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Nelson Cruz Suspended 50 Games


Major League Baseball experienced one of the saddest days in its history on Monday and although Alex Rodriguez’s 214-game suspension drew all the major headlines, Nelson Cruz and the Texas Rangers were just as saddened with the outcome of the league’s investigation into the anti-aging clinic Biogenesis as anyone else.

Cruz – who took an illegal substance in treating a gastrointestinal infection called helicobacter pylori that went undiagnosed for more than a month in early 2012 – said he accepted his punishment and simply made “an error in judgement,” according to ESPN.com.

“By the time I was properly diagnosed and treated, I had lost 40 pounds,” Cruz said in a news release. “Just weeks before I was to report to spring training in 2012, I was unsure whether I would be physically able to play. Faced with this situation, I made an error in judgment that I deeply regret, and I accept full responsibility for that error. I should have handled the situation differently, and my illness was no excuse. I am thankful for the unwavering support of my family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time. I look forward to regaining the trust and respect of the Rangers organization, my teammates, and the great Rangers’ fans, and I am grateful for the opportunity to rejoin the team for the playoffs.”

Thirteen players in all were banned for 50 games or more due to their connection with Biogenesis and none were punished harder than Rodriguez, but one could easily argue that Cruz’s 50-game ban could have the biggest impact on this year’s playoff race.

The Rangers are still right in the thick of the American League wild card chase and at two games back, are very much alive in the AL West race as well, but without Cruz, their chances at winning either race have taken a major blow. Cruz’s 27 home runs and 76 RBIs lead the team and the 2013 All-Star was also among the league leaders in both categories before his suspension was brought down, ending his regular season.

If his team is able to replace his production and make the postseason, he will be eligible to return, but even if he is available, it’s not certain that he would play. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team was only “open minded” about Cruz joining the playoff roster if they get that far.

With all of the talented teams in the American League, winning the wild card was already going to be a tall order and now without Cruz, it may be too tall for the Texas Rangers. The Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays and even the Kansas City Royals will be battling for the final two spots with Texas and it appears for now, that’s a battle Texas will lose.

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