors

Mench, Broussard share AL honors

One player is battling for a position at first base and the other changed his shoe size.

Ben Broussard and Kevin Mench were named Bank of America co-Players of the Week in the American League for the time frame ending on April 30th.

Broussard, of the Cleveland Indians, has been splitting time at first base with Eduardo Perez. Broussard has started 13 games this season and is batting .415. His biggest output came against the Red Sox and Josh Beckett on April 27.

Broussard went 4-for-5 that day with eight RBIs and two home runs off Beckett. His first came in the first inning with the bases loaded for his fourth-career grand slam. The next came in the third inning to give him his fifth career multi-home run game. The Indians went on to slam the Red Sox, 15-3.

The amazing part is that Broussard didn't start the next game. Even after the crowd of 26,952 in Jacobs Field was chanting "Ben-ny Ben-ny," he was replaced by Perez, who is batting .314.

"All I can do is try my best when I'm in there," Broussard said. "My goal is to make it a difficult decision for them to keep me out of the lineup.

"I'm trying to take the pressure off myself. I don't want to be overly aggressive, but I want to be ready to hit."

Broussard batted .625 (10-for-16), with an American League-leading four home runs, 13 RBIs, and 23 total bases on the week.

Mench, right fielder for the Rangers, hasn't had to worry about fighting for a position, but he was worried about his shoe size earlier in the season.

Mench had been wearing size 12 since the age of 15 and two weeks ago saw a foot specialist who told him to change to a 12 1/2. The tight shoes caused him to miss five games earlier in the season after spraining the second toe of his right foot.

Mench moved back into the lineup as a regular on April 19. He failed to drive in a run in his first 10 games, but he has 22 RBIs since.

A big chunk of those RBIs came from April 21-28, when Mench came a game short of a Major League record by homering in seven consecutive games. Mench didn't homer in his eighth game on Sunday against Cleveland, but still has a 14-game hitting streak as well as at least one RBI in nine of his last 10 games.

"It was fun," Mench said, "but I really didn't care about getting record or not. We're just trying to win ballgames."

The consecutive home run streak of eight was set by Dale Long 50 years ago and was tied by Don Mattingly of the Yankees in 1987 and Ken Griffey Jr. in 1993 when he played for the Mariners.

After the first 10 games Mench was batting .281; he hit .435 during the week to raise his average to .342.

During the week he also had four home runs, 10 RBIs, and a .957 slugging percentage.

Other candidates considered were New York's Johnny Damon (.429, 10 R, 5 SB) and Toronto's Shea Hillenbrand (.579, 2 HR, 7 RBI). New York pitcher Mike Mussina (2-0, 12.0 IP) also received consideration.

Ryan Quinn is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.