Shortstop Cruz brings consistency to Dodgers

Shortstop Cruz brings consistency to Dodgers

Shortstop Cruz brings consistency to Dodgers
SAN FRANCISCO -- In the five games Hanley Ramirez has played for the Dodgers, he's 7-for-21 at the plate. In those same five games, Luis Cruz is 7-for-20.

Not that Cruz should be considered of the same caliber as Ramirez, but he's done enough since taking over for injured shortstop Dee Gordon to stay in the lineup.

"He's not Ozzie Smith at shortstop, but if he gets his glove on the ball, he catches it and throws them out," said manager Don Mattingly. "He's stabilized the position and swung the bat well."

Mattingly expects Ramirez to slide over to his original position of shortstop, although he still takes more pregame ground balls at third base, where he started again Sunday, with Cruz still at shortstop, where he committed a fielding error Sunday.

Cruz said he's just grateful to be playing anywhere after a journeyman's career spent mostly in the Minor Leagues, with three previous callups of no significance.

"The first couple times I came up to the Major Leagues, I was a little nervous, I wanted to do so good," said Cruz. "Then, you don't do good. I remember in '08, I looked up and saw how big the stadium was with all the fans. I'd never seen so many fans.

"Now, I feel good. With this club, I just came in and enjoy myself. We have fun and the guys give me confidence. Three or four years ago, I played against a lot of these guys in the Minor Leagues. I played with Hanley in rookie ball with Boston. We know each other."

Cruz has a 12-game hitting streak, the longest of any Dodger this year. He didn't know if it was the longest of his career.

"They told me that two days ago, I didn't know," said Cruz. "I try not to think about it. I'm not big on numbers. I'm just here to win."

Cruz began his career with the Boston Red Sox, playing alongside an infielder named Hanley Ramirez.

"He's a great guy, he plays hard and he wants to win," Ramirez said of Cruz.