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Nelson Cruz scratched from Nationals’ lineup Thursday

The slugger was in Washington’s initial starting lineup, but he has now been removed.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

The Washington Nationals are playing without designated hitter Nelson Cruz to start Thursday’s game against the Miami Marlins. Cruz was a late scratch from the lineup. No reason has been given for the move. Yadiel Hernandez was slotted in at DH.

Cruz, 41, had started 15 of the Nats’ previous 16 games. Although he averaged more than 30 homers per season since 2009, he has yet to really get on track this year as he has just five dingers and a very mediocre .693 OPS. His average exit velocity and hard-hit rate have fallen significantly from recent seasons, a clear sign that his age is finally catching up with him and his bat.

Hernandez has actually developed a little bit of deep-league appeal in fantasy as he’s hitting .272 with a .730 OPS this season. But the 34-year-old is hitting just .157 over the past couple of weeks.