Well-traveled reliever Rafael Cruz’s journey comes to an end—for the next 50 games, at least—after the Braves righthander received a suspension yesterday for testing positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance.
The 32-year-old native of Santiago, Dominican Republic, had yet to surrender an earned run in eight relief outings with Triple-A Gwinnett. On the season, spent mostly at Double-A Mississippi, Cruz has appeared in 30 games, striking out 25, walking 10 and allowing three home runs in 31 1/3 innings. His record stands at 1-3, 3.45.
Signed as a minor league free agent in January, Cruz first caught the Braves’ attention last winter while pitching for Aguilas of the Dominican League. He did so more with raw velocity than with gaudy numbers, however, as he compiled an 8.76 ERA over 14 relief appearances for the Santiago-based club. He allowed four home runs in 12 1/3 innings to go with an unsightly 11-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
That sort of performance from an established pitcher in his early-30s wouldn’t ordinarily garner much attention. But in Cruz’s case, he had never before pitched in affiliated ball. Signed by the Rangers as a catcher in 1995, he batted .216/.298/.271 in 469 career at-bats from 1996 through 1999, making it only as high as low Class A Savannah, before earning his release in January 2000.
Cruz first surfaced as a pitcher with Chunichi of Japan’s Central League in 2007, when he posted a 2.66 ERA in 17 relief outings for the Dragons. An injury knocked him out for all of ’08, and he was released that July. With Chunichi, he teamed with righthander Kenshin Kawakami, who signed a three-year big league deal with the Braves last offseason.
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog