Cruz exited Sunday’s game in Houston in the third inning with a bruised and swollen left hand, but he gripped a bat yesterday without discomfort and should play.
Over eight seasons with the Rangers from 2006 to 2013, Cruz batted .268 with 157 homers and 489 RBIs in 796 games and was an All-Star in 2009 and 2013.
Cruz lost out to Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion today for American League Player of the Month honors. Encarnacion batted .281/.369/.763 with five doubles, one triple, 16 home runs and 33 RBIs in 30 games. Cruz batted .339/.388/.748 with eight doubles, 13 homers and 27 RBIs 30 games.
Cruz continues to lead the majors in home runs (20), RBIs (52), homers on the road (13) and RBIs on the road (39).
The Orioles will try to improve on their 17-15 road record. They’re 20-8 when scoring four runs or more this season and 8-19 when scoring three runs or fewer.
The Orioles are batting .275 as a team in their 32 road games this season, the second-best average in the majors behind the Rangers (.279). They also rank second in road OPS (.756) and third in road slugging percentage (.432).
Nick Markakis is batting .434 (23-for-53) with three doubles and five runs scored in the first inning this season.
Left-hander Zach Britton leads the majors (minimum 15 batters faced) in groundball-to-flyball ratio (12.8) and ground ball percentage (79.0 percent). Opponents have batted .180/.255/.230 against him this season, collecting just three extra-base hits in 112 plate appearances.
For the Orioles
Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Nelson Cruz LF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Delmon Young DH
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Caleb Joseph C
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
For the Rangers
Shin-Soo Choo DH
Elvis Andrus SS
Mitch Moreland 1B
Adrian Beltre 3B
Alex Rios RF
Michael Choice LF
Leonys Martin CF
Robinson Chirinos C
Rougned Odor 2B
Joe Saunders LHP
Down on the farm, the Orioles named Single-A Delmarva’s Hunter Harvey the organization’s minor league Pitcher of the Month for May, and Double-A Bowie first baseman Christian Walker the Player of the Month.
Harvey was 2-2 with a 1.35 ERA in five starts. Walker batted .308 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs.
The South Atlantic League announced five Shorebirds will play in the June 17 All-Star Game in Hickory, N.C. - Harvey, third baseman Drew Dosch, pitchers Sebastian Vader and Jimmy Yacabonis, and outfielder Mike Yastrzemski. Harvey has been named the starter for his team.
Dylan Bundy will pitch five innings Monday in an intrasquad game in Sarasota. It’s Orioles versus Orioles.
No games are played on Sundays, so Bundy gets an extra day’s rest.