Nelson Cruz to get more playing time in the outfield

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Seth Smith is back in the Mariners’ lineup for Saturday night’s game against the Athletics after nursing a groin injury, but manager Lloyd McClendon is making another alteration. Per Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, Nelson Cruz will “play his share of outfield”.

The Mariners signed Cruz, who led the league in home runs with 40 last season, to serve as their DH. Smith was to platoon with Justin Ruggiano in right field. However, McClendon would like to have Smith’s bat in the lineup without taxing him physically by playing him on defense with his groin injury.

McClendon said of Cruz, “I just need to be smart about when I put him out there and make sure he stays healthy throughout the year.”

Cruz seems to be okay with the change in plans. “DH is boring,” Cruz said.