Cruz in lineup at DH after pelvic bone injury
SEATTLE -- Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz returned to the Mariners' lineup on Tuesday, the day after he was pulled before a seventh inning at-bat with what manager Lloyd McClendon described as a pelvic bone injury.
Cruz went 0-for-4 in Seattle's 7-0 win over Kansas City.
It's an injury both McClendon and Cruz said sounds worse than it actually is.
"They're telling me he's fine," McClendon said Tuesday. "We'll probably just keep him off his feet for a while and have him DH."
The 34-year-old said he initially thought he injured his right hamstring, as he first felt a pull higher up on his backside. Cruz said he first felt the pull in the top of the third inning of Monday's game when Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas roped an RBI double to the right field wall.
The pain grew worse, Cruz said, when Kansas City center fielder Jarrod Dyson singled to right with two outs in the top of the seventh. Cruz broke quickly toward the ball and said it was difficult to jog after that point. Outfielder Dustin Ackley was inserted in Cruz's spot in the lineup to finish the ballgame.
Cruz said trainers laid him down and were able to pop his pelvic bone back into place. He said he then iced on Monday and tested his pelvic bone with exercises early on Tuesday but has not felt any pain since Monday night.
"I was surprised, too," Cruz said of his quick return. "I thought it was something pretty bad, but thank God it was something that can get fixed right away."
• Just days into new hitting coach Edgar Martinez's tenure, McClendon has stressed not expecting any overnight miracles with the Mariners' offense. He did, however, agree that Martinez could start to help a few struggling Mariners hitters, including catcher Mike Zunino, sooner rather than later.
Zunino is batting .155 in 193 at-bats entering Tuesday night's game. He has struck out 10 times in his last four games and has registered just five multi-hit games in 63 games for the Mariners this season.
McClendon said Zunino's issues at the plate have been part mechanical -- with Zunino dropping his hands and undercutting the ball -- and part mental.
"I think [Martinez is] trying to speed up the process as much as he possibly can," McClendon said. "In the end, I hope he does have a major influence on Zunino and can get him back somewhere close to where he was last year."
As for the rest of the Mariners' offense, which has the lowest batting average in the Major Leagues?
"Where do you want to start?" McClendon said with a chuckle.