Luis Alfonso Cruz 47
Born: February 10, 1984 Navojoa, Sonora, Mexico
Bats: Right Throws: Right 6’2″ 220 lbs.
It’s been awhile since our last edition of Blue Bios. Today we will look at Luis Cruz, the 28-year old infielder who almost made the roster this Spring only to eventually become a Dodger earlier this month.
Luis Cruz was signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent in August of 2000. He played in the Red Sox farm system from 2001-2002 at the rookie and single-A levels. On December 16, 2002 Cruz was traded to the San Diego Padres for César Crespo. He would play in the Padres minor league system for the next four years. Cruz also played 61 games with the Diablos Rojos del México in the Mexican Baseball League. In 2007 he ended up playing 45 games with the AAA-Portland Beavers.
In 2008, Cruz signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played most of the year in AA and AAA, but finally on September 2, 2008 Cruz would make his MLB debut with the Pirates. Ironically, Cruz singled in his first Major League at bat off Aaron Harang who played for the Cincinnati Reds at the time. By the end of the 2008 season, Cruz had 15 hits in his 67 at bats. He had a .224 batting average in that short time.
Cruz made the 2009 roster for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but after the Bucs acquired Delwyn Young from the Dodgers of all teams, Cruz was bumped back down to AAA. He was recalled in July, but he only played in 27 games and finished with a .214 batting average in his 70 at bats.
The Milwaukee Brewers then claimed Luis Cruz off waivers on December 7, 2009. Cruz played essentially the whole season in AAA-Nashville, but he was briefly called up to the Brewers in September. He played in just 7 games. During Spring Training in 2011, Cruz chose to become a free agent after the Brewers out righted him to AAA. The next day, Cruz signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers. Cruz would not play in the Majors at all in 2011. He played 67 games for the AAA-Round Rock Express, and he also was loaned out to the Mexican League for 16 games.
On November 20, 2011, Cruz signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers. He barely missed out making the Opening Day roster as Justin Sellers was selected for the last coveted spot. Cruz was assigned to the AAA-Albuquerque Isotopes where he played 74 games and hit .318 with 8 homeruns and 46 RBI. He was selected as a Pacific Coast League mid-season All-Star.
Cruz was called up to the Dodgers on July 2, 2012 in order to give Dee Gordon some rest. The next day, Cruz stole home after hitting a double in a game versus the Cincinnati Reds (the same team in which he made his MLB debut against). Dee Gordon shockingly jammed his thumb while stealing third base on a head-first slide soon after Cruz was called up. Now, with Gordon disabled for six weeks as he recovers from thumb surgery, Luis Cruz will have the opportunity to start at shortstop in the interim.
During his seven games so far with the Dodgers, Cruz is hitting .318 with seven hits (including 4 doubles), 4 RBIs, and 4 runs.
His father played in the Mexican League from 1983-2000, and he hit over 200 homeruns and had a career batting average of around .300.
Cruz, like Elian Herrera, can play a variety of positions including: shortstop, second base, third base, and outfield. He lacks range in the infield,
but he does have a good arm. Before being called up this month, Cruz had played in 56 games in the Majors. Don Mattingly has called him a “late bloomer.” Cruz should seize this moment otherwise he may end up back in the minor league system again. The Dodgers recently acquired infielder Ozzie Martinez from the Chicago White Sox for cash considerations. He will be providing middle infield help to the Isotopes since Cruz and Herrera are filling in for the injured Gordon and Sellers.
Can Cruz earn a permanent spot on the Dodger roster? Or is he destined to wallow in the minors most of his career? So far, Cruz has played well for the Dodgers and the Isotopes. Let’s hope he can help us cruise into the postseason.