ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers will have an All-Star bat available Monday as they try to play their way into the American League wild-card game.
Outfielder Nelson Cruz, who was suspended for 50 games, will be activated for the game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rangers will make a 40-man roster move before the game and the decision as to whether or not Cruz will start will be determined by Texas manager Ron Washington.
“All along we knew we were a better club with him available to Ron,” Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. “I think we wanted to let it play out. Two things, I didn’t want to talk about it prematurely because if we hadn’t won one of the games this week it would have been a moot point.”
Daniels wanted to see how Cruz performed in instructional league games in Arizona. Cruz, who returned to Texas Saturday night, played in eight games in Arizona and hit .333 with five doubles, a home run and nine RBI.
Cruz is happy to have the opportunity to help his team once again.
“I’ve been working every day and I just wanted to make sure I was ready for this moment,” Cruz said. “We are family and that means a lot to me.”
Cruz said it’s been tough to watch the Rangers fight to get into the postseason, especially in the last seven days when the club has had to win every game just to get into a tiebreaker against Tampa Bay.
“I’ve got more gray hairs,” he said. “It was tough. Thank God the guys did an amazing job. As a fan, you want to see your team and your teammates do good. Thank God everything went the right way. Hopefully we can continue and go all the way and complete our goals.”
While the decision to start Cruz hasn’t been made, he would be a huge upgrade to the offense. At the time of his suspension, Cruz was hitting .269 and leading the Rangers in home runs (27) and RBI (76).
It also helps his cause that Cruz has had success against Tampa Bay starter David Price. Cruz is a lifetime .500 hitter against Price with two home runs.