Texas Rangers third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff has been named American League Player of the Week for the week ending April 20, 2014. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
In seven games last week, Kouzmanoff led the A.L. with eight RBI and 20 total bases while tying for the league lead in runs scored (6) and doubles (4). The 32-year-old ranked among league leaders with two home runs (T-2nd), 10 hits (T-3rd) and a .690 slugging percentage (4th) while hitting .345 (10-for-29) for the week.
Kouzmanoff, who signed with Texas as a Minor League free agent in December, hit safely in his first 10 games (April 9th-19th) in a Ranger uniform before being held hitless in Sunday's 16-2 loss to the visiting Chicago White Sox. His streak of hitting safely in 10 consecutive games to start his Rangers career fell one shy of a Fred Manrique's Club record of 11 (1989). In Saturday's contest between the two Clubs, Kouzmanoff provided the Rangers bullpen with some insurance, hitting a solo homer to lead off the eighth inning as the Rangers won a 6-3 decision. On Thursday, he ignited the Rangers offense with an RBI-double in the bottom of the first inning following an intentional walk to Prince Fielder. The early offensive outburst helped the Rangers earn an 8-6 victory and complete a three-game sweep of the Mariners at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Kouzmanoff also played a key role in Wednesday's walk-off victory over the Mariners. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Seattle closer Fernando Rodney in the game, Kouzmanoff legged out an infield single and eventually scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at two before Leonys Martin's game-winning single gave the Rangers a 3-2 win. On Tuesday, Kevin posted his first three-hit effort of the season, going 3-for-4 with home run, two doubles and three RBI in a 5-0 win over the Mariners. The home run marked his first in the Majors since September 25, 2011, when he hit two homers as a member of the Colorado Rockies. This is his first career weekly award.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Kouzmanoff's Texas teammate Martin Perez (1-0, 0.00 ERA, CG, SHO, 9.0 IP, 8 SO); Toronto's Melky Cabrera (.385, 4 R, 10 H, .448 OBP); Minnesota's Chris Colabello (.500, 12 H, 4 2B, 6 RBI, .667 SLG, .538 OBP); Howie Kendrick (.370, 10 H, 2 HR, 7 RBI, .414 OBP) and Albert Pujols (.360, 9 H, 5 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, .760 SLG, .429 OBP) of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; and Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 10 SO, 8.0 IP) of the New York Yankees.
In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Kevin Kouzmanoff will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.