Nelson Cruz leaves game Sunday vs. Astros after being hit by pitch in left hand
By By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun|
Jun 01, 2014 | 6:47 PM
HOUSTON -- Orioles outfielder Nelson Cruz, who leads the major leagues in home runs and RBIs, left Sunday's game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park after he was hit by a pitch in the left hand.
X-rays on Cruz's left hand performed at a local hospital during Sunday's game were negative, and the Orioles said he is day-to-day with a contusion.
"I think he's all right," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He tried to grip the bat up the runway and had some point-tender pain right on the spot. I was pretty concerned there. A lot of time you get those type of symptoms, you don't like the results. But I'm hoping, even though he didn't dodge a bullet, that we did."
Cruz said he was uncertain whether he would be able to play in the Orioles' next game on Tuesday, when Cruz is set to face his former team, the Texas Rangers, for the first time.
"It's swollen, so hopefully just day-by-day stuff," Cruz said. "I have to wait until [Monday] to see how I feel. I tried to stay in the game, but I can't hold the bat. So hopefully, [Monday], it is better. ... Any time you get hit in the hand, you get concerned."
With one on and one out in the third inning, former Orioles right-hander Scott Feldman threw an 87-mph pitch that sailed up and in to Cruz, who tried to back away from the pitch before it hit him in the lower part of the left hand. Cruz went to the ground holding his hand in obvious pain as Showalter and head trainer Richie Bancells inspected the injury.
Cruz remained in the game, taking first base and then stealing second base on the back half of a double steal, but he was removed in the bottom part of the inning. Left fielder David Lough shifted over to right field to replace Cruz, and Delmon Young entered the game in left field.
After hitting third baseman Manny Machado in the first inning and Cruz in the third, Feldman leads the American League with eight hit batters this season.
Cruz said he didn't believe that Feldman hit him intentionally.
"I don't think so, you know," Cruz said. "Maybe he tried to go in, you know. I know the catcher went and talked to him before I got hit, so I was maybe thinking they tried to pitch me around something. So I couldn't tell. I don't think so."
Feldman said he checked on Cruz after the game to see if he was OK.
"I didn't want to hit him," Feldman said. "They said it was just a bruise, so that was a little relieving. It happens, it's part of the game trying to pitch inside. He's been swinging the bat well. Obviously, I didn't want to give him a free base, but I didn't want to let him go up there and hit one off the wall either."
Cruz leads the majors with 20 homers and 52 RBIs, and he had driven in 23.1 percent of the Orioles' runs this season heading into Sunday's game.
"He's going to be sore," Showalter said. "If I know Nelson, he's going to want to play on Tuesday. It's got nothing to do with who we're playing. He just likes to be there. But he seemed to be in pretty good spirits inside afterward.
"You never know when you're going to get those reports back. Those are normal X-rays. If he continues to have some issues with it, then I guess there's three different levels of X-rays that you go off the symptoms, but so far, so good."
The Orioles already have been hit hard by injuries this season. With Machado, J.J. Hardy, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters all missing significant time, the Orioles have yet to field their complete projected starting lineup in a game this season.