Even with no guarantee of a roster spot when he returns, Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz has begun getting ready for the playoffs.
Cruz was famously issued a 50-game suspension as a result of the Biogenesis investigation, but according to ESPNDallas.com, the 33-year-old outfielder was at the Rangers spring training facility working out on Wednesday. To this point, the team has been noticeably quiet on the prospects of a potential return for Cruz, but his use of the official facility coupled with a team announcement that he would work out again on Thursday could shed some light.
Before the suspension, Cruz was in the midst of an explosive season. He exited stage right while having a .269/.330/.511 slash line with 27 home runs, and that home run total already represented an uptick from his 2012 production. It can be debated for days whether the supposed PED use contributed to that bump, but there is no denying his possible value to a struggling Texas offense.
Texas is really struggling at the moment, and frankly, it would be an extremely wise on-field decision to take Cruz back. However, there is precedent in the form of Melky Cabrera that a team doesn’t necessarily have to take a suspended player back, and it will likely come down to just how desperate the Rangers are for offense.