Cruz gives up fighting for spot in Phils pen

(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Juan Cruz, we hardly knew ya. Actually, we didn't get to know you at all. The veteran had agreed to a minor league deal with the Phillies, but then had a change of heart.

Apparently, Chad Durbin is a very intimidating guy. Fellow reliever Juan Cruz decided he didn't want to take his chances on winning a spot in the Phillies bullpen once the Phillies signed Durbin last week.

Cruz had agreed to - but not officially signed - a minor league deal with the Phillies, but has now put himself back on the free agent market. Apparently, Cruz felt that when the Phillies signed Durbin, it meant he had no shot at winning a spot in the bullpen, so he just decided not to report to camp. It took having the reporting date for pitchers and catchers to come and go and a call to Cruz' agent to find out that Cruz wasn't going to report.

Published reports initially said Cruz didn't report because of a misunderstanding in the reporting date for pitchers and catchers. The story changed though and Cruz was apparently upset that Durbin had signed with the Phillies.

Cruz, who pitched for the Pirates last season, is again a free agent and will continue looking for work. It may be in his best interest to sit back for a while and see if a team develops injuries in their bullpen that he might be able to fill.

For their part, the Phillies figure to have enough potential relievers in camp to give them enough of a choice to fill out their bullpen, which was a weak part of their club last season.

Cruz, 34, has pitched in the majors for the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta, Arizona, Oakland, Kansas City, Tampa and Pittsburgh over 12 different seasons. His longest stint was with Arizona where he pitched in 141 major league games over three seasons.


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