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Nelson Cruz is your new home run leader

May 25, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT

Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

With White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu on the sideline dealing with a left ankle injury, Orioles outfielder Nelson Cruz used the opportunity to become baseball’s latest home run leader. Cruz belted his 16th homer of the season, a fifth inning solo shot off of Indians starter Trevor Bauer, breaking a tie with Abreu to move ahead.

Cruz has been very productive for the Orioles after hurriedly signing a one-year, $8 million deal with the club in late February. Along with the 16 homers, Cruz has 44 RBI which is the most in the American League and second only to Giancarlo Stanton‘s 47. Cruz is also slashing .295/.361/.612.

If not for Blue Jays slugger Edwin Encarnacion, Cruz would be in the running for Player of the Month honors, now with nine home runs, 19 RBI, and a .305/.346/.642 slash line in the month of May.

  1. proudlycanadian - May 25, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    Gosh! He hits better when he is clean than when he is dirty. Who knew?

    • syphermce - May 25, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      That’s assuming he’s “clean” right now.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 25, 2014 at 7:15 PM

        And that he was “dirty” before.

    • paperlions - May 25, 2014 at 11:02 PM

      It’s almost like…..the effects of PEDs on baseball players may be overblown. Nah, that can’t be it….it must be that the guys busted in the biogenesis scandal that are having good years (e.g. Cabrera, Perala, Cruz, Braun) are still dirty and the guys from the scandal that are having bad years or still completely irrelevant (pretty much everyone else) must have stopped taking PEDs.

      • rcj22001 - May 26, 2014 at 10:11 AM

        or it could be that the effects of muscle growth from steroid use don’t go away just because you’ve served a suspension.

      • paperlions - May 26, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        Love to see evidence of that. Steroids primary benefit is in allowing you to work out longer, harder, and more often. If you take them but do nothing, they do nothing for you. After going off steroids, you can’t work out as hard, long, or often and as a result will lose muscle mass….and the process isn’t that slow. Within a few months, it is unlikely that any benefits of steroids for a baseball player would remain…..and that is ignoring the fact that there remains no evidence that taking steroids (which primarily increase upper body muscle mass) has a significant effect on hitting a baseball far (which is primarily a result of balance, core strength, and lower body strength).

      • alexhawkins - May 28, 2014 at 11:18 AM

        No one uses Roids anymore. They use Human Growth Hormone and things like EPO. To me, psychiatric drugs are far more ‘performance-enhancing’ than anything Roids can do. 70% of success in baseball, at minimum, is mental. Athletes abuse pharmaceuticals like Adderall for enhanced focused and beta-blockers like Propranolol to steady the nerves. Things like Xanax to keep them calm at the plate/anxiety-free when talking to the media on live TV.

        If you do enough research, you’ll discover that way back in the 90’s coaches(I’m thinking specifically of Barry Bonds’ college coach here) were putting an extremely potent anti-depressant called Nardil into the team Gatorade. Players had no idea what they were taking. Nardil is not only an amazing antidepressant used to treat Social Anxiety/Performance anxiety at the plate but it also causes extreme weight gain. It is also metabolized to amphetamine so, in theory, will help you with plate focus and increase your perceived sense of strength(as do all stimulants, even caffeine). Parnate, another MAOi like Nardil, definitely increases your focus. That is also used by athletes. But these drugs are old school. Been in use since the 60s. More advanced stuff is in the works now. Nerve Growth Factor, Chip implants, Bionic arms and legs etc…Eventually robots will replace humans in the arena of pro-sports.

        Point is, professional athletes are not to be equated with normal humans. These people are walking-talking entities of exogenous chemicals. They are not human. Aside from the fancy skin-suits they wear, there is nothing very human about them. They might as well be sociopaths. One should truly feel sorry for these individuals and what is done to them by our society. They aren’t even given a chance to develop themselves as human beings.

        From a young age, simply because they show promising physical DNA, they are thrust into the capitalistic wheel of professional sports. For every athlete that makes it to the pros, you have to remember that there are thousands that don’t. These people’s lives are ruined. Literally.

        Have you ever talked to an X-professional athlete outside of what you see in the media? It’s like talking to a zombie. Or one of those Delta Force/Navy Seal-type soldiers that has been brainwashed by excessive patriotism. Just bags of bones with absolutely zero personality. As an X-athlete, they no longer have a sense of purpose and never developed the necessary life tools to build a new one. Their self-esteem nose dives off the Empire State Building. Suicide-rate for X-athletes is the highest of any profession in the world.

        All the money they make is meaningless. Hard for regular people to understand this but it’s a fact. The grass truly is greener on the other side. Most athletes wish they could just be normal, regular. The money they make means absolutely nothing to them.

        And honestly, aside from a few financially savvy athletes like Magic Johnson, most don’t end up having any more money than the rest of us. They live paycheck to paycheck like the rest of us. Only difference is, they spend more money to do exactly the same things. LeBron James goes to a nightclub and drop $20Gs on bottle service. Maybe he goes home with some fine super models(probably not though). I walk down to the local watering hole in Venice Beach, drop 20 bucks max, and am guaranteed to go home with at least a decent face, decent yeggies, C- to B_ bod. All you need really. I’m not taking super models home but honestly, who wants the psychological nightmare that comes with dating such a prima donna anyways?

        Like Lebron, I’m still getting drunk and still getting laid. Lebron and pro athletes just pay a lot more to do so. And even then, women are so intimidated by them that they end up only attracting narcissistic and extremely unhealthy females. Gold digger types.

        But alas, this rant it over, there is too much money to be made in the CIRCUS of pro sports to ever change any of this. This is capitalism, and capitalism definitely has it’s quirks, it’s anomalies. Professional sports is one of them. So just enjoy the show. That’s all it is, a show. MLB might as well be the WWF/WWE. It’s all rigged, everything. Too much money to be made to let any of this fall to chance.

      • paperlions - May 28, 2014 at 11:33 AM

        Sorry, I didn’t read past you saying players use HGH.

        HGH is not a PED. It doesn’t enhance strength or lean muscle mass in healthy adults. In fact, it is a performance inhibitor, decreasing stamina in athletes that take exogenous HGH. In short, your body creates all the HGH it needs and there is no evidence that more of it does anything positive. If a player is using HGH, he’s an idiot.

      • occulusrifts - May 28, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        Incorrect. HGH is definitely a PED used commonly by professional athletes to accelerate the healing process. It probably isn’t going to help a young guy like Yasiel Puig build lean muscle(it may even hinder him like you say in that regard) but it will help him heal ‘rapidly’ from a torn hamstring etc… HGH is paramount in wound-healing. That is performance enhancement in a huge way. And past the age of 60, HGH will definitely help build lean muscle. Evidence can be viewed here: http://www.shockmansion.com/2012/02/25/do-you-believe-this-man-is-72-years-old/ Many people speculate that Hollywood celebrities, even in the 30’s and 40’s use HGH to tone up and vascularize before movies ala Hugh Jackman in X-men.

        Many people believe Peyton Manning’s rapid recovery from neck injury was thanks to Human Growth Hormone injections along with stem cell therapy. All speculation but interesting nonetheless. There will never be any definitive proof with all this stuff. Of course not. What would people do if they actually knew 100% for certain that PEDs make you better without any long lasting side effects?

      • paperlions - May 28, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        Just because athletes use it for something doesn’t mean that it does that thing (just like those silly phighten necklaces).

        In healthy adults with normal HGH levels, additional HGH does NOT speed healing, it doesn’t speed recovery from surgery or any of the other silly things that “clinics” say that it does. Do you really think that HGH has these benefits but that the FDA refuses to approve it for such things or that doctors aren’t loudly lobbying for such approvals? Of course not.

        Athletes and gym rats are not more medically savvy than people that swear by holistic medicine. Most of the stuff they spend their money on does very little for them, which is why there is continual turn over in products….to keep people from realizing the sham they are wasting money on.

        Again, just because people make claims to sell you something, doesn’t mean those claims are true. There is a reason almost all of the anti-aging clinics are gone…the idiots that spent money there kept getting and looking older and they stopped going.

  2. ripwarrior - May 25, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    He is up there for MVP candidates this early in the season. I think he looks too fat to be an MVP candidate but what do I know.

    • DJ MC - May 25, 2014 at 9:35 PM

      Miguel Cabrera

    • mmeyer3387 - May 26, 2014 at 1:47 PM

      Why don’t we just judge him for a complete season, that should give us a better Idea.

  3. markofapro - May 25, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    How’s that hammy?

  4. tfbuckfutter - May 25, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    *

  5. cohnjusack - May 25, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    To think, how many idiots were talking over and over again about how he was such a product of a hitter friendly park and how he only ranked 16th in wOBA among right fielders, and bad defense, etc etc etc.

    I mean how foolish! Not me though! Nu-uh, not once! Don’t look it up, I swear I’m telling the truth.

  6. paperlions - May 25, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    Looks like Cruz will again enjoy the fun of a qualifying offer….wonder if he’ll take it this time.

  7. mc1439 - May 26, 2014 at 1:51 AM

    I F’ked Cruz’s wife while he was injecting steroids in the bathroom. He was cool with it cuz all he cares about are his biceps lol

    • mc1439 - May 26, 2014 at 1:51 AM

      yes i am trying to sound like a douche

      • kiwicricket - May 26, 2014 at 2:29 AM

        Congrats…You succeeded.

  8. doncorleone17 - May 26, 2014 at 2:34 AM

    As a Mets fan my feelings are hurt. Not because I dislike Cruz or the O’s but just because we gave Chris Young a 1 year 7 Million dollar contract yet we didn’t make an effort to try to sign Cruz who is just a way better player… I’m surprised on how weak the market was for him he’s been a solid hitter his whole career like how did Johnny Perelta get more money then this guy ? Great pick up by the O’s … & oh yea if you still haven’t found out why I’m mad it’s because the Mets gave Young a 1 year 7 million dollar contract after coming of a 11 HR season & the Baltimore gave Cruz a 1 year 8 million dollar contract after he came out of a 27 HR season and he missed the second half of the season because of his suspension…

  9. hardjudge - May 26, 2014 at 3:28 AM

    And everybody remember that Texas made of qualifying offer of 14 million which Cruz or his agent should have taken. Only cost himself 6 million, I guess he has enough he doesn’t care.

  10. hardjudge - May 26, 2014 at 3:29 AM

    *made a qualifying*

  11. bronxbomber213 - May 26, 2014 at 3:43 AM

    If only the Yankees had signed him then we could have heard all the “Yankees need steroids guys to win” or “Cruz must be gettin shipments from Arod.” Funny how the uniform changes the perception of a player.

  12. bmadormo - May 26, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    A lot of teams screwed up by not signing Cruz in the off season. He has been an extremely productive hitter most of his career.

    • paperlions - May 26, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      Yeah, but he’s getting old and his defense is horrible. This is easily the best performance of his career, which is not exactly what anyone would expect at age 33. It remains to be seen if not signing him to the 3-5 yr deal he was looking for was a mistake, but it sure looks like teams not signing him for 1 year was a mistake.

  13. rangermania - May 26, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    I am happy for Nelson and thought the Rangers made a mistake by not grabbi8ng him at the last minute. Jon Daniels isn’t as bright as he thinks he is and past successes were more luck than brains. It would be nice if Nelson wins the MVP!

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