Howard, Gonzalez co-Players of Week
Phillies, Padres sluggers share honor with great efforts
Two National League All-Stars are basking in the spotlight. Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard and San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez have been named the National League co-Players of the Week presented by Bank of America.
Last week Howard and Gonzalez tied for the National League lead with four home runs, 10 RBIs and a 1.000 slugging percentage.
"Personally, I can't complain," Gonzalez said. "I'm feeling good at the plate. I can always do a better job of not chasing pitches out of the zone, but I can't take away from my aggressiveness, either."
It was also quite a week for Howard. Last Monday, he hit two home runs. The next day, he hit his 19th home run of the season and his eighth career grand slam, surpassing Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt for the most grand slams in franchise history.
"It's pretty cool," Howard said. "I don't think it's really hit me yet. It's one of those things that will hit me later when I stop and think about it."
This marks the fourth time Howard has received the weekly honor in his career, the most recent coming Sept. 30, 2007.
As for Gonzalez, the first baseman hit home runs in four of six games last week, including three-run home runs on consecutive days, and posted a .500 on-base percentage. He drove in three runs on three different occasions last week and led the Major Leagues with 20 home runs entering Monday.
"He's a great hitter. He's got tremendous hand-eye coordination," Padres manager Bud Black said of Gonzalez. "He doesn't have a one-dimensional swing. He hits it from line to line. It doesn't surprise me."
Of the 20 home runs, 15 have been hit on the road. Additionally, 28 of his 40 RBIs this season have come outside of PETCO Park.
"That's just the way it is," Gonzalez said. "We've had a lot of road games. I've been able to connect right now, but I'm not able to predict if I'm going to continue to stay on a certain pace. ... So far, I am thankful that I have been able to hit well."
Gonzalez also was honored with the weekly award July 23, 2006. His eyes are set on another goal -- catching the Dodgers. Los Angeles led the Padres by nine games in the National League West standings.
"We have a chance if we can get the Dodgers to come down to Earth a little bit," Gonzalez said. "They are playing great baseball, which is expected of them, and it's going to be tough to catch them. But if we keep doing our thing and they come down a little, eventually we will be right in the race in the last month or two of the season."
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.