Cruz 'concerned' as punishment looms
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)
Texas All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz says he's ready for whatever decision is handed down by Major League Baseball following its investigation of the Biogenesis clinic.
Cruz is among the players facing possible discipline for his relationship with Biogenesis of America, a closed Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
''I don't know what's going to happen, but it's supposed to happen tomorrow,'' Cruz said. ''It's not just about myself. It's about the team. Definitely, I'm concerned.''
The Rangers are scheduled to play the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim on Monday night, and Cruz wants to be in the lineup. Even if he's suspended, first-time offenders under baseball's drug program are allowed to play until their penalty is upheld by an arbitrator.
Lawyers have been trying to reach agreements for many of the players who face discipline that would avoid grievances but lead to immediate penalties.
''Tomorrow it's going to happen,'' Cruz said before Sunday's game against the Oakland Athletics. ''Whatever my decision is going to be, I haven't decided what it's going to be.''
Cruz said he has been in touch with his family and advisers and feels calm.
''I'm good. I don't know how I'm doing it, but I'm doing good,'' he said. ''We talk every day. I haven't made any decision yet.''
Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said Texas has made plans just in case Cruz is penalized. He emphasized he has no knowledge of any sanctions.
''For better or worse, we have not necessarily been 100 percent in the loop on this,'' Levine said. ''We'll be somewhat reactive to whatever does come down. I think by function of all the innuendo, we've certainly had to come up with some sort of Plans B, C and D in the event that something shakes out. We have had discussions about those.''
Cruz, hitting .269 with 26 homers and 75 RBIs entering Sunday, has been serving as the designated hitter through the series with the A's as he nurses a bruised left quadriceps. He homered in three of his previous five games.
''At this stage in the season it's a bat extremely difficult to replace,'' Levine said. ''I think we're going to be looking for the most productive combinations we could come up with in the event that that were to shake out.
Oakland pitcher Bartolo Colon was given a 50-game suspension last year for elevated testosterone. While he has been linked with Biogenesis in media reports, a player may not be disciplined twice for the same use under the drug agreement.
''It doesn't appear like we're affected by it,'' Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. ''I don't know anything definitively.''
Melvin thinks the announcements will help put focus back on the field.
''Everybody will be relieved,'' he said. ''It's dominating the news lately, and everybody would like to see it go away. I think everybody now, the players, the coaches, the front office, Major League Baseball, all want an even playing field. Lets get it cleaned up.''