Injuries derailed Fernand Cruzado’s career early on. The right-hander threw only an inning in 2008 and in 2009 because of injuries. After working his way back, Cruzado pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2010 and 2011 before finally get his opportunity to pitch in the US in 2012. He had two relatively non-descript seasons in 2012 and 2013 before a breakthrough campaign with the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters in 2014.
Serving a late-inning role for the Lake Monsters, Cruzado made the New York-Penn League All-Star mid-season team in 2014. He finished the year with a career-best 1.90 ERA. In 23.2 innings, Cruzado struck-out 20, walked eight and allowed 19 hits. He established another career-best with a 1.61 GO/AO.
Donald Moore spoke with the native of the Dominican Republic during the Lake Monsters’ final roadtrip of the season.
Donald Moore: How did everything go for you this year?
Fernand Cruzado: Very well. I did better this year than last year. So it's a good beginning and I have to finish strong.
DM: What were your goals for this year?
FC: To start better than last year and be healthy, and I've been pitching better, too.
DM: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a pitcher?
FC: Throw strikes and that's about it. I work hard and I give 100 percent on my conditioning, and I workout to be healthy.
DM: What would you'd like to improve on?
FC: Control the motion in the game and be helpful to the other guys around me.
DM: What is the best thing about being a professional baseball player?
FC: I'm from the Island and it's a big thing to be a professional and work hard everyday. It's one step at a time, like a ladder, and work harder to get better and maybe someday make the big leagues.
DM: Any pregame routine?
FC: I just talk to my mom and my dad and ask them to pray for me to do good at the game.
DM: Favorite thing you like to do off the field?
FC: Watch movies, like comedies, because they make me relax.
DM: Favorite team growing up?
FC: It was the Boston Red Sox. My father knew that team and we had one TV, so we needed to watch the games.
DM: If there is one person who taught you the most about baseball, who would that be?
FC: It was the guy who taught me to play baseball growing up, how to catch, how to throw and stuff.
DM: Craziest thing you ever saw on a baseball field?
FC: There was a guy who hit a foul ball, who thought it was a home run, so he started to run to all the bases, and when he touched home plate, he realized it was a foul ball.
DM: Where do you see yourself in the future as a professional baseball player?
FC: I hope to go up and I would be grateful to make it to the big leagues. If not, I would like to be a coach one day and to give my knowledge to young guys that get brought up and teach them what I learned.
DM: Fernand, thank you so much for your time and the best of luck to you and your baseball career.
FC: Thank you.