Right fielder Nelson Cruz is hopeful that he can play for the Rangers again this season if they qualify for the playoffs while he is serving a 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, and he also wants to re-sign with the only team he has ever played for in the majors.
Cruz spoke briefly with the Star-Telegram shortly after his suspension was announced late Monday morning on the West Coast. He stressed that he wasn't able to delve into the specifics about his PED use beyond what was in the statement he released through his attorneys. There is an an ongoing federal investigation regarding Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch.
But Cruz said thate he's hopeful that he and the Rangers can reach agreement on a contract extension this off-season as he becomes a free agent for the first time in his career. He understands, though, that baseball is a business and that the feeling might not be mutual.
"That's my goal. That's the only team I've played for," Cruz said. "As a player, you want to be with one team, and the Rangers are the team I want to be with and nobody else. I understand it's a business, but I'd love to be back. We haven't talked about anything yet. We'll see where we are when free agency comes up."
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said during a conference call that the club is open-minded to that possibility, but the sentiment of Cruz's teammates will be the deciding factor. The same goes for Cruz returning for the postseason.
Cruz said that he is open to going to extended spring training in Arizona to work out and stay sharp for a possible chance at the playoff roster. Daniels expects to meet with Cruz in the coming days to determine how to make productive use of his suspension.
"I can go to Arizona, and I want to stay in shape," Cruz said. "I know there's a long way, more than 50 days, until the playoffs."
-- Jeff Wilson