There is a first time for everything, even to defend the initial. Dominican Nelson Cruz, who has not defended or played on the field since the 2018 season, is in Tuesday’s starting lineup as first baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays, who begin a two-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
In his long career in the majors, Nelson Cruz has only defended the prairies in the majors and minor leagues, marking the first time the nominal designated hitter has defended first base.
The 41-year-old gunner will defend the initial for the first time for a number of reasons. First, the Rays will play in a National League park and second, Ji-Man Choi entered the disabled list.
Cruz returns to the team after not feeling well on August 22, when he entered the COVID-19 list, before the last game of the series between Rays and White Sox. But it was not because of a positive test from the gunboat, which is vaccinated against the coronavirus.