Nelson Cruz thought he had his 27th home run of the season in the second inning Wednesday night when Texas Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin leaped at the wall and pulled the ball back in what arguably was the year's best defensive play at Camden Yards so far.
A few hours later, Cruz received a text.
“I’m Sorry,” Martin wrote.
“I said, ‘Don’t be sorry. It’s OK. It’s part of the game,’ ” Cruz said. “He’s out there competing and trying to win. We’ll be friends no matter what.”
Cruz and Martin played parts of three seasons together in Texas; they still keep in touch.
“We are close. We worked out together. I tried to help him any way I could when I was there" in Texas, Cruz said. “He feels that way, too. We always try to keep in touch. I do with most of the guys there, but really with him, because he’s an outfielder and I was an outfielder.”
Cruz said he watched the replay of Martin’s grab on MLB Network.
“Yeah, it was pretty good,” Cruz said.
Entering play Thursday, Cruz was in a three-way tie for the major league home run lead with Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion and Chicago’s Jose Abreu. He has been robbed twice this year, once by Martin and once by Chicago’s Alejandro De Aza, whom Cruz also considers a friend.
They’ll be hearing from him this offseason, Cruz joked, if he loses the home run crown by one.
“I’ll call [Martin], yeah. And De Aza, too, I know him, too. He took one away, too,” Cruz said. “But it is part of the game. They make great plays. And sometimes I’ll hit a line drive and someone dives for the ball and I get [extra bases], so you deal with it all.”