INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – One of the key aspects of Ben Cherington’s meeting with the media on Monday was being peppered with questions about top prospect Oneil Cruz and his temporary home in Indianapolis to start the campaign.
The main theme was refining his defense, a common evasive tactic with a potential MLB-ready top prospect starting the season with the top minor league affiliate. As for Cruz, he is just geared up to start the season and not worrying about outside noise.
“I am very excited,” Cruz said through Indianapolis manager Miguel Perez’s translation. “Opening day is so important, because not everybody has the opportunity to be on an opening day team. I am happy to bring everything that I have and project that excitement.”
After displaying elite exit velocity and punishing baseballs in the Spring, Cruz kicked off his regular season with Indianapolis on Tuesday, going 0-for-3 with a walk. As for what he is working on, Cruz is willing to do whatever it takes to earn his way into the everyday lineup with the big league squad.
“My main goal [in Indianapolis] is to keep working on the things that I need to,” Cruz said. “I want to keep showing that I can be part of the team [in Pittsburgh] and to help them win games.”
While he is clearly not aware of how long he will be manning the shortstop position in the Indianapolis, Cruz was adamant that he did not feel disappointment or any ill feelings from not being added to the Pittsburgh roster to kick off the 2022 season.
“Whatever the plan is for me, my job is to bring everything that I have,” Cruz said. “I need to keep working on the things that I need to work on. I don’t have any disappointment. I am just happy to be here.”
As for his goals for the season, it was simple. Cruz said that he wants to “earn the opportunity to play in the big leagues, and not come back to the minors.”