Updating Cruz’s hand and playing status

ARLINGTON, Texas - The swelling in Nelson Cruz’s left hand has lessened to the point where he can grip a bat without pain, according to team officials. If he gets through batting practice on Tuesday, he should be in the Orioles lineup for their series opener against the Rangers.

Manager Buck Showalter may wait to post his lineup, which he’s been known to do, until making certain that Cruz gets through BP without a hitch.

Cruz, named the American League’s Player of the Week earlier today, left Sunday’s game against the Astros in the third inning after being hit on the hand by a Scott Feldman fastball.

Cruz felt pain in his hand while trying to grip a bat between innings and was replaced in right field. Showalter also said he didn’t like Cruz’s “body language” after the incident.

The Orioles sent Cruz to a Houston hospital for X-rays, which came back negative. The team announced that he was day to day with a contusion.

That’s a bruise to you and me.

“I was pretty concerned there,” Showalter said afterward. “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.”

Cruz leads the majors in home runs (20), RBIs (52), slugging percentage (.672), total bases (137) and fewest at-bats per home run (10.2), and is second with 33 extra-base hits. Cruz, now first in All-Star balloting among designated hitters, is fifth in the league with 39 runs scored, sixth with a .384 on-base percentage and seventh with a .314 batting average.

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