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Rangers give Shin-Soo Choo Nelson Cruz’s number

Shin-Soo Choo

It seemed like a near certainty that Nelson Cruz wouldn’t return to the Texas Rangers after the team signed Shin-Soo Choo to a huge free agent deal last weekend. The team seemed to cement that fate by giving Choo Cruz’s old jersey number — 17.

During the news conference to introduce Choo on Friday, Rangers GM Jon Daniels also said he called Cruz’s agent to express his thanks. Daniels said he expects Cruz, who was suspended 50 games last year for a PED violation, to sign elsewhere.

The Seattle Mariners are said to be a top contender to sign Cruz. Whoever signs the 33-year-old outfielder will have to surrender a draft pick as compensation, which surely limits his appeal. Cruz batted .268/.327/.495 last season with 27 home runs in 109 games.

The Rangers have lost Ian Kinsler and Cruz this offseason, but they’ve gained Prince Fielder and Choo. Not a bad winter for them.

Texas Rangers ‘stunned’ by Nelson Cruz accepting suspension

Nelson CruzNelson 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.

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Anthony Bosch reportedly was running BALCO of the East, supplying A-Rod, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez, Melky, Colon

anthony bosch mugMiami New Times dropped a bombshell report on Tuesday in which they exposed Dr. Anthony Bosch (pictured) of running an anti-aging clinic that also doubled as a performance-enhancing drugs supplier to many athletes.

Bosch’s company, Biogenesis, sold PEDs ranging from HGH to steroids. Biogenesis’ client list reportedly included sluggers like Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, and Nelson Cruz, among others. Biogenesis operated on a similar scale to BALCO, the company formerly run by Victor Conte, that supplied drugs to athletes like Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, and Marion Jones.

Miami New Times reports that Bosch has a history of racking up bad debts and stiffing ex-wives over support payments. His company reportedly was not paying employees. They would often supply patients (non-athletes) with steroid cycles and diuretics.

Miami New Times went through several documents and Bosch’s personal records to determine which athletes were mentioned and listed as customers. They found several baseball players, a boxer, and tennis player listed, many of whom have already been caught using PEDs.

The list includes:

    - New York Yankees DH/3B Alex Rodriguez, who admitted to past steroid use after being busted by Sports Illustrated in 2009.
    - Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, who was busted for using PEDs during a breakout 2012 season. His name appeared in Bosch’s records 14 times.
    - Oakland A’s pitcher Bartolo Colon, who tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in 2012.
    - San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, who was suspended in November for elevated levels of testosterone.
    - Tennis player Wayne Odesnik, who was caught transporting HGH across international borders and was suspended a year by the ITF.
    - Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, who has belted 108 home runs in the last four seasons. He was mentioned in a July, 2012 customer sheet under the code name “Mohamad.”
    - Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who won 21 games last season.
    - Boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa, who is 22-0,

As you read, the first five names listed have either tested positive in the past year, or have been busted in the past for PED use/association.

Bosch was also the doctor who prescribed Manny Ramirez HCG when he tested positive for the female fertility drug while with the Dodgers in 2009.

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Nelson Cruz buys firetruck, donates it to his hometown in the Dominican Republic

The town of San Francisco de Macoris in the Dominican Republic lacks adequate public safety equipment for it’s more than 240,000 residents. Fortunately for the people in the town, one of their own is a Major League Baseball player with a big heart.

According to the Star-Telegram, Ranger slugger Nelson Cruz recently purchased an all-terrain vehicle that he will be donating to his hometown to boost their public safety resources. San Francisco de Macoris has very few ambulances and no rugged pumper truck for their fire department, which inspired Cruz to make the donation.

“In my hometown we don’t have ambulances or firetrucks, so I decided to buy one,” Cruz explained. “It was yellow, so we had to paint it red.”

The American Medical Response, which provides ambulance service in Arlington, has also decided to help the cause by donating two ambulances. The dealership in Minnesota where Cruz is purchasing the firetruck from is also sending along hand tools, hoses and nozzles.

