MILWAUKEE - Jose Cruz Jr. was the final piece in the Diamondbacks’ winter makeover, his addition in a trade with Tampa Bay on Feb. 6 adding a Gold Glove outfielder and a former 30-30 athlete.
But Cruz became the odd man out Wednesday, when he was designated for assignment as the D-Backs attempted to address their offense.
Cruz had two home runs and seven RBIs the first week of the regular season, but after missing a month because of a back injury that caused nerve irritation, did not approach a level of consistency thereafter.
"It was definitely interesting, to say the least, this year,’’ said Cruz, who was obtained for Casey Fossum.
"I thought it was my best start, but I got slowed down by what happened with my back. I kept trying to get better and get better. This is probably the best I’ve been. . . . It’s kind of ironic.’’
The D-Backs have 10 days to trade, waive or release Cruz, hitting .213 with 12 homers and 28 RBIs. The D-Backs will be liable for the remainder of his $4 million salary unless they can trade him or he is claimed off waivers.
Cruz, a .250 career hitter with 175 homers entering the season, had four hits in his last 28 at-bats with the D-Backs and had lost recent playing time to Quinton McCracken and Luis Terrero.
Shawn Green will start in center after first baseman Conor Jackson was promoted from Triple-A Tucson to replace Cruz, and Chad Tracy will play right, although manager Bob Melvin said he could use Terrero or McCracken as defensive replacements.
"It’ll definitely be a transition,’’ said Green, who has played 38 career games in center. "I think it will be a little bigger transition for Chad to make. But we’ll get it done.
"I’m fine with it,’’ said Tracy, whose has played two games in left field this year. "If it is going to help the team win ballgames and help us take it to the next level, it’s fine with me. I feel I’m very capable of playing that position, and I’ll get better as time goes on.
"The Padres haven’t been playing that well right now. A couple of wins here or there, we could take over this thing.’’
Troy Glaus has homered in 24 different major league venues after adding San Diego’s Petco Park, Houston’s Minute Maid Park and San Francisco’s SBC Park to his list of conquests in his first NL season.
He said he is looking forward to his first career visit to Wrigley Field this weekend.
"Even if it is old and small and stinky, it is still Wrigley, so that’s OK,’’ said Glaus, aware of the legendary status of Wrigley, built in 1916. Only Boston’s Fenway Park is older, having been built in 1912.
"It was like that in Fenway, too. But that’s OK, because it’s Fenway.’’
Brad Halsey and Michael Gosling, who will start in this series, also are making their first visit to Wrigley.
Brandon Lyon and Oscar Villarreal are scheduled to pitch one inning with a maximum pitch count of about 20 tonight for Triple-A Tucson in their initial rehab appearances against Oklahoma at Tucson Electric Park. Russ Ortiz, who did his normal between-start throwing in Milwaukee on Wednesday, is to start Friday against Oklahoma. . . .
D-Backs TV analyst Mark Grace, running as bratwurst, was part of the winning team in the Brewers’ traditional sausage race Wednesday. Grace waved to the D-Backs’ bench on the first leg of the race before tagging his partner in front of the Brewers’ dugout on the final leg. Grace was identifiable by his World Series ring.