Jay Bruce makes home debut for Cleveland Indians


CLEVELAND — Jay Bruce is ready to show his new home fans what he can do. His numbers so far with the Cleveland Indians have already made him a big hit.

Bruce, acquired from the New York Mets on Aug. 9, was making his Progressive Field debut Monday night against the Boston Red Sox. The Indians began an 11-game road trip the day following the trade. Bruce hit .375 with three homers and 12 RBIs as Cleveland went 8-3.

“You kind of forget this is his first game here because he’s been with us so long,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “That was a long road trip.”

The Mets were in Philadelphia when the trade was announced. Bruce joined his new teammates the next day in Tampa, and the trip continued to Boston, Minnesota and Kansas City.

“Packed for four days, on the road for 11, recycled a lot of shirts and pants, but it’s all good,” Bruce said.

Bruce was happy Monday to finally set foot in his new ballpark, where he has hit .384 (33-for-86) with four homers and 12 RBIs in 23 career games.

“It feels great, it really does,” he said. “Even though you spend essentially the same time on the road that you do at home, it’s a place to get into a routine. I am comfortable here and I do have some at-bats here.”

Bruce said his wife and son took the train from Philadelphia to New York following the trade. Some personal belongings were shipped to Cleveland, and the family arrived in town before he did.

“They got here Friday,” Bruce said. “They got settled in. A little different pace here in Cleveland as opposed to midtown Manhattan, but it’s a good pace.”

Cleveland traded for Bruce the day All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley went on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle for the second time this season. Outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall has been on the DL since the All-Star break with a strained right calf.

The Indians agreed to pick up the remainder of Bruce’s $13 million contract — about $4.2 million — as they try to make a return trip to the World Series. Cleveland sent minor league pitcher Ryder Ryan to the Mets.

“I came to a team that was great before I got here,” Bruce said. “That alone takes so much of the potential pressure off you because you’re coming into a situation that was already awesome.”

Bruce, 30, is in the final year of a contract he signed with the Cincinnati Reds. The Indians likely will be one of the teams interested in signing the left-handed slugger to a long-term deal.

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