Rangers, Cruz bracing for possible suspension

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nelson Cruz was back in the Rangers' lineup Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Angels after leaving Tuesday night's game with a bruised left quad.

Will he be there Thursday? Friday?

There's still nothing concrete as Major League Baseball's Biogenesis clinic investigation drags on, impacting clubs like the Rangers that have an All-Star outfielder rumored to be on the verge of a suspension.

"I know that's a a possibility, or certainly appears to be, the way the winds are blowing," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Wednesday. "He's in the lineup tonight and, until we hear otherwise, he's a part of this team."

The Rangers looked at possible trades up to Wednesday's non-waiver deadline, but couldn't find the right fit to replace some of Cruz's offense. They know they don't have a player of Cruz's caliber in the farm system -- 24 homers and 72 RBIs is difficult to replace -- so the Rangers are basically stuck.

"I don't think anybody's comfortable losing a significant part of your club, but it's out of our control," Daniels said. "If we were to lose him for a period of time, we don't have that skill set in house to replace him on an exact performance level."

Daniels said he has had discussions with Cruz, but has not been told by the player if he'll appeal a suspension. Cruz is a free agent at the end of the season.

The Rangers and other clubs find themselves in a difficult situation -- they support MLB's drug program, but also have a player who is important to their success. The Rangers began Wednesday night 4.5 games behind Oakland in the American League West and a game behind Baltimore for the second wild-card spot.

"There's a bigger picture here," Daniels said. "Is it how we would like it to play out? Selfishly, the teams with players that are involved would for the most part like to see their players be able to play. We're all better with those guys on the field. That's why we have them.

"But there are other things in play here. We've always supported the drug program and the commissioner's initiative there. You're torn. You have mixed emotions. You want to see the game cleaned up, but at the same time, selfishly, we're better with our best players on the field."