OF Nelson Cruz.
There's been a cloud of speculation hanging over several MLB teams and players since January when a report in the Miami New Times linked a now-closed clinic in Miami named Biogenesis to several MLB players and PEDs, including some superstars.
On Tuesday, ESPN's "Outside the Lines" reported that the founder of the now defunct clinic, Anthony Bosch, has agreed to cooperate with the MLB investigation into the claims after originally steering clear of the investigation and declining to share his records. NBC News has not independly confirmed the report.
Aside from big names in the report such as Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and Melky Cabrera, who have all previously been linked to PED use, there are about 20 players named in the report, some referred to by code names and others, like Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, named specifically.
The "Outside the Lines" report suggests that MLB will look to hand down suspensions to as many as 20 players, including 100-game suspensions for A-Rod and Braun, who won an appeal of a positive test following an NL MVP season in 2011.
Several of the named players were asked about the report's surfacing following Tuesday's games and all, including Cruz, pretty much stuck to the same response of not commenting on the matter. MLB also declined comment.
"I can't say anything," Cruz told reporters after the Rangers' 17-5 loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday. "I guess it's part of the process. They're doing their job. I don't have any comment about it."
It's still quite a conclusion to jump to thinking the players will be suspended. After all, MLB went after guys like Barry Bonds for years and nothing ever came of it.
If, by chance, Cruz is suspended for the presumed 50 games that goes to first-time offenders, the Rangers would have a few options to help replace him in the outfield, including trading for Miami Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton, a move that has been widely speculated for quite some time now, or possibly moving Ian Kinsler to the outifeld, which was discussed as a possibilty over the winter before Kinsler eventually refused the idea, and making top prospect Jurickson Profar the club's everyday second baseman.
Through 55 games this season, Cruz is hitting .268 with a team-high 14 home runs and 40 RBIs — on pace to exceed 2012's numbers in both categories. He's set to be a free agent following this season.
Again, it should be stressed the Rangers are a ways from having to worry about that, but the "Outside the Lines" report did say Bosch could begin naming names within a week and suspensions could be on the horizon within two weeks.
Until then, players will just have to press on and focus on the task at hand, which is winning ballgames.
"I play baseball right now," said Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who was also named in the report, while speaking to MLB.com. "I'm focused to play here right now."