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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz will accept a 50-game ban by Major League Baseball in connection with the Biogenesis investigation.
Cruz has declined to appeal the suspension and will begin serving the ban tonight when the Rangers face the Los Angeles Angels. Cruz will be eligible to return for the first game of the playoffs — if the Rangers qualify. He is set to be a free agent at the end of the season.
The two-time All-Star explained his actions in a written statement on Monday, attributing his decision to a medical problem he suffered from in 2011. Cruz says from November 2011 to January 2012, he was seriously ill with a gastrointestinal infection, helicobacter pylori, which caused him to lose 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.”
The Texas Rangers released the following statement on Monday in response to the suspension.
“The Texas Rangers are disappointed that Nelson Cruz has violated the terms of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program resulting in his suspension. The Rangers’ organization fully supports the MLB program and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing substances from our game. Per the protocol outlined in Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, the Rangers will have no further comment.”
His name surfaced in January in connection with the Biogenesis of America clinic, an anti-aging clinic in Miami that allegedly supplied players with performance-enhancing substances.
Since that time, Biogenesis clinic founder Tony Bosch has cooperated with MLB officials during its investigation.
Cruz, Alex Rodriguez, and Ryan Braun — who already accepted and is serving a 65-game ban — are among a group of as many as 20 players alleged to have been clients.
In the latest round of suspensions, 12 players received 50-game bans from the league — excluding Rodriguez. CBS Sports reports that Rodriguez will receive a ban of 214 games, through the 2014 season.
The players suspended on Monday in addition to Cruz: Antonio Bastardo (Phillies), Everth Cabrera (Padres), Francisco Cervelli (Yankees), Fautino De Los Santos (Padres, AA), Sergio Escalona (Astros, AA), Fernando Martinez (Yankees, AAA), Jesus Montero (Mariners, AAA), Jordan Norberto (FA), Jhonny Peralta (Tigers), Cesar Puello (Mets, AA), Jordany Valdespin (Mets, AAA)
Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal previously served 50-game suspensions as a result of their violations and will not receive additional discipline.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Cruz fired his long-time agents Sam and Seth Levinson of the ACEs Agency on Monday.
This season, the Dominican-born Cruz is batting .269 and leads the team with 76 RBIs and 27 HRs, the fourth most in the American League.
Cruz’ last hit with the Rangers was a solo homerun in Sunday’s 4-0 win in Oakland.
Cruz was initially drafted by the New York Mets and appeared in eight games with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005. He was then traded, along with Carlos Lee, to the Rangers in a six-player deal.
In eight seasons with Texas, Cruz has collected 773 hits, 157 HRs, and 489 RBIs while batting .268 in 795 games.
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