January 31, 2013

Attorneys deny Nelson Cruz connected with drug clinic

The report of the right fielder's involvement with PEDs is false, they say.

The law firm representing Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz has issued a statement denying Cruz's involvement with a South Florida clinic that reportedly sold him banned substances.

Pittsburgh-based Farrell and Reisinger told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Cruz's alleged connections to the clinic, as reported by the Miami New Times on Tuesday, are false.

"We are aware of certain allegations and inferences," the statement said. "To the extent these allegations and inferences refer to Nelson, they are denied."

The New Times gained access to the ledger of Biogenesis clinic chief Anthony Bosch, who left detailed accounts of his alleged dealings with six major leaguers.

He refers to Cruz by the nickname "Mohamad," and in a July entry notes that Cruz spent $4,000 for a package of supplements that included a lozenge composed of 15 percent synthetic testosterone.

Major League Baseball has been conducting its own investigation into the proliferation of PEDs in South Florida. Should the MLB investigation uncover proof that Cruz had possession of banned substances, he could be suspended 50 games.

Cruz, who has never failed a random drug test, has worked out the past two off-seasons in Miami. He hit 24 homers in 2012, down five from the previous season, but he established career-highs in doubles (45), RBIs (90) and games (159).

The Rangers haven't spoken directly with Cruz, but a source said that club officials have reached out to his representatives at ACES, Inc. The club is awaiting word from MLB before hitting the panic button about a possible suspension.

Cruz is allowed to participate in all club activities while MLB conducts its investigation. There is no timetable for wrapping up the investigation, according to a source.

As of now, the Rangers are not inclined to chase the best remaining free-agent outfielder, center fielder Michael Bourn, or push for a trade in case Cruz is suspended.

Mike Olt, a power-hitting prospect, would be an option should the lineup be without Cruz for an extended stretch, but he's not the only option.

While this is the first time Cruz has been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, his law firm represented Alex Rodriguez in 2009. Rodriguez was also linked to Bosch in the New Times report.

Four invited

Right-hander Cody Buckel, the reigning Minor League Pitcher of the Year, was one of four Rangers minor leaguers invited to big-league spring training.

Joining Buckel are fellow righty Nick Tepesch, catcher Jose Felix and outfielder Joey Butler, who was invited two weeks ago and not as a reaction to a possible Cruz suspension.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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