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Nelson Cruz hopes to keep playing

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Texas Rangers right-fielder Nelson Cruz said he expects to learn Monday if he'll be suspended by Major League Baseball in connection to its investigation into Biogenesis, the Miami clinic that allegedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs to a number of players.

Cruz, though, said he has not decided whether he would appeal a suspension.

"Tomorrow it's going to happen," Cruz said before Sunday's game against Oakland. "Whatever my decision is going to be ... I haven't decided what it's going to be."

If Cruz is suspended but appeals, he would be able to play for the Rangers while his appeal is pending. He was asked if he expects to be in the Rangers' lineup Monday when they open a three-game series against the Angels at Anaheim.

"Yeah. That's my hope," Cruz said.

Cruz said that he was worried, but not just about his own fate.

"It's not just about myself," Cruz said. "It's about the team. Definitely I'm concerned."

The Rangers have made contingency plans to deal with the potential loss of Cruz. Considering that the right-handed hitting Cruz leads the team in home runs with 26 and RBIs with 75, that would be a tough task. Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said "from a balance standpoint" replacing Cruz with a right-handed hitter would be "ideal" if they have to make a move.

"But I think we're going to be looking for the most productive combinations we could come up with in the event that that were to shake out," Levine said. "At this stage in the season it's a bat extremely difficult to replace."

Rangers manager Ron Washington said he hasn't talked to Cruz about the issue since the winter. He said he has "contingency" plans but declined to outline them.

"Not yet," Washington said. "They might not come into play."

Washington said he's not thinking about the fact that Sunday's game might be Cruz's last this season for the Rangers.

"What I'm thinking about is Nelson doing something for us to win a ball game," Washington said. "I'm not thinking about it being his last game. No, I'm not thinking about that.

"I'm always in the day, in the moment. I know if something happens, we're going to have to play. That's reality. I don't think any of us is going to change that. Right now all I'm thinking about today, and I'll deal with the situation when that situation happens. We've got contingencies."

Levine said that "for better or worse, we have not necessarily been 100 percent in the loop" on MLB's investigation.

"We'll be somewhat reactive to whatever does come down. I think by function of all the innuendo, we've certainly had to come up with some sort of Plans B, C and D in the event that something shakes out. We have had discussions about those," Levine said.

Cruz was in the lineup at designated hitter instead of right field because he's been battling a painful bruised quad that makes it difficult for him to run. Of course, that's the least of his concerns, but Cruz said he has somehow managed to remain "good" mentally throughout MLB's investigation.

"I don't know how I'm doing it, but I'm doing good," Cruz said.