NEW YORK -- Jay Bruce took a seat on the visitors' bench at Yankee Stadium on Monday afternoon, giving the New York media its first look at the slugger in an Indians uniform. Bruce became a fan favorite during his recent run with the Mets over in Queens, but this
NEW YORK -- Jay Bruce took a seat on the visitors' bench at Yankee Stadium on Monday afternoon, giving the New York media its first look at the slugger in an Indians uniform. Bruce became a fan favorite during his recent run with the Mets over in Queens, but this marked his first trip to the Big Apple since joining the Tribe.
For both Bruce and the Indians, the transition has been seamless.
"I went from a situation that we thought was going to be awesome," Bruce said. "Injuries derailed that. I came to a situation that was awesome. Adding to a team of this caliber is something I was very fortunate to be a part of."
Back on Aug. 9, following an injury to left fielder Michael Brantley, and with Lonnie Chisenhall already on the disabled list, the Indians were aggressive in their pursuit of Bruce. Cleveland shipped Minor League pitcher Ryder Ryan to the Mets, agreed to assume the remainder of Bruce's contract and got the deal done to add the slugging right fielder to its lineup.
Bruce has made an immediate impact on the Tribe.
With a home in right field and in the fifth spot of Cleveland's order, Bruce headed into Monday's action batting .311 with four home runs, five doubles and 13 RBIs in 17 games with the Indians. Behind the scenes, he has already been an influential voice in the dugout and a manager's dream when it comes to making out the lineup.
"He's easy. He just wants to play," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "You put him in the five-hole and wind him up and let him go play. He's been a joy. Everybody likes him. He's fit in quickly. I think he said that after you move once, it's a lot easier from his side of it. And we have an easy clubhouse anyways."
Bruce, who will be a free agent after this season, said he has not ruled out the idea of exploring a return to the Mets, but noted that his main priority will be playing for a team expecting to contend. He also expressed no hard feelings over New York trading him to the Indians.
"I understand the business side of it," Bruce said. "It's one of those deals where, if you don't win, you have to look toward the future. And I think that's what the Mets are doing right now, looking toward the future and seeing what they have, and understand that a lot of these contracts they traded away are expiring and are going to be free agents. They needed to see what they have coming up."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.