Buck Showalter defends Nelson Cruz, says John Lackey should 'be careful'

Nelson Cruz got five hits Saturday night off the Boston Red Sox, and after the game starter John Lackey wasn't particularly gushing with praise about Cruz. In fact, he only talked about him to say he didn't want to talk about him and then threw a dagger at the media for forgetting Cruz's past.

Cruz, of course, was suspended last season as part of the Biogenesis scandal. He didn't have many suitors as a free agent during the offseason, then signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles. That was like buying Apple stock at a quarter a share. Cruz leads MLB with 27 homers and 71 RBIs, and he's a big reason the Orioles find themselves in first place.

Lackey seemed to roll his eyes at the reformed Nelson Cruz, however, telling a scrum of reporters:

"I'm not even going to comment on him. I’ve got nothing to say about him. There are some things that I would like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff."

(AFP)
(AFP)

On Sunday, O's manager Buck Showalter defended his slugger on ESPN Radio, saying "everybody needs to make sure their own backyard's real clean." That's a sort of wink-wink zing at the Red Sox, who have one player in David Ortiz, who has at least been linked to PEDs in the past, though never punished for using them. Boston was also twice in the middle of ball-doctoring scandals last season, though again, there was no punishment.

Showalter went on to say:

"There's so many insinuations, quite frankly, about people in every club. You usually don't hear those comments after a shutout or something ... Considering the timing of things, it's one of those things that you keep quiet about it and it reflects poorly upon the person who said it. 

"He might want to be careful."

Ohhhh, drama. It sounds even more ominous if you picture Showalter as a mob boss sitting behind a big desk. Nobody ask Lackey what he thinks about Cruz being a starter on the AL All-Star team. Someone might wind up with a dead horse in their bed.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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