SARASOTA, Fla. — Lest anyone think Baltimore slugger Chris Davis had any reservations about the arrival of new designated hitter Nelson Cruz, he said Sunday he is excited about reuniting with his former Texas Rangers teammate.
Davis has been one of baseball’s vocal opponents of steroid use, and Cruz served a 50-game suspension last season for his part in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal, but Davis thinks Cruz is a good teammate who will fit right into the Orioles’ clubhouse.
“Great dude,” he said. “I was really excited about that. I know there were a few rumors a couple of days ago about us maybe signing him. I thought it was a huge pickup for us — a guy that I know has made some mistakes in the past but, unlike some people, has owned up to it.
“I think there’s a lot to be said for that — guys that make mistakes but own up to it, serve their suspensions and now it’s time to move on — so I’m excited to see him in an Orioles uniform.”
Cruz will arrive in a clubhouse full of players who have bought into the work ethic and behavioral standards demanded by Manager Buck Showalter, so Davis isn’t worried about any newcomer negatively affecting team chemistry.
“I think this is a team full of guys who came from other places, guys who were given a second chance here and really succeeded,” Davis said. “That really builds character. Coming into this clubhouse, we expect you to hold yourself accountable, hold others accountable and do things the right way, and I think that’s good for everybody.”
Cruz figures to bat fifth in the lineup behind Davis and Adam Jones, which should help both of them build on their terrific 2013 performances.
“It adds a little bit of protection, that’s for sure,’’ Davis said. “I think it gives some guys a little bit of a break. I mean [Matt Wieters], look, he’s caught 1,000 games the last two years. Maybe that should give him a chance to get a blow, knowing we don’t have to match up the next day. We’ve got a few more guys that can get in there. It just adds that much more versatility to our lineup.”
Cruz took his club physical Sunday, but the deal isn’t expected to be made official until Monday at the earliest.
Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy continued to throw from 150 feet as part of his progression in his rehab from Tommy John surgery.
Sunday’s session also included throwing from 90 feet for the first time and then 60 feet on to a catcher, a role that was played by team executive Brady Anderson.
Bundy could extend his progression to 180 feet. That could happen as soon as Thursday.
“I don’t know what is not as good as you hope, but it’s going good,” Bundy said. “It feels good to throw. It doesn’t hurt, so I guess it’s good.”