Nelson Cruz is headed to a contender in the biggest deal yet ahead of the July 30 trade deadline. The defending AL champion Rays acquired Cruz, one of baseball’s most proven sluggers, in a four-player swap with Minnesota on Thursday night. Tampa Bay, in a tight race with Boston atop the AL East, received Cruz and minor leaguer Calvin Faucher from the struggling Twins for minor league right-handers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman. The 41-year-old Cruz has 436 career homers and 1,202 RBIs. He’ll bring some needed pop to Tampa Bay’s lineup and should help the Rays against left-handers. Meanwhile, the Brewers host the White Sox in a matchup of Central Division leaders Friday night.

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