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Nelson Cruz Accepts 50-Game Ban for Role in Biogenesis Scandal

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Nelson Cruz Accepts 50-Game Ban for Role in Biogenesis Scandal
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz accepted a 50-game suspension by Major League Baseball for violating the league's substance-abuse policy according to a statement from the league.

Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal first reported the news:

UPDATE: Saturday, Aug. 10, at 8:50 a.m. ET by Sam Westmoreland

From ESPN's Pedro Gomez: 

---End of Update---

ESPN's Jim Bowden followed:

According to ESPN Dallas' Todd Wills, per a report by CBSSports.com, Cruz will not appeal the suspension:

Texas Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz has decided to accept a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball on Monday for his connection to the Biogenesis case, according to a report by CBSSports.com.

Cruz's suspension doesn't come as a total surprise, but he was reportedly still deciding his course of action prior to the official suspension, as MLB.com's Paul Hagen noted:

"I haven't decided what I'm going to do about anything," Cruz said before Sunday's game against the Athletics.

"It's not just about myself, it's also about the team," Cruz said. "I don't know what will happen, but it's supposed to happen tomorrow."

It seems that Cruz finally made up his mind and will take the punishment in stride.   

Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times originally listed Cruz in his jaw-dropping January report that connected some of baseball's biggest stars to Tony Bosch's Biogenesis of America clinic. Now that MLB has dropped the hammer on Cruz for his connection to the original allegations, the 33-year-old slugger is following in the footsteps of fellow outfielder Ryan Braun, who also accepted his suspension rather than appealing. 

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Cruz denied any and all connection to Elfrink's allegations through a Pittsburgh law firm in January. As reported by Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News, Cruz denied purchasing performance-enhancing drugs from Bosch's clinic through the firm of Farrell & Reisinger

ESPN Dallas' Todd Wills noted that Rangers manager Ron Washington commended his star in late July for putting the Biogenesis distractions behind him during the first two-thirds of the 2013 season. 

Those exaltations of innocence and praise seem like delusions of grandeur when realizing Cruz will forever be linked to the steroids era in baseball and his involvement with performance-enhancing drugs.

Now more than ever before, MLB is looking to make an example of players who have been connected to steroid use. Cruz's suspension is the latest example of that.

By accepting the suspension, Cruz accomplishes two things. For starters, the Rangers will likely get him back for the postseason in the event that they can overtake the Oakland Athletics or grab one of the American League's two wild-card spots. 

Wills makes that known with this tweet, adding a compound modifier to "season" to quietly remind fans that a Cruz return for the postseason is still a possibility:

Although the offense has been slumping and the Rangers struggled to score runs in the month of July, there's still a chance they can right the ship without half (Adrian Beltre being the the other half) of their most consistent offensive weaponry this year.  

Texas traded for Matt Garza, still have Yu Darvish and Derek Holland anchoring the rotation and are expected to welcome the return of Matt Harrison to the mound in the next few weeks

If the likes of David Murphy and Elvis Andrus can get going at the plate, there's hope for the team to make the playoffs. 

In addition, Cruz will likely earn respect from his teammates, his peers and his fans by accepting this penalty rather than trying to lessen the severity of it. 

The steroid era in baseball is a dark mark on the entire sport. MLB has spent the last six months gathering information, conducting interviews and connecting the dots between the accused players and their Biogenesis connection. Now they're taking action by punishing those players who have broken the rules.

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This is Cruz's first dance with doping, so there's still a chance he can restore both his reputation and status as one of the baseball's better talents. It will be difficult to do, but it's certainly possible.

It's disappointing for Rangers coaches, management and fans, but the reality of what has been a year-long waiting game for their starting right fielder ended the way many expected it to when the validity of Elfrink's claims passed the litmus test. 

Now, Cruz will attempt to begin the process of putting this behind him and restoring his reputation.

  

Follow B/R's Ethan Grant (@DowntownEG) on Twitter.

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