CLEVELAND -- There's a reason why American League lineups are considered just a little more dangerous as a whole compared to the National League. At any point, even against the No. 9 hitter, a pitcher can get roughed up. Twins outfielder Carlos Gomez and Indians infielder Asdrubal Cabrera each did their damage at the plate from the bottom of the lineup last week, and they have been named the Bank of America Presents the American League co-Players of the Week. It is the first time either player has earned the award.
Bank of America is the presenting sponsor of the American League and National League Player of the Week Awards, which reflect the company's long-standing tradition of recognizing achievements that inspire us all to seize opportunities to perform at our very best. In a season where he has not necessarily performed at his best, Cabrera has finally come around during August and September -- just like the 22-year-old switch-hitter did last season during the Indians' pennant chase. Cabrera hit .455 (10-for-22) with three doubles, a home run and eight RBIs last week. He posted three multi-hit games and three multi-RBI efforts. He did the brunt of his work in a four-game series with the Orioles early in the week, going 6-for-12 with six RBIs. It's a far cry from what Cabrera did from April through June, which earned him a trip back to Triple-A Buffalo. The always reliable glove was still there, but his swing -- from both sides of the plate -- was a mechanical mess. But the results have been far from messy since he returned on July 18. After hitting just .184 in his first stint with the Indians this season, Cabrera is batting .310 with 11 doubles, four home runs and 24 RBIs since he returned to the big leagues. "He's using the whole field, and he's really working hard on it," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He had some adjustments he had to make, and that's where you really establish a foundation for your approach." Also having to make adjustments in his second full season in the Majors, Gomez has picked it up at the plate at the perfect time for the AL Central-contending Twins. In a week where the Twins hung tight with the White Sox in the standings -- going 4-3 to remain 1 1/2 games out of first place -- Gomez hit .333 (7-for-21) with two doubles, a triple and 10 RBIs. His biggest highlight came on Saturday, when Gomez -- the key acquisition in the trade that sent Johan Santana to the Mets before the season -- drove in a career-high four RBIs in Minnesota's 12-2 win in the first half of a doubleheader against Baltimore on Saturday. Gomez didn't necessarily live up to bloated expectations earlier in the season, batting .253 with 14 doubles and 21 stolen bases before the All-Star break. But since he was bumped from the leadoff spot to the No. 9 hole, Gomez has shown improvement, hitting .277 with six doubles and 18 RBIs since July 22. Always outstanding in the outfield, Gomez still has his fair share of rookie moments at the plate. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has seen a lot to like over the last two months. "He's having some fun now," Gardenhire said. "It is what it is. He's going to swing and fake bunt and bunt back to the pitcher. You are still going to get some of those things. ... But he's running the ball down out there and he brings a lot of energy. And a couple of hits."
Andrew Gribble is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.