05/05/2003 6:42 PM ET
Pujols named week's best
Scored a run in every game of homestand
2003 Player of the Week winners
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- It's like the lost episode of "The Fugitive." They found the one-armed man, and he's the National League Pepsi Player of the Week.
Albert Pujols, the Cardinals outfielder who is hampered by an elbow injury, was honored Monday as the NL's top player for the week of April 28-May 4. And he did it while being prohibited from making all but the easiest throws.
Of course, when you hit like Pujols has hit lately, it's OK for defense to be an afterthought. In six games, he batted .458 (11-for-24) with three homers, two doubles, eight RBIs and 11 runs scored. He slugged .917 and posted a .480 on-base percentage. Thanks in large part to Pujols' exploits, the Cardinals went 6-0 on the week.
Perhaps the most amazing thing is that Pujols has been just one cog in this frighteningly hot Cardinals offensive machine. The team scored 49 runs on a six-game homestand, and Pujols did not lead the team in batting (Jim Edmonds, .476), RBIs (Edgar Renteria and Scott Rolen, nine each), on-base (Renteria, .571) or slugging (Edmonds, .952). He was one of a remarkable four Redbirds nominated for the award, along with Edmonds, Renteria and Matt Morris.
"That's how it is, it's just amazing," Pujols said after his game-winning, two-run homer on Saturday. "Today, it was me, tomorrow it could be Jimmy. Jimmy and Scott Rolen and Tino (Martinez) pretty much have been carrying this ballclub... and Edgar. The last six or seven weeks, it's just amazing the way these guys have been hitting the ball."
Pujols played four games at first base, three while Martinez was suspended, and two in left field. A right elbow sprain limits the amount of throwing he can do, but his condition is improving. Sunday marked the first time Pujols played a full game in left field, rather than leaving for a defensive replacement.
The runner-up for NL MVP honors in 2002, Pujols had at least one base hit and one run in every game for the week, and he drove in at least one run in four of the six games. Edmonds (.402), Pujols (.381) and Renteria (.361) rank first, second and third in the National League in batting.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.