What happens when two players on one team both have a career week? Simple. Honor both of them as the American League Player of the Week. That's just what happened when Oakland Athletics teammates Jack Cust and Dan Johnson were named co-Bank of America Presents the American League Player of the Week recipients for the week ending May 13, marking the first time in either of their careers they have won the award.
The two were teammates in Triple-A Sacramento in 2005, and both contributed significantly to Oakland's 5-2 week. Johnson went 12-for-22 at the plate, including three doubles, three home runs, six RBIs and 10 runs scored. Add a 1.091 slugging percentage and .630 on-base percentage, and that's usually enough to run away with the weekly honor. Not this week, though. Cust proved to be equally valuable to the A's this week. In a sometimes frustrating career, Cust never seemed to be able to get over the hump in the Majors. That all changed on May 4 when he joined the A's. Cust hit .348 last week with one double, five home runs -- one of which was Sunday's walk-off against Cleveland -- and 13 RBIs. His home run streak reached four straight games, not bad for a player who had hit just five total home runs in 70 Major League games prior to this streak. "I sat for seven years in Triple-A, and you just have to stay positive [and believe] that good things are going to happen," Cust said. "People, especially my dad and my wife, told me to keep at it. They have been extremely positive about the whole experience." Cust's power ability was no secret to A's manager Bob Geren, who said he's "seen him since 1999." "I've always respected the way he swings the bat," Geren said. "Our offense early in the year was sputtering a bit, but now the power numbers are starting to come back." That sputtering offense is no more. Johnson, in the midst of a 13-game hitting streak, earned the award for the first time in his three-year Major League career, and has given the A's quite a 1-2 punch at the plate. It's certainly a week of firsts -- and seconds -- for Johnson. A two-home run performance in Thursday's 17-3 rout of Kansas City was his second two-home run game of his career, and he just missed hitting for the cycle in the game, falling a triple short. After his second home run of the game barely cleared the wall, Johnson joked that he wouldn't have made it around the bags if the ball hadn't just inched over the wall. "It literally takes me a full calendar day to get to third," Johnson cracked, "so all three outfielders would have to collide and knock each other out for me to get a triple." Cycle or not, the A's are just happy to have their offense back, compliments of Cust and Johnson.
Patrick Brown is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.