Ailing hand keeps Cruz out of Mariners’ lineup
ARLINGTON, Texas — Nelson Cruz suffered a hand injury Sunday on a check swing in Chicago, manager Scott Servais revealed Tuesday in explaining Cruz’s absence from the lineup for a club looking to halt a recent skid.
The good news is Cruz’s injured left hand isn’t believed to be serious.
“He’s on some medication,” Servais said. “It’s nothing structural. There’s no bone damage. It’s some kind of nerve issue, where he loses (feeling) in his fingers. His grip strength isn’t great.
“He got on some medication (Monday). We’ll give him the day off today, and I hope we can get him back in there (Wednesday). Then we have a day off following that. Believe me, it hurts not to put him on there.”
Cruz was unavailable for comment prior to Tuesday’s game against Texas and its ace left-hander, Cole Hamels, but he sought to minimize the ailment after Monday’s 6-3 loss in the series opener.
“Everyone is battling something right now,” said Cruz, who appeared to wince in pain on several swings. “It’s late in the season. You just try to deal with whatever you have and play the game.”
Servais said Cruz argued to play Tuesday when the Mariners sought to pullout of a 1-6 slide that left them three games behind Baltimore for the American League’s final wild-card berth.
“I think it’s the right course to take,” Servais said. “He came in and fought me on it. It’s hard not to have him in there in the four hole. But (Monday) night,
where he was at, he really struggled to hang onto the bat.”
Franklin Gutierrez replaced Cruz on Tuesday as the DH and cleanup hitter.
Cruz leads the Mariners with 32 homers while batting .280 with 79 RBIs in 127 games. He also leads the club with an .886 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).
Servais said the Mariners ran multiple tests on Cruz and are convinced a short rest will enable him to return to regular
“We’ve had it X-rayed and MRI’d and Cat-Scanned,” Servais said. “There’s no bone (issue). The bone isn’t broken or anything like that. It’s a nerve thing that’s pinching, and it affects his grip strength.
“It is what it is. What are you going to do? A lot of teams go through adversity. They deal with injuries. There’s never an ideal time for it to happen. Certainly, now couldn’t be a worse time.”
NAM Y. HUH / ASSOCIATED PRESS Seattle’s Nelson Cruz winces after hitting a foul ball during the ninth inning on Sunday in Chicago. Cruz was held out of the Mariners’ lineup on Tuesday because of a sore hand.