Cruz returns to lineup, Rangers' ballpark

Cruz returns to lineup, Rangers' ballpark

ARLINGTON -- Nelson Cruz was back in the Orioles' starting lineup on Tuesday night, facing his former Rangers teammates, batting third and playing left field.

Cruz, who got hit in the left hand on Sunday in Houston and left the game, said he's fine after getting a bunch of treatment during Monday's off-day. As for what he hopes the Rangers fans' reactions are when he steps to the plate, Cruz said: "Love. Hopefully. You always try to expect the best, so hopefully I hear some cheers."

Cruz, who declined Texas' qualifying offer this winter to become a free agent, has flourished for the O's and is leading the Majors in homers (20) and RBIs (52) entering Tuesday. He said the biggest test for his hand was gripping the bat with no pain.

"[We will] watch him in BP a little bit," manager Buck Showalter said, "but all indications are he feels fine."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.