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Spring Training: Cruz makes debut

SARASOTA, Fla. - Nelson Cruz signed with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. Saturday, he made his debut with a flourish.

Cruz batted second and was the designated hitter. In his second at-bat, he walked and scored from first on Chris Davis' double.

In his first game, Cruz was 0-for-1 with two walks in the Orioles' 9-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays before 6,901 at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday.

Cruz signed a one-year, $8 million contract and couldn't wait to play. Manager Buck Showalter was eager to have him.

"It doesn't feel like butterflies or anything. Buck asked me if I was nervous. I feel normal, I guess, as soon as I come out to the field. It's something I haven't done for a while. It comes natural," Cruz said. "As soon as I came into the stadium, I missed that. Good at-bats, I guess. With more at-bats, I'll feel better."

Showalter started most of his projected regulars. In place of Manny Machado, Alex Gonzalez started at third. Everyone else was familiar, except Cruz.

He was familiar to Davis, who played with him in Texas.

"Like clockwork. I was glad to see him work an at-bat like that. I think that's kind of where we're all at after the first few days. Get in there, see some pitches. You just can't simulate this stuff. You've got to be out there, you've got to turn on the competition again, and I felt good," Davis said.

Miguel Gonzalez allowed a run on three hits in two innings. He was followed by Steve Johnson, who threw two scoreless innings.

"Just one batter, fell behind. That was it. That was the only problem. Just tried to work on my fastball today. It was pretty good for the most part," Gonzalez said.

In his third year, Gonzalez has a spot in the rotation sealed, but he's approaching the spring as if he doesn't.

"You've still got to go out there and perform. You can't take it easy, no matter what. I think there's guys out there that want our position, so we've got to keep doing our work," Gonzalez said.

Baltimore was behind 7-2 in the eighth, but scored seven runs to take a 9-7 lead.

Edgmer Escalona allowed five runs in sixth to Toronto.

Francisco Peguero had a three-run triple and Xavier Paul a two-run single in the eighth.

Peguero began the inning with a base hit. He's had two hits in the first two spring games, both Orioles' wins.

The outfielder was signed as a free agent in December.

"He's a runner and he's a defender and he's a plus-thrower and he seems to be playing with a lot of energy," Showalter said.

HURTING HANK: Henry Urrutia sat out with a sore right shoulder. He'll miss at least two days.

Quintin Berry, who had been out with back spasms, returned and was used as a pinch runner, scoring a run in the eighth.

Chris Marrero's oblique strain is not healing quickly, Showalter said. Alexi Casilla's right hamstring strain is improving.

BARLOW REMEMBERED: Showalter and many of the players and coaches wore wristbands with the initials "MB" to memorialize Monica Barlow, the team's director of public relations, who died of cancer on Friday at 36.

"Everybody was thinking about her today," Showalter said.

COMING UP: The Orioles play Boston at Fort Myers on Sunday. Brian Matusz will face Felix Doubront. Showalter hasn't named other pitchers. ... Mike Yastrzemski, who the team drafted last June, will play in the game. Yastrzemski is the grandson of Carl Yastrzemski, the Red Sox Hall of Famer. ... Ubaldo Jimenez will make his first start on Friday against Philadelphia.

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