CLEVELAND -- Nelson Cruz was scheduled to hit clean-up on Friday in the series opener in Cleveland, but Mariners manager Scott Servais scratched him from the lineup a few hours before the game.Cruz -- who comes into the series with an eight-game hitting streak -- was removed from the batting
CLEVELAND -- Nelson Cruz was scheduled to hit clean-up on Friday in the series opener in Cleveland, but Mariners manager Scott Servais scratched him from the lineup a few hours before the game.
Cruz -- who comes into the series with an eight-game hitting streak -- was removed from the batting order after experiencing some tightness in his left hamstring throughout Thursday's 2-1 win over the Tigers.
"He had a little cramp in his leg yesterday. Felt it during the game, he is a little tender today," Servais said about Cruz's injury. "He's available to come in to hit, but we're trying to give him a day."
Despite the injury, Cruz is hopeful that he will return to the starting lineup on Saturday. The designated hitter said that he first felt the injury after he doubled to start the second inning in Thursday's game, and then dealt with the pain throughout the rest of the game.
"It felt a little tight," Cruz said. "It was progressive through the whole game. Just for precaution, I'm going to sit."
Although the double was his only hit of the day, Cruz reached second base again in the sixth inning on an error by Tyler Collins. The Tigers' center fielder collided with right fielder Jim Adduci while chasing down a fly ball off the bat of Cruz, who came around to score on Ben Gamel's RBI single.
During his hitting streak, Cruz has posted a slash line of .481/.556/.963 with 13 hits -- including four doubles and three home runs -- and 11 RBIs.
Utility man Taylor Motter started in place of Cruz on Friday, and played first base while Dan Vogelbach was the DH. Motter has seen plenty of action early this season, as he has filled in at shortstop for an injured Jean Segura and at third base for an injured Kyle Seager. Motter has hit five homers and drove in 13 RBIs this season.
"The impact he gave us offensively is more than anyone could have expected," Servais said about Motter. "The quality of his at-bats have been good. He's gotten two-out hits, he's driven the ball with authority, a lot of extra-base hits. It's been a welcomed surprise."
Reliever Steve Cishek, who is working his way back from microfracture hip surgery in October, pitched his second consecutive game on Thursday during his rehab assignment with Double-A Arkansas.
Servais said that Cishek did not feel good about the way the ball was coming out of his hand in his rehab stint. The Mariners' manager said that it was a problem with Cishek's mechanics rather than a physical problem, and that the team is not going to rush the right-hander back.
"I keep saying it, but it's his Spring Training. We're going to have to be patient. It does no good to rush him in here without him being 100 percent, putting him in a position that he can go out and help us," Servais said. "He's going to have at least one more outing down there and see how it goes."
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland and covered the Mariners on Friday.