04/16/12 5:44 PM ET
Willingham wins AL Player of the Week honor
Outfielder batted .455; has 11-game season-opening hit streak
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
"It's obviously an honor," Willingham said of the award. "The only thing is, I wish we would've got off to a good start as a team. But yeah, I feel honored."
The Minnesota outfielder hit .455 (10-for-22) with a double, three home runs, four RBIs and three walks in the week ending April 15. The three home runs came in three straight games over four days, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Those three games happened to be the Twins' first at Target Field this season, all against the Angels.
"I pulled all my homers I hit there," said Wllingham, who joined the Twins as a free agent last offseason. "Generally, if you hit the ball well in the air and you pull out, it'll go out. So at Target Field they went out, and hopefully I'll continue to square up and pull it up in the air and the ball will get out of the ballpark."
The Twins entered play against the Yankees on Monday 2-7. Willingham carried a nine-game hit streak, the longest such run a Twins player has had to start a season since Jacque Jones hit safely in the first 11 games in 2002. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Twins player with a hit streak as long as Willingham's in a debut for the Twins was Orlando Cabrera. He also reached 11 games, in August 2009.
Willingham won his first Player of the Week award in August 2009 with the Nationals.