Rangers notes: Washington expresses support for Cruz with Biogenesis scandal looming

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The status of Nelson Cruz’s season remains in limbo, but the Texas Rangers will do their best to support him.

Cruz is facing a possible suspension for allegedly receiving banned substances from Biogenesis of America, a now defunct anti-aging clinic in south Florida. Major League Baseball has been investigating the matter since late January and handed out their first suspension from the scandal on Monday.

It was a big one. Former MVP Ryan Braun, one of the poster boys of the scandal, was suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season.

Cruz declined comment on how the Braun suspension might affect his situation, saying he has only been concerned with helping the team win.

Manager Ron Washington weighed in on the matter, praising MLB’s work to clean up the game, but also voicing his support of Cruz.

“We support Nelson,” Washington said. “We can’t do anything about his circumstance, but we support him. Until Major League Baseball decides what they want to do, I don’t think about it. I put his name in my lineup and until I get word that I can’t put him in there, I’m putting him in there.”

If a suspension comes Cruz’s way, he would have the right to appeal it. If he chooses that lengthy route, a potential suspension, assuming it’s upheld, likely wouldn’t go into effect until next season. However, considering Cruz is set to hit the free agent market, a looming suspension could drastically affect his market value.

For now, though, the investigation hasn’t seemed to affect Cruz’s on-field play. He leads the team in home runs and RBIs, and played in his 96th of the Rangers’ 100 games on Tuesday.

“I don’t know what he’s going through because I’ve never been in that situation, but I think he’s handled it admirably,” Washington said. “I think he’s been a pro and he has been able to separate what he does in his job, which is come to the ballpark and play baseball, and how he handles it when he’s out of here. He’s done a good job of separating it.”

Injury updates

Colby Lewis said he continues to make progress in his recovery from flexor tendon surgery, and was pleased with his second rehab start at Double A Frisco on Monday.

Lewis allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts over three innings and 56 pitches. He will make another rehab start on Saturday or Sunday, with a pitch count around 75 pitches.

“Just grinding out there, getting out there trying to get innings in and get my pitch count up,” Lewis said. “I’m going out there and making sure it’s better each time. I don’t want to take any steps back.”

Lewis said he felt his velocity was all right at times, although it needs to be more consistent.

Matt Harrison, meanwhile, continues to be optimistic about returning after undergoing two back surgeries earlier this season. He is scheduled to throw live batting practice Wednesday and again on Saturday, receiving the go-ahead from his doctor.

“He said everything was normal so I could do whatever I wanted,” Harrison said.


• The Rangers optioned relievers Cory Burns and Joseph Ortiz to Triple A Round Rock on Tuesday to clear spots on the active roster for Alexi Ogando and Matt Garza.

• Ian Kinsler was honored prior to the game for becoming the club’s all-time leader in stolen bases with 162. Bump Wills, the club’s previous all-time leader, and Ron Washington presented Kinsler with the record-setting base.

• A.J. Pierzynski is 10 for 31 (.323) in his career against Andy Pettitte, the Yankees starter Wednesday. Asked about his success against the three-time All-Star lefty, Pierzynski said: “I don’t know, luck. He’s a great pitcher who has had a great career, and you’ve just got to compete against him.”

• Joe Nathan saved his 31st game on Monday, which marked career save No. 329, tying him for 12th all-time with former Ranger Francisco Cordero. He is one away from tying former Ranger and Yankee John Wetteland.

• With the soccer doubleheader at Cowboys Stadium, the Rangers will be asking fans to show their baseball tickets for Wednesday’s game as they enter Rangers Ballpark parking lots. The Rangers want to make certain that the Ballpark lots are reserved for fans attending Wednesday’s Rangers-Yankees game. Lots open at 4 p.m.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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