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Chihuahuas Infielder Christian Villanueva Named PCL Player of the Week

ROUND ROCK, Texas – The Pacific Coast League announced Monday that El Paso Chihuahuas’ infielder Christian Villanueva and Albuquerque Isotopes’ left-hander Ryan Carpenter have been selected the Player and Pitcher of the Week for the period of June 26-July 2.

Villanueva is honored for the second time this year, the only PCL player to claim that feat, and the fourth time in his three-year PCL career. Carpenter picks up his first career weekly award.

Villanueva hit a Minor League Baseball weekly-best six home runs, all coming in a five-day span that included back-to-back multi-homer games. He played in seven games last week and batted .407 (11-for-27), while besting the PCL in total bases (32), slugging percentage (1.185), OPS (1.652).

Additionally, Villanueva knocked in nine runs and scored nine runs.

The 26-year-old’s homer barrage started on June 26 against Sacramento with a solo blast. He added another one the following day, a two-run shot, part of a three-hit game in a win over the River Cats. Two days later, and in the finale of the series, Villanueva recorded his first multi-homer game of the season, with two homers and three RBI.

The next night, the Mexico native opened the series against division-leading Reno with his second consecutive two-homer game, collecting three hits, three RBI and three runs in a win.

After starting the year on the DL, Villanueva has batted .299 (59-for-197) in 54 games. The slugger has hit 15 home runs and driven in 45, tied for first and second, respectively, on a Chihuahuas offense that has scored the fifth-most runs in the league.

Villanueva originally signed with the Rangers in 2008 and spent three full seasons in their farm system before getting traded to the Chicago Cubs in July 2012. He was with the Cubs organization until this past offseason when he signed a free agent deal with the Padres.

Carpenter started a pair of games last week, compiling a PCL weekly-best 14.0 innings to go along with 18 strikeouts and only two walks. In his first start, June 26 at Fresno, he pitched six innings of two-run ball, striking out seven, but didn’t pick up a decision in the Grizzlies’ one-run win. His most recent effort came on July 1 at Tacoma, and Carpenter got the win after working eight innings, giving up only one run, striking out 11 and walking none.

The 26-year-old’s performance was the first in the PCL this year of eight or more innings with 10 or more strikeouts. Carpenter is also the third PCL pitcher this season to record 10-plus strikeouts in a start multiple times, having also accomplished the feat on June 20 at Sacramento.

The Arizona native is in his seventh professional season. He was originally selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the seventh round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and spent the first three years of his career in their organization prior to signing as a free agent with Colorado in 2014. This is his second consecutive year in Albuquerque.

With the Isotopes, he pitched primarily as a reliever last year, but has worked almost exclusively out of the rotation this year. In 16 appearances (14 starts), he has a 4.77 ERA (88.2 IP, 47 ER) with 96 strikeouts, a total that ranks second in the league. Carpenter is also third among PCL starters in strikeouts-per-nine innings (9.83) and walks-per-nine innings (2.05).

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