Cruz: “I tried to stay in the game, but I can’t hold the bat”

HOUSTON - Nelson Cruz had his swollen left hand wrapped today following the Orioles’ 9-4 victory over the Astros. Whether he plays on Tuesday will be decided later.

X-rays on Cruz’s hand were negative after he was drilled by a fastball from former Orioles pitcher Scott Feldman.

“It’s swollen, so hopefully just day by day stuff,” Cruz said.

“I have to wait until tomorrow to see how I feel. I tried to stay in the game, but I can’t hold the bat, so hopefully tomorrow it is better.

“Anytime you get hit in the hand, you get concerned. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll be good.”

cruz-in-pain-gray-sidebar.jpgCruz doesn’t think Feldman, his former teammate with the Rangers, hit him on purpose. Feldman leads the American League with eight hit batters, including Manny Machado in the first inning.

“Maybe he tried to go in, you know?” Cruz said. “I know the catcher went and talked to him before I got hit, so I was maybe thinking they tried to pitch me around something. I couldn’t tell. I don’t think so.”

Cruz doesn’t expect to undergo any more tests.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I think it should be just check it out tomorrow and see how it feels.”

Cruz won’t rush back simply to face his former team on Tuesday.

“You just treat it like another game. So, see how it feels and just go from there,” he said.

“There’s going to be a lot of games, so hopefully I’ll be good for Tuesday.”

Cruz’s teammates picked up the slack after his departure, pounding out nine runs and 12 hits to salvage a split of the four-game series.

“It was great,” he said. “Like I said yesterday, we’re building, we’re doing what we’re supposed to do and hopefully we continue to do that and bring it to Texas.”

Machado struck the biggest blow with a grand slam.

“He’s a great hitter,” Cruz said. “He’s been working on his timing, so it’s nice to see him driving the ball that way.”

Manager Buck Showalter noted how the Orioles had to take Cruz to a local hospital because Minute Maid Park doesn’t have its own X-ray machine, which he assumed would be mandatory in every ballpark.

“I think he’s all right,” Showalter said. “There’s a long bone down through there. He tried to grip the bat up the runway and had some point-tender pain right on the spot. I was pretty concerned there. A lot of time you get those type of symptoms, you don’t like the results. But I’m hoping even though he didn’t dodge a bullet that we did.

“He’s going to be sore. If I know Nelson, he’s going to want to play on Tuesday. It’s got nothing to do with who we’re playing. He just likes to be there. But he seemed to be in pretty good spirits inside afterward.

“You never know when you’re going to get those reports back. Those are normal X-rays. If he continues to have some issues with it, then I guess there’s three different levels of X-rays that you go off the symptoms, but so far, so good.”

Cruz stayed in the game and made it to second base on a double steal before exiting.

“I knew he wasn’t going to hit going to first,” Showalter said. “I just told him to keep his hand up when he was sliding and then we’d reevaluate it between innings. At that point, if it’s fine, he can grip a bat. I didn’t like some of the body language he had going on, but he’s a pretty tough guy. I didn’t like him getting hit there, either.”

Asked whether teams are pitching inside to Cruz more frequently now that he leads the majors in home runs and RBIs, Showalter replied, “They’ve tried the kitchen sink. Right now, they’re throwing everything at him.”

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