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Notebook: Mariners aiming to get Nelson Cruz back on Friday

ARLINGTON – For a second straight day Nelson Cruz is out of the Mariners lineup with a nerve issue in his hand, but he is optimistic he will return soon.

“It’s much better today,” Cruz said in the clubhouse before Wednesday’s game against the Rangers. “I feel like I have strength in the two fingers back, not 100 percent but it feels better so hopefully I will be ready to play Friday.”

Cruz said he suffered the injury on a check swing on a changeup Sunday in Chicago. He felt a searing pain travel through his hand and then lost feeling in his ring and little fingers. After that he was gripping the bat with just three fingers. On Tuesday, Cruz tried talk his way into the lineup, but Scott Servais sat him. On Wednesday, there was no arguing from Cruz.

“It’s best to give him another day,” Servais said, “especially with the day game. It was hard yesterday not putting him in there. Tough today as well but we have got to do the best thing for Cruzy and get him right. The off day tomorrow certainly helps.”

The off day also gives the starting pitchers an extra day, which may or may not be needed for James Paxton after having to leave his start Tuesday after tearing a nail in the third inning. It was the same nail that forced him to miss games last year, but the tear is not nearly as severe. Paxton had a nail hardener applied to the nail Wednesday morning and Servais does not expect that he should have to miss a start.

Notes

• The Jackson Generals have swept the Southern League postseason awards with Tyler O’Neill named the league’s MVP, Ryan Yarbrough the Most Outstanding Pitcher and Daren Brown taking Manager of the Year. It is the first time since 1991 a team has swept the league’s awards.

• Probables for the series against the Angels: Friday, Ariel Miranda vs. Brett Oberholtzer; Saturday, Taijuan Walker vs. Tyler Skaggs; Sunday, Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Matt Shoemaker.

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