Nelson Cruz diagnosed with a hand contusion after HBP scare

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Orioles’ fans hearts jumped into their throats in the top of the third inning on Sunday afternoon when Astros starter Scott Feldman drilled Nelson Cruz in the left hand with a fastball. Cruz was in some very obvious initial pain, but stayed in the game to run the bases. He was taken out when the inning ended with David Lough moving from left to right field and Delmon Young entering the game in left field.

Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that x-rays came up negative for Cruz, which should allow Baltimore residents to breathe a great sigh of relief. The Orioles are listing Cruz as day-to-day with a left hand contusion. The Orioles have an off-day on Monday and open up a three-game series on the road against the Rangers on Tuesday. Cruz says he will see how he feels on Monday to determine if he can play on Tuesday.

Cruz is the major league leader in home runs and RBI with 20 and 52, respectively. He is slashing .314/.384/.672.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.