The San Diego Padres designated slugger Nelson Cruz for assignment Tuesday in one of several moves.
The designated hitter, a seven-time All-Star and in his 19th major league season, is batting .245 with five home runs and 23 RBI in 49 games.
In other moves, the Padres placed right-handed starter Michael Wacha (shoulder inflammation) on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to Sunday) and optioned right-hander Domingo Tapia to Triple-A El Paso.
Padres manager Bob Melvin told reporters that the decision to designate Cruz was “difficult” but that the move was made with versatility in mind.
Melvin said, “He’s a big influence in the clubhouse. The respect he brings playing against him from afar, across the board, across the league, is fantastic. He comes as advertised – leadership, all of the above,” Melvin said, according to MLB.com,
“I think it’s about versatility here now. We have some guys like him and (Matt Carpenter) who are basically just DH. We need to be able to give some guys a little more off time for a few days. Needed a runner off the bench, needed a little more versatility. So unfortunately, we had to take this step today.”
Wacha, who missed his start last month due to a shoulder injury, is 8-2 with a 2.84 ERA in 15 starts this season, his first in San Diego. Melvin said he expected Wacha to be able to return after the All-Star break.
Left-hander Jose Castillo, right-hander Matt Waldron and infielder Matthew Batten were recalled from El Paso in respective moves.
Cruz, 43, signed a one-year contract with the Padres in the offseason.
He has 464 home runs in his career.
Reuters contributed to this report.