Andruw honored as NL Player of Week
Braves slugger also named Man of the Year award finalist
The hardest part of Andruw Jones' last two days may be deciding which achievement he is most proud of.
In Sunday's win against the Nationals, he smacked two homers to become the Braves' franchise leader for a single season with 49. Then on Monday, Jones was named one of six finalists for baseball's Marvin Miller Man of the Year award, which honors the player whose on-field performance and contributions to his community inspire others to higher levels of achievement.
To cap his impressive 24-hour stretch, Jones on Monday was named the Bank of America National League Player of the Week for Sept. 5-11. All he did to win the award was bat .381, slug five homers, score seven runs and drive in 10 more to help Atlanta to a 5-1 record.
"He's just had a dynamite year," Braves manager Bobby Cox said last week. "It's not just his numbers. He's winning ballgames."
The nine-year veteran was a little more modest when talking about his best season as a Major Leaguer.
"It's just been a good season," said Jones, who led the NL in slugging last week with a 1.143 mark. "You're just going out there, working hard and trying to keep your team in the [pennant race]. Then every time you look up, you're putting good numbers up."
He certainly is putting up good numbers. Jones leads the NL in home runs and RBIs (121), and both of those numbers are career highs. His current slugging percentage (.612) and OPS (.972) have him on pace to shatter his previous bests of .561 and .907, respectively.
All of those numbers have added up to a lot of Braves wins. Going into Monday night's action, Atlanta held a seven-game lead over Florida in the National League East, making its magic number 13 to clinch its 14th consecutive division title.
A lot of the reason that the Braves are in that position is the play of their center fielder, and Cox is quick to make that clear.
"It seems like [Andruw's] totals go up by one or two every day," Cox said. "He looks like he's really locked in. He's truly a star right now."
Other candidates for the weekly award included the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins (.462 batting average), the Cubs' Ryan Dempster (five saves), the Cardinals' Albert Pujols (.409, four home runs, seven RBIs) and the Astros' Andy Pettitte (2-0, 2.19 ERA, nine strikeouts). Jones' teammates, Chipper Jones and Jorge Sosa, also received consideration.
With the regular season ending soon, Jones may be in store for another lofty recognition -- NL Most Valuable Player. However, he isn't concerned with that. Instead, the four-time All-Star is worried about just one thing: his team.
"I just want to go out there and play and help my team," he said. "I want to get back into the playoffs and the World Series. That's my goal."
CJ Bowles is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.