Harris named NL Player of the Week
Nationals outfielder 7-for-12 since All-Star break
Willie Harris made a big impact during the shortest week of the season, putting up bigger and better numbers than the average player would enjoy during a full week of play.
The Nationals outfielder hit .583 (7-for-12) during the All-Star break-shortened week, leading the National League with seven RBIs. The 30-year-old outfielder recorded a double, triple, home run and five runs scored while posting a .688 on-base percentage and a 1.083 slugging percentage.
Harris' efforts led the Nationals to a series win over the Braves and earned him the NL Player of the Week award, presented by Bank of America.
"There's no explanation for it," Harris said. "[I'm] just seeing the ball well."
Harris needed just one three-game series to raise his batting average from .221 to a season-high .248. Five of his seven RBIs came in Washington's 15-6 win over Atlanta on Sunday.
He's 11-for-22 in his past six games, before which his batting average stood at just .207. Harris' hot streak comes at a crucial time for the Nationals, who have been plagued by injuries and have had trouble maintaining a consistent lineup for more than a single series.
"He's playing tremendous baseball for us ever since he's been out there more often," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "He's getting us going in the leadoff hole right now."
Harris has been filling in for Lastings Milledge in center field since Milledge went down with a strained right groin June 28.
"Milledge is a good friend of mine, and I hate for him to get hurt or see anybody on the team get hurt," Harris said. "But that's what we're here for -- the utility guys -- just trying to fill in and hold it down until the guys get back. I know my role coming in here."
Harris was the only Nationals player nominated for the award. This is the the first weekly honor of his eight-season Major League career. The Cairo, Ga., native is the only active Major League Baseball player to attend Kennesaw State University.
Tourneau, the world's largest watch store, will award Harris with a luxury Swiss Timepiece, suitably engraved, in recognition of his accomplishments as the NL Player of the Week.
Brandon Harris is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.