MIAMI — How’s this for a frame job?
Nelson Cruz wasn’t trying to conjure any future favor with Joe West over his strike zone.
“No, he’s really professional,” Cruz said with a laugh.
The Mariners designated hitter simply wanted to take a photo with the distinguished veteran home-plate umpire.
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So Cruz surprised West right in the middle of the All-Star Game, before his at-bat in the sixth inning, with a wild request.
“He was caught off guard, and he was like, what you doing?” Cruz said. “Joe was definitely freaked out. But after Yadier Molina came out, he agreed right away.”
Molina played on-field photographer, snapping a perfect shot after Cruz pulled his phone out of his pocket as the umpire and outfielder posed. The Cardinals catcher is known as arguably the best pitch framer in the game, after all.
“I told everybody earlier that I was going to do it, and everybody was accepting of it, so I just went out and did it,” Cruz said.
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“He’s a legend. Everybody knows him around the league,” Cruz said. “And soon he’s going to be the umpire with the most games called.”
Cruz ultimately posted the photo on Instagram.
“It came out good,” he said.
IN YOUR HONOR
Bryce Harper wore cleats that featured a picture of late Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.
Fernandez could’ve been making his third straight All-Star appearance in his home ballpark but he died in a boat crash last September.
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