Rangers to activate Nelson Cruz
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz will be activated for Monday's American League tiebreaker game against the Tampa Bay Rays after completing his 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program.
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Rangers general manager Jon Daniels did not say if Cruz will be in Monday's lineup and said it will be left up to manager Ron Washington.
Cruz was asked after Sunday's 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels kept the Rangers alive for a postseason berth if he'll be in the lineup on Monday.
"I think so," said Cruz, who returned to Texas on Saturday after playing in instructional leagues in Arizona where he was 9-for-27 with five doubles, a home run and nine RBIs against mostly Double-A and Class A pitchers.
The Rangers have won seven straight games to get into the tiebreaker game against the Rays.
"We're playing really good baseball, and the guys are excited," Cruz said. "I'm excited, and I'm happy to be back and be with my teammates and play the game that I love."
The Rangers will announce a corresponding move on their 40-man roster on Monday.
The Rangers waited to make their decision on Cruz known until they had clinched a spot in the wild card or tiebreaker game, but it was long assumed that Cruz would return because his teammates overwhelmingly supported him being reinstated. The Rangers can also use the bat -- Cruz had 27 home runs and 76 RBIs when he was suspended on Aug. 5.
San Francisco decided not to reinstate All-Star outfielder Melky Cabrera last season after he was suspended and won the World Series. Daniels said Cruz's situation is different from Cabrera's.
"It's a completely different situation from the Giants mainly because Nellie's been here with the team and part of the organization since 2006," Daniels said. "Whereas Melky spent just that first half of the season."
Cruz said it rough having to watch the games on TV and his iPad while Texas wallowed through a 5-15 stretch in September.
"I got more gray hairs," Cruz said. "It was tough."
Cruz has been remorseful throughout this process, from playing before the suspension and being asked about it to waiting to able to return. He didn't want to comment Sunday on whether his decision to take his 50 games and not appeal was a last-day decision as reported by USA Today.
Cruz is appreciative of his teammates, who welcomed him back on Sunday.
"They believe in me," Cruz said. "I've been working every day to make sure that I'm ready. As a team we're together and we're a family. That means a lot to me."
Todd Wills covers the Texas Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.
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