Rangers notes: Nelson Cruz trying to keep focus on field

Posted Wednesday, Jun. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Nelson Cruz said that he will try to not let the revitalized storyline of his involvement with a Miami anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied performance-enhancing drugs to him become a distraction.

Cruz could be hit with a 50-game suspension based on evidence obtained by Major League Baseball investigators. Cruz has never failed a drug test.

He was back in the Texas Rangers’ lineup Wednesday night as their right fielder. He entered the game at Fenway Park as the club’s leader in home runs (14) and RBIs (40).

“I don’t want to worry about stuff I cannot control,” said Cruz, who did not hear from MLB in light of an ESPN report suggesting that suspensions could be levied in as little as two weeks. “My job is to go out there and play the game.”

Reporters continue to dog Cruz with questions “everywhere I go,” he said, and he doesn’t expect the questions to relent.

“It’s something you don’t want to be involved in,” he said.

The Rangers had yet to discuss what they will do to replace Cruz, who could play after a possible suspension by appealing the penalty. The first choice could be shifting Leonys Martin to right field and inserting Craig Gentry in center field every day.

First baseman Mitch Moreland played right field extensively in the minor leagues and has done so on occasion the past two seasons. Manager Ron Washington said there would be concern about the wear and tear that roaming the outfield would have on Moreland’s legs.

Washington wouldn’t be too concerned about the Rangers’ defense suffering with Moreland in right field and Lance Berkman at first base.

“I feel pretty good at first base right now, but I’ll do whatever the team asks,” Moreland said.

Ultimately, the decision won’t belong just to Washington, who said that general manager Jon Daniels and the rest of the front office would give their input. It wouldn’t surprise Washington if the club looked outside the organization to replace Cruz’s power.

Washington isn’t planning to speak to Cruz about maintaining his focus, as he and Daniels did in spring training shortly after the initial report broke.

“We’ve already been through that,” Washington said.

Ortiz to Triple A

Left-hander Joseph Ortiz drew the short straw and was optioned off the roster to create a spot for Alexi Ogando, who came off the disabled list.

Ortiz, though, wasn’t moping around the clubhouse. Instead, he was upbeat and ready to tackle the Pacific Coast League and quickly work his way back to the Rangers. His goal is to home in on the mental side of being a reliever.

Ortiz admitted that his confidence has waned of late after a strong start to the season. He said that he was trying to do too much with his opportunities, which had become fewer and fewer, and that he needs to adjust to not pitching as regularly as he did in spring training.

“In baseball — like in life — there are ups and down,” he said. “I want to take this not as a bad thing but as a learning experience. I’m convinced I can work this out and come back very soon.”


• Left fielder David Murphy was feeling the same soreness he usually feels in his left arm a day after pitching a scoreless eighth inning in the Rangers’ 17-5 loss to Boston. “I don’t need Dr. [James] Andrews,” he said, referring to the renowned orthopedic surgeon.

• Left-hander Derek Holland will be going for his sixth straight win Thursday night against Boston, a streak that would rate as the longest in baseball. He beat the Red Sox on May 3, scattering six hits in eight scoreless innings.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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