Kuroda to miss next start; Nix on DL
Ready for more injuries, Yankees fans? Like it or not, there are a couple more.
Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees’ most reliable starting pitcher this season, will be skipped his next turn in the rotation because of a sore left hip flexor. Kuroda returned to New York to have an MRI examination that did not reveal any structural damage.
Although there is a possibility that the righthander could wind up on the 15-day disabled list if the condition does not improve, the only time he will miss at this point will be his next scheduled start, which was to be Friday night against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium. That assignment will go instead to Ivan Nova.
One player who did end up on the DL Wednesday was infielder Jayson Nix because of a right hamstring strain. Nix, who has been alternating between shortstop and third base because of the injuries to Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Youkilis and Eduardo Nunez, was unable to play Tuesday night. The Yankees were hopeful it would be a day-to-day situation but decided not to push it. That makes 14 players totaling 17 stints on the DL for the Yankees this year.
Nix, who is batting .236 with eight doubles, one triple, two home runs and 20 RBI in 73 games and 237 at-bats, was supposed to be a utility infielder for the Yankees this year but was pressed into starting 65 of their first 82 games.
Taking Nix’s place on the 25-man roster was infielder Luis Cruz, whom the Yankees signed as a free agent. Cruz, 29, appeared in 45 games this year with the Dodgers before being designated for assignment June 28. He batted .127 with two doubles, one home run and six RBI in 118 at-bats. Cruz made 30 starts (20 at third base and 10 at shortstop) and committed just three errors in 136 total chances in all games.
A native of Mexico, Cruz, who bats and throws right-handed, is a career .240 (133-for-555) hitter with 26 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 52 RBI in 179 games and 555 at-bats over parts of five seasons with the Pirates, (2008-09), Brewers (2010) and Dodgers (2012-13). Last year, he set career highs in batting average (.297), runs (26), at-bats (283), hits (84), doubles (20), home runs (six), RBI (40), on-base percentage (.322) and slugging (.431).
Cruz has appeared at five different positions in the majors – 81 games (68 starts) at shortstop, 79 (68) at third base, nine (eight) at second base and one game apiece as a defensive replacement in left field and at first base. He has made only 10 errors in 600 chances in 1,318 2/3 career innings in the field. Cruz was voted Most Valuable Player of the Mexican Winter League in 2011 when he hit .340 with 17 home runs and 47 RBI in 62 games with Tomateros de Culiacan. He was also on Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in 2013 and 2006.
Originally signed by the Red Sox as a non-drafted free agent Aug. 23, 2000, Cruz was acquired by the Padres Dec. 16, 2002 in a trade for infielder Cesar Crespo. Cruz played five seasons in San Diego’s minor-league system from 2003-07.
The Twins also added a player to their DL. Josh Willingham, who did not play Monday or Tuesday night, had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Wednesday to repair a medial meniscus tear and bone bruise in his left knee.
Pitcher Chris Bootcheck and outfielder Thomas Neal of the Yankees’ Triple A Scranton affiliate were named to the International League’s All-Star team earlier Wednesday. Scranton manager Dave Miley will pilot the IL squad for the record-tying third time when they play the Pacific Coast League All-Stars July 17 at Reno, Nev.