Friday, March 25, 2011

Nelson Cruz Slams Rangers Past Reds; David Wright Leads 23-Hit Mets Onslaught

Players of the Day for Thursday, March 24, 2011

American League

Nelson Cruz
Two of the most potent offensive teams faced off on Thursday, as the Texas Rangers played the Cincinnati Reds. The result was a not-unexpected slug-fest, featuring 34 hits, including four homers and eight doubles and a final score of 15-13, with the Rangers on top.

The game also served as a coming-out party for Nelson Cruz, who had been struggling along this Spring with an average under .200 and no homers. No problem for Cruz, who found his stride just in time to jack a grand slam, single and double and drive in a game-high six runs.

Despite the slow start to his exhibition season, Cruz is healthy and surely will add punch to the Rangers' attack. Despite a few stints on the DL over the past two years, Cruz still managed to hit 54 home runs with 154 RBI in 246 games. Given a full season of good health, Cruz could easily swat 40 and drive in well over 100 runs in 2011.

National League

David Wright
The New York Mets rocked Jamie Garcia for 14 hits and 10 runs (though only 3 were earned) over four innings, and then beat up three relievers with nine more hits en route to a 16-3 bombing of St. Louis.

Five different players had two or more hits, but third baseman David Wright had his way all day, going 4-for-4 with a pair of singles, a double, homer, two runs and 3 RBI.

Wright bounced back from a 2009 season in which he hit only 10 homers and drove in just 72 runs with 29 jacks and 103 RBI in 2010, apparently rediscovering his power stroke. He's labored without a great deal of support the past two seasons, with Carlos Beltran spending most of the time on the DL and the departure of slugger Carlos Delgado to retirement.

Wright is batting .333 in the Spring and appears ready for another solid season.

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