07/24/06 4:40 PM ET
Gonzalez named NL Player of the Week
Padres first baseman selected for first time in his career
By Coley Harvey / MLB.com
"This kid has been a real nice surprise," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said last Sunday. "We knew we were getting a good player. For him to be hitting with the power that he is, that is a little bit of a surprise. And it's a credit to him adjusting to the pitching. I think he's doing a better job with men on base. He knew that was an area he wanted to improve on."Over the course of the week, Gonzalez led the league in batting average (.607), hits (17), slugging percentage (.964), on-base percentage (.645), and total bases (27). He also ended the week riding a 14-game hitting streak that was extended by Sunday's 3-for-6 performance in San Francisco. Even before the week began, the San Diego native began to go on a power surge, amassing five home runs and 12 RBIs the week before. When asked July 16 about his recent offensive explosion, he said: "I've been getting pitches a little bit more in the middle of the zone than I had in the past. I'm not trying to do too much with it. I'm just trying to get the bat on the ball and get a balance when making contact. My pitch selection has been a little bit better." Gonzalez's biggest game during the week was probably the one that started it off. At PETCO Park last Monday, the 24-year-old put together a 3-for-4 game, adding two home runs and four RBIs to the mix. His second homer in the seventh inning was a three-run bomb that proved to be the go-ahead run San Diego needed to win the game. When he stroked the 1-1 pitch down the right-field line, the first baseman knew the ball was not staying in the park, and admired it for a second or two before his trot. "I've got a long follow-through, first of all, and even the balls I don't hit home runs on, I stand up there," said Gonzalez. "That's just the way my swing is. But when I know I got it, I do stand up there a little bit longer, just because it feels good. It has nothing to do with anything else. It just feels good that you hit it." The multi-homer game was Gonzalez's second of the season, the previous time on July 14 against the Braves. Prior to that, he had never hit two home runs in a single game in his career. Other players receiving votes for this week's award include: Colorado's Garrett Atkins and Clint Barmes, both of whom had batting averages over .400 for the week; San Francisco's Ray Durham, who had eight RBIs during the week; Atlanta's Chipper Jones, who batted .444; and Milwaukee's Tomo Ohka, who was 1-0 with 10 strikeouts.
Coley Harvey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.