ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) — The Texas Rangers announced the return of suspended outfielder Nelson Cruz on Sunday. Today, manager Ron Washington inserted Cruz into the starting lineup.
Cruz will bat sixth and act as the Rangers’ DH as Texas takes on Tampa Bay in Arlington in a one-game tiebreaker for the second AL Wild Card spot. The winner will travel to Cleveland for the AL Wild Card Game on Wednesday.
Washington called the decision to put Cruz in the lineup a “no-brainer,” saying he never considered leaving Cruz out of the lineup.
“It’s the threat. It’s the presence. It’s what he does to for everybody else just being in that lineup,” said Washington.
Second baseman Ian Kinsler says the team has welcomed back Cruz, calling him a great clubhouse guy, teammate, and family member.
“When Nellie’s in the lineup, anything can happen,” said Kinsler before the game. “It’s nice to have a guy like that in our lineup.”
Cruz arrived in Arlington on Saturday night, but has been working out and participating in the Rangers instructional league in Arizona.
The former All-Star went 9-for-27 with five doubles and a homerun, collecting nine RBIs — largely against minor league pitching.
Outfielder Joey Butler was designated for assignment to clear room for Cruz on the 40-man roster.
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