Posted September 30, 2013 on
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Nelson Cruz has completed his 50-game drug suspension and is back in the lineup for the Texas Rangers.
The All-Star slugger was reinstated from the restricted list by the Rangers on Monday. He was in the lineup batting sixth as the designated hitter for their AL tiebreaker game against Tampa Bay.
It was the first major league game for Cruz since Aug. 4, the day before his suspension that followed Major League Baseball's investigation of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic, which was accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Cruz was among 14 players disciplined by MLB this year in the Biogenesis case. Only Alex Rodriguez appealed his suspension.
Texas designated outfielder Joey Butler for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.
The Rangers won their last seven scheduled games of the regular season, and needed every one of those victories to force the first wild-card tiebreaker in the majors since 2007.
A 163rd regular-season game provided a chance for the return of Cruz. Before flying to Texas on Saturday night, he had been playing games against mostly minor leaguers and prospects in the Arizona Instructional League.
''I've been working every day and I just wanted to make sure I'm ready for this moment,'' Cruz said Sunday, after the team announced he would be activated for the tiebreaker game. ''I'm happy to be back, be with my teammates and play the game that I love.''
Cruz finished 9 for 27 with five doubles, a homer and nine RBIs in eight games in Arizona.
General manager Jon Daniels said Cruz kept himself ready to play ''as good as you can'' in that situation. Daniels said the at-bats got batter during that time and that Cruz was swinging the bat well.
''All along, we knew we're probably a better club with him available,'' Daniels said.
The Rangers were 29-21 without Cruz, who hit .269 with 27 homers and 76 RBIs in 108 games before his suspension.
BEST OF MAXIM
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nelson Cruz, who completed his 50-game suspension for PED use, will make his return to the Texas lineup tonight as the designated hitter in the American League tiebreaker game.
Cruz will bat sixth for the Rangers against Tampa Bay left-hander David Price.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Cruz, the Rangers designated outfielder Joey Butler for assignment...
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Nelson Cruz’s 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs has come to an end and he will be on the Texas Rangers’ active roster Monday for their tiebreaking game against Tampa Bay to determine the second American League wild-card team.
But only manager Ron Washington knows for sure if the outfielder will be in the lineup as the Rangers try to push themselves into...
The Texas Rangers, who have been without slugger Nelson Cruz while he was serving a 50-game suspension, will activate him in time for tonight's tiebreaker game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
As reported by T.R. Sullivan and Master Tesfatsion of MLB.com, Cruz accepted a 50-game suspension by Major League Baseball in August
for violation of the Basic Agreement and its Joint...
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