Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz was cleared of serious issues Friday after team doctors diagnosed a muscle strain in his chest.
Assistant general manager Thad Levine said Cruz was sent to a hospital to rule out anything else. The Rangers later said in a statement that several tests were negative and Cruz was being released after a stress test, which general manager Jon Daniels said he passed.
Cruz can resume baseball activities today.
“I think our guys made the right call,” Daniels said. “Better safe than sorry to have him checked out.”
Daniels said Cruz’s status for the World Baseball Classic will depend on how he feels today. Cruz was set to leave Sunday to join the Dominican Republic for the WBC.
The 32-year-old Cruz leads the Rangers with five RBI this spring training, although he’s hitting .214. He played a career-high 159 games last season, hitting .260 with 24 home runs and 90 RBI.
The Rangers also announced that Daniels has been promoted to president of baseball operations/general manager. He said his role will remain the same.
CLOSER PEREZ INJURED
Indians All-Star closer Chris Perez could be sidelined one month because of a strained shoulder.
Perez, who saved 39 games last season, will not throw for the next week to 10 days. Once he resumes his program, the Indians estimate he will be pitching in games in three or four weeks.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona said he wasn’t sure whether Perez would be OK for opening day.
“I don’t know. One thing, we’re going to do is take care of it so it’s gone and he can pitch effectively. That’s kind of an artificial deadline because when he’s good to go, that’s when he’ll pitch,” Francona said.
“He’s down for 10 days and then start his throwing program. We’ll see where he’s at at the end of spring training. If he is good to go, it obviously effects us nothing,” he said. “If he’s not we’ll probably back up Vinnie (Pestano to the closer’s role) and back everybody up a little bit. For right now, it doesn’t change anything in spring training.”
REDS SIGN PRIOR
Mark Prior is making yet another pitch to return to the big leagues.
The 32-year-old Prior has signed a minor league contract with the Reds, marking the fourth spring in a row the oft-injured righty has tried a comeback.
Prior has not been in the majors since 2006. He pitched for Boston in Triple-A last season, making 19 relief appearances with a 3.96 ERA.
This move reunites Prior and Reds manager Dusty Baker. They were together with the Chicago Cubs several years ago, and Prior was an All-Star in 2003 when the team came close to reaching the World Series.
“He called me in the winter. We talk sometimes. He sends my wife updates on the kids,” Baker said. “He never asked me for anything. He said, ‘Hey man, I’d like to try it one more time.’ I told him, ‘If I can help you, I’ll make the opportunity.’ ”
Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford could miss his team’s April 1 opener against the Giants after leaving spring training to have his elbow examined in Los Angeles. Recovering from elbow ligament-replacement surgery on Aug. 23, Crawford felt nerve irritation in his left arm. … Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano said his contract status is on his mind, though not a distraction. Cano is due $15 million in the final season of what became a $57 million, six-year deal and is eligible for free agency after the World Series. He hit .313 with 33 homers and 94 RBI last year but was 3-for-40 (.075) with no homers and four RBI during the playoffs, including a postseason-record 0-for-29 skid.