07/26/2004 7:15 PM ET
Hot-hitting Millar snags award
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Was it really only a week ago that Kevin Millar's prolonged production slump was one of the front-burner topics in Red Sox Nation?
|Kevin Millar connects for his third homer vs. the Yankees on Friday night. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The first baseman is doing his best to make his rough first half of the season a distant memory. By breaking out in most dramatic fashion last week, Millar was named the American League's Co-Player of the Week on Monday, along with Baltimore's Miguel Tejada.
"That's awesome," said Millar. "Me and Tejada, wow. I'm not a good enough player to be in there."
All Millar did over the course of the week was lead the league with a .583 average, six homers, 32 total bases, a 1.333 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .615.
In the three-game series against the Yankees over the weekend, Millar was 10-for-13 with four homers and eight RBIs. Included in that rampage was a three-homer performance in Friday night's loss, and a 4-for-4 game in Saturday's memorable 11-10 win.
His turnaround began in most unsuspecting fashion. While the Sox were in Seattle for a two-game series at the beginning of last week, Millar watched Miguel Olivo's at-bats for the Mariners.
He noticed that Olivo had a noticeably open stance, so Millar decided to try it himself.
"Olivo, I was watching him, he's open, he looked like he was on a lot of pitches so I went in the cages and I tried it and I liked it," Millar said. "That night I ended up getting three hits and I was like, yeah, I like this stance."
During the tough times, Millar kept telling himself he'd get back to being the type of hitter he was a year ago, when he established career highs in homers (25) and RBIs (96).
"That's why this game is so crazy. It's such a long season," Millar said. "You just have to grind those out. Bottom line, I wasn't going to hit two home runs this year and I wasn't going to drive in 10, as much as it felt like for two months. But everything always seems to even out or equal out. So, this would be a good time to get hot for this team in the second half."
Millar entered Monday night's game against Tejada's Orioles hitting .297 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs.
This is the second time he has captured a Player of the Week honor in his career. While with the Florida Marlins, he was named National League Player of the Week on July 15, 2001.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.