News & notes Day 10, Cruz mania (updated)

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(Pictured above: Buck Showalter, Jim Presley and Brady Anderson convene on the field. Chris Davis gets a drink during stations. Davis and J.J. Hardy during the sliding station.)

*Nelson Cruz is flying in from the Dominican Republic today and is expected to drive over from Miami tonight to the Orioles’ spring home in Sarasota, Fla. You can read more about the Orioles’ one-year agreement with Cruz here, but the physical is scheduled for either Sunday or early Monday morning, and the official word would be at least a day after he gets checked.

“They’re getting a power bat and a guy who drives in big runs,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the Orioles deal with Cruz. “They’re getting a guy who loves to play baseball they’re getting his power in that small ballpark. He’s a tremendous teammate. All the qualities you want in a winner, that’s Nelson.”

*Cruz, of course, comes with some baggage. Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis, who has been a vocal advocate for stricter penalties for performance-enhancing drug users, said Saturday the organization’s addition of Cruz –who was suspended last season for his role in the Biogenesis scandal — doesn’t change his opinion any. You can read more from Markakis here.

*The club will have a pair of intrasquad games on Wednesday and Thursday, and they’ll play four and eight innings respectively. I do not know yet if they will be open to the public. Will keep you posted.

*In case you missed it, I wrote about Henry Urrutia in his first Spring Training and how far he’s come in the past year here.

*Random fact of the day: Alexi Casilla and Ubaldo Jimenez were Little League teammates.

*I’ve said it repeatedly, including in my blog entry yesterday, but it’s pretty doubtful the Orioles sign Ervin Santana. You can never say never on anything, but he’d basically have to fall in their lap for that to occur.

*A reminder that the “Two Minutes with…” feature has moves to Orioles.com, and yesterday’s featured pitcher Wei-Yin Chen.

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