Ail­ing hand keeps Cruz out of Mariners’ lineup

The Daily Herald - - BASEBALL - By Bob Dut­ton

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

duty.

“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.

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