Atkins named NL Player of the Week
Slugger led baseball with 20 total bases in season's first week
A big opening week by Colorado Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins not only earned him a jump to the cleanup spot, it also garnered him Bank of America National League Player of Week honors.
Carrying over a strong finish to the 2005 season that saw him drive in 29 runs in September, Atkins led the league last week with 20 total bases as he batted .462 (12-for-26) with a homer and seven RBIs. The right-handed hitter put together three multihit games, including a career-high four-hit outing on April 9th at San Diego, in helping propel the Rockies (4-2) atop the NL West.
Rockies Manager Clint Hurdle promoted Atkins to the fourth spot on Saturday, bumping Matt Holliday to the fifth hole.
"Atkins is swinging the bat pretty good right now," Hurdle said. "This puts two good hitters [Todd Helton and Atkins] in front of Holliday. So we'll play a little bit of a hot hand."
Atkins said his new spot in the order will not change his approach.
"Home runs usually come in bunches for me. If I'm feeling good and I'm on time, I can drive the ball even more," Atkins said. "There will be times when I'm not driving the ball, and I'll just try to keep hitting line drives. This is one of those times when I'm getting some air under the ball and the ball's traveling."
Other nominees this past week included Colorado's Jason Smith (.563, three homers, seven RBIs), Atlanta's Andruw Jones (.310, 2 homers, 12 RBIs), New York's David Wright (.474, two homers, nine RBIs), Houston's Lance Berkman (.381, three homers, nine RBIs) and Milwaukee's Derrick Turnbow (four saves, 0.00 ERA).
David Briggs is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.