“It was definitely something to help the community there,” Cruz said. “I’ve heard that people who have an accident or have something happen have to go to another town. The hospital in my hometown isn’t very big, so they have to go an hour away to get to the hospital. Some people die sometimes because they don’t have transportation.”

The fact that Cruz’s town doesn’t have enough equipment to tend to emergencies is truly a shame, and it’s great that he has decided to use his good fortune to help save lives. The Rangers are also paying to have the vehicles shipped to the Dominican Republic, so thanks to Cruz’s generosity a number of people have gotten involved for a great cause.

H/T Hardball Talk

Royals announcers rip Nelson Cruz after he’s hit by pitch: ‘You’re not that good’

When Nelson Cruz was hit by a pitch in the ninth inning of the Rangers win over the Royals on Monday, nobody was surprised. Earlier in the game, Cruz hit a towering home run off of Bruce Chen and stood at home plate for a moment to admire it. Opposing pitchers generally dislike being shown up like that, so many thought Kansas City reliever Louis Coleman did what he had to do in plunking the Rangers slugger. Cruz disagreed.

As soon as he was hit in the back, Cruz stared at Coleman and began walking toward the mound. The benches cleared and everything remained under control, but Royals announcers for Fox Sports Kansas City Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler blasted Cruz anyway.

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Nelson Cruz Wins ALCS MVP After Hitting Record Six Home Runs in Series

Nelson Cruz won ALCS MVP after bashing six home runs and driving in 13 runs against the Tigers. Both marks were a record for a single postseason series. He accomplished another record by hitting extra innings home runs twice during the series.

Cruz’s numbers were staggering. He went 8-22 (.364) with a .440 OBP and 1.713 OPS. Of his eight hits, six were home runs and two were doubles. Yes, you read that correctly — Nelson Cruz did not hit a single the entire series.

Let’s recap his historic ALCS against the Tigers:

Game 1: 1-3, solo HR off Verlander in 3-0 win, 1 run, 1 RBI
Game 2: 3-4, 2B, HBP, solo HR off Scherzer to tie game in 7th, walk-off grand slam off Perry in 11th to win 7-3, 2 runs, 5 RBIs
Game 3: 0-3 in 5-0 loss
Game 4: 1-4, BB, 3-run HR off Valverde in 11th, 1 run, 3 RBIs in 7-3 win.
Game 5: 1-2, 2-run HR off Verlander in 7-5 loss, one run, 2 RBIs
Game 6: 2-4, HR, 2B, BB, 2 runs, 2 RBIs in 15-5 win

I’m guessing Detroit pitchers will be seeing him in their sleep the next several weeks. The only question for Texas is if he can repeat the success in the World Series. Even if he doesn’t, the Ranges have so many bats they should be in fine shape.

Nelson Cruz on His Way to ALCS MVP

Is any player enjoying more of a breakout in the MLB playoffs than Nelson Cruz? Delmon Young had an excellent ALDS for the Tigers, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder have been destroying the ball for the Brewers, and Scott Feldman and Alexi Ogando have been studs in the Texas bullpen, but no player is having a bigger impact in the LCS than Nelson Cruz.

The Rangers right fielder made two key plays to help Texas beat Detroit 7-3 in 11 innings Wednesday night. With one out in the eighth inning, he caught a Delmon Young fly ball deep in right field and threw home to nail Miguel Cabrera who was tagging from third. We joked about how slowly Cabrera was running, but the fact is Cruz’s throw was so strong, and so accurate, that it would have gotten out almost any base runner.

Then in the 11th inning, after Mike Napoli singled in the tie-breaking run, Cruz slammed a 3-run home run to left field to make it 7-3. The home run made him the first player in MLB history to have a pair of extra innings home runs in the same playoff series.

Cruz hit a solo home run in Texas’ 3-2 win in Game 1, he hit a walk-off grand slam in Game 2, and a 3-run home run in Game 4. He now has four home runs and nine RBIs in the ALCS, and a whopping 1.685 OPS. Few players have dominated an ALCS so thoroughly. The MVP is likely his if the Rangers can win another one of their next three games.