Nelson Cruz Will Return to Lineup If Rangers Make Playoffs, According to Manager Ron Washington

Nelson CruzWhen Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games for performance-enhancing drug use last season, the Giants elected not to reinstate him during the playoffs — a run that ended in a World Series title. The Rangers are taking a different path with Nelson Cruz.

Texas manager Ron Washington said Friday that should the team make the playoffs, Cruz, who was suspended 50 games in early August but will be eligible for the postseason, will be in the lineup.

“If we end up getting into the playoffs, we’re not looking at him to come in and carry us,’’ Washington said, according to The Dallas Morning News. “We’re not looking at him to come in and carry us, just be a part of the line-up. He’ll hurt somebody.”

General manager Jon Daniels insisted that Cruz’s situation is still a fluid one, saying Friday that team management will “keep all [its] options open” and stressing that the point will be moot unless the team secures a playoff spot. Washington, though, says he’s seen a change in the suspended slugger since his punishment came down.

“He looked troubled [then],” Washington said. “He doesn’t look troubled now.”

Cruz took batting practice Friday in Arlington and spoke publicly about his suspension for the first time, apologizing to his fans and expressing his desire to get back on the field and help his team.

“Hopefully, the team goes to the playoffs and gives me a chance to help them out,’’ he said. “I’ll be ready.”

Cruz was an All-Star this season, tallying 27 home runs and 76 RBIs and hitting 2.69 at the time of his suspension. He’ll begin working out at the Rangers’ spring training facility in Surprise, Ariz., in September.

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