Confirming reports from earlier this week, manager Ron Washington said today that the Rangers would add Nelson Cruz to the roster if they make the playoffs.
Cruz was suspended for 50 games on August 5 as part of his connection to the Biogenesis clinic and initially Pedro Gomez of ESPN reported that the Rangers would not welcome him back for the playoffs.
Texas acquired Alex Rios from the White Sox to replace Cruz in right field, but Cruz has been staying in shape by working out at the Rangers’ complex in the Dominican Republic and is expected to play in instructional league games at the team’s spring training complex in Arizona next week.
Cruz, who met with the local media today and apologized to fans, has been the Rangers’ starting right fielder since 2009 and hit .269 with 27 homers and an .841 OPS in 108 games this season before the suspension. He’s an impending free agent in the final season of a two-year, $16 million deal.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.