08/11/08 3:55 PM ET
Byrd named AL Player of the Week
Slugger batted .571 with eight RBIs and hit walk-off grand slam
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
And with the Rangers battling to stay in the AL Wild Card race, Byrd's hot bat has provided some extra momentum for the club, including a walk-off grand slam win over the Yankees on August 4.
Byrd's offense has also garnered some individual accolades, as the 30-year-old outfielder was named the Bank of America Presents the AL Player of the Week for the period ending August 10.
"I've been a slow starter my whole career, and I started off slow this year," Byrd said, following Sunday's 4-for-6 performance against Baltimore, that featured a double, a three-run homer and four RBIs. "But things are finally starting to click for me, and I'm making pitchers work more. It's been a battle, but it's working for me."
It certainly is.
In addition to going a combined 16-for-28 at the plate, Byrd notched four doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs last week. During the four-game home series against the Yankees, Byrd went 8-for-15, which included the two-out, game-winning homer off reliever Damaso Marte. Byrd sent the first pitch Marte offered sailing over the center-field wall at Rangers Ballpark, traveling an estimated 412 feet.
"[Marte] threw it over the plate. It was a great feeling," said Byrd, whose walk-off grand slam was the first by a Rangers player since Alex Rodriguez hit one on July 31, 2003.
Even when he's not part of the Rangers' ninth-inning heroics, Byrd's bat has been a steadying force. Just a night removed from the walk-off win, the outfielder went 3-for-4 with three runs and two stolen bases to help give Texas its second consecutive win over New York, 8-6.
Byrd's dominance of AL East pitching continued over the weekend in Baltimore, as he finished 8-for-13, including Sunday's offensive onslaught.
In his seventh Major League season, Byrd is batting .286 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs for the Rangers. The weekly award is the first of his career.
Other nominees considered were outfielder Raul Ibañez (.355, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 12 RBI) of Seattle, White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin (.391, .957 SLG, 1 2B, 4 HR, 6 RBI), Orioles infielder Melvin Mora (.500, .909 SLG, 3 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI) and Indians pitcher Cliff Lee (2-0, 1.20 ERA, 15.0 IP).
In recognition of his achievement as player of the week, Tourneau, the world's largest watch store, will present Byrd with an engraved luxury Swiss Tourneau timepiece.
Brittany Ghiroli is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.