How does Manny fit into Cruz-less plans?

Rangers manager Ron Washington said the club has a plan in place should right fielder Nelson Cruz be suspended after the All-Star break.

ESPN's "Outside The Lines" reported that, according to several sources, commissioner Bud Selig's office is expected to suspend as many as 20 players sometime after next week's All-Star break for their roles in the Miami Biogenesis case, which Cruz's name has been tied to for several months.

So how exactly will the Rangers respond? And does that response include counting on Manny Ramirez, who started his fourth consecutive game on Thursday night for Triple-A Round Rock?

At some point, Ramirez may be part of the solution, but it's still too early to tell. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Tuesday that the club doesn't have any set expectations for Manny. "We didn't sign him expecting him to be a knight in shining armor," Daniels said.

The Rangers have to be pleased with Ramirez's process so far. He was 3-for-10 with a home run and three RBIs in his first three games to start his comeback attempt with Triple-A Round Rock. He's been showing up early at the ballpark -- two hours before most of his teammates -- to work on his swing in the cages.

Ramirez is relaxed and does appear to be a changed man.

Still, the 41-year-old Ramirez hasn't played at the big league level in a couple of years, as Daniels reminded reporters on Tuesday. And there's almost no chance he will play in the outfield for the Rangers. If he makes it, he'll be the designated hitter.

Can Ramirez come close to replacing Cruz's 22 home runs and 68 RBIs?

That would be asking way too much, even though Ramirez is 14th all-time in home runs (555) and 18th all-time in RBIs (1,831).

Again, he is 41.

Ramirez may be able to pick up some of the slack, and with the emergence of Leonys Martin -- who entered Wednesday's game in Baltimore batting .290 -- he could be the one to replace Cruz in right field, with an eventual platoon of Craig Gentry and Engel Beltre in center field.

There are also names on the trade market such as the Chicago Cubs' Alfonso Soriano and the White Sox's Alex Rios, but Daniels said he didn't see any middle-of-the-order type of hitters available on the trade market.

Maybe Ramirez can fill that role after the All-Star break, if Cruz goes down.

But that's still a big maybe.