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Nelson Cruz suspension leaves Texas Rangers lacking for power

August 05, 2013|By Kevin Baxter

Monday's Major League Baseball suspensions left a huge hole in the Texas Rangers' lineup just as the baseball playoff races begin to heat up.

Among the 12 players who accepted 50-game suspensions was All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz, who leads the Rangers with 27 home runs and 76 runs batted in. And his absence couldn't come at a worse time for the team, which has averaged fewer than four runs a game since the All-Star break.

The Rangers will go into Monday's game with the Angels in Anaheim 2 1/2 games behind Oakland in the American League West and trailing Cleveland and Tampa Bay by half a game in the wild-card race.

The Rangers, aware that a suspension for Cruz was a possibility, tried to trade for a slugging outfielder before last week's deadline but came up empty. Texas also hoped to get lucky by signing former Dodger Manny Ramirez when he left Taiwan. But Ramirez has struggled in triple A, hitting three home runs and batting .267 in 24 games.

Rangers Manager Ron Washington has repeatedly said the team had a plan in place should Cruz be suspended, but he has declined to say what the plan would be.


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