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Cruz named AL Player of the Week05/24/2004 5:34 PM ET
By Paul C. Smith / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG - Jose Cruz Jr. stood next to his locker at Tropicana Field and pondered the irony.
He had just been asked what it was like to be on such a hot streak.
"Ten days ago, who would have thought this would happen?'' Cruz asked himself, shaking his head.
It wasn't that long before that Cruz, in his first season with the Devil Rays, was trying to fight his way out of an 0-for-37 slump.
Cruz not only did just that but he rebounded so well that he was practically unstoppable last week. In fact, Cruz, who helped the Rays win four straight games at the end of the week, has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period of May 17-23.
In the Rays' six games, Cruz led the Majors in on-base percentage (.609) and was first in the AL in slugging percentage (1.063), while batting .438 (7-for-16) with six runs, 17 total bases, four doubles, two home runs, and eight RBI.
The highlights included a two-run double in a six-run inning on Thursday night that helped beat the Red Sox, 9-6.
On Friday night against Cleveland, Cruz contributed three doubles and a home run in a 5-3 victory. Cruz smashed a solo home run, his sixth of the season, with one out in the eighth inning. His four extra-base hits tied a team record set June 9, 2002, by Randy Winn against San Diego. Cruz's 10 total bases also tied a team record.
Cruz tied his career high with four hits, which he had done five times previously. He last did it April 6 at Tropicana Field against the Yankees. He also boosted his average from .205 before the game to .230.
On Saturday night, Cruz smashed a three-run home run in the first inning and the Rays went on to beat the Indians, 6-3. His hustle on a groundout later in the game drove in the go-ahead run.
"The last five days, I've been seeing the ball really well," Cruz said. "You get things going a little and start building on success."
It was the third career weekly honor for Cruz, who won while he was with the Blue Jays for the weeks of May 7, 2000, and October 7, 2001.
Cruz also is the first Tampa Bay player to win the award since Greg Vaughn won it on June 10, 2001.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.