Tampa Bay Rays first baseman James Loney and Texas Rangers outfielder Alex Rios have been named the American League Co-Players of the Week for the week ending September 29th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
The pair and their respective Clubs will face off tonight in Arlington as the Rangers host the Rays in a Tiebreaker game for the second A.L. Wild Card berth and the opportunity to play the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday at Progressive Field in the A.L. Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser. Loney batted .435 (10-for-23) with five doubles, one homer, five RBI and five runs scored in seven games to claim his first career Player of the Week Award. Among A.L. leaders for the week, the 29-year-old Houston native finished first in slugging percentage (.783), was tied for first in hits and doubles, was second in total bases (18), was third in on-base percentage (.480) and was tied for third in batting average. Rios hit .346 (9-for-26) with three doubles, one triple, one homer, eight RBI, six runs scored and three stolen bases for his second career Player of the Week honor, previously accomplishing the feat for the period ending September 7, 2008 while he was with the Toronto Blue Jays. The 32-year-old was tied for second in RBI and stolen bases, was tied for third in total bases (17), was sixth in slugging percentage (.654) and was tied for sixth in runs scored.
Leading off the ninth inning as a pinch-hitter in Monday's game between Tampa Bay and the Baltimore Orioles, the left-handedhitting Loney launched a solo homer deep down the right-field line to give the Rays a dramatic 5-4 win over the O's at Tropicana Field. The blast completed a late-inning comeback by the Rays as they scored three runs in the final three frames to nab the victory. That same night, Rios became just the seventh player in Rangers history to hit for the cycle as the right-handed-swinging slugger notched a two-run double in the first inning, an infield single in the third, a solo homer in the fourth and an RBI-triple in the sixth to finish the evening 4-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored as the Rangers defeated the Houston Astros, 12-0, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. On Wednesday against the New York Yankees, Loney went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI to lead the Rays to an 8-3 triumph in the Bronx. The eight-year veteran followed that effort up with three hits on Thursday as Tampa Bay shut out the Yanks, 4-0. On Friday, Rios collected a go-ahead RBI-single in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as Texas edged the Halos, 5-3, in Arlington.
Other noteworthy performances included Rios' Texas teammates Derek Holland (1-0, shutout vs. Houston on September 23rd) and Joe Nathan (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 SV, 1 H, 6 SO); Detroit's Justin Verlander (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 12.0 IP, 4 BB, 22 SO); and Cleveland's Carlos Santana (.304, 5 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI) and Jason Kipnis (.435, 10 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 4 RBI).
The co-winners of the American League Player of the Week, James Loney and Alex Rios, will each be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.