Cruz started in right field in Wednsday's spring training game. He could be used in the outfield when the Twins have two road trips to NL parks in April, MLB.com reports. Cruz has started just nine games in the outfield the past two years, so it would be surprising to see the 38-year old play more than a game or two. Still, this shows he may not be stuck on the bench when the Twins play five games at Philadelphia and the New York Mets from April 5 to 10.
Cruz started at DH and went 1-for-3 with an RBI in Friday's spring training tie against Tampa Bay. It was just his second game this spring. The Twins are taking it easy with the 38-year old's schedule this spring, allowing him to play fewer games. He's healthy though and should be ready for Opening Day. Cruz plans to play again Sunday.
Manager Rocco Baldelli said that Cruz should make his Grapefruit League debut for the Twins shortly after Wednesday's off-day, Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The Twins are merely easing Cruz slowly into his age-38 season with the hope of avoiding any unnecessary wear and tear during the exhibition slate. He was able to get some swings against live pitching in batting practice Tuesday and should draw into the lineup as soon as Thursday's exhibition versus the Red Sox. After signing a one-year, $14.3 million pact with the Twins this winter, Cruz can be penciled in as the team's everyday designated hitter and should occupy a spot in the heart of what looks to be an improved lineup.
Cruz agreed to a one-year, $14.3 million deal with the Twins that includes a $12 million club option for 2020, Jon Heyman of FancredSports.com reports. The Twins and Cruz had been a rumored match for a while now, so this comes as no surprise. He will serve as the everyday designated hitter in a similar park and lineup as he hit in last season. Cruz has hit 37-plus home runs in five consecutive seasons -- he leads all major-league hitters with 203 home runs over that stretch. However, he is entering his age-38/39 season, so it should not be surprising if he falls off at any point. His .256 average in 2018 was his worst mark since he hit .235 in 2007, but his hard-hit rate (42.3 percent) was actually a career best and his batted ball profile was in line with his career norms. The deal includes a $300,000 buyout if the Twins do not wish to pick up the club option for 2020.
Cruz went 2-for-4 with two RBI on Saturday against the Rangers. Cruz drove in both of his runs with a timely base knock in the eighth inning, bringing his RBI total to 92 for the season. The 38-yard-old has turned in another productive season, though he will likely fail to reach 40 home runs for the second consecutive campaign.