Suspended Cruz apologizes for ‘error in judgment’

Major League Baseball made the news Texas Rangers were dreading official Monday as All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz was suspended for the final 50 regular-season games.
   
Cruz, one of 12 players suspended Monday, will not appeal the decision. The Rangers called up outfielders Engel Beltre and Joey Butler from Triple A Round Rock before tonight’s game against Los Angeles. The Rangers designated infielder Adam Rosales, who they picked up on waivers last week, to clear roster room for the changes.
   
Cruz homered Sunday in his final game with the Rangers and flew with the team to Anaheim. Since the ruling, Cruz has returned to the Metroplex.
   
According to the MLB release, the suspension was for violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in relation to the Biogenesis investigation.
   
In a statement, Cruz said he turned to PEDs after he got sick with a gastrointestinal infection during the 2011 offseason. By the time he was diagnosed properly, he had lost 40 pounds. He said his mistake occurred weeks before spring training began in 2012.
   
“Just weeks before I was to report to spring training in 2012, I was unsure whether I
would be physically able to play. Faced with this situation, I made an error in judgment that I
deeply regret, and I accept full responsibility for that error. I should have handled the situation
differently, and my illness was no excuse.”   
   
The Rangers found out Sunday night that Cruz would not appeal the ruling.
   
While losing their leading home run and RBI producer is a big blow, it doesn’t change the outlook for a team that’s just 2 ½ games behind Oakland in the American League West.
   
“It’s a challenge for us with Nelson’s history of production and the year he’s having,” Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. “This is a club that’s never shied away from a challenge before. We have every expectation that we’re going to win and try to make the playoffs.”
   
Whether or not Cruz would rejoin the team if it makes the playoffs remains to be seen. He’s allowed to work out at Rangers Ballpark during his suspension but isn’t allowed to be there once the gates open.
   
Cruz thanked those who have supported him.

“I am thankful for the unwavering support of my family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time,” his statement read. “I look forward to regaining the trust and respect of the Rangers organization, my teammates, and the great Rangers’ fans, and I am grateful for the opportunity to rejoin the team for the playoffs.”
   
Daniels said part of the process in determining if he’d be on the postseason roster would be dependent on how he’s received by the players in the Texas clubhouse.
   
The 33-year-old Cruz is leading the Rangers in home runs (27) and RBI (76) in 108 games. The 27 homers are just six shy of his career high and he was on pace to surpass his career high of 90 RBI from last year.
   
Beltre played in 13 games for the Rangers before getting sent back to Round Rock last week. Butler, who has never appeared in the majors, has been the regular right fielder for Triple A Round Rock.
   
Butler, 27, was an All-Star this year and is hitting .290 in his third full season for the Express with 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 97 games.
   
Daniels said the club would likely use platoon in a couple of spots to try and make up for the loss of Cruz.
   
Both Daniels and team CEO Nolan Ryan said they were disappointed in Ryan. The Hall of Fame pitcher is also saddened that there’s still a PED issue in baseball.

“As a whole we’re disappointed we haven’t as any industry moved past this,” he said. “There’s been an awful lot of effort put into this and a lot of education. It’s disappointing we haven’t gotten further down the road.”