Nelson Cruz was suspended 50 games by MLB on Monday for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, and the outfielder has elected to accept the suspension. His decision to sit out the next 50 games reportedly has come as a shock to his team.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Texas Rangers were “blindsided” by the news that Cruz would accept his suspension. That means the Rangers were expecting Cruz to appeal the decision. According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Rangers GM Jon Daniels disputes that notion, saying the team was not “blindsided” by Cruz’s decision.
Though most reports indicated that Alex Rodriguez would be the only player to appeal his suspension, Joel Sherman of the New York Post said last week the Cruz might appeal his suspension.
Had Cruz appealed his suspension, he would have been able to play until a decision was rendered on his arbitration case. The Rangers are currently 2.5 games behind the Oakland A’s for the AL West lead and a half game back in the wild card race, so they could definitely use the slugger in the lineup.
Cruz’s choice indicates he prioritized his personal interests over the team’s; he will be a free agent after the season, and by accepting the suspension, he will be able to play a full season next year, which will make him more attractive as a free agent.
Cruz also fired his agent on Monday. A number of players involved in the Biogenesis scandal were represented by ACES Sports Agency, whom Cruz fired.
Below is Cruz’s statement on his suspension. He blames his use of PEDs on his desire to recover from a GI infection.
I have been notified by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball that I have been suspended for 50 games for violation of the Joint Drug Agreement. I have decided to accept this suspension and not exercise my rights under the Basic Agreement to appeal. From November, 2011 to January, 2012, I was seriously ill with a gastrointestinal infection, helicobacter pylori, which went undiagnosed for over a month. By the time I was properly diagnosed and treated, I had lost 40 pounds. 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.