ARLINGTON, Texas – Suspended Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz was at Rangers Ballpark Friday, taking batting practice and apologizing for taking performance-enhancing drugs, for which he received a 50-game ban.
“I had to apologize to the fans, to the Texas Rangers organization and all Major League Baseball for the mistake that I made,” said Cruz, who has been working out in Arlington for the last couple of days. “I apologize to my family and friends that believe in me. It’s been a really tough few weeks. I have good friends and good family. They’ve been behind me.”
Cruz will stay in Texas until late next week when he’ll travel to the team’s spring training facility in Surprise, Ariz. Cruz will work out there and the plan is for him to play in the instructional league when games begin Sept. 18.
He hopes his time with the Rangers isn’t over.
“Hopefully the team goes to the playoffs and gives me a chance to help them out,” said Cruz, who was suspended Aug. 5 because of his link to the Biogenesis clinic. “I’m going to be here for a few days and go to Arizona. That’s the plan. Hopefully we got the playoffs and I’ll be ready.”
Texas general manager Jon Daniels said no decision has been made on whether the team would have Cruz on the roster if it made the postseason.
“Our thought process is to keep him as ready as we can and make an evaluation, if we’re in that position, to make an evaluation at that time,” Daniels said. “We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. We want to keep our options open.”
Daniels said the idea of Cruz coming to Texas to work out and then heading to Arizona was the team’s idea and the All-Star was receptive to it.
He also said there would be a lot of factors that come into play in determining whether or not Cruz would be the on the postseason roster if Texas made the playoffs for a fourth-consecutive year. Daniels said how he’s received by his teammates, fans, the shape he’s in and the shape the team is in at the time would all weigh in the decision.
Daniels also made it clear that having Cruz at the ballpark wasn’t a sign the team was condoning what Cruz did. Cruz admitted he took a banned substance in the offseason before the 2012 season.
“He made a mistake,” Daniels said. “No one’s brushing over that at all. I don’t want to create any sort of misconception that we approve of any of that. We don’t. We’re very clear with that. The right thing happened, how it was handled at MLB. All of that being said, we’re going to keep our options open.”