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Nelson Cruz expected to return Tuesday for the Padres

Cruz has been on the IL since June 2

San Diego Padres v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

According to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Nelson Cruz is expected to return to the San Diego Padres roster ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Cleveland Guardians.

The 42-year-old went 4-for-12 with a HR and 2 RBI in three games with Triple-A El Paso. He’s hitting .238/.270/.381 with just three homers on the season. Cruz went 2-for-20 in his last nine games before going on the shelf.

The DH spot was expected to be more productive this season than it has been, as AJ Preller spent $13 million on Cruz and Matt Carpenter in the offseason. Designated hitters are batting .228 with a .418 slugging percentage. Carpenter, Brandon Dixon, Gary Sanchez and Rougned Odor have been mostly filling in as the DH since Cruz hit the IL after straining his hamstring while running down the line in Miami.

Cruz should get more at-bats in the right matchups against left handed pitchers when he returns but could see his time in San Diego run out if he continues to struggle for a significant period of time because his contract is so easy to eat.