Cruz was optioned off the active roster Tuesday. Cruz could make a push for his big-league debut at some point this season, but it's no surprise he won't be on the Opening Day roster. The 22-year-old shortstop has yet to advance beyond Double-A and has gone just 1-for-20 at the plate in Grapefruit League action so far this spring. He's expected to spend some time in center field as he looks to expand his versatility, which could give him more paths to the major-league roster.
Cruz went 0-for-1 with a walk and run scored in Sunday's loss to Philadelphia. He has just one hit and two walks in 19 spring at-bats. Despite talks of moving the 22-year-old to the outfield, Cruz has primarily played shortstop on defense this spring, making only two appearances in center field. He's likely ticketed for Triple-A Indianapolis in an effort to gain experience in the upper minors before potentially making his MLB debut later this summer.
General manager Ben Cherington expects Cruz to take part in spring training despite the 21-year-old's role in an offseason accident in the Dominican Republic, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. "No reason to believe he wouldn't be available for spring training, full participant," Cherington said. "No information that I have that would suggest he wouldn't be." The accident took the lives of three people. Some reports coming out of the Dominican Republic remain unclear and fantasy managers will still need to take a wait-and-see approach with the fallout from the tragedy.
Cruz was detained by transit authorities in the Dominican Republic on Monday after a vehicle he was driving struck a motorcycle in an accident in which three people lost their lives, Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports. He was part of the Pirates' 60-man player pool but apparently had returned to his native country. Cruz was reportedly traveling outside the hours allowed by the Dominican Republic, established as a measure to counter the spread of COVID-19, so he could be punished for that violation. There will also be an investigation into his role in the accident.
Cruz was optioned to Double-A Altoona on Monday, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. Cruz played 35 games for Altoona last season, homering once and stealing three bases while hitting .269/.346/.412. Despite his unusual size for a shortstop (6-foot-7), the Pirates reportedly have no imminent plans for him to change positions.
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