Nelson Cruz swats line-drive home run against Cleveland in his first game with Rays


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The Tampa Bay Rays made a rare trade in which they added a big name player and took on money. Tampa acquired slugger Nelson Cruz from the Twins for two pitching prospects in a four-player trade on Thursday afternoon.

Cruz joined the Rays in Cleveland on Friday (GameTracker) and didn’t wait long to make an impact. He slugged a home run in his second at-bat with Tampa. The fourth inning leadoff solo shot against righty Zach Plesac gave Tampa a 4-0 lead.

Here is Cruz’s first homer as a Ray:

At 111.1 mph, Cruz’s home run is one of the 20 hardest-hit balls by the Rays this season. It was smoked.

The home run is No. 20 on the season for Cruz and also No. 437 on his career. He is one behind Hall of Famer Andre Dawson for 45th place on the all-time list and he could move into the top 40 all-time before the end of the season.

Also, at 41 years and 22 days, Cruz is the second oldest player to hit a home run for the Rays. Only Hall of Famer Wade Boggs was older. Boggs went deep at 41 years and 53 days with Tampa in Aug. 1999, also against Cleveland, coincidentally enough.

Going into Friday’s game, Rays DHs were hitting a .219/.307/.387 on the season. Cruz was hitting .294/.370/.537 with the Twins, numbers that were right in line with his last few seasons. He’s a massive upgrade for a team in the division race.


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