<
>

Texas manager impressed by Nelson Cruz

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington isn't at all surprised by how well Nelson Cruz is playing in Baltimore. Cruz, who was traded to the Rangers in 2006 and was a huge member of their World Series teams in 2010 and 2011, signed with the Orioles this offseason.

Cruz was hitting well in 2013 before having to serve a 50-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. He didn't get a contract until shortly before spring training, signing his one-year deal.

Cruz. 33, is batting .284 with seven homers and 25 RBIs through the first month of the season.

"I knew he would," Washington said. "That ballpark can’t hold Nelson, man. Nelson is streaky, but that ballpark right there -- that can’t hold Nelson. Nelson hits a popup and it’s gone.

"I’m not surprised by Nelson. He did it for us for awhile. He had moments where he struggled, but in the end he always had huge numbers. He can make a difference in your lineup and that’s what he’s doing in Baltimore. If he gets it elevated, it’s going out."

The Rangers tried to sign Cruz after his hopes for multi-year offers went away as the season approached. But he chose Baltimore because he wanted to play more outfield and the Rangers wanted him to be their primary DH.

So far, the move to Camden Yards has worked out for Cruz, who hopes to get a multi-year deal after the season.