For Orioles left fielder Nelson Cruz, Wrigley Field 'feels a bit like winter ball'

The Baltimore Sun

CHICAGO — Orioles left fielder Nelson Cruz, who set a career high with his 34th homer of the season in Friday’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs, said playing at Wrigley Field offers an atmosphere unique from other ballparks.

While this weekend marked the first time at Wrigley Field for several Orioles, who haven’t played here since 2008, Cruz played three games at Wrigley Field last season while with the Texas Rangers. Entering Saturday, he was 4-for-15 with two homers at the ballpark.

Cruz said the so-called “Friendly Confines” do seem a little cozy in Chicago.

“I played here once last year,” Cruz said. “I [haven’t] played many games here. For the fans, it’s always good, but it feels a little bit like winter ball. The fans are on top of you, and you can feel it. There’s a lot of history in the this ballpark, and we’re always looking to come in here and play [well].”

Around the horn

Rain delayed Saturday's game for 3 hours, 9 minutes at the end of the second inning. ... Right fielder Nick Markakis entered Saturday’s game leading all active players, and was third all time, in interleague batting average with a .342 mark (minimum 300 plate appearances). … With his next homer, center fielder Adam Jones will become the first outfielder in club history with 25 or more homers in four consecutive seasons. Hall of Famer Frank Robinson hit 25 or more in five seasons, the franchise record, but not consecutively. … First baseman Christian Walker, shortstop Niuman Romero, outfielder Dariel Alvarez and right-hander Oliver Drake were named to the Eastern League Postseason All-Star Team. Walker and Alvarez have been promoted to Triple-A Norfolk. … The Orioles’ Dominican Summer League club clinched a playoff spot, and its pitching staff leads the league in ERA, saves and shutouts. Thirteen pitchers on that squad have an ERA below three.

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