Astros’ Cruz Out After Exhibition Injury

HOU - Jose Cruz pose squareHouston Astros outfielder Jose Cruz will likely miss 5-7 days after suffering an injury during an exhibition game between the Astros and their AAA affiliate, the Charleston Charlies, in Charleston, West Virginia on August 3rd. Cruz, playing right field at Watt Powell Park, was hurt while diving for a fly ball off the bat of Charlies third baseman Rob Sperring in the eighth inning; the ball bounded past Cruz—after he appeared to stumble and fall on the natural grass surface—and rolled to the wall for a triple. Cruz then limped off the field after time was called. The Charlies went on to win the game 3-1.

Immediate medical reports indicate a ligament strain in the right ankle area, but a tear has not been ruled out, and Cruz will fly back to Houston ahead of the team for more tests. It will be the third time this season Cruz has been out of action due to injury; fellow outfielders Terry Puhl and Denny Walling recently went on the disabled list, and it remains to be seen whether Cruz will join them. Second baseman Art Howe, another Astros starter on the DL, is eligible to return to the team on August 6th.

“I hate these (expletive) exhibitions!” said irate manager Bill Virdon after the game. “It’s August, we’re in a (expletive) division race, I’m already down two starting outfielders, and now I’ve lost a third, all because of a (expletive) seven-inning carnival show!”

Cruz was replaced in right field in the exhibition contest by rookie Jeff Leonard, a recent call-up by the Astros from the Charlies, who went 1-for-2 with no errors in his first game with the parent club this season. He’ll join Cesar Cedeno and Jesus Alou in Houston’s all-substitute outfield when the squad travels from West Virginia to Texas, where they’ll begin a short five-game homestand at the Astrodome with a weekend series against the Braves.

4 responses to “Astros’ Cruz Out After Exhibition Injury

  1. Why the hell are you playing exhibition games?

    • Because they’re on the damn 1978 schedule, that’s why! I also have a Hall of Fame game coming up on August 7th between the Tigers and Mets at Cooperstown, and a Twins-Mud Hens exhibition from Lucas County Stadium in Toledo on August 28th. Sadly, I’ve missed quite a few from early in the season; you should be glad I didn’t play one on August 1st, in Toronto, between Blue Jays players and their wives!

  2. How will the Astros ever compete? Glad you’re doing these oddball games as that’s when players sure enough get hurt.

    • Hi Terry, thanks for the visit! Yeah, the Astros have been decimated with injuries recently, so it’s a good thing I made up some minor league player cards years ago for just such emergencies. I’ve played six exhibition games so far this season, with a handful on the horizon, and this is the first where a player’s been hurt. And losing all these guys hasn’t helped the Astros much, either: they’ve lost 9 of 14 since these injuries have taken place, and they’ve begun to fade a bit in the NL West. But you’re right: always a bit of fun going on with the oddball games!

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