ST. PETERSBURG -- Instructional league games begin on Tuesday and will be the next step for Nelson Cruz in his quest to be on the Rangers' postseason roster. Cruz is currently serving his suspension at the Rangers' facility in Surprise, Ariz., and is eligible to play in instructional league games.
"He has been working out in the outfield, hitting and doing baserunning drills," general manager Jon Daniels said. "I don't know if he'll be in every game, we've got a lot of guys who need work, but he'll get at-bats so he can be ready as an option. Then we'll make a decision."
Cruz is suspended through the end of the season because of a violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Policy. He is eligible to be on the postseason roster, and club officials have indicated it's pretty much a given that Cruz will be on the roster. The Rangers still want to make sure no new information comes out regarding his situation, and they also want to see how he conducts himself in Arizona, especially around their young players.
Cruz was hitting .269 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs in 108 games at the time of his suspension.