10/02/06 10:03 PM ET
Norton named AL Player of the Week
DH/first baseman heats up to close out September
By Dawn Klemish / MLB.com
The Rays' designated hitter/first baseman continued his torrid pace in the last week of September, batting .360 (9-for-25) to claim American League Player of the Week accolades for the week ending Oct. 1.
Since his May callup, Norton made it hard for manager Joe Maddon to keep him out of the lineup. Having made a career out of spot-starting, Norton wasn't ready to wave the white flag even though his team was in the AL East basement.
The 34-year-old really heated up in two games against the Red Sox, going a combined 4-for-6 at the plate with two doubles, a homer, four RBIs and four runs scored.
Norton went 2-for-3 with a home run, three runs scored and three RBIs to give Tampa Bay a Sept. 27 win at Boston, just the third victory on the road for the Rays after the All-Star break. Two days later, Norton tied a career high with his 16th home run of the season in a loss to Cleveland. He added one more to his total on the last day of the regular season, a two-run shot in his final at-bat of 2006.
He finished the season with a .296 batting average and 45 RBIs.
This was Norton's second Player of the Week Award (he won one for the week of May 24-29, 1999, while with the White Sox), and he joins teammate Carl Crawford (May 22-28) as the Rays who received the honor this season.
Also considered for the award were Toronto's Alex Rios, Minnesota's Michael Cuddyer, Texas' Mark Teixeira, New York's Bobby Abreu and Cleveland's Cliff Lee.
Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.