Jaime Garcia pitched one of the best season openers of 2011 on Sunday, leading to an early award for the St. Louis left-hander. Garcia and Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro were named co-winners of the National League Player of the Week Award, the league announced on Monday. Garcia, who finished third in the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year voting, tossed a four-hitter against the Padres on April 3 to earn a 2-0 win at Busch Stadium. The 24-year-old lefty faced only four batters over the minimum, throwing 102 pitches while striking out nine.
He also walked only two. Through the first three games of the season, Castro was leading the Majors with a .615 (8-for-13) batting average and a .643 on-base percentage. He also led the NL with a 1.000 slugging percentage and 13 total bases. In Sunday's series finale against the Pirates, Castro went 3-for-4 with two triples, marking his third multi-hit performance in as many games. This marks the first career NL Player of the Week Award for both Castro and Garcia. Castro and Garcia weren't the only players in MLB's Central divisions to be honored this week, as White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin was named the American League winner. Quentin was the power bat behind Chicago's 2-1 start, as the 28-year-old outfielder hit .545 (6-for-11) while notching three doubles and seven RBIs, both Major League bests. He also hit a home run and scored three runs, while posting a 1.091 slugging percentage and a .583 on-base percentage. Quentin delivered immediately on Opening Day, hitting a two-run home run in the third inning and finishing with three hits and five RBIs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Quentin's five RBIs tied Sammy Sosa (1991) for the second-most by a White Sox player on Opening Day, trailing Minnie Minoso's six RBIs in 1951. Since arriving to the AL prior to the 2008 season, Quentin has hit 84 home runs, including 77 as an outfielder, which is tied with Curtis Granderson of the New York Yankees for the most home runs in the AL by an outfielder. This is Quentin's second career weekly award, the first of which came on June 27, 2010.