2003 Player of the Week winners
ATLANTA -- Braves right fielder Gary Sheffield, who hit .462 with two home runs and a league-leading 12 RBIs, was named the National League Pepsi Player of the Week for May 12-18.
Sheffield was 12-for-26 last week as the Braves won six of seven games on the road. Sheffield, who had at least one hit in each game, compiled a slugging percentage of .769 and on-base percentage of .515.
Sheffield currently leads the Major Leagues with a .361 batting average and ranks first in the NL in slugging percentage (.653) and second in on-base percentage (.446). His 38 RBIs are third in the NL.
"Shef is just on top of everything right now," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He works hard, hits hard and plays hard."
Oddly enough, the Braves weren't sure Sheffield would play last Monday in Los Angeles after he was hit by a 94-mph Jason Schmidt fastball on May 11 against the Giants. But by the time batting practice had ended, the Braves right fielder had done enough to prove to his manager he could play.
"I don't want to sit anywhere, especially the way we're playing," Sheffield said after reporting to Dodger Stadium with some remaining swelling in his left arm.
Sheffield originally thought he had broken his arm and Cox initially shared that belief. X-rays taken during a rain delay against the Giants were negative. But the swelling increased enough during the period of inactivity that he didn't return when play resumed.
"I can get my arm up here now," Sheffield said while raising his hand above his shoulder on Monday. "Yesterday I couldn't do that. Believe me, my arm felt like a ton yesterday. If I continue to do treatment, I'll be just fine."
The Dodgers found out how "fine" Sheffield was when he hit a three-run double in a seven-run, ninth-inning rally on Monday.
"It didn't hurt at all when I was swinging," Sheffield said. "The only problem was if I would have gotten hit with another pitch."
On Tuesday night, before another Dodger Stadium crowd that continued a chorus of boos he's received ever since being traded to the Braves, Sheffield again ignited the Braves. This time his eighth-inning homer helped the Braves to a 3-1 win.
Sheffield's blast came off Paul Quantrill, who hadn't allowed a homer since May 3 last year. But none of the previous homers against the Dodgers created the amount of boos this one did from the many Los Angeles fans, who still obviously hold plenty of animosity toward him.
"I don't think about that stuff," Sheffield said. "I'm coming to play wherever we play.
"They told me early in my career -- guys like Kirby Puckett and Dave Parker -- it depends on how loud the boos are to let you know if you've arrived. Mine were pretty loud."
Sheffield has now won the weekly award nine times, but this is the first time with the Braves. Other Braves nominated were Vinny Castilla (.458, 4 HR, 6 RBIs) and Russ Ortiz (2-0, 1.80 ERA).
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.