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August 30, 2013

Nelson Cruz speaks publicly for first time since suspension

Nelson Cruz spoke for the first time Friday afternoon since accepting a 50-game suspension for his ties in the Biogenesis of America scandal.

The Texas Rangers slugger worked out at The Ballpark in Arlington and took early batting practice, but had to leave when the gates opened at 4:30 p.m.

Cruz, who received banned substances from the South Florida-based anti-aging clinic, took about one minute to make his statement, and did not take any questions.

"I had to apologize to the fans, to the Texas Rangers organization and all Major League Baseball for the mistake that I made," Cruz said. "I apologize to my family and friends that believe in me. It's been a really tough few weeks. I have good friends and good family. They've been behind me. They give me the support I need to stand against you guys.

"Hopefully the team goes to the playoffs and gives me a chance to help them out. I'm going to be here for a few days and go to Arizona. That's the plan. Hopefully we go to the playoffs and I'll be ready."

Cruz is expected to head to the Rangers' facility in Surprise, Ariz. late next week, and intends to play in instructional-league games which begin on Sept. 18.

General manager Jon Daniels said the team is open to adding Cruz to a postseason roster, but stressed that they aren't taking a playoff berth for granted.

"Our mindset is to keep all of our options open," Daniels said. "But there's a big 'if' involved."

Cruz was leading the team in RBIs and home runs at the time of his suspension on Aug. 5. He has played well in the postseason, too, with his memorable performance in the 2011 American League Championship Series against Detroit when he was named the series' MVP.

-- Drew Davison

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