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A bird flew at Minor League pitcher Jesus Cruz as he left the game, so he gave it a ride

@KurtPegler

Jesus Cruz got the starting nod for the Peoria Chiefs in their 13-4 win at home on Independence Day, and he delivered 4 2/3 innings of two-run ball, striking out nine batters along the way. When he departed in the fifth inning, he received an unexpected visitor as he left the mound: A bird flying straight at him.

We would normally say "Heads up," but Cruz's reflexes were on point. He even put the bird on his head, Casey Stengel-style, and gave it a little ride.

Smart of the Cardinals prospect to befriend a bird. He knows his audience.

Don't worry about the bird's health either -- it's fine. Cruz made sure of it. "I was happy to see the bird flew away [because] I thought he was hurt," he said after the game through interpreter and teammate Yariel Gonzalez. "When the bird landed, I just picked him up because I like animals and I took advantage of that."

What a nice gesture. The bird must be a baseball fan to want a view that close. Let's hope that Thom Brennaman can do another avian interview to learn more.

Bird