MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins scratched designated hitter Nelson Cruz from the lineup before Tuesday’s series opener against the Red Sox due to a “non-COVID-related illness,” the club announced.
Without either Cruz or Josh Donaldson (right hamstring strain) in the lineup, the Twins’ once-formidable array of right-handed sluggers was significantly hindered against left-hander Martín Pérez on Tuesday, especially considering that Cruz entered the day third in the American League with a .926 slugging percentage.
Cruz entered the series with a seven-game hitting streak and a team-leading 10 RBIs.
The Twins have had more than their share of illness-related issues this season, but fortunately, none have involved any positive COVID-19 tests. Byron Buxton also missed a game due to a bug, while Luis Arraez exited a game early due to heartburn.
Miguel Sanó moved to designated hitter in Cruz’s absence, causing a shuffling of positions around the diamond and opening a spot for Jake Cave in the starting lineup.
Considering Donaldson is expected to return to the team any day, getting Cruz healthy so that both right-handed sluggers can return to the lineup could be significant ahead of the club’s doubleheader on Wednesday, when Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez is expected to start the second game.