It's been more than six months since our sister paper in Miami broke the news that Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz, who was listed in patient logs as "Mohamad," was a customer of Biogenesis, a shady South Florida steroid clinic. Major League Baseball finally brought down the hammer today, suspending Cruz and 11 other ballplayers for 50 games. A 13th Biogenesis customer, admitted doper Alex Rodriguez, has already appealed his 211-game suspension.
Before talk turns to who should fill the third slot in the Rangers' batting order, it's time for Cruz's de rigueur show of contrition. He released a statement today through his attorneys fessing up to steroid use:
I have been notified by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball that I have been suspended for 50 games for violation of the Joint Drug Agreement. I have decided to accept this suspension and not exercise my rights under the Basic Agreement to appeal. From November, 2011 to January, 2012, I was seriously ill with a gastrointestinal infection, helicobacter pylori, which went undiagnosed for over a month. By the time I was properly diagnosed and treated, I had lost 40 pounds. Just weeks before I was to report to spring training in 2012, I was unsure whether I would be physically able to play. Faced with this situation, I made an error in judgment that I deeply regret, and I accept full responsibility for that error. I should have handled the situation differently, and my illness was no excuse. I am thankful for the unwavering support of my family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time. I look forward to regaining the trust and respect of the Rangers organization, my teammates, and the great Rangers' fans, and I am grateful for the opportunity to rejoin the team for the playoffs.
Points for Cruz for taking his lumps and accepting the suspension.
Negative points for having previously denied being a Biogenesis customer or using performance-enhancing drugs, which we now know is a lie.
A few more negative points for adding the line "my illness was no excuse" immediately after a concentrated effort to use his illness as an excuse.
But hey: At least he's not A-Rod.