DH Nelson Cruz Out of Nationals Lineup Thursday vs. Rockies

According to Rotowire’s official Twitter, Washington Nationals slugger Nelson Cruz is not in the club’s starting lineup for Thursday’s finale with the Colorado Rockies due to stiffness in his lower back.

It’s the second straight day on the bench for Cruz after he was held out of yesterday’s 5-2 loss.

Fortunately, Nationals manager Dave Martinez said the 41-year-old is feeling better and he could be available as a pinch-hitter.

It’s been a rough start for Cruz after inking a one-year, $15 million contract with Washington in the offseason. Through 24 games, the seven-time All-Star is slashing .143/.233/.209 with two home runs and 12 RBIs in 92 plate appearances.

Despite his early-season struggles, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo doesn’t sound too concerned, saying, “I think the hits are going to be there and he’s showing the bat speed that he’s had in the past…At the end of the season, we’ll look up and say Nellie had a hell of a season like he always has.”

Yadiel Hernandez (.371/.394/.532) will man the DH spot in Cruz’s absence and bat cleanup, making him a solid fantasy option in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field.

FanDuel Sportsbook has the Nationals at +120 on the moneyline.