Texas Rangers: PEDs

Nolan Ryan, Rangers haven't talked to Nelson Cruz

January, 31, 2013
1/31/13
7:51
AM CT
Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan said Wednesday that the club has not had a chance to talk to outfielder Nelson Cruz about the Miami New Times story this week linking him to a clinic that sold performance-enhancing drugs, according to a report in the Amarillo Globe-News.

“When something like that happens, I think we need to let things settle down,” Ryan told the newspaper, speaking in Amarillo as part of the club’s Winter Caravan. “It’s an ongoing investigation by Major League Baseball, so that’s kind of the position we’ve taken.”

Ryan was asked if baseball was on the right track overall when it comes to containing the PED issue in the game.

“I think baseball has done a good job,” Ryan said. “Two weeks ago at the owner’s meetings, we announced that we’re going to test, for the first time, for human growth hormones, so we’re going to do that this summer. We’re the first sport that’s doing that, so we feel like we’re making progress, and we feel like there will be a lot of other sports following in that light.”

Ryan also discussed the 2013 Rangers and feels that the club will be a contender for the AL West title. The former Hall of Fame pitcher says rounding out the starting staff is a high priority this spring, along with staying healthy.

"We need to have somebody step up as another starter in our rotation,” Ryan said. “We have some bullpen spots that we need to define.”

Ryan said it will take a group of players to make up for the losses of veteran Michael Young and 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton. And he likes the veteran presence that newcomers Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski can bring.

He was also asked about where he thinks prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt end up once the season begins.

“You have to see how spring training goes and how they perform and what your needs are,” Ryan said. “If there’s a place for them to play pretty much on a regular basis, they would be on the ballclub. If not, then I would expect them to be in Triple-A, because they’re at the point in their development where you don’t have the luxury of putting them on the bench and being a role player.”

What could Nelson Cruz ripple effects be?

January, 29, 2013
1/29/13
10:52
AM CT
OK. I’ve been bombarded by emails and tweets about what this could mean for right field for the Texas Rangers this season.

PODCAST
Former MLB general manager and ESPN Insider Jim Bowden offers insight into the Nelson Cruz PED allegations and discusses possible Rangers moves with Ben and Skin.

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First, let’s make something clear: MLB is investigating the New Times report. We don’t know yet whether Nelson Cruz will be suspended. And we don’t know how long it might take to find out. Please keep that in mind.

But the Rangers have to be prepared for anything. So what if Cruz isn’t in right field and serving a first-time offender 50-game suspension? A few thoughts (and maybe some answers to some of your questions):

• Let’s not forget that Cruz’s contract expires after the 2013 season. So no matter what happens, the club has to be prepared for another alternative out there for 2014 if Cruz isn’t re-signed. He never really found his rhythm and hot streak at the plate in 2012 despite staying healthy for the entire season. He hit .260 with 24 homers and 90 RBIs in 159 games.

SportsNation

If Nelson Cruz will be suspended, who is the Rangers' best internal option to play RF?

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Discuss (Total votes: 11,665)

• Does this again make Michael Bourn an option? I’m not so sure. He’s not really a replacement for Cruz in that he doesn’t have power and relies more on speed. If Bourn wants a four- or five-year deal, I don’t think the Rangers all of a sudden are interested in doing that, even with a possible Cruz suspension on the table. If it isn’t that long a deal, maybe they engage in talks.

• As for internal options, Mike Olt actually played two big league games in the outfield –- both in right field –- during the 2012 season. He worked some with Gary Pettis in the outfield in 2012 and could do so again this spring. Olt is athletic enough and has a good arm to play the position. It would also allow the team to get his bat in the lineup rather than send him to Triple-A.

• The Rangers initially approached Ian Kinsler about moving to first base to make room for Jurickson Profar, and he wasn’t interested in doing that at the time. But what about Kinsler going to the outfield? Might sound a bit ridiculous, but I think he could handle it if given part of the spring to work on it. It would also free up that second-base spot for Profar. Just a thought.

• Patience could still be the key here. What if Giancarlo Stanton is available at the trade deadline, for instance? If the club has its current assets, they could use those for that type of deal if it’s out there. I don’t think you’ll see the Rangers jump and make a major move to react to something that hasn’t happened yet.

David Murphy is capable of playing either corner, so you don’t have to simply think of this as finding a right fielder. And the club could rotate folks in. What about Leonys Martin? Could he play some left or right field with Craig Gentry in center? That would also eliminate the plan to platoon the two center fielders.

Mitch Moreland has played 44 career games in right field. It wasn’t his natural position and it’s not a position he could play every day, but he could rotate in at points if needed. If he does, Lance Berkman’s knee would need to be good enough to play first.

To me, Olt makes the most sense despite his limited time in the outfield. You’d have to live with some mistakes as he learned the position, but the club believes in his bat and he’s shown power in the minors (and the team would lose some power if Cruz wasn’t in the lineup). But I’m also intrigued with the notion of Kinsler in the outfield (and that could be left or right field, because Murphy can play either) to get Profar in the lineup, though I don’t know how feasible that would be.

Again, this is all speculation. At this point, Cruz is in right field and we must wait to see what, if any, penalties are assessed based on MLB’s investigation into the clinic that is talked about the New Times report.

What do you think the Rangers should do about right field if Cruz isn’t in the lineup?

Report: Nelson Cruz linked to clinic that sold PEDs

January, 29, 2013
1/29/13
9:00
AM CT
Texas Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz's name appears in records kept by Biogenisis, an anti-aging clinic in Miami that also sold performance-enhancing drugs, according to a story in the Miami New Times.

PODCAST
Former MLB general manager and ESPN Insider Jim Bowden offers insight into the Nelson Cruz PED allegations and discusses possible Rangers moves with Ben and Skin.

Listen Listen
Cruz's name -- among other big league players including Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez, Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera -- is in notes given to the newspaper before the clinic closed that include when certain performance-enhancing drugs were sold to players.

The Rangers issued a statement Tuesday morning that reads: "The Texas Rangers were contacted late last week by Miami New Times regarding the story posted this morning. At that time, the Rangers contacted Major League Baseball on that inquiry. The team has no further comment."

Here's an excerpt from the story:
But there are also several prominent professionals in Bosch's records who have never before been linked to steroid use. According to his July 2012 client sheet, Bosch sold $4,000 of product to Nelson Cruz, whom he nicknames "Mohamad." Cruz, the power-hitting Dominican outfielder for the Texas Rangers, has whacked 130 bombs in his eight-year career without any links to performance-enhancing drugs. Until now. Bosch writes in his 2012 book: "Need to call him, go Thur to Texas, take meds from April 5-May 5, will owe him troches and... and will infuse them in May."

The clinic was run by Anthony Bosch and after the newspaper received the notes, they interviewed six customers and two former employees and said that the interviews "corroborate the tale told by the patient files, the payment records, and the handwritten notebooks" kept by Bosch.

The report says the newspaper attempted to contact the players listed in the notes through their teams but was unsuccessful. Cruz has never failed a test done through MLB.

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