Matsui named AL Player of the Week

Matsui named AL Player of the Week

OAKLAND -- A's designated hitter and left fielder Hideki Matsui was named the American League Player of the Week on Monday after leading the Majors last week in batting average.

Matsui hit .571 (12-for-21) for the week, and had seven RBIs while knocking two doubles and a pair of home runs -- including the 500th of his career (combined between Japan and the Major Leagues). The slugger also led the Majors with a .591 on-base percentage and was second with a .952 slugging percentage.

"It's well-deserved," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "The numbers he put up would suggest he would be in the running for it. Congratulations to him for being the Player of the Week."

The award marks the fourth time in his career Matsui has been named the AL Player of the Week, and he is the second A's player to earn the honor this season, joining left-handed pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

Matsui has reached base safely in each of his eight games since the All-Star break, which has helped the slugger break out of a 5-for-42 slump that began after he hit home run No. 499.

But during his offensive tear, Matsui eclipsed the milestone he often downplayed when he launched a home run against the Tigers during a 3-for-4 performance last Wednesday, snapping a 24-game homerless drought.

It was Matsui's 168th home run in nine Major League seasons, adding to the 332 he hit in 10 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan's Central League.

Two games later he added another round-tripper, and then capped off the week with a 5-for-5 performance with two doubles and an RBI in Sunday's series finale against the Yankees.

"There might be some part of me, subconsciously, where I was paying attention to [the milestone]," Matsui said through translator Roger Kahlon. "Personally I'm not aware of that, but that might have played a role in some of the struggles.

"I hope I continue to play the way I've played the last week or so."

Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.