Using Nelson Cruz at DH allows Orioles to keep his bat in lineup late in games

The Baltimore Sun

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Nelson Cruz, who has spent the year splitting time in left field with Steve Pearce and David Lough, made his seventh consecutive start at designated hitter Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Cruz fouled a pitch off his left foot Friday in Oakland, but Showalter said Cruz hasn’t played the field recently to make sure the team keeps his bat in late in close games. Pearce has been starting in left field, and Lough has been entering the game as a defensive replacement in later innings.

“But Stevie’s doing a good job out there, and I don’t hesitate to put Nelson out there,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “But it takes Nelson out of the game in a one-run game. Every game is different. We’re not going to put a blanket on it. It’s not like I want to take Steve out either.”

Showalter said he also wants to keep Cruz’s legs fresh to ensure he’s able to stay healthy in the second half of the season. Five of the six times Cruz has gone on the disabled list in his career has been for thigh injuries, and three of those times were in August and September.

“Also, it’s that time of the year, if you look at Nelson’s history, we’ve been there pretty consistently for us, and we want to keep it that way,” Showalter said. “Most of his injuries through the years have been leg injuries.”

Bundy records best outing at Frederick

Top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, who is working his way back from Tommy John elbow ligament reconstruction surgery last year, recorded his best outing since moving up to High-A Frederick on Tuesday.

Bundy, who will be limited to 75 pitches for the rest of the season, allowed just three hits with two walks and one strikeout in six shutout innings.

Bundy had previously allowed 12 runs and 15 hits over 11 2/3 innings in three starts at Frederick, compiling a 9.26 ERA.

Around the horn

Third baseman Manny Machado was scratched just before the game started because of lower back tightness. … Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (right ankle) will throw a bullpen session Wednesday, but if he doesn’t progress well, the team is considering sending him to Sarasota, Fla. … The Orioles struck out 15 times Monday and still won, marking the second consecutive time they won a game in which they recorded 15 or more strikeouts. In a 1-0 win at Tampa Bay on October 2, 2012, right-hander James Shields struck out 15 Orioles in a complete-game loss. … Right fielder Nick Markakis hit his 20th double of the season on Monday night, giving him nine straight seasons of 20 or more doubles. He became the sixth Orioles player to record nine 20-double seasons, joining Cal Ripken Jr. (17), Brooks Robinson (14), Eddie Murray (12), Brady Anderson (9) and Paul Blair (9). … Machado’s career-high streak of 19 straight games of reaching base safely was snapped Monday. … After tossing a scoreless eighth inning Monday, right-hander Darren O’Day has not allowed a run over his past 12 outings. … Outfielders Michael Burgess and Glynn Davis were promoted to Double-A Bowie on Tuesday.

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