MILWAUKEE -- Nelson Cruz will not require surgery on his left wrist and began baseball activity prior to the Twins' game on Tuesday at Miller Park, an update that the club characterized as "good news for Nelson and the Twins."
“Just trust what I feel,” Cruz said of what he was told on Monday in New York by Dr. Thomas Graham, who determined that the 39-year-old slugger did not have any damage in the wrist other than the previously reported rupture of the extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) tendon in the area. “I did everything today. I worked out, I did weights. I swung off the tee, because I don’t want to rush. I want to go slow. I swung with a short bat and a fungo [bat].”
“It was very good news,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He says he’s ready to get back out there and start swinging. All that being said, it was something we were somewhat anticipating, but getting some confirmation from the situation that he went and saw [the doctor] is definitely a good feeling, and it allows us to drop him right back into a progression and his routine.”
Cruz was placed on the 10-day injured list with the ruptured tendon on Friday after he felt pain in the area after a swinging strike in Thursday's series opener against the Indians. He has had recurring pain in the wrist throughout the season and spent a stint on the IL with a left wrist strain in late May.
While Cruz’s return comes with some excitement, it also comes with a bit of head scratching, as he didn’t have any pain following the injury.
After he was placed on the injured list on Friday, Cruz revealed that the pain had largely subsided with a night of rest, and both he and the Twins had expressed optimism at the time that he could play through the injury after a short absence.
“The same night I was wondering, ‘Why don’t I have any pain? I don’t I have any inflammation. I don’t think I have any bruise,’ and they called and said you had to have surgery. I was like, ‘What? I feel good,’” Cruz said. “I guess I have to trust the doctor. He’s the one who knows. Then the next morning, they told me some players play with that thing.”
Other players with similar issues had done so in the past, including former Twins first baseman and current special assistant to baseball operations Justin Morneau, who was seen talking to Cruz about the injury on Friday. Cruz also doesn't anticipate requiring surgery for the ailment in the future.
“I don't think so," he said. "Justin had the surgery before. It was like my case where I had a partial tear before, but I didn't have the surgery. He told me after the surgery, he'd feel pain.
“I went yesterday and asked a lot of questions of the doctor. He told me he's probably seen 15-20 players in similar situations, some of them had to have surgery just to clean it up because some players afterward, they feel some pain."
This is all welcome news for the Twins and Cruz, who entered Tuesday's game sharing the team lead in homers (32) and topping the club in slugging percentage (.650) and OPS (1.035). Cruz will continue his baseball activities and said he plans to take batting practice when the team gets to Texas to take on the Rangers this weekend.