Mariners slugger Nelson Cruz had been sitting on 999 career RBI since hitting a solo home run one week ago against the Orioles. Cruz finally crossed into quadruple digits, blasting a solo home run off of Padres starter Joey Lucchesi in the bottom of the fifth inning on Wednesday night. Cruz’s homer, his 35th of the season, helped cut the Mariners’ deficit to two runs at 5-3.
Cruz, 38, has had a remarkable offensive career. He has spent 14 seasons in the big leagues, but the first four he wasn’t given the opportunity to play regularly. Still, he has managed 1,000 career RBI, something only 285 other hitters have done in their careers, along with 358 homers and an overall .275/.342/.519 batting line.
Cruz is tied for 86th on the all-time home run leaderboard with Yogi Berra and Carlos Lee. Cruz is a free agent after the season. Given his age and the recent trend of a weak free agent market, it remains to be seen just how much further up the ladder he can go. If he’s able to play and stay health next season, he should at least get to 400 career dingers, something only 55 players to date have done.
Rays outfielder Austin Meadows has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a right thumb sprain, per a team announcement Sunday. No concrete timetable has been given for his return to the lineup just yet, but he’s scheduled to meet with a hand specialist on Sunday as the Rays try to determine the extent of his injury.
Meadows, 23, suffered the sprain in the seventh inning of Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. He lined a two-run triple into the right-center field gap — one of a franchise-record four triples that the Rays recorded in the game — but slid awkwardly into third base and jammed his right thumb in the process. He didn’t appear to be in obvious pain following the hit, however, nor was he removed from the game at the time.
Prior to the setback, Meadows carried a hefty .351/.422/.676 batting line with six homers, 19 RBI, and a 1.097 OPS through his first 83 plate appearances of 2019. He was replaced by Guillermo Heredia in right field for Sunday’s series finale and will likely lose a few starts to Avisaíl García as well.
In a series of corresponding moves, right-handed reliever Jake Faria was optioned to Triple-A Durham, infielder/outfielder Andrew Velazquez and righty reliever Emilio Pagán were recalled from Triple-A, and reliever Hunter Wood was placed on the paternity list. Second baseman Joey Wendle was also reinstated from the 10-day injured list after rehabbing a left hamstring strain and is scheduled take over the keystone during the Rays’ matinee against the Red Sox on Sunday.