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February 09, 2012

Nelson Cruz expects healthy season after unhealthy off-season

The Rangers have announced a two-year deal with Nelson Cruz worth $16 million that buys out his last two years of arbitration, and the oft-injured right fielder is hoping that some off-season weight loss will help him stay off the disabled list through the end of his contract.

Cruz, who has been on the DL five times the past two seasons, currently weighs 224 pounds and hopes to gain six more pounds before spring training. Not all of his weight loss was intentional, as a stomach virus sacked him for almost two month before he headed to Miami for further evaluation, but he has been monitoring his diet in the hope that less weight results in healthier legs.

Cruz typically weighs 240 pounds at the beginning of spring training. He has been working out in Miami with Mike Napoli and Leonys Martin for about a month after electing not to return to the Dominican Republic, where he fell ill.

As is the case with Elvis Andrus, who signed a three-year deal Wednesday that eliminates his arbitration years, the Rangers will continue to discuss an extension with Cruz that would prevent him from becoming a free agent after the 2013 season.

-- Jeff Wilson

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