Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings has been named the American League Player of the Week for the week ending May 4th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
Jennings batted .355 (11-for-31) with three doubles, three homers, three RBI, eight runs scored and three stolen bases to claim his first career Player of the Week honor. Among Major League leaders for the period, the right-handed-hitting Jennings led all hitters in total bases (23) and extra-base hits (6) and was tied for first in home runs. On the Junior Circuit, Jennings was tops in runs scored, tied for first in hits, tied for third in stolen bases and was fourth with a .742 slugging percentage.
On Monday, the 27-year-old went 2-for-4 with a sacrifice hit, a stolen base and a run scored in a 7-3 losing effort to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Jennings became just the third Rays player to tag up and score from second base on a sacrifice fly when the speedster touched home on a first-inning Matt Joyce fly ball to score Tampa Bay's second run of the game. Carl Crawford (September 20, 2005 vs. the Red Sox) and Jennings' teammate Ben Zobrist (May 19, 2010 at the Yankees) are the previous Rays to accomplish the feat, and it marked the first time it has happened in the Majors since August 10, 2012, when Erick Aybar was one of two Angels to score on a Mike Trout sacrifice fly against Seattle. In the first game of a doubleheader against Boston on Thursday, the Birmingham, Alabama native doubled and scored the go-ahead run on a David DeJesus bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning as the Rays edged the Red Sox, 2-1, at Fenway Park. Continuing on to the nightcap, the Itawamba Community College product singled and launched his second homer of the season as Tampa Bay defeated the Red Sox by a 6-5 score, sweeping a double dip for just the fourth time in franchise history and the first for the Rays at Fenway Park. On Friday night in the Bronx, the defensive stalwart lofted a solo homer, stole two bases and scored the go-ahead run in the 14th inning as the visiting Rays downed the Yankees, 10-5. A day later, the fifth-year veteran homered in a career-high third straight game as the Rays fell to the Yankees in a 9-3 setback at Yankee Stadium. On Sunday, Desmond notched his second three-hit outing of the season, going 3-for- 4 with a double and a run scored to lead Tampa Bay to a 5-1 win, taking two-of-three from their A.L. East rivals.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Toronto's Colby Rasmus (.320, 3 HR, 9 RBI); Cleveland's Carlos Santana (3 HR, 8 RBI); Mark Teixeira (.333, 3 HR, 5 RBI) of the Yankees; Baltimore's Ubaldo Jimenez (3 H, 10 SO in 7.1 IP at Minnesota on May 2nd); Boston's Jon Lester (1 H, 15 SO in 8.0 IP vs. Oakland on May 3rd); and the A.L. Pitcher of the Month Sonny Gray (1-0, 1.20 ERA, 2 GS, 15.0 IP, three-hit SHO at Texas on April 28th) of the Athletics.
In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, Desmond Jennings will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.