Nelson Cruz back in Orioles’ lineup after HBP scare

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You could hear the collective shriek from Orioles fans on Sunday when Nelson Cruz was struck on the left hand by a Scott Feldman fastball. But all is well.

Cruz is in the Orioles’ starting lineup for Tuesday night’s series-opener against the Rangers — his first time back in Arlington, Texas since signing a one-year, $8 million free agent deal with Baltimore this past winter. Cruz will bat third and start in left field.

The 33-year-old slugger is batting .314/.384/.672 with 20 home runs and 52 RBI in 54 games this season for his new team.

That’s a 59-homer and 153-RBI pace. Not bad value at $8 million.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Tony La Russa part ways

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The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they are parting ways with Tony La Russa at the end of the month.

La Russa served as the club’s “Chief Baseball Officer” from 2015-16. For the last year he was styled “Chief Baseball Analyst.” That’s a nice way to saying that he was pushed aside when the club fired his hand-picked general manager Dave Stewart and brought in Mike Hazen to run the club a year ago. La Russa was stripped of his powers, but was told he could hang around as an advisor. Most didn’t think he’d actually take the club up on that offer, but he did. By all accounts he was a pretty unobtrusive presence around the team this year, offering counsel and insight when asked but not making things awkward the way having the old boss around might do.

I suppose that can only last so long, however. The Dbacks had considerably more success without La Russa in charge in 2017 than they had with him in charge the previous couple of years. At some point you just part ways. That point is now.