Cruz exits with tight calf, expects to be OK

Cruz exits with tight calf, expects to be OK

DENVER - Cleanup hitter Nelson Cruz left Tuesday's 10-4 victory over the Rockies as a precaution after dealing with right calf tightness in the middle of the second inning. He was replaced in right field by Ben Gamel, who went 3-for-4 and finished a homer shy of a cycle.

Cruz fielded one ball in right field in the first inning, a routine fly ball from DJ LeMahieu that he caught for the inning's second out. The damage came when Cruz walked to lead off the second inning in his only at-bat, then scored on Kyle Seager's two-run homer.

"When Seager hit the home run, he took off hard running right away, and he felt it," manager Scott Servais said of Cruz's tightness. "He said, 'Hey Skip, I don't want to do anything stupid.' I said, 'Sounds good, we'll get Gamel in there and he'll get us three hits."

Cruz made both Interleague starts in right, and fielded three balls Monday without incident after serving as the Mariners' designated hitter for all but two of his starts this season.

"We need his presence," manager Scott Servais said prior to the game about the decision to start Cruz a second consecutive game in right. "And not just in our lineup, in our dugout, in the game. He's a big part of our leadership group. Left-hander out there today. Yesterday worked out OK. They hit the first ball of the game at him, and it was like, 'Here we go again,' but it was good."

Servais added that the precautionary move should ensure Cruz is available when the Rockies and Mariners resume play in Seattle for two more games.

"He should be fine tomorrow," Servais said. "I trust Cruzie, and he knows his value to the club."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver, who covered the Mariners on Tuesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.