Cruz wants to be No. 3

For Victor Cruz, opportunity beckons.

The Giants’ No. 3 -- slot -- receiver spot is there for the taking.

“That’s my goal,” Cruz said Sunday. “But I just want to show the coaches that I’m comfortable on the field.”

Domenik Hixon is considered the favorite to land the job, but Cruz might just snatch it away from him.

“He’s a baller,” Mario Manningham said. “He fits right in with our receiver group. He’s not tall, but he’s big and strong, he’s got good hands, he’s quick and he’s fast.”

Cruz came on out of nowhere in the preseason last year to make the Giants 53-man roster. He appeared in the first three regular season games, but strained his hamstring and was placed on the injured reserve list for the rest of the year.

“It was pretty difficult,” Cruz said. “It was tough. I just wanted to be patient and wait for the new year.”

While Cruz caught most of his preseason touchdown passes on go-routes, moving into the slot has been a bit of an adjustment, even though he played some slot in college at UMass.

“I think I’m understanding coverages better and reads as far as route running,” Cruz said. “I think it’s coming together for me a little better this year, and hopefully I can get that third spot.”

Cruz said his hamstring is “100 percent and I’m ready to roll.”

He just hopes people don’t write him off if he doesn’t have six catches for 145 yards and three touchdowns -- as he did against the Jets on Aug. 16, 2010.