Before the game, Tampa Bay made its second trade since arriving in Cleveland, sending left-hander Rich Hill to the Mets for righty Tommy Hunter and minor leaguer Matt Dyer.
Cruz is eager to serve as a mentor to Tampa Bay’s talented youngsters, just as he did with the Twins. “I know this organization is big on it and that’s something I like to do,” Cruz said. “I’ve been through a lot of up and downs in my career.”
General manager Erik Neander and C Mike Zunino both noted the significance of adding a respected leader from the Dominican Republic to help bridge the language gap.
“It’s going to be a huge development for those guys,” said Zunino, who previously played with Cruz in Seattle. “Nelson is one of the best teammates that I’ve ever had. If he’s not No. 1, he’s No. 1-B.”
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (right forearm tightness), who has been on the 60-day injured list since May 8, has allowed three runs over 4 2/3 innings in his first two rehabilitation appearances for Triple-A Durham.
Indians: C Roberto Pérez (back tightness) sat out his second straight game. Manager Terry Francona said Pérez was one of several players who woke up with sore backs as a result of their hotel beds in Houston.
Rays: Manager Kevin Cash has not decided who will start the third game of the four-game series as the rotation remains in flux.
Indians: RHP J.C. Mejia (1-5, 7.53 ERA), whose lone victory came in relief at Detroit on May 24, is 0-5 with an 8.80 ERA in eight starts.
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