Teammates quick to support Nelson Cruz

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The day started quietly with Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington hitting ground balls to good friend and Los Angeles Angels first-base coach Alfredo Griffin with fewer than 100 people in the stadium.

It continued when slugger Nelson Cruz addressed the team in the clubhouse regarding his suspension, followed by Washington's talk and then outfielder David Murphy pledging more support.

The Rangers, starting a three-game series with the Angels in the heart of a pennant race, offered support for Cruz.

"It was tough," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "As a man, he had the guts to stand up to everybody in here and it was tough for his heart. You could see how tough it was for him and his family. At that moment we always have to think not as a player, but as a human being; it happened, nobody is perfect in this world. We don't have enough power to judge. The only thing I'm going to do is support him."

"It's sad. You obviously don't expect anything like that to happen, but it happens. Nobody is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes," starting pitcher Derek Holland said. "Everybody makes mistakes, and I'm not going to worry about it. I hope he gets back and we'll be ready and waiting for him and everything and we just have to take care of what we have to do now -- and that's get the (AL) West."

Washington said he wasn't surprised to hear his players offer support for the slugger, who led Texas in home runs (27) and RBIs (76) prior to his 50-game suspension for his involvement with the South Florida Biogenesis clinic.

"He never lost our respect," Washington said.

"We love Nelson, I like Nelson a lot, he's been one of my favorite teammates, I'm going to miss him in the clubhouse," second baseman Ian Kinsler said.

Several players said they didn't have a problem with Cruz not appealing his suspension and Washington noted players weren't mad, because that would be considered judging.

Closer Joe Nathan said players who were suspended by MLB for their dealings with the Biogenesis clinic did it for their own personal reasons. Nathan said he was pleased Cruz spoke to the team and catcher A.J. Pierzynski said he would welcome the slugger back if the team made the postseason.

Washington wouldn't comment regarding whether Cruz talked about the reasons why he got suspended, or if he agreed with the outfielder not appealing his suspension.

"You never accept when you do wrong," Washington said. "He was sorry. It's a choice to make, he made his choice, I'm not going to judge him, he had a choice to make. It wasn't an easy choice and this is what he chose."