Juan Cruz was a non-roster invite that made the Pittsburgh Pirates roster out of spring training in 2012. We nicknamed him the Juanimal after he signed a one-year, $1.25MM contract with the Pirates and came out firing in the seasons first two months.
But in the end, it was just another pitcher who faded in the stretch run. Cruz appeared in 43 games with over eight strikeouts per nine, but had a walk rate near five by the time the end came.
Cruz was one of the top setup men in the National League and his lively arm stood out as Hurdle went to him repeatedly. While Joel Hanrahan was on the bereavement list to attend his Grandmother’s funeral, Cruz even put up three saves.
When Hammer returned, Cruz went back to his normal and job, but then he was placed on the restricted list. The Bucs reliever had to return to his home in the Dominican Republic to ‘take care of personal business.’
When he returned, he was a different pitcher. People joked about an alter ego returning to the Bucs clubhouse. He had awful outings with more and more walks, a ridiculous strand rate kept his ERA rather low, but an awful WHIP caught up with him. On August 23, the Bucs released Cruz after he cleared waivers and refused an assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Yeh, just another mystery chalked up to the 2012 Buccos season.
But we got a laugh from this article on the Pirates homepage which is written by Tom Singer. It’s about Pirates clubhouse manager Scott Bonnet assigning players to their clubhouse lockers.
Check this out.
Quirky requests always come Bonnett’s way, and he honors them if feasible. Last season, for instance, reliever Juan Cruz asked to be all by himself, and total isolation isn’t possible in the limited space of a clubhouse.