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Hunter named AL Player of the Week

Hunter captures AL Player of the Week honors

MINNEAPOLIS -- Torii Hunter has bone chips in his elbow, a separated joint in his left shoulder and a broken toe. After a splendid week at the plate and on the basepaths, the Minnesota Twins' center fielder also has his first American League Player of the Week Award.

While leading the Twins to a 3-3 record against the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers, Hunter batted .381 (8-for-21), clubbed three homers and drove in five runs. He also led the AL with nine runs scored and a 1.000 slugging percentage.

All this from a 29-year-old with a laundry list of injuries.

"Hamstring, groin -- you name it, I've got it," Hunter said on Tuesday. "I just keep chugging. It's the mentality. ... If I'm 100 percent, something's wrong."

Nothing has been wrong with Hunter's performance of late. His batting average has jumped 40 points since June 1 -- it now sits at .278 -- and he's reached base safely in every game this month. The Twins, meanwhile, hold fast to an early three-game lead in the AL Wild Card race and have Hunter, among others, to thank.

"He seems to have stepped up his game a little bit," Twins starter Brad Radke said on Tuesday, after Hunter went 4-for-5 in a win over the Diamondbacks. "Whenever we need a big hit or a big play, he's the one doing it."

Hunter wasn't the only Twin putting up big numbers last week. Outfielder Jacque Jones batted .320 with three home runs and eight RBIs, while left-hander Johan Santana pitched a four-hit, complete-game shutout at Arizona. Both were among the leading candidates for the Player of the Week award.

Rounding out the list of nominees for the award were Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore, who batted .500 and scored eight runs, and a trio of Kansas City Royals -- Emil Brown, D.J. Carrasco and Tony Graffanino. Brown batted .435 and drove in seven runs, Carrasco went 1-0 with a 1.20 ERA over 15 innings and Graffanino led the AL with a .545 (12-for-22) batting average.

In the end, though, the battered outfielder from Minnesota took home the hardware.

Matt LaWell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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