Nelson Cruz expected back in the lineup Tuesday for the Orioles

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Orioles can breathe a sigh of relief. Slugger Nelson Cruz and his 20 home runs will not be out of the lineup for long, if at all.

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According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, the Orioles expect to have Cruz in the lineup on Tuesday when they open a series against his former team, the Texas Rangers.

Cruz has been nothing short of outstanding for the Orioles. Entering the season people questioned whether he was still able to hit for power in the manner that earned him his status as a top slugger in the first place. All he has done is respond with a .314/.382/.672 slash line to go along with those 20 home runs and 52 RBI. For his efforts in May he was named the AL Player of the Month.

The Orioles have needed every bit of production from Cruz, too. With Matt Wieters and Manny Machado missing chunks of time with injuries while Chris Davis has struggled to get things going, a big part of the reason that the Orioles are hanging around in the AL East is the torrid production of Cruz.

Teams bristled at Cruz when he asked for a big, multi-year deal as a free agent this past off-season, teams including the Rangers. Looking like a ridiculously good value on a one-year, $8 million deal, Cruz is well on his way to getting that big payday. It will just be one year later than he expected.