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Kinsler named AL Player of the Week

Kinsler named AL Player of the Week

The Rangers second baseman is hitting like a seasoned pro.

Ian Kinsler's bat tattooed American League pitching for a .476 (10-for-21) average last week. Paired with his gaudy 1.095 slugging percentage, it was plenty to earn the 24-year-old the American League Player of the Week award on Monday.

"I have had some good at-bats, [and I'm] trying to keep the same approach as last year and in Spring Training," Kinsler said of winning the award. "I'm trying to put good swings on the ball and if it goes out, it goes out."

His performance included eight RBIs and four homers, which gives him six for the '07 season. His home run total left him trailing just Yankee star Alex Rodriguez for the league lead in that category.

"Home runs come in bunches," Kinsler said. "I'd like to keep it consistent, but it's not really realistic to think I'm going to hit 81 home runs. I'm just trying to hit line drives gap to gap, get on base and help the team win."

His hitting did contribute, and manager Ron Washington cited Kinsler's production from the No. 9 spot the Rangers lineup as particularly helpful. In a lineup that seems never to run short of firepower, Kinsler's presence adds more punch.

Washington doesn't intend to move Kinsler from the No. 9 spot anytime soon.

And why should Washington move him? How many Major League teams have a No. 9 hitter with Kinsler's numbers?

At this point, it seems to be just Washington's Rangers.

"We're only in the first month of the season," Washington said. "I'm going to let him be where he is, where he's most comfortable. As we progress into the season, if the time comes to move him up in the lineup, we'll make that adjustment. I'm not going to put that kind of pressure on him."

In winning the award, which is presented each week by Bank of America, Kinsler beat out Blue Jays infielder Aaron Hill, Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios, Devil Rays infielder Ty Wigginton and Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia.

Justice B. Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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