Rays ink reliever Juan Cruz to minor league contract

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Juan Cruz is back in business.

According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, the Rays have inked the 32-year-old reliever to a minor league contract.

Cruz made it through only five appearances with the Royals last season before his shoulder gave out and he was forced to undergo season-ending surgery.  He’s all healed now, but he may have to do some proving in the minor leagues before the Rays trust him in the big league bullpen.

Cruz, a righty, posted a rough 5.72 ERA and 1.49 WHIP over 46 appearances in 2009, his last full season.  He did have some success as a setup man in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen from 2006-2008.  There might be something left.

Anthony DeSclafani crushed a grand slam for his first career home run

Anthony DeSclafani
AP Images
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Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani put on a show during Saturday’s matinee against the Cubs. Up 2-1 in the third inning, the hurler hooked a Brian Duensing fastball over the left field fence for his first career home run — and first career grand slam:

Grand slams are impressive no matter the player or situation, but they’re made all the more special in rare circumstances like this one. Not only is DeSclafani the first pitcher to deliver a grand slam in 2018, but he’s the first Reds hurler to do so in nearly 60 years. Per MLB.com’s Brian Scott Rippee, right-hander Bob Purkey was the last to hit a slam for the Reds in 1959, when he took Cubs reliever John Buzhardt deep in the third inning of a 12-3 drubbing.

The 28-year-old righty had a decent outing on the mound as well, holding the Cubs to two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings before passing the ball to reliever Michael Lorenzen. Entering Saturday, he carried a 2-1 record in three games, with a 4.60 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 across 15 2/3 innings — not too shabby for someone who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016.

The Reds currently lead 8-2 in the bottom of the seventh.