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Minnesota Twins trade All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay Rays

Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz, shown June 30, 2021, is a seven-time All-Star selection with 436 career home runs. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI
Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz, shown June 30, 2021, is a seven-time All-Star selection with 436 career home runs. File Photo by Mark Black/UPI | License Photo

July 22 (UPI) -- The Tampa Bay Rays acquired veteran slugger Nelson Cruz in a four-player trade with the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.

Shortly before opening a four-game series at the Cleveland Indians, the Rays announced they received Cruz and minor leaguer Calvin Faucher from the Twins in exchange for minor league right-handers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman.

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"It's a tough one," Cruz said of the trade. "I guess it's a new chapter, and I will embrace it the way I embrace everything in my life to go help the Tampa Bay Rays win a championship."

With a week until the MLB trade deadline and an outside shot at making the playoffs, the Twins opted to move Cruz to begin building toward the future. Minnesota entered Thursday with a 41-55 record.

Cruz will add needed power to the Rays' lineup and should help the club against left-handed pitching. Tampa Bay is hitting just .226 against lefties this season.

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In 85 games this year, Cruz has a .294 batting average with 19 home runs and 50 RBIs. He finished with 76 homers and a .984 OPS over 258 games in Minnesota.

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The 41-year-old Cruz is a seven-time All-Star selection with 436 career home runs and 1,202 RBIs. He also has 17 homers and 37 RBIs over 46 postseason games.

Ryan, 25, had a 3.63 ERA with 75 strikeouts over 57 innings for Triple-A Durham. He will pitch for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

The 24-year-old Strotman posted a 3.39 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings with Durham.

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Faucher, 25, had a 7.04 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 30 2/3 innings for Double-A Wichita.

